NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2021

by | May 18, 2021 | Rumors | 51 comments

Should the Ducks make a pitch for Patrik Laine? Could the Coyotes pursue Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if the Ducks might pursue a top-six winger such as Patrik Laine to bolster their offense. After his struggles in Columbus, the 23-year-old winger might not re-sign with the Blue Jackets, though the departure of coach John Tortorella could make him rethink that situation. The high cost of qualifying his rights ($7.5 million) prompted Stephens to speculate the Jackets could trade Laine and leave the headache of signing him to somebody else.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Stephens suggested there could be sufficient cap space for the Ducks to take on Laine but it could be expensive. It could make it difficult to re-sign Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm before they become UFAs next summer. While on board with the idea of adding Laine, Stephens suggested someone like Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart could be more cost-effective.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks must shore up their sagging offense. Laine, however, would be an exorbitant acquisition. He also struggles without a quality set-up centerman, something the Ducks lack with 36-year-old Ryan Getzlaf in the twilight of his career. Laine could develop chemistry with promising Trevor Zegras but the latter has yet to establish himself at the NHL level.

Reinhart would be more affordable in terms of salary and return for the Ducks, assuming he’s available in the trade market. His ability to play center or wing would provide them with more flexibility among their top six.

In an earlier piece, Stephens examined the Ducks’ off-season priorities. In addition to acquiring a scorer, he felt they must determine if Ryan Getzlaf will be back and what role he’d play.

He also advocated trying to move players who are not in the club’s long-term picture. That could include Rakell, Manson and Lindholm if re-signing one of them proves difficult. Center Adam Henrique, who has three years and over $17 million remaining on his contract, could be another trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf is no longer capable of playing a top-six role. If he returns it’ll have to be in a checking line spot.

Rakell, Manson and Lindholm surfaced in trade speculation during the season. The high asking prices for those players were believed why they weren’t moved before the April trade deadline. General manager Bob Murray could entertain trade proposals this summer if contract extension talks stall.

The Ducks could leave Henrique exposed in the expansion draft. If the Seattle Kraken pass him over, however, Murray could have difficulty finding a taker because of his contract, which contains a 10-team no-trade list.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Arizona Coyotes are interested in acquiring Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. The source said Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has had extended conversations with Sabres GM Kevyn Adams over what it would cost to land Eichel.

The source told Murphy the Coyotes have the type of young players to interest the Sabres. The ‘Yotes would also fulfill the Sabres’ wish to ship Eichel out west.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those young players Murphy’s source alluded to could include winger Clayton Keller, center Christian Dvorak, defenseman Jakob Chychrun and goaltender Adin Hill. I’m not suggesting the Coyotes would have to give up all of them to land Eichel but one or two would have to be part of the deal.

However, I doubt the Coyotes could outbid a club like the New York Rangers or Los Angeles Kings if those teams decide to make serious bids for the Sabres captain. The Blueshirts and Kings carry more depth in quality prospects and young NHL players.


  1. Eichel to AZ? Nope. The only player they have that could be part of that deal you mention is Keller and that they would do but Buffalo would be foolish. A team without center depth isn’t moving Dvorak, Hill isn’t signed and they lose depth in goal this year. Keller isn’t close to enough of a return

    • and with the Yotes losing money left and right, do you really think their owner wants to pay anyone, even such as Eichel, $10M a season? it would be him and OEL, and the rest of the roster would be players playing at league minimum

      and you thought Eichel was frustrated in Buffalo…

      • Coyotes have a billionaire owner who wants to win, a GM who wants to win and a lot of cap space. Money is not the issue.

    • They forgot to ask Jack, not because they will not be able to trade without his wish, but because there is no much difference between Yotis and Sabres.

