NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2021

by | May 6, 2021 | Rumors | 51 comments

What next for the Rangers following yesterday’s front-office purge? Could Rasmus Sandin’s emergence on the Leafs’ blueline lead to a Morgan Rielly trade? Which Sharks forwards could end up on this summer’s trade block? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker believes the New York Rangers replacing team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton yesterday with Chris Drury indicates ownership wants the current roster reconstruction wrapped up quickly. Drury will be expected to turn the Rangers into a Stanley Cup contender as soon as possible. Reaching the playoffs was a goal this season but will become a requirement in 2021-22.

New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Rangers GM Glen Sather will be working with Drury in a consulting role. Sather was well known for his wheeling and dealing during his long management career. He would prove useful if ownership pressures Drury to explore this summer’s trade and free-agent markets to accelerate the rebuild.

The incident earlier this week with Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson showed a glaring need for more grit in the New York Rangers’ lineup. The club is expected to address its lack of experienced and heavy skaters in the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have considerable depth in young players and prospects to use as trade bait to address that need. Cap Friendly indicates they have $55.6 million invested in 17 players, giving Drury sufficient cap space to target teams looking to shed salary this summer or to pursue unrestricted free agents.

Walker also reported former Rangers captain Mark Messier yesterday told ESPN NY radio he’s ready to help the club any way he can. He believes “One thousand percent” he could coach despite having no prior experience.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I admire Messier’s confidence. However, the Rangers will need an experienced, respected bench boss if they replace David Quinn as head coach. Messier doesn’t tick that box.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran recently suggested the emergence of Rasmus Sandin on the Maple Leafs’ blueline could make things a little uncomfortable for Morgan Rielly. If the club develops faith in Sandin, trading Rielly and his $5 million cap hit for next season to free up money to re-sign Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen could become an option.

McGran feels Rielly could fetch a return comparable to the first-round pick and prospect the Leafs got for shipping Kaspari Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, the blueliner would be safe if Andersen isn’t re-signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGran’s just spitballing here. I don’t think Rielly’s got anything to worry about. I’ll be very surprised if the Leafs bring back Andersen. They’ll likely stick with Jack Campbell as their starter and seek a reliable, affordable backup for him in the offseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz suggests San Jose Sharks forwards Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc could become expendable after being pushed out of the top-six at times in recent weeks. He speculates one or both could be moved out this summer, perhaps in pursuit of an effective third-line center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier’s got a $6 million annual salary-cap hit through 2022-23 while Labanc’s is $4725 million annually through 2023-24. Those contracts could prove tough to move with the salary cap staying around $81.5 million next season. It’s not impossible to move them but it could be more of a dollar-in, dollar-out scenario or perhaps the Sharks will have to retain some salary in the deals.


  1. I don’t think the Rangers should fire Quinn. I think he’s the perfect coach for a young team. But I think they will fire him because of Dolan’s impatience. Messier as coach would be nuts. He’s 60 years old and has never even been an assistant coach at any level of hockey. And no, I don’t count the Spengler Cup.

    • A college coach turned pro has never been successful in the NHL. Ever. I think Quinn is not the right guy. He benches players with such regularity that is now falling on deaf ears. They probably enjoy the rest at this point.

      There has also been some chatter that he has lost the room. Specifically with Zibanejad, Strome , Kreider etc.

      This problem if true needs to go away as quickly as possible with Zibanejad going into a contract ufa year.

      Quinn needs to go. Messier has basically begged this organization for a leadership role for a while now. I seriously doubt he’ll be the next Ranger coach. Maybe some sort of assistant gm, Wolfpack assistant coach etc. but doubtful he lands the coaching gig.

      My guess is Quinn is fired at the end of the season.

  2. So Toronto’s been trying to improve their D for years, and now that they’ve got a good young D, they’re going to trade their best one?

    Uh huh. Sure.

    “However, the Rangers will need an experienced, respected bench boss if they replace David Quinn as head coach.”

