NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2021

by | May 10, 2021 | Rumors | 38 comments

Speculation over Taylor Hall and Jaroslav Halak’s futures with the Bruins, the Blue Jackets face a busy offseason, plus a look at some possible coaching candidates for the Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently examined how the Boston Bruins could keep Taylor Hall after this season if he remains a good fit on their roster. He’s not going to get more than Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak or Brad Marchand, with Bergeron the top earner of the trio at $6.875 million annually.

Could Taylor Hall re-sign with the Boston Bruins? (NHL Images)

If they do keep Hall it could come at the expense of another forward such as Jake DeBrusk, who’s signed beyond this season at $3.675 million. That’s assuming Hall would accept playing on their second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Bruins could re-sign Hall if he’s willing to accept a pay cut to play the same role he’s currently filling as their second-line left wing. That could also mean re-signing linemate David Krejci on an affordable, short-term deal, which he could accept to stay with the only NHL team he’s ever played for. Doing so, however, will mean shipping out DeBrusk in a cost-cutting move.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports this season could be Jaroslav Halak’s last with the Bruins. There were exploratory contract talks with Halak and Tuukka Rask two months ago but a source said the play of Jeremy Swayman changes everything.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman’s emergence this season likely spells the end of Halak’s tenure in Boston. Like Krejci, Rask could return on a cost-effective, short-term contract.


THE ATHLETIC: Prior to the Columbus Jackets parting ways yesterday with John Tortorella, Aaron Portzline wondered who they could hire as a replacement. He speculated they could go with a “player’s coach”, though general manager Jarmo Kekalainen never had an issue with Tortorella’s firm stance. He doubts the Jackets will pay top dollar for one of the bigger names available in the coaching market.

Turning to the roster, signing Seth Jones to a contract extension will be the offseason priority. The 26-year-old defenseman is a year away from unrestricted free agent status. If Jones doesn’t re-sign, Kekalainen could attempt to trade him for the best possible return. Then again, perhaps Jones will wait and see what roster moves the Jackets GM makes before signing an extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones’ contract status will be among this offseason’s closely-watched stories. He’ll draw considerable attention in the trade market if a new deal cannot be reached with the Jackets.

Kekalainen must also decide if winger Patrik Laine’s game will improve under a new head coach and if they can find a suitable center for him. Portzline cites sources saying he isn’t averse to trading Laine for the right deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen’s proven he’s willing to make bold moves. That’s how he got Laine in the first place. He could trade the winger this summer but that doesn’t mean he will. The right deal would probably be the offer of a good, young first-line center. A lot will also depend on how Laine’s contract talks shake out. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights costing $7.5 million just to qualify his rights.

The Jackets GM must also attempt to acquire one or two centers. He has three first-round picks in this year’s draft and plenty of salary-cap space to pursue a deal with a cap-strapped rival.

He’ll also have to decide between goaltenders Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins. Portzline doesn’t see them returning as a tandem for next season. Both are UFAs next summer and Kekalainen can’t afford to lose one of them for nothing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo or Merzlikins could be part of a package deal to acquire a center or one of them could be used to address other roster needs.


AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan listed several potential coaching candidates for the Arizona Coyotes after the club parted ways yesterday with bench boss Rick Tocchet. A source told Morgan they’d like to have Tocchet’s replacement hired before this year’s draft on July 23-24.

Morgan doesn’t expect veteran coaches such as John Tortorella, Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau or Gerard Gallant will be under consideration. He speculated options include St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn, San Jose Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson, New York Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert or Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Larsen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Jackets, the Coyotes seem to prefer affordable coaches over more well-known ones who’ll be expensive to hire.


  1. There is 0 need to trade debrusk to sign hall Bruins have all the cap space they need to keep the band together if that is what they want to do. 46 will resign 5 -6mil. Hall 5-7 mil Ritchie 2 2.5. Carlo 4 tuuka 6 mil can resign Reilly on d as well for 3-3.5 if they want to and he wants to stay

    • Not about cap but more about playing time

    • It’s hard to imagine any scenario of Hall taking 5 per, unless it’s a 6-8 year deal. I’m no fan of Hall, and even on a down season I think other teams may throw more at him.

