NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2021

by | May 15, 2021 | Rumors | 37 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, Drew Doughty calls upon Kings management to add experienced depth plus a look ahead at possible offseason moves by the Senators and Canucks.


THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites Drew Doughty calling upon Los Angeles Kings management to bring in more experience to their rebuilding roster. The 31-year-old defenseman feels he and veteran teammates Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown are running out of time.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (NHL Images).

Doughty acknowledged the club’s been rebuilding but feels they have the salary-cap space to make some big moves. “There’s no point in just waiting for these prospects to develop when you’ve got guys in their prime, hungry to win, and sick of losing,” he said. When asked if he’d be happy if big moves aren’t made, Doughty simply replied, “No.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings general manager Rob Blake has patiently built up his roster with promising youngsters but his veteran core wants to return to playoff contention and a shot at winning the Stanley Cup again.

Doughty has six more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $11 million. Kopitar has three more at $10 million annually, Quick has two years at $5.8 million and Brown one year at $5.875 million. Blake could trade one or two of those players but their age or hefty contracts would be difficult to move.

Cap Friendly shows the Kings with over $20 million in cap space for 2021-22 with all their core players under contract. There’s room to make a big offseason move to accelerate the rebuild. That’s why the Kings have been linked to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel in recent trade rumors.

We’ll have to wait and see what Blake has in store for his roster this summer. If he sticks with his current plan, however, he’ll have an unhappy No. 1 defenseman on his hands. And that will raise questions about Doughty’s future in Los Angeles.


THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance included reallocating salary-cap space among his list of offseason priorities for the Vancouver Canucks. Once restricted free agents Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are re-signed, there won’t be enough cap room to rebuild the blueline, upgrade their bottom-six forwards and add a top-six winger.

They could get some relief if the Seattle Kraken select goalie Braden Holtby (4.3 million) in this summer’s expansion draft. A contract buyout or two is possible. Drance also proposed bundling a future asset to move an additional contract or attempt to move Micheal Ferland’s contract to a cap-strapped team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have over $65 million tied up in 15 players. Most of that will be used up signing Pettersson and Hughes.

GM Jim Benning could be squeezed by the Kraken for a draft pick to take Holtby off his hands. Ferland and Jay Beagle could start next season on long-term injury reserve. However, it would be less complicated if one or both could be shipped to teams better equipped than the Canucks to carry those contracts. Those moves also mean including a draft pick, prospect or young NHL-ready player into the deal.

Benning attempted to trade disappointing winger Jake Virtanen this season but couldn’t find any takers. His $3.4 million in actual salary for next season combined with his recent off-ice issues could give Benning little choice but to buy out Virtanen.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes includes the acquisition of a top-four defenseman among his suggested offseason priorities for the Ottawa Senators. He feels they need a veteran blueliner who can log over 20 minutes per game.

Mendes proposed targeting teams with expansion draft protection issues or those with salary-cap issues in the trade market. They could also go the free-agent route.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators want to add another center and perhaps a top-four defenseman. GM Pierre Dorion could attempt to address those needs from within but could shop around first.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have over $53 million invested in 17 players with Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson as their notable free agents. They’ll have plenty of salary cap room once those two are re-signed, but that depends on how close to the $81.5 million cap owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend.


  1. Well, Doughty will be about impossible to move. And this isn’t a slight against Doughty, but what competitive team can afford an 11 million contract? And is willing to take that on for 6 more years?

    Even if LA we’re to hold 3 million I’m struggling to see a team that can realistically take that on.

    Adding Eichel probably isn’t in their best interest. They already have one disgruntled player, why add to that?

    • NJ and Ottawa could both absorb and use Doughty’s experience and both teams are loaded with young talent that will be in the hunt.

      • I don’t see Ottawa taking on Doughty. This move wouldn’t help their rebuild. NJ on the other hand, I have idea what the plan is. Taking on an aging defenseman with a huge cap hit seems unlikely. Not that Doughty and Subban are equivalent in skill but it feels like a potential repeat of that same mistake.

      • Are NJ and Ottawa on Doughtys wish list? I don’t think either is looking to win now. And I don’t think Doughty makes either a real contender today.