    Why? A rookie coach couldn’t possibly be effective?

    • Hello Garth,
      “Why? A rookie coach couldn’t possibly be effective?” Not that you are wrong but that is not how Dolan operates. Big names, big contracts and past their due date. I thought the Rangers were on the right track, but needed some changes. This is a little off the rails and I foresee the Rangers of tthe Sather era returning – good team, at the cap, but not good enough for the cup.

      • This team as constructed is highly skilled, but young.

        I think the Sather era was really not as bad as people make it. But lacked the type of high skilled players and homegrown talent they currently have. I believe there is a middle ground here.

      • That is my fear, redmonsters. I bet they could get Lucic! Big names and big, stupid contracts. This team doesn’t need much to make a good run, a few players and a little time. It does need more grit. More than Smith and Lindgren. It is going to be an interesting summer.

  3. I think the play offs will reveal that the Leafs are not yet there. They will once again disappoint Leafs fans. But they are better this year than they were last. They are miles away from Vegas, Tampa, Colorado, and a couple of others.

    I mention this in the context of Rielly as he is the type of player winning teams trade while they can. Same with Nylander. If the Leafs disappoint these are the two I let go.

    The team needs grit, dominant D man and better play off goal tending.

    Just the ideas of a Leaf fan who spent many a spring …”If onlying” with fellow Leaf fans over a beer.

    • I Agree OBD. I’m a Leafs fan nut I don’t think they are cup contenders yet.

      Rielly used to be the Leafs best d-man nut has not shown it this year. His points are down, which is somewhat concerning, but what is more concerning is the increase in mental mistakes he seems to be making.

      I agree Rielly & Nylander would be pieces to move, but for whom in return, that’s the question.

    • OBD I don’t disagree that the Leafs need a dominant D man, the problem is there are none available, or available within reason. Until that happens, Reilly should stay where he is and I would say they need to work on an extension with him at or around the 6M mark.
      If I am picking out of who to keep, Reilly or Andersen, its not even close.

    • Old Blue Dog, when you say “if the Leafs disappoint” that raises an interesting conundrum: what will be considered a disappointment to some among the fan base (e.g. those who remain adamant that they believe they are good enough to win the cup) and others with more pragmatic or philosophical expectations (e.g., win the 1st and 2nd rounds in the North and then do the best they can in the ensuing match-ups without any great expectations).

      How would you view, say, the second example above if “all” they managed was to win the North? Or Ron? Or any other Leafs fan reading this?

      • For me George if the leafs finally show some heart and actually play there best game if they hit game 7. We’ve taken a better Boston team to game 7 and lost which is fine but it’s how we lost that annoys me. Same goes with Columbus las year. I know it’s a lot of young players and it takes time to realize that the Stanley cup is hard to win and if you’re not willing to give up your right nut for the win then you’ll lose. Whether the team is better or worse than you. The leafs have the talent to compete with every team in the league including Tampa, Vegas and Colorado it’s the will that’s been in question. If they lose to one of those teams but it shows that they played better then there best hockey then I can except that. If Montreal even comes close to beating us on the first round I’ll be seriously annoyed. We have 10 times the talent that team has and should be able to beat them with ease. I don’t need the cup this year although I’m hoping for it. I just want them to show heart, determination and growth.

      • That’s the way I’d look at it too Roger. I watched the game last night and, to me, that was a “message” to the Habs. The Leafs could have just gone through the motions with their position already solidified … but they didn’t. And good for them. Solid team effort.

  4. Messier just being the cheap shot spot picker he was when he played …

    Drury should hang onto Quinn and bring in some grit and sandpaper … but the Rangers will only go as far as their young goalies take them ..

    • Sorry, but Messier was no spot picker in his playing career. In his prime he would have given Reeves and Lucic a run for their money in a hockey scrap.

      The Rangers definitely need some grit, however that Shesterkin kid looks like the real deal. Ever since Lundqvist the Rangers seem to have been able to find some strong goaltenders. In the recent past they have brought in Talbot and Raanta. Now they seem to have found another in Shesterkin.

      • Kevjam,
        Messier never missed a chance to cheap shot a smaller player.

        But when the going got tough, well, go on YouTube, why don’t you, and watch video of the big hero up against Larry Robinson in the 1981 playoffs?

        Of course Robinson was the guy who sorted out Dave Schultz = wet undies for a bully like Messier.

        and, fyi, Robinson is what a really tough guy looks like.


      • Ludicrous statement about Messier. Very dirty player. Total spot picker. Talented offensively nonetheless. Worthy of the hall of fame.
        Lucic and Reaves would have killed him on his very best day.
        Robinson would have destroyed em all.

      • Ever since Lundqvist?

        So like 6 months ago?

      • You guys talk about Schultz like he was some kind of heavy weight fighter more like a welterweight. Played with and against Mark in the K of C league in Edmonton he got pushed around all the time when we were kids. As far as Robinson goes he wouldn`t even come close to cement head when they played. A guy like Dave would simply destroy Robinson

      • Semenko and Robinson would have been a tilt worth watching.

      • Youtube Messier fights LOL
        How many of those fights were before the Oilers years? What about the fights back in the early 80’s when he fought Marty McSorley multiple times, Bobby Gould, Randy Hillier, Scott Arniel, and Joel Otto.
        Youtube for Mark Messier fights LOL. Hey here’s an idea! Lets search for Dave Semenko fights on YouTube! LOL. You probably will be able to find a hand full of them, but that’s about it.

    • Agree 100%. They need to hang onto Quinn and get some grit and sandpaper. Even if they bring a few guys in, the team will still be 80% young players who need a coach like Quinn. More than half the players on the roster still don’t have a full 82 game season on their resume. I am sure that there will be many grit and sandpaper players available in the off-season. I hope they don’t go back to giving out expensive contracts to washed up star players. This team is going to dominate within the next few years if they continue the re-build properly. Firing Davidson and Groton was a mistake in my opinion but no one listens to me anyway………..

  5. Not blaming Buchnevich for the cross check to the head area of Mantha. My thought process would be it only going to cost me 5k . Wilson leaving with an upper body is a joke. I think it was the best though because it wasn’t and isn’t over.
    Dolan new nickname Dolt On

  6. The Buchnevich cross check ( for which he might get a fine/suspension) is partially on the DOPS , partially on the player and mainly on the refs.

    Mantha speared, slashed, cross checked on the same shift and the refs ignored it.

    How is that possible? Mantha pushed and kept pushing till he got a reaction.

  7. Remember when the Flyers tried to expedite their rebuild? How did that work out?

  8. I’m no Dolan fan, but I think his response was watching his 11+ million dollar player abused and Gorton and Davidson’s lack of response. And also failure to add some grit to this team.

    As I pointed out yesterday, Gorton has had some serious blunders in his time in NY.

    One “oh crap” takes away a thousand “ata boys”. Gorton has had a few “oh crap” moments.

  9. So Drury just had a media availability where he stated that making playoffs was never a mandate this year. The fact that Dolan axed GM and Prez before end of season, and not Quinn, makes me think he’s not going anywhere. The narrative that Quinn can’t coach in nhl because college coaches never make it? Let’s remember he’s had assistant coaching experience in NHL. And now 2 years as head coach were team has played better each year. As far as adding “sandpaper”, their 3 biggest players are out with injuries. They’ve added size and toughness in draft. Baron, Schneider, Cuylle. They have tough guy (Geertson) in AHL who could become a 4th liner. 1st order of business is addressing the Eichel thing. S**t or get off pot. Make a deal and address what’s left of roster after. They’re heading in right direction. Any other division, they’d probably be in playoffs. They’ve dealt with Zib post covid brain fog, Panarin’s leave of absence, the DeAngelo debacle ( which I think could’ve been another factor in Dolans dropping ax) and other players assorted injuries.

  10. Quinn is not the coach for the Rangers. Team performance is inconsistent. The balance is not right.

    Kakko and Laf fell into the Rangers lap. Some of the other recent draft picks are the looking good too.

    Add a coach, some experienced depth grinders and a 2C or 1C. Strome or Chytil are not shutting down other team’s top pivots. As much of a fan of Zib as I am could be be a perimeter player for the rest of his career with streaks and injuries?

    I see the arrival of Eichel who I don’t know if will make or ruin the room. Rangers should of grabbed Dubois when he was dangled

  11. The Rangers have been creampuffs as far back as I can remember. I remember Dave Schultz turning Dale Rolfes face into mush and not a single Ranger doing a damn thing about it. Its on youtube, check it out. Im not a fan of dirty hockey but I do think a team needs a “deterrant” on their roster provided they can actually play.

    No way Wilson gets away with his antics against Gretzkys Oilers (Semenko, McSorely or Dave Brown), Bossys Islanders (Gillies, Howatt), Lafleurs Canadiens (Robinson, Nilan), Clarkes Flyers (Schultz, Dupont, Saleski etc)

    No fear of reprisal makes even the biggest coward courageous.

    • Dave Brown crosschecking Sandstrom right in the face and the Ranger marshmellows doing nothing about it except cry and whine … 15 games for Brownie on that one if my memorys correct.

      • I remember Darius Kasparitis laying Lindros out in the middle of the ice, smiling and high fiving his teammates while the entire Flyers bench looked on and did nothing.

        One of the most disgusting things I’ve ever witnessed in all of pro sports.

        Not sure why you’re glorifying Wilson, and crucifying NY , calling them whiners for questioning the lack of discipline handed down.

        It’s just flat out in bad taste. Regardless of who you cheer for.

      • Come to think of it, nobody raised a hand to Stevens when he head hunted Lindros either. I think the ref got more hands on Stevens after that hit than anyone in Philly was willing to do.

        Both of these incidents are on YouTube as well.

      • Mr Obvious….

        Certainly not glamorizing Wilson in any way. The exact opposite actually.

        Watch the video, Wison punches the prone Ranger between the shoulder blades, with his gloves on. Strome jumps on Wilson, delivers a punch before getting tossed aside. Then Panarin jumps Wilson, from behind. The moment he does that he becomes a willing combatant. The fact he got ragdolled is a direct result of his own actions. If he stays out of the scrum he doesnt get injured end of story.

        As Ive noted previously, there is no chance Wilson pulls any of his long list of stunts if the NHL hadnt basically outlawed the “enforcer” role.

        Lack of fear of reprisal can make a savage of even the biggest coward, and Wilsons a coward.

      • While I agree Panarin tried to intervene, as he should have, Wilson’s actions were still pretty horrible.

        It wouldn’t have mattered if Panarin was the 1st in or 10th. Panarin was protecting Buchnevich. If Wilson punched him in the face, no argument here. But to try and slam his head backwards by pulling him by the hair is crossing a line. That’s not defending yourself, that’s intent to end a career.

      • t was a long time ago, but I remember that later in that season (’87-88) a much smaller, but tough as nails defenseman Larry Melnyk went after Brown and actually won the fight big time…Maybe Brown didn’t expect it, but it happened..That got a big standing ovation at MSG..

      • Ron Jull. What video are you watching? Wilson clearly was punching Buchnevich in head. Strome , who still had his stick in left hand, tried to pull Wilson off with his right hand. NEVER threw a punch. He was then tackled from behind by another Caps player. Wilson then got up and went after Strome. As he began throwing punches on Strome, he was bear hugged by Panarin. Instead of trying to blame Rangers players for an unjustified attack by deranged Wilson, watch video. Neither Strome or Panarin did anything but what you’d expect any teammate do. If nobody responded, Wilson would’ve continued punching Buchnevich. Most Ranger fans recall Beukaboom having his career ended by a sucker punch.

  12. If Messier was ever serious about his intentions he’d have put in the time and effort as an Assistant Coach or Assistant GM. He only ever seems to throw his hat in when the big jobs come up, despite no experience. Totally ridiculous.

    • Just like when Messier and Keenan ruined the Canucks with their ego’s.

      • Messier was complete garbage in Vancouver.

  13. Rangers fined 250k….. biggest whiners in the NHL not residing in Pittsburgh.

    too funny.

    • For money like that, Jimmy Dolan could have slammed 50 heads onto the ice.

  14. The Rangers could use a vg 3rd or 2nd line center that can produce but also shut down oppossing line, how about Eriksson Ek from minny?

    As far as Quinn, I dont know but I think he should be given the next season as well unless they start really bad.

    Toronto should keep Reilly and let Andersen go. Andersen is fine but you either pay 6-7 for a top goalie or 3-4 for a good one and right now Andersen is overpaid

  15. Rangers fined $250 K and Bettman says

    “ . “It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the department of player safety.”

    Not only is it fair; it’s warranted; truthful and necessary…. $250 K for speaking the truth and nothing but the truth

    This egregious fine by Bettman further undermines the situation….. leaving Parros to believe he was right (ABSOLUTELY NO WAY HE WAS)…. but worse…. Meathead Wilson will take this as a sign of full support and all systems go from the NHL (via Bettman)

    The NHL is already being sued for brain injury compensation ….. they have tried desperately to claim no connection

    When they end up getting sued for a career ending (could be life ending) Wilson infliction…. what has happened over the last 3 days will be Plaintiff’s exhibits A through F

    Gary…… failure on this move…. fine yourself $250 K

    George…. failure all year… you deserve firing

    Meathead…. you need to be suspended for the rest the f 20/21 (including playoffs)

    • Pengy, as a business owner you knew exactly what Bettman was going to say and did exactly what he had to do.

      Now what he say behind close doors maybe a totally different .

      • Hi Caper

        I knew that Bettman was going to fine….as he should…. protect the integrity of the NHL… the fine is not in question… it’s the amount

        The $250 K was a complete boneheaded move

        $100 K gets the point across …. $250 K infers full support of Parros and therefore in effect… Wilson’s actions…. the absolute worst message to sent

        Servelli basically said the same thing today

        Two people have gained huge from this entire thing…. Parros and Wilson…. the very two who caused this

        Bettman better have made a private call to Parros and made it abundantly clear that Wilson gets no other reprieves … full tilt super suspension for any infraction

    • I dont remember you screaming for a suspension when Cosby two handed slashed Marc Methot or when he speared the Sabre in the gonads. Not even a 2 minute minor called when both, especially the spear should have resulted in a suspension for Cindy.

      Different sets of rules for different players is part of the NHLs problem.

      • Hi Ron

        Certainly didn’t scream for one but if you remember my post on it… I said that he should get a game or two for the spear

        Re the slash… the penalty was missed as both refs were no looking right at it…. should have been a penalty .. as I said at the time… and if penalty… with injury… can be a 5…no suspension though…. those chops by players happen 5-10 times each and every NHL game … some caught…. extremely rare for that injury (cut… broken nail… while wearing a glove)

        Consistency …. 1 minute into game 1 of season through triple OT game 7 in SCF …. is what is needed… it doesn’t happen

  16. Wilson should have gotten match penalties for both attempts to injure.

    Rule 21.1- A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.

    21.2- (skipping a lot)- In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled
    on the issue.

    DOPS had the discretion and authority to keep Wilson out of last nights game.

    Parros is the scapegoat here as the authority rests with Bettman and Colin Campbell.

    Laviolette gets nothing for justifying Wilson’s actions, he’s a repeat offender at enabling him.

  17. Buchnevich gets one game. You literally can’t make this stuff up!

  18. Like it or not, Wilson is an