NHL Rumor Mill – May 28, 2021

by | May 28, 2021 | Rumors | 22 comments

Are offseason changes coming for the Predators? Has Evgeny Kuznetsov played his final game with the Capitals? Are the Senators interested in Flyers captain Claude Giroux? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan believes it’s time for the Nashville Predators to start incorporating more young players into their lineup. She also anticipates they’ll prioritize re-signing defenseman Mattias Ekholm if he seeks a long-term extension before his contract expires next summer.

Could the Nashville Predators attempt to trade Matt Duchene this summer? (NHL Images).

Free-agent goaltender Pekka Rinne won’t be back as Juuse Saros has taken over the starter’s job. Kaplan proposed trying to entice the Seattle Kraken into selecting Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene in this summer’s expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Rexrode believes the Predators must figure out where they are and how to get to the next level. Assuming long-time general manager David Poile isn’t asked to leave or doesn’t step down, he’ll have to figure out what to do with Johansen, Duchene and pending free agent Mikael Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Attempting to unload overpaid underachievers Johansen and Duchene won’t be easy. Both have several seasons remaining on their respective contracts with each carrying an $8 million annual average value. They lack no-trade protection but those contracts will be tough to move with the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million next season.

Poile will have to get creative to find a way to move one or both. Getting the Kraken to select one of them will mean offering up a sweetener in the form of a draft pick, a top prospect or a good young player. That still might not be enough to get it done. Maybe Poile finds a club will to be a third-party broker by taking on part of the cap hit in return for a pick or prospect.


THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir reported Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan addressed the recent trade rumors about Evgeny Kuznetsov during his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday. “We’re always open to trading people if it makes sense,” he said. “If it’s going to make our team better, we’re open to it. “

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacLellan also said they need Kuznetsov to play at his highest ability. If that wasn’t possible, they wouldn’t be a good team and they’ll have to make some other decisions.

The Capitals GM could entertain trade offers for Kuznetsov this summer. Then again, this could be his public way of reminding the center that his tenure in Washington is in jeopardy unless he cleans up his act on and off the ice.

Kuznetsov’s play has declined over the last couple of years. He received a three-game suspension by the league in 2019 for “inappropriate conduct” less than a month following a four-year ban from international competition following a positive test for cocaine. He tested positive twice this year for COVID-19 and was benched for one game earlier this month after he and goalie Ilya Samsonov missed a team function.

Those factors could impede MacLellan’s efforts to trade Kuznetsov. So could his $7.8 million annual average value over the remaining four years of his contract and his 15-team no-trade clause.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s speculation among Senators followers over Claude Giroux’s future with the Philadelphia Flyers. He becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Garrioch considers it doubtful he’ll be traded because of his no-move clause and his desire to stay in Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That speculation linking Giroux to the Senators wasn’t generated by media sources. The Athletic’s Ian Mendes recently observed the “Giroux-to-Ottawa” talk that appeared among Senators fans on social media in recent weeks. The Flyers captain spends his offseasons in the Ottawa area but Mendes doubted that would be a factor in his future plans. If Giroux and the Flyers part company, the 33-year-old center will likely want to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Garrioch believes there are other possibilities in the trade and free-agent markets if the Senators decide to bring in an experienced center. His list included Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames, Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche, and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

He also mentioned Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel but doesn’t believe that move makes much sense for the Senators. He also dismissed Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov because of his hefty contract.


  1. Sean Monahan, finally a C connected to Ottawa that I could get behind. I’d still be fine going with Norris/Pinto, but I’d also be okay with Monahan. Contract isn’t too bad, wins faceoffs, offensively minded, but not a terrible 200ft game. Depending on the assets Ottawa would be giving up, I’d say it would be worth a look. I’m still a pass on Kunestov & Nuge!

    I personally would also consider Kadri. Like I said the other day, he is a legit #2C and Norris – Kadri – White – Pinto in some combination would make for some great depth as well.

    So depending on what they have to give up, I’m okay with Monahan/Kadri! If it’s too much (both have deflated value), then stick to signing some good depth guys and let the kids play.

    • The only thing that would worry me about Monahan is his durability. It seems at near the end of most seasons his play declines and then you find out that he has an injury. That also seems to be the excuse for his decline in his performance in the playoffs.
      Why are you a pass on Nuge? I know he isn’t a first line centre, but he does make a good 2nd line centre? That being said, I hope the Oilers can get him resigned.

      • I’m not a fan of Nuge 200ft game and he is just garbage in the Face-off circle, like really bad. He is great offensively no doubt and is a good center. But for what he will cost in salary I just don’t think he fits the team play style. Call it a hunch.

      • Okay, that’s fair.
        IMO Nuge has a better 200ft game than Monaha. Nuge has also been on one of the best penalty killing unites in the NHL the last 2 seasons. Monahan was used very little on killing penalties. Offensively they are pretty much equal.
        I do agree that Nuge isn’t good at faceoffs.

      • I can admit to perhaps undervaluing Nuge & overvaluing Monahan defensively, I don’t watch as many of their games as I’d like.