      And LA would hunt for Laine, not for Eichel, they have Kapitar and 3 top C prospects, they are not in need

  2. In today’s cap world, what team would give up a haul for Laine and then sign him to $8 million a year based on last year’s performance. I could see members of that team quite upset and any pending UFAs would demand big bucks off of that contract comparison. That has got ugly written all over it.
    And why would Arizona trade for Eichel if it guts what little they have – seems like an owner’s desperate move.

    • Laine has 3 seasons of over 30 goals with one of them over 40 goals. in 2019/20 he was 2 goals shy of 30 in 68 games played. The guy can score goals which is the hardest thing to do in the NHL and he is only 23 years old. Has Laine ever played with a true setup guy on his line? Ovie has Backstrom, Hall had Oates, Gretzky had Kurri, Matthews has Marner. Who has Laine played with? Also how many players had off seasons only to bounce back with one of their best seasons the season after?
      I would have Laine on my team on an $8 million a season for one or two year contract any day. I would think Laine’s teammates would also welcome him with open arms because he will only help them win.

      • Since Laine entered the league Wheeler is 4th overall in assists and Sheifele is 18th.

        Sheifele was 6th overall for assists this year without Laine around and Wheeler (with 2 cracked ribs) finished 33rd overall for assists this year.

        What Laine delivered this year is closer to what he is.

      • Hey KevJam, you and I agree most of the time. Disagree that the hardest thing to do in the NHL is score goals.
        Generating offence that leads to goals while not cheating for offence is the hardest. Whether you are the one putting it in the net or not, doesn’t really matter IMO.
        Who would you rather have Gretzky or Kurri?
        McDavid or any other player in the league?
        He has as many assists as any other player has points.
        He is the best player in the NHL, and it isn’t that close. He is also playing a 200′ game.
        That is way flippin harder than what Laine does, and Laine shouldn’t earn half of what McDavid does. Laine is over rated who benefited from playing on a very good offensive team. Good player, not great.
        McDavid will win the goal scoring title some year, like Gretzky did when he decided he would.

      • Scheifele is a great offensive player and he will get his points, but he isn’t an elite playmaker/passer and Wheeler benefits from being on Scheifele’s line. A lot of Laine’s time in Winnipeg he wasn’t on Scheifele’s line. Which was one reason why Laine wasn’t happy in Winnipeg.

      • Ray Bark, I understand what you are saying, but McDavid is also second in the NHL in goals this season. Wayne Gretzky in 1984/85 season also lead the NHL in goals, and was usually at or near the top in that category. That is what makes these players so great.
        Hull and Oates were actually only together for three seasons. In those three seasons Hull had his three highest goals per season. When Oates was moved to Boston, Hull still was scoring goals, but just not at the same rate as he was with Oates. Goal scores will still score, but if you can get them an elite passer they will score even more.
        Look at Matthews in Toronto. The previous few season he was scoring even though Marner was on Tavares line. This season with Marner on Matthews line full time, Matthews is having a career year.

      • Time will tell KevJam, but all those guys played on the PP.
        When Laine got 44, 20 on the PP.
        Next year when he got 30, 15 on the PP.

        Great shooter no doubt, but IMO that is just a portion of what really valuable players do.

        Just my opinion, and I may be in the minority on Laine.

  3. Eichel would be going from the frying pan to the fire … only difference would be the weather …

    I’m still not giving up on Laine, he has too much talent, somebody has to get it out of him …

    And I know this season isn’t over but the Pens should try and get Malkin to waive his NTC, bring Carter back as 2nd line C and sign Getzlaf to centre the 3rd line, bolster the blueline, bring in some grit and take one last run at it with Sid.

    • I agree with you via Pittsburgh on this one. It is hard to not think of the team without Crosby/Malkin, but I think now is the best time to do it. Move Malkin, let him see if he can center his own team for the last few years of his career. Get a good return that can build towards Pittsburgh’s future and also add some depth to their roster Guentzel, Rust, McCann, & Kapanen along with Crosby already shows good offensive depth with their forwards. But if they could move Malkin to add some high end depth pieces it would be worth it. Get another few years out of their window.