      • Habfan. Doughty has a full nmc. If he’s not happy with losing and waiting for young players to develop, why would he agree to go to either of those teams? Surprised Leaf fans havnt jumped all over this already.

      • But if he’s tired of a rebuild, why would he accept a trade to either Sens or Devils. He has NMC. Also, most good players want a team that has a good shot @ playoffs.

      • Doughty’s NMC doesn’t matter if he wants to play on a winner and sees the possibility.

        Ottawa’s rebuild has shown itself to be close considering the second half they had to the season, a guy like Doughty with his skill and compete level can put them in the fight.

        NJ has quite a lineup and is almost ready, they need a D and/or a Goalie. They have the cap space and a boatload of young talent.

        As for PK, he only has one more year on his contract, who knows maybe LA goes one for one in a trade.

        Either way Doughty has a better chance of contending and LA gets cap room

      • HabsFan. L A isn’t just giving Doughty to either of those teams. Send finished season with 2 points more than Kings, who finished 4 points higher than Devils. trading away young players for Doughty will not catapult either team into playoffs.

      • Slick,

        The Sens started the season with a 9 game losing streak and they still finished with more points than the Kings

        If the Sens played the whole season the way they did after that terrible start, they would be in the playoffs.

        Doughty would be way ahead and so would the Sens.

        Point being that it isn’t impossible to move Doughty with his contract and I showed 2 potential good fits,

      • Habs fan. It’s your opinion that they’re good fits. You’re not just adding Doughty. Ottawa would need to send back players. It’s a trade. Seriously doubt team with one of the best prospect pools is trading their best player for picks and prospects. Sorry, don’t see them as way ahead, and doubt Doughty does either.

    • L A realistically could trade for Eichel. He’s still young. I don’t see them trading away assets for older, veteran players. I think Doughty probably wants to see some FA additions.

  2. Blake should continue on the course he is on and try to move Doughty, Kopitar, Brown & Quick. Doughty & Kopitar should fetch a nice haul. Yes Doughty is expensive but a top d-man doesn’t become available very often. Habs should try for Kopitar, they desperately need a #1 centre. The Rangers should go after Doughty. Brown had a good year but his best days are behind him, same for Quick.

    • I can think of fewer teams in less need of a rd than Ny.

      Fox, and Trouba already in place. If Fox continues down the current path he’ll be looking at a payday in the Doughty range. No way can NY afford Doughty, and no way they should even consider it.

      • Pretty sure Ron Moore’s reply was to Ed Vanimpes comment and not yours Captain

    • Ya no one will take a “rarely available top Dman” who’s 31 aka past best date, $11M per until he’s 37.
      So you think teams should jump on that. Who do you cheer for?


      • Philly would Love to have DD.

      • Philly is one team that can use him, the other is where he is now.
        That deal was signed before Covid/flat cap so looks worse than when signed. LA could move him easily if they ate $2M.
        I think one more season of patience & development is required before LA should start to make moves/signings.

        I can see them signing a D first physical guy to help defend and calm sh*t down for next season. An Adam Larsson type guy.

        Not that different a place than where the B’s were a few years ago.

      • My point wasn’t nobody will want him, my point is what contending team can afford him without gutting themselves?

        My specific point On THIS reply was NY avoiding even getting involved. Again with Fox coming up for a new contract, coming off a Norris worthy year (is Doughty on that list this year?) and Trouba already costing 8 million, why would NY get involved?

        Talk about failure, your entire reply is a total failure.

        Now find me that competitive team that can take on that 11 million cap hit.

        I’ll be right here waiting.

      • Above reply should’ve went here.

    • As pointed above, Doughty has a NMC contract; Kopy has as modifed no movement contract, and while a terrific player will be 34 and carries a 10 million cap hit. Players with that type of cap hit typically are given that by teams when the players are still in their prime. Makes any such moves a challenge.

    • If Philly could shed a big contract (Voracek or JVR) in the expansion draft and LA would eat a few million of Doughty’s salary, he’d be a perfect fit on the Philly D. It would almost certainly mean adding sweeteners to the Kraken to take on a forward–thinking this year’s first rounder. But if that exapnsion deal could happen, Philly has a wealth of young players who are just about the right age (21-24) to suit’s LA’s developmental timeline.