      I don’t think it’s in Boston’s best interest to engage in a bidding war for Hall or sign him long term. Boston also has 5+ million not showing up for Moore and Kase. Kase needing a qo or to be let go. Moore I think they’re stuck with either way.

      Boston may want to rethink signing any of the above if they don’t get out of the 1st or 2nd round.

      If they can’t go deep this year, it would be hard to believe the same team has more success next year. It may be time to change members of the band.

      • If the Bruins want Hall’s salary to come in at less than Pasternak, Marchand and Bergeron, that means approximately $6m. per year. If that’s the case, he’ll be hitting the open market. He didn’t decide to take a chance on a one year deal so he could parlay that into $6m. per year. He will want a long term deal coming in at $7m. minimum. Especially now that he’s found his game in Boston. Time will tell if he’ll get that, but he’ll at least try.

    • Mrbruin4 before i read your post i wrote down my numbers to see where the cap space of $30,854,000 came in

      Rask 5
      Halak (gone)
      Carlo 4
      Reilly 2.5
      Miller 1.5
      Krejci 5
      Hall 6
      Ritchie 2.2
      Kuraly 2
      Frederic 1.5

      total 29.70

      Doesn’t appear our numbers are much different but i don’t know how realistic it is to think that Rask or Hall will sign for the numbers i posted.

      • A lot will depend on who is left unprotected and who gets chosen in the expansion. DO you leave Debrusk, Karali or Richie unprotected. I also wonder if they try to deal Gryz an protect Lauzon. I just remember Neely’s remark about small defensemen when Gryz was hurt earlier. Resigning Rielly for the PP will help fill that void

      • Caper,

        That 31 million does not account for Moore @ 2.75 or Kase 2.6.

        I believe a qo for case would cost would be 2.6 + 10%.

        Seattle will take someone. But I doubt that someone will be Moore.

      • After hearing Hall say he doesn’t want to be the guy the spotlight is always on, I think he is in a prime spot. Pasta, Bergeron and Marchand will all be getting more of the spotlight so Hall can focus on just playing. I think he will settle for 6, maybe less, on a 4-5 year deal.

        Rask only wants to play in Boston. He said he would retire before going elsewhere. I think he would take the 5 mil at 1-2 years, just for a chance at hoisting the Cup again.

        I don’t see Boston bringing Miller back.

        CO…. that number DOES include Moore’s salary. I think Kase will be gone unless they move someone.

      • Captain i agree, i don’t see Seattle taking Moore, i believe Seattle takes Lauzon if left unprotected.

        Yes some work to be done and ridding themselves of Wagner and Clifton would save 2.35

      • My bad. I didn’t think cap friendly did. I see I am wrong.

      • That cap figure for the bruins will sure be nice if they could get rid of Moore and based on his injury they cannot but him out.

        If I was the Bruins I would be protecting Lauzon and exposing Grez. I still don’t understand why the Bruins do not let him play the PP1. When grez is hurt they put Reilly out there. Plus he is hurt all the time. If Seattle wants him by all means, he makes too much for my liking. What the Bruins should do is trade Kase’s right to Seattle for the player they want them to select instead of just releasing him, assuming he has value left.

        And speaking of McAvoy, since he is RFA next season they had better be planning his next salary right now for the full 8 years as he is the real deal and that will come into play.

        IMO Hall does not resign if Krejci does not. They trouble they have in signing these 2 guys is that they will not make more then Bergeron, but how can they make less then Coyle? They both bring more to the table.

        I do not think Kuraly is coming back (that is fredric’s spot next year), Reilly I assume would like to stay but it will depend on $$$, Halak is gone, and if the Bruins sign hall I beleive they will trade DeBrusk so here’s hoping he has a smoking playoffs.

  2. Greetings Lyle and all
    This offseason is a huge inflection point for the short and long-term future of the CBJ. The direction of “reload” vs “rebuild” all hinges on Seth Jones….if he is willing to sign long-term it is the former, if not, he will be traded promptly and the “rebuild” has begun whether it is overtly called that or not. Huge offseason for Jarmo & the organization. It will be fascinating and exciting to watch for those of us fans who are so interested in trades, drafting, and the architecture of team-building. My one additional hope…that JD returns to the team in some capacity after being “excused” from NYR. He is revered here. Tortorella, while polarizing, is also a beloved by much of the fan base. He is the most successful coach in the organization’s history who made a significant impact in the community via his philanthropic work (particularly with animal rescue) and treated the fans wonderfully. I wish him well!