      • what kind of high end depth pieces do you think you can get for a soon to be 35 year old injury prone center on the last year of a 9.5 contract?
        I would like at more as get what you can player wise and free up 9.5 million to go shopping

      • Hmmmm, what about an aging goalie on a $7 million contract for one more season for an aging centre on a $9.5 million contract for one more season? Fleury for Malkin!? Pittsburgh is needing a goalie and Vegas can use number one centre. Just a thought. lol

      • Trade for Malkin?

        9.5 million for an always hurt 2nd fiddle thats 34 years old?

        Only a dreamer would expect much of a haul in return for him.

        More likely scenario if Pittsburgh trades him is salary retention and a sweetner for someone to take him of the Pens hands.

    • Wow! Something we actually agree on. I too haven’t given up on Laine. Like I said above, scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in the NHL an Laine can score goals. He hasn’t played with a true setup guy on his line his whole career and has 3 thirty goal seasons with one of them over forty.

  4. If Arizona did trade for Eichel in three years they would have a pretty fantastic 1-2 punch in Eichel/Matthews … haha, sorry Toronto fans, I am just kidding with you.

    I don’t think Laine is gonna have great value right now and I feel most of the teams that do have the assets and the space to acquire him are missing the center to play with him. As an example, if I was certain Stutzle was going to move to Center, I’d want to consider the move as I feel Ottawa is in need of an elite goalscorer. But if he won’t be, we don’t have the playmaker to make him tick (or a second established gritty top 6 left winger).

    I think Columbus also has to figure out the direction they are taking. None of their top prospects broke into the line up this year, their pool of prospects isn’t that deep, they are coming off a terrible season, and facing a ton of signings and roster choices over this offseason and next season.

    They are in desperate need of a number one center to play with Laine if he does resign. Need to show Seth Jones they are heading in the right direction, determine which goalie they believe is the future, and find some consistency in their scoring. Do they try and sell the farm, sign these guys up and go after Eichel? Do they maybe move on from Laine & Jones and start the rebuild? Do they try and sign what they can and retool?

    Don’t envy the Jackets choices right now.

    • OBD, I’m with you on that one. I think Matthews finishes his contract in Toronto and he is gone. I really hope the Leafs hedge their bets with this one, if it means moving him out with a year to go on his contract then that should be considered.
      I have faith that the Leafs management has a good handle on this situation.
      I’m willing to bet that as the 22-23 season comes to an end, and just before his NMC kicks in – Matthews is going to be headline news on spectors.

  5. Actually JJB as a Leaf fan, I think you are right. Matthews will want out. The only thing that might save the Leafs bacon , is that M.cDavid may want out of Edmonton. I think there is a years difference in their respective contracts.

    In hockey we say if Gretzy could be traded anyone can. I follow British soccer, Harry Kane captain of England and Tottenham just put in a trade request while still having 4 years on his contract.

    I think this is increasing sports trend. Matthews will want out, Fox did not want Calgary or Carolina, Eichel and Rienhart want out. And these are only the obvious and known ones. Behind the scenes I think a lot more of this goes on than we normal fans know.

    And a non-sequitor. I watched part of the Boston & Washington game last night. I don’t the Leafs ( and maybe not the Oilers) survive that kind of series.

    • Top players who request to be traded or decide not to resign with a their current team is because those teams are not winning. We fans read to much into players reactions and try to put a spin on them that benefits our teams and/or poke fun at our teams rivals. At the end of Matthews contract when he becomes a UFA, IMO if he doesn’t resign with the Leafs it’s because the Leafs aren’t contenders. If the Leafs are contenders then he most likely resigns.
      Same for McDavid, if the Oilers aren’t contenders by the time he is a UFS he will most likely sign with a team that is a contender. Winning is what these players love to do and they will rarely leave a winning team.