        But where I do like Monahan better. Two years younger, offensively he does edge out Nuge points per game over career and he is a far better goalscorer than Nuge. Monahan would likely play alongside Stueztle, who is a fantastic set up man and Monahan is more likely, by a not small margin to bury those opportunities. Ottawa needs more goals from their forwards next year.

        Monahan provides you a greater opportunity for that. He has also missed less time than Nuge. So while I can see them being equivalent in some ways, if Ottawa can move White+ in a deal for Monahan and still go and sign a depth center who wins face offs and excels on the PK, I think that is an overall better fit for the Franchise.

        I also think Monahan knowing the city playing his junior days here, makes him the more likely to say yes and be a leader and part of this re-emergence in Ottawa.

      • How many times has Nuge scored 30 KevJam? Monahan played most of the season with a hip injury and has already had surgery. ( supposed to be ready for the start of next season)You are right that he has had some injury woes the last couple of yrs and imo he should have gone out of the lineup to heal. But he played through it. This is the 1st year in his career to not score 22 goals or more and his 200ft game is way better than it used to be.

    • If Monahan was available for trade, I’m guessing Rangers would be interested as well. He has a 10 team no trade list so he has some control where he goes. Ottawa has better young C’s that could keep Monahan out of top 6 in future.

    • I am with you on Monahan to Ottawa , he played 3 years for the 67’s so he is familiar with the city.
      I am more in line with Monahan-Norris- Pinto – Paul as the centers. I could see White + going the other way as part of a deal for Monahan. I think any of RNH, Monahan , Kadri would be good additions. Depending on asking or signing price.

      • It’s a non-starter for me if Pinto/Norris are asked to be a replacement. To me it is White, who sure his offense has taken a step back, but he is an excellent 200ft forward and great on the PK.

        I’m not sure that fits with Colorado for Kadri, as the salaries are basically a wash and Colorado needs to find cap space. So if we are talking Colorado, perhaps they take a shot on Logan Brown (as a replacement center) and then a draft pick or close to NHL ready prospect (Abromov) or some combination there of. (As they are currently selling low on Kadri).

        CGY… what direction will they take? Shake up or rebuild? If rebuild, there is more if a fit for us. If Shake up then maybe the deal needs to expand to be Monahan & a salary dump for White, Dadonov, & what ever else needs to happen to pull it together.

        If a rebuild, maybe they look at White, Abromov, & a draft pick. Monahan also selling a bit low right now.

  2. Poile would need quite the diamond ring and bouquet of flowers to entice the Kraken to take either of those overpaid and underperforming centers.

  3. It doesn’t seem like you trade players anymore, you trade contracts.

    • That is a cold hard fact that has been evolving since the arrival of the cap – exacerbated now by the flat-cap.

      The true “hockey trade” is going the way of the do-do bird.

      • George– Not long ago, Spector talked about a rumor that had the Sens playing in Gatineau. Giroux played his major junior career with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Today’s rumor is that Giroux will be a Senator. Are these things interconnected?

      • I doubt that very much Francis S. That musing about building an arena in Gatineau came out of a rambling interview of Melnyk by Bob McCown and was Melnyk’s way of saying, if he didn’t get the land and municipal breaks he needed to build in Kanata (the downtown Flat area idea is dead thanks to the foot-dragging by the fuzzy-headed bureaucrats) he might look at the Gatineau region. I think that, once he examines the difference tax rates between Ontario and Quebec that that idea will die on the vine.

        All that aside, I also doubt very much that Giroux will be playing for the Senators any time soon.

  4. Do ya do Monahan & Tkachuk for Wilson and Kuznetsov?

    Then retool the D moving Schultz 4 mill And get a dependable backup goalie

    • No thanks, Monahan has his flaws but he is still better than Kuznetzov and I would much rahter have Tkachuk than Wilson even if I can see what he brings. As for Monahan I would be open to trade him for the right piece

    • I’d put that list in order of ranking with all things considered:

      So no, Calgary won’t do that

  5. How about a trade involving Kuznetsov and either Duchesne or Johansson from Nashville?

    • Johansson to the Sabres for Skinner

  6. No thanks to the K man. Not sure he has kicked his bad habits. Brutal year in all regards. Zero playoff points .
    At his price and cost to obtain not worth the risk.

    Monahan is my Flames pick to move on. Where and for what who knows

    • I think the direction the Flames take, shakeup & retool or mini rebuild will dictate the what and that will probably change the who. I think it is likely they are going to be looking for roster players and near NHL ready prospects as opposed to draft picks myself.

      Quite a few teams would be kicking the tires on Monahan (which will drive Kadri & Kunestov prices down).

      Will be very interesting to see what happens. Out if all the top 6 centers being knocked around, Monahan is the guy I’d like Ottawa to target as long as Norris/Pinto are not the replacement centers. A deal around Colin White+ picks & prospects. Or a bigger retool involve White, Dadnov (other peices) for Monahan + salaries roster player. I could get behind.

  7. So many comments around Monahan to Ottawa, and they all seem to involve Colin White plus as the return.

    Whether a rebuild or a re-tool, Colin White does not replace Monahan, who has an 82 point season and three 30 goal seasons under his belt.

    Norris and possibly Norris plus a pick or prospect would be the ask if I were Calgary’s GM. Colin White, Dadonov, etc just does not do it, quality over quantity folks!