    • Fetch a haul? Not with those contracts.

    • Correct. Slick

  3. I wonder if Drew’s pique began soon after the Kings traded Jeff Carter.

    • I doubt it Francis. The sell off of players from the 2014 Cup began years ago. Good roll players such as Lewis, King and Clifford were moved year by year along with impact players Martinez, Toffoli and Pearson. Carter would not have been the catalyst for Doughty’s frustration, losing was.

  4. Has there been any updates on Virtanen’s off ice problems? Much like DeAngelo with Rangers, a buy out won’t leave much of a cap hit. Van can save 2.5 mil in space. He’s type of player that Rangers could use if they’re looking to add toughness, but if he’s not cleared of accusations, he’s untouchable.

    • I haven’t heard any. But I wonder if Virtanen’s situation could lead to contract termination instead of buyout. This could only happen if Virtanen is found guilty of anything, but I’d believe there’s a termination clause for criminal conduct.

      • Buyout will still cost Vancouver 1.4 mil. with a cap hit this year of 50K. Plus another year with a cap hit of 500K. Cap hits are reasonable, but I’m sure if they don’t have to they won’t. They’ll wait and see if they can terminate
        If I’m Rangers and he’s cleared, I’d offer Howden and maybe a young D like either Hajek or Reunanen for Virtanen… but only if they sweetened deal with MacEwen. That would satisfy the need for grit that everyone talks about.

      • A young woman has filed a civil suit against him alleging actions that would constitute sexual assault in the criminal courts. The police have not (yet?) charged him. so Virtanen is likely to be before the courts for sometime to come. Therefore, untradable. The Canucks should be looking to terminate him (unlikely if not criminally charged) or buy him out.

    • How about ADA for Virtanen if he’s cleared of the charges. Two players desperately needing a change of scenery.

  5. Next up June 2 draft lottery. They are changing the rules but what is it actually this year ? How many spots /teams have a chance of moving up ? Seattle locked at 3

    • Silver. Only 2 teams can move up this year as opposed to 3 in the past. Also, most a team can jump up is 10 spots. So, not every team has shot at picking in top 2.

  6. I would like to see Dorion sign someone like Jamie Oleksiak or make a trade for Matt Dumba or Eric Cernak.
    I would like to see Logan Brown be on the Senators roster next season. If Logan Brown is not ready next season then Claude Giroux would a interesting addition or Alexander what about someone like Alexander Wennberg?
    I would like to see Dorion sign Mikael Granlund or Blake Coleman.

  7. No way should Jim Benning be allowed to move out future picks in what would surely be a disastrous attempt to save his job.
    Hes already created a mess for any new GM to solve, why would he be allowed to make a bad situation even worseL

    Virtanen is untradeable (poor play plus an unverified rape allegation). Only way to get rid of him is buyout or voiding of his contract (morals/code of conduct clause).

    • Ron, the fact that Green has not been re-signed could be ownership’s way of telling Benning that both of them are gone after Wednesday. The incoming GM gets to pick his own coach.
      Green deserves better but Benning’s had his shot and should be moving on imo.

  8. I’m not convinced Ottawa brings on a top 4 defenseman without moving Zaitzev, unless the plan is him to play RD on the 3rd pairing? A shutdown guy for Chabot would be good. I’m just not seeing it.

    Also, I don’t see Ottawa going after a center. Norris, White, & Tierney (if here) are locks. Pinto & Brown are options as well. So unless we are talking a 4th line depth center i don’t see it. Norris & Pinto will be given top 6… possibly Stutzle

  9. Since when did Doughty become the GM in LA? Doughty needs to play (and collect his grossly overpaid salary of $11m), Blake needs to “general manage” and the coaches need to coach. If one department doesn’t like the actions of another, well, one may be looking at being traded or relief of their duties. Every player on a team that didn’t make the playoffs wants big changes. I guess Doughty thinks his $11 payroll gives him the right to publicly play GM for the Kings? Nope, but it may get him a ticket out of town.