      • HI KevJam.

        I think winning is an important variable but just one variable. Another is where they want to live and why. An American gets drafted to Toronto and really doesn’t feel right. BC kids seem to want to go home. And some Ontario kids go back. Taxes are another variable. The fishbowl lifestyle as well. Most dislike it, some embrace it.

        Overall I would guess that as time passes more choice and more movement will be the norm. And a generation raised on cell phones will not be as patient as previous generations.

    • @OBD Before Matthews got drafted he said that he wanted to be one of those players who finished their careers with the same team that he started out with. Since then he`s made a couple of remarks that indicated otherwise. I agree with you that Matthews won`t finish his career in Toronto 2 years or less I give it. There`s 2 year difference in contracts between McDavid and Matthews but somehow I don`t see McDavid in Toronto. If Toronto doesn`t do well in this years playoffs there`ll be big changes

      • If the Leafs choke in the playoffs again then Shanascam, Dubas and Keefe should all be fired immediately.

  6. Good thing Jimmy Rutherford ran Fleury and Murray out of town. Certainly left the Penguins with stellar goaltending.

    Rutherford made a huge mess in Pittsburgh and once he realized its unsalvageable he bolted.

    Hard to win a Cup with Crosby, a brittle Malkin, over rated Lestink, and a bunch of AHL level forwards, defencemen and goalies.

    Better than last year though. At least they made the playoffs this time.

    On a positive note the Pens are only one more tank job and fixed lottery from being an actual contender again, lol.

    • Since you’re a Flyers fan, Ron, You do actually cheer for a team, right, Ron? What should Philly do in the off season which I think has started for them, right?

      • Fire Fletcher, Fire Vignealt, Therien and Yeo….

    • It sure is fun watching your team play in the Stanley cup playoffs ain’t it Ron?

      • Watching Philly playoff games is almost as much fun as watching the Penguins get railed over again…. almost.

        Loved Lemieux….cant stand Crosby….

      • I can’t stand watching players that have my teams number either. I hear you.

    • Ron Jull…Agreed for the most part.

      -Sid is still one of the best players in the game and maybe the best complete 200 foot player in the game. (something McDavid, Mckinnon&Matthews will learn too)

      -Malkin is just a useless shelf of what he once was.
      -Letang if he doesn’t have Dumoulin is a mess…but he has been better this year.

      – Crosby
      – Kapenan
      – Rust
      – Guentzel
      – Mccann
      – Dumoulin
      – Marino
      – Letang (i guess)
      – Jarry ??

      off season move Zucker, Pettersson (so soft)

      We are fairly young Kappy 24, Marino 24, Mccann 24, Pierre Oliver Joseph 21, Guentzel 26, Blueger, Jarry 26 Rust 29

      we have youngsters in the pipeline Cam Lee, Joshua Manascalco, William Rielly, Sammy Poulin, a young Russian we just signed.

      two players I would go after that are young, have grit, talent, and sandpaper.

      Nikita Zadorov 25, 6ft 5 235, is Ulf Samuelson 2.0, but he can skate, has a great shot, and is a beast.

      move Pettersson, Matheson & Zadorov battle for 2nd 3rd left side.

      Sign center/wing Sam Bennett 25, he has been on fire since moved to Florida..

      both Bennet and Zadorov will both be available and are bot just 25…


      • b&g not sure how Zadorov and Bennett are both available , they are RFA’s….but I agree they would be good adds if you can pry them away.

  7. TO WSH: Reinhart & Risto & pick

    TO BUF: Kuznetsov & Jensen


    TO FLA: Skinner (if he waives)

    TO BUF: Bobrovsky (if he waives)


    TO CGY: Eichel & Okposo

    TO BUFF: Gaudreau & Monohan

    then hire JD as President of Hockey OPS
    then hire Gorton as AGM and VP of hockey ops
    then hire David Quinn

    • Lol. I can always count on your posts for a smile, ihc.
      Skinner for Bob is the best of the trio of proposals. I honestly think Fla would be the winner of that trade.
      The executive hirings are also bang on.

      • LOL . I am here to entertain 🙂

    • FLA hangs up the phone and blocks the number.
      Bob wouldn’t waive for Buffalo and it doesn’t solve the salary cap issue having Bob on the roster is presenting.

  8. Wouldn’t trade Reinhart alone for those two clowns that’s definitely not realistic.

    • How high over you head was that’?
      I guess that’s what to expect from someone who thinks a star player is looking forward to leave one of the world’s famous teams.

      I wish some of you can just for once back up your BS with facts. Until then, you keep it real.

      • Do you have a source for your claims, Ron?
        Can you supply the facts that Matthews didn’t sign a shorter term contract with a high salary? Is it written anywhere that he won’t sign with a preferred club of his choosing?
        5 bucks says he’s California/Western conference bound after this deal expires, provided he isn’t traded first.
        I’ve got another $5 says the Leafs don’t get passed the Habs in round one.
        I may lose $10 here, but another $5 says I won’t.

      • Ok bud. I’m sure you’re right there. I guess when asked about his contract, his explanation wasn’t good enough for you, I mean it does not fall inline with your dumb and baseless statement. I’m not here to prove myself but point out BS and mind numbing stupidity when I see it.

      • Sure you are, Ron. Sure you are, and a fine job you’re doing. You insist everyone needs to provide you with facts whenever you disagree with others, yet provide none yourself. Talk about dumb and baseless? You take the cake on those. Fact!

    • Yeah, the Calgary/Buffalo deal isn’t ideal either. Lol. He always makes up for the quality with quantity though. Give credit where it’s due, Obe.

      You near the fires up North? If so, keep safe!

  9. Laine is likely 2 years away from signing a $1-$2 million “prove it” contract as a UFA. Until he gets a great center or on a team with a great powerplay, he’s going to struggle.

  10. Would love to see how Laine does with a center like Barkov, but that’s likely a pipedream because of the cap.

    • I really would love to see Laine play with Eichel

      60 + goal scorer and a 100 assist player

  11. Laine stands around and let’s others do all the heavy lifting . An 8 million dollar players needs to do more than that. There is a lot more to the game. Mathews has more points this year because he is playing more defence and a 200 foot game this year. Laine wants to only play the dots in

    Mike Bossy one of the purest goal scorers of all time. Where did he rank in compensation during his is era .

    • He actually does play hard and he does back check when he wants to, the issue is he needs to be surrounded by forward depth and have set ups on the PP. Laine is a great #3-#4 best forward on a team, not a #1, similar to say a Kessel. People who don’t watch the Jets fail to realized Wheeler’s pass quality was like Thornton-level for a few seasons and Laine was feasting off that on the PP.

  12. Remember when Eric Stall was available and I said to the Pens fans here that he was done? Be thankful that he went to the Habs.

    “Eric Staal has been on the opposite trajectory this season and hasn’t shaken off the Buffalo stink since coming to Montreal. Three points in 21 games, a team-worst 39 percent expected goals rate and he’s been outscored 11-2 at five-on-five.”

    Count your blessings Pens fans!!!

  13. No fires here we sure could use some rain it’s very dry but forecast shows a little moisture on the way. Prince Albert Saskatchewan has fire issues I hear. Toronto better not lose to Montreal or there will be a lot of people on suicide watch. Leafs -Oiler series would be fun to watch.

    • Heading up there June 5 Obe and SOP.
      Golf Elk Ridge & Waskesiu for a few days then on to Stanley Mission, get picked up and taken into a camp on the Churchill. About a 30 minute boat trip.
      31 straight years doing a golf & fish trip with the boys in Northern Sask.
      Happy place.

      • That sound absolutely fantastic, if not perfect.
        Good for you, Ray!