  3. I think Colombus has the volume and quality defense, goalie and draft choices at hand that could land them Eichel. If they can do that and keep Laine they may lay claim to a good summer.

    • Hey OBD, hope all is well w/ you. Eichel is certainly the name out there & I’m sure they will be in the hunt. However, I do wonder if NYR and LA may not be able to outbid any CBJ package. My pure speculation is that there may be some unexpected C that come available (perhaps similar to the Dubois surprise) that ultimately prove to be the fit in CBus. I suspect they will trade for a C, draft a C, & sign a C in UFA (midtier defensive-minded…Danault perhaps?). Such an interesting offseason…could go many different ways.

      • I don’t think NY will make a run at Eichel, nor do I think they should.

        Drury stated he didn’t expect any significant changes. Gms bend the truth all the time, but I don’t think NY is trading any of Laffrienere , Kakko, Fox, or Kravstov. One or two would certainly be the starting ask price.

        My guess is they add some grit without disrupting the core of this rebuild.

        I see a winger being dangled, probably Buchnevich. But with Zibanejad coming up for a new contract I don’t see them making that splash.

      • Deacon, I truly admire your sense of optimism and excitement for CBJ. Good for you.

        Eichel’s frustration with losing are well known. I cannot imagine him being interested in willingly going to NY, LA or (sorry, not trying to be mean) Columbus. None are legit Cup contenders.

        I would love the Habs to go after him and would happily give up KK and Danault in the trade. That assumes Danault is re-signed, and it also assumes that Eichel’s herniated disk is not an impediment to a full and sustained recovery.

        Alas, I do not have your sense of optimism that this will happen.

      • Deacon

        To BUF: Domi, Nyqvist and 2 1sts this year ( TB & TML) and Elvis?

        To CMB: Eichel & 2nd this year

        Does it get it done for both teams?

      • Hi LJ

        I cede Eichel might not be interested in LA or Clb. I think he may have interest in Rangers

        That said…. he has no control over any trade made now.

        His full NMC kicks in 1/7/22

        Since Adams has full control (of a possible trade) now…. perhaps that is an incentive to move him??

      • Ihatecrosby – I have no skin in this game for either team, but, speaking for Buffalo, no, it doesn’t get it done. Nyquist will be 32 before next season, and Domi is not a top six forward. And the odds are long against a low first rounder turning into one. I would not give up a number one center for that package even if the demand for a second rounder is dropped. Personally, I don’t see Buffalo shopping Eichel at all, nor should they.

  4. I thought the Jets were the ones making a bold move when they traded Laine for Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kekalainen was the one pulling a rabbit from his hat? Laine was (and is) the highly touted piece to build your franchise around – not Dubois. Trading Dubois (who wanted out of Columbus) for Laine seemed like a steal (not a bold move) for Kekalainen.

    In any event, the future certainly looks bright for current players and future players on the CBJ roster with tortorella gone!

  5. Here’s what they will sign everybody for. Top dollar will probably go to Rask although I’d like to see him out of Boston 6 mill for overrated Rask depending on what he does in playoffs, five point five for Hall likewise for krejci if he asks for anything more let him walk Debrusk stays with the team Carlo signs for four. After taking the team to Stanley cup Swayman signs for six mill Rask will falter as usual

  6. Clb…. Torts gone… player retention easier

    Laine…. needs a passing guru Centreman…. imagine the goals he could score if on MacK’s or Sid’s lines…. that won’t happen, just giving you a picture of the possibility

    Handsome Jack/Liane could work… who changes teams?? Price on the flip??

    If Adam’s decides on full rebuild….. Domi, Roslevic , 2 firsts for Handsome Jack…. or does Adam’s insist that Okposo must be part of the deal???

    Jarmo full rebuild (me thinks unlikely)…. Laine for Cozens, Quinn, 1st???

    I still think HJ has reasonable odds of ending up a Ranger

    • I was thinking Nyqvist, Domi 2 1sts (TB & TML) along with Elvis for Eichel & 2nd

      then sign a backup goalie like Halak to compete with Korpisalo

      then hire Vegas former bench boss Gallant back.

