NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2021

by | May 31, 2021 | Rumors | 33 comments

Will the Blue Jackets trade Seth Jones this summer? Could the Blues leave Vladimir Tarasenko unprotected in the expansion draft? Will the Canucks consider shopping Nate Schmidt? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports sources said the Columbus Blue Jackets are likely to trade Seth Jones this summer, perhaps by the NHL Draft in late July. The 26-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Jones informed the Jackets he intends to test the market.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

Portzline reports John Davidson, the Jackets president of hockey operations, declined to confirm Friedman’s report. However, Davidson indicated the club won’t take the same approach with Jones as they did two years ago with winger Artemi Panarin.

Panarin was due to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-19 season. The Jackets, however, opted to keep him throughout the season. Davidson said the club felt at that time felt they had a chance to make a run for the Stanley Cup. That’s not the case this time around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Jones changes his mind, it’s clear he feels his future isn’t with the Blue Jackets. That leaves them little option but to move him this summer, rather than have his free-agent status hover over the club throughout next season.

Jones will draw plenty of interest in this summer’s trade market. Portzline expects the return will be loaded with draft picks and prospects. Rather than a reload for next season, he feels the Jackets could be heading for a rebuild.

The Jackets have witnessed a steady departure of talent over the past three years. Fairly or not, it’s given the team and the city of Columbus a reputation as a place players want to avoid. It’s up to Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to change that culture.


STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas recently wondered what the St. Louis Blues will do with Vladimir Tarasenko in this summer’s expansion draft. Injuries hampered the 29-year-old winger over the last two seasons, hurting his offensive production. He has two years left on his contract worth an annual average value of $7.5 million.

Tarasenko’s recent injury history and offensive struggles generated speculation outside the organization over whether they’ll expose him in the expansion draft. If the Seattle Kraken claims him, the Blues could use the salary cap savings on re-signing other key players. However, there’s the risk would regain his high-scoring form in Seattle. If he’s exposed and not claimed, it could create a rift between the winger and Blues management.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leaving Tarasenko unprotected in the expansion draft would be a bold move. According to Thomas, however, GM Doug Armstrong’s comments on the subject suggest he’s not considering that tactic.

The preference is for Tarasenko to rest and prepare for next season. If he’s healthy in 2021-22 he should return to this 30-goal form.

Blues management still believes their championship window remains open. They stand a better chance of winning the Cup with a healthy Tarasenko in the lineup.


THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston suggested Nate Schmidt could become a trade candidate this summer. The 29-year-old defenseman struggled in his first season with the Vancouver Canucks. He noted there’s been trade speculation about Schmidt of late.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmidt’s contract could make him difficult to move this summer. He has four years remaining with an annual cap hit of $5.95 million, plus a 10-team no-trade list.

However, the Golden Knights were able to trade Schmidt to the Canucks last fall in a cost-cutting move. Perhaps another club would be interested in him. While his production was down this season with the Canucks, he had three straight 30-plus point seasons in Vegas.


  1. Should have just relocated Columbus to Seattle and we wouldn’t have to go through another unfair expansion … NHL is getting watered down just like baseball, too many teams, too many fringe players …

    • Columbus is doing just fine, why relocate? Seattle will have a great fan base as well. Flat cap is causing veteran players to accept below market value or be out of jobs. I’d say expansion is actually doing opposite of watering down league. Plenty of talent all over the world. More roster spots now.

    • Better options to relocate are the joke of a franchise in Arizona, the Panthers or Devils. None of them could draw flies into their arenas even if you left a truckload of cow flop at center ice.

      As far as I know the Jackets draw pretty decent crowds.

      • Is New Jersey having attendance problems? I thought they had strong fan base there.

    • Sorry Ed all due respect you are way off on this take…CBJ is not a team that requires relocation…there are multiple other teams that w/ far more financial exigency that could necessitate a relo

  2. Movement of players and avenues for GM’s are severely affected by the cap freeze yet there is continued mention of draft picks and prospects
    for established players.

    Most teams are too far up against the cap and need to unload contracts to make room for the Seth Jones types.

    Teams will hold on to picks and elite prospects at league minimum contracts for the next few years to build around.

    Interestingly, a byproduct will be some amazing hockey in a few years with teams loaded with young guns.

    We’re lucky to be on the cusp of a hockey renaissance.

    Hockey players are better than ever, bigger, faster, stronger, more skilled and will force changes to the game on account

    • Marner for Jones makes sooooo much sense for both teams

      • Wingers don’t generally pull 1D as a return…….even if the 1D in question has only 1 year remaining on his contract.
        Mitchell’s contract is an albatross. Plain and simple.

  3. Hi BnG

    Response to you from yesterday re Pens and protection list for Krakken

    Thanks for the Marino update… I had completely believed he was vulnerable

    So the decision for exposure (noting under no way should the protect Zucker; AND very easy to expose Carter as Krakken highly unlikely to pick him up…. he’d likely retire if they chose him )…. is protecting Blueger or Turbo….. I’d protect Turbo as I think Krakken would take him and his “energy” is a great catalyst for the Pens and hard to lose him; AND… Krakken may or may not pick up Blueger … but if they do… Carter 3C; Gaudreau 4C

    D…. protect Tanger and Dumo

    Decision…. if they believe Krakken would bite on Matheson (I don’t due to contract hit) then protect him expose Pettersson

    They’ll protect Jarry over DeSmith despite the brain fart OT move (note series loss NOT on Jarry….. even if he played his best… Sorokin and Isle’s blocked shots did enough to limit Pens goals enough to take series)

    If it were me …. I’d protect Turbo and Pettersson (bottom pairing yes… but don’t want to lose for nothing) ; and gamble that they don’t take Matheson (deterrent is Cap hit)

    So protecting Pettersson (gambling they don’t take Matheson) here are the exposed Pens
    Sceviour, Rodrigues, Gaudreau….UFAs… won’t be taken
    Janko… RFA… unlikely taken
    Laffy, AA, Aberg, Miletic, Currie…unlikely taken
    Carter exposed… but one year left… likely to retire if taken… so unlikely taken
    Zucker…. yes please… highly unlikely taken

    Threat of loss:
    ZAR… sad to lose; not cataclysmic
    Blueger … better than avg chance of being taken …. but Gaudreau then signed as 4C

    D…. assuming gamble on Matheson works…

    Ceci, Trottman, Czuczman, Weber.. UFAs… won’t be chosen
    Ruhweedel… EVERYBODY wishes he’d be taken…Francis would literally be insane

    Threat of losing:
    Riikola; Friedman; Lindgren…. none cataclysmic losses

    Legacy is UFA so threat of loss is DeSmith

    So the realistic choices (with my suggested protection list) and thus potential losses by Pens to to Krakken is

    Zucker; Matheson, ZAR, Blueger; Riikola; Friedman; Lindgren; DeSmith

    My gut feeling is that Francis more likely to take Blueger over Matheson…. I’m hoping/praying that Ronny has a brain fart and picks Zucker… freeing up a very valuable $5.5 M in Cap space

    Re Pens and Hamilton or Jones …. Hamilton 100%…. he’s UFA… so cost is only cash and Cap…. Jones… Cap, Cash, buckets O’ prospects/picks

    I don’t think Pens win bidding war on either

    Best scenario for Pens…. Zucker picked up by Krakken…. there would need to be sweeteners (perhaps Laffy and Ruhweedel and a 4th; or Ruhweedel and ZAR); trade Pettersson (3rd? and B prospect ?)

    That’s $10 M + freed up in Cap, after PO-J replaces Pettersson; and Poulin and Legere have good shot at roster spots…. that $10 M + goes a long way (for improvement) in the flat cap era

    • How can you plead for someone to take chad then in the same post say he is a sweetener?

      Pens don’t need to sweeten anything. Unless Francis gambles on zucker petterson or matheson either tanev or bleuger or zar gets plucked. All survivable loses. I’d protect teddy over tanev though. He has ceiling of a good third center. Not always easy to find. Tanev might not be as valuable by the last couple years of contract

      • Hi Chrisms

        Shhhhh …. we’ll use “sweetner” when Ronny is listening

        Unless RF has been dutifully watching Pens for last couple of years…. he won’t know CR from Adam…. perhaps Hextall can pull the wool over RF’s eyes and tout CR as a “decent” (I just brought up some bile with that) depth Dman

        I like Blueger but I see his value at 4C and on the PK (replacement …. Gaudreau)

        I’m not convinced he is 3C and certainly won’t be next year…. Carter

        I don’t see Krakken jumping on ZAR…. 4th liner

        I’m hoping for Zucker (on Krakken) …. otherwise tradd with serious retention; but cede that it will likely be Blueger that RF takes

        What “sweetner” would you offer RF to take Zucker?

      • I don’t. He might take him anyway due to his history of being a decent middle 6. Might think he could thrive better in a different system. Compared to the other options pens have for Ronnie there is a chance he nabs zucker anyway.

  4. Re “ Jones will draw plenty of interest in this summer’s trade market”…. I would think 30 teams interested (exception being Avs whose future in young D core is already set)

    Jones on Leafs or Pens please 🙏🤞

    What is not to like re a gifted skater; great puck handler; great size; great hockey IQ; that can chew up high 20’s mins each and every game….. that spells bidding war

    Jarmo loses SJ…. time for complete rebuild…. do they also move Laine for a big return of futures?

    • I like the idea of the Bro pairing on the Oilers. Have Seth on the right with Caleb on the left. 😉

      • Yup1 Tell Seth 7 mil a year and we’ll sign your brother for 2 mil a year.

    • Pengy, I’d scratch Rangers off that list as well. Slim chance JD will deal with NY after getting canned. Besides, already have Trouba for 5 more years at 8M per (+nmc)with Fox eventually needing to get paid.

      • Noted and thanks Slick

        Jones will be a very hot commodity tho

    • Jones is a pipedream for Leafs fans but if there is a way to get it done then that would be unreal. A bonafide #1 guy is something the Leafs haven’t had in well over a decade.
      Getting him means no Reilly signing the year after so I imagine he would be part of the package going the other way.

      • Taz,
        It depends on what TML feel they need.

        Nylander, Sandin, Engvall with some retention to CBJ and Jones to TML

    • @Pengy..If we could somehow move letang to his home town Montreal and clear that money, shed the $4.4 million in UFAS, shed Zucker and Pettersson $9.5 million, we could make a solid run at Dougie Hamilton whose style fits the Penguins..

      With Letang moved he steps in to Letang’s spot..

      Article in PGH HOCKEY NOW Panthers sniffing around Pittsburgh waiting to see what’s up with Malkin.

      They want him and if Malkin waives his no movement clause Florida is interested…the two places I could see Malkin going are Florida fellow Russians, plus Hornqvist, and a good team. Or New York Malkin’s wife loves the big Apple she is a Russian celebrity…

      I think this is finally the season we see either Letang or Malkin moved…with Letang more likely just because of contract flexibility.

      New GM, New Presisdent of hockey operations it may finally happen…both only one year left on their deals… stay tuned


  5. I don’t get to see the Canucks too often, what is the story with Nate Schmidt, is he any good at that price?

    • Seemed like a bargain last year given how good he was in Vegas. Not great on the Canucks unfortunately.

    • Schmidt was decent, not great. If Im Vancouver and I look at the defence I currently have theres very little chance Id move Schmidt out.

    • IMO the issue with the Canucks defence is, besides Hughes and Schmidt, they are old and slow. Schmidt didn’t have nearly as strong partner on the Canucks as he did in Vegas. It’s hard to do what makes you effective when you’re worried about having to cover for your d-partner.

  6. They made the intention to test public to force the trade. I 100% think that if the right team with the right fit for him and contract were to come along he would agree to an extension. I posted yesterday, but if Ottawa wants to improve their defense and is looking for a guy who moves the needle, Jones is it… this trade based on Jones agreeing to an extension (7-8 million, 7-8yrs).

    To Columbus: Ottawa 1st, Sanderson, Jairve, Zaitzev
    To Ottawa: Seth Jones

    Columbus adds a very likely top 10 pick (based on lottery odds), a future defenseman with top 2 upside, top 4 floor, a prospect winger with top 6 scoring potential, and a steady replacement D which provides a bit if cap relief in Ottawa.

    Ottawa gets a RD who would be a beast alongside Chabot, plus they are already deep in prospective talent, so they can afford the move.

    Chabot- Jones
    Brannstrom – Zub

    Mete, Docker, Thomson, + others in the system still give Ottawa a fantastic depth on d!

    Benefits both clubs!

    • If Columbus gets that offer I think they should take it. The issue will be Jones contract, $7mil is out of the question and $8mil would be absolute minimum.
      If he hits the open market, I can see him fetching 9M+, its not often a young stud D-man hits the UFA. at 26 years of age you are getting the absolute best years for a defenseman

    • Jones would be an amazing get for Ottawa. However, I don’t see them doing this trade now. In two years, definitely something like this would be on the table.

      Plus, Ottawa could be really appealing to a guy like Jones next year as a UFA and Ottawa would have the cap space to take him on. Ottawa typically isn’t a destination for UFA’s, but they have the potential to be a powerhouse in the next 2-3 years. They could always buy out White for 1/3 next summer or buyout Murray (if he sucks again) if they need the cap space.

      IMO, if Ottawa was to trade for Jones (assuming the extension you mentioned), I think the key piece going to Columbus would not be Sanderson. Ottawa is stacked with forward prospects and could afford to trade a good young forward not named Tkachuk, Stutzle or Norris. Sanderson is by far their best defensive prospect and I think the secondary piece would come from that pipeline.

      IF Ottawa were to jumpstart the rebuild, my thoughts on a trade for Jones would be:

      To Ottawa: Jones, signs long term extension (6-8 years)

      To Columbus: 2021 or 2022 1st round pick (top 3 protected), Batherson, Zaitsev, one of Bernard-Docker/Brannstrom/Thomson


    • I posted at the same time as Taz. I agree that Jones will cost much more than $7M/year. Probably something like Pietrangelo got from Vegas ($8.5M=$9M/year).

    • That offer is interesting JJB and if CLB gets that, good for them.
      If CLB tries to negotiate a higher return if he signs an extension, then Jones has control of where he goes. Which in turn would lessen the return wouldn’t it?
      If he does, he may want a team further along than OTT. While the future sure looks bright at this stage, he may want stars signed longer term that have proven it for longer.
      Or he simply waits a year and picks wherever he wants without having his new team give up high end prospects/players that weaken the team. If I was a pending UFA in his situation in CLB, I test the market and commit to nobody I haven’t played for.
      OTT may look even more appealing in a year.
      Or whoever trades for him has a year to prove that they are where he should stay, plus the option for longer term.

      Not sure about the Bro’s playing together in EDM, but they can make a compelling case to sign him as a UFA or an extension if they make the move.
      They have guys like Bouchard, Broberg and Holloway in the pipeline if they do.

      • Jones isn’t comparable to Peitrangelo in what he has accomplished IMO. Is he a stud, yup. $8/million makes him a Top 10 paid D in the league. I am willing to pony up $8/million. But in a flat cap world, I’m having issues with paying him MORE than Chabot… who has also been in Norris talks, has had better seasons and is 3 years younger.

        Both are good, Jones is one of the best and should be paid like it for sure. I also don’t think Ottawa is as far out as being made to say. As soon as the veterans were taken off the ice and our core was allowed to play we were above a .500 club and if that team had played the whole season and we assume the win/ratio was close to the same, we compete for 2nd in the division this year.

        Big opportunity for Ottawa next year. Right now, they compete for the playoffs, might not make it, but in the discussion all season. With Jones, we probably make it.

        Then I think the following season is the beginning of the window, is starts to open. Jones pushes us up that road and if we go down it, quick cap numbers show that Ottawa can easily keep this team in tact for 5-7 years… the majority of Jones contract could be played in the window.

        Maybe I’m being optimistic. But that’s okay. I’m allowed to because I didn’t make a terrible trade proposal with worthless scraps at least haha

        Also, I do think Sanderson would be the center peice. He is arguably our second best prospect and stud defenseman are hard to come by.

  7. Fellas, Jones is not going to Ottawa.

    Seth is looking for Big City/Big Money/Big Exposure.
    If I’m Chicago, LA, Philly or Dallas, I’m calling Jarmo today.

    Most of you old folks might remember a movie called
    “Hello Life, Goodbye Columbus”.

    That about sums it up!

    • Never heard of that movie…

      would love him here in Los Angeles with the Kings.

      Or with my Pittsburgh Penguins..

      Poulin, a 1st round pick this year, and Jason Zucker..

  8. FYI…Portzline reported today that execs he spoke w/ this weekend specifically named LA, CHI, and MTL as teams that are initially leading contenders in the Jones sweepstakes. I can see LA and CHI as good fits, but can’t really see the fit in MTL as I don’t believe they would part with pieces that meet CBJs needs.