      • Hi IHC

        I’m sure the ask by Adam’s might be that high… I am not convinced the end deal goes that high though

        I’m not 100% convinced that Adam’s trades HJ…. but I would if I were him (HJ has a full NMC that kicks in in 14 months…. and then HJ has full control of any trade…. thus tying Adam’s hands)

    • Pengy, if Jones won’t sign LT what you propose cold very well could be exactly the types of deals that Jarmo explores. Jones and possibly Laine for multiple assets focusing on cost controlled promising young players, high end prospects, and picks. For right or wrong, full rebuild is their least desired approach though so i think all other options will be exhausted before Jarmo goes that route

  7. Why would any team pay Hall a big dollar?

    For an $8 million show me contract, he scored 8 goals in 52 games .

    Mike Hoffman on a $4 million show me contract scored 17 goals in 49 games.

    CBJ are in an interesting situation depending on who they hire as a coach.

    Max Domi can be a fine centre if he’s allowed to free wheel and have the occasional brain cramp.

    IF Laine and Domi were together, unchained, Laine would light it up.

    3 first round picks, CBJ traded away Savard and Foligno for those 2 additional picks.

  8. To be clear, I am optimistic that CBJ will acquire a C via trade this off-season but I am not at all optimistic it will be Eichel. I really don’t think they have the assets to make that happen. It would be a shock to me if Eichel ever lands and stays in CBJ

  9. I’d have a hard time parting with a bunch of valuable pieces for Eichel. The man is a fantastic player but doesn’t exactly have a great attitude. And has had a lot of injuries through his first 6 years.

    At season end he will have missed 91 games in 6 years. More than a season. Does that get better with age? Doubtful. He can be a ppg guy when healthy, but that’s not helpful when he’s not.

    Because of injuries he’s averaging 59 points per season. If you take this year out (which you really can’t) 67 per season.

    I’m not coughing up assets and 10 million a year of cap space for Eichel. I’m sure some will disagree. This is just my take.

    • I’m with you, Captain:

      For a guy like Eichel, you give up:
      a) a ton of Cap Space, or
      b) a ton of quality players/prospects/picks.

      You don’t give up both.

  10. Reading Jack’s comments today from his exit interview, sure sounds like the beginning of the end in Buffalo, my percentages just went through the roof on him being moved this off-season.

    • Jack Eichel: “I’ve been a bit upset about the ways things have been handled since I’ve been hurt. There’s been a bit of a disconnect between myself and the organization. The most important thing now is to get healthy and be ready to play hockey next year, wherever that might be.”
      Chytil, Kravtsov, Nils Lundqvist and this years 1st rd pick for Eichel

  11. Eichel to the bruins they need a young centre they will go all out to get him. He’s from beantown he will finish his career there.

    • What goes the other way?

      I can’t really see the pieces Boston has outside of Mcavoy or Carlo that tempts Buffalo?

      I don’t think Debrusk is a starting point, or a piece that interests Buffalo.

      See my notes above about Eichels numbers and missed games.

      • Agree with Rick, Eichel is exactly what the B’s need long term.
        Agree with Captain, the only player that makes that happen is McAvoy.
        If the B’s do it, then a player like McAvoy will be exactly what they need long term.

        The only thing harder to find than a #1D is a #1C.
        All depends on his health.

      • Eichel to Boston would set them up for the future but it would mess with the existing chemistry. All of a sudden the top salary is 3+ million more than Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand. That would be the end of home town discounts for the good of the team.
        Not sure how Patrice would feel about losing his line mates and being bumped to 2nd line. Unless they could somehow find a way to sign Hall to pair up with Eichel. If the asking price is McAvoy, Studnicka , Swayman I would pass

      • Carlo & two 1st rounders. If they want more than that pass. The bruins will get Eichel.

  12. LA & Blue Jackets would be my top 2 predicted landing sites. Based on what they have available that Buffalo might need. Slight added bias to LA as they might be more impatient and have Byfield to trade. He may want to come back East. It would take more than Byfield but he is a very good starting point.

  13. I read a report that the ask from Buffalo for Jack would be 4 1sts of the equal of. The best of offers mentioned on this board had 3. Hall/Eichel didn’t work in Buffalo I cant see why it would in Boston. Yes Eichel has missed some time but losing makes things hurt more I think. On a winner, barring the neck thing being serious, I don’t think he misses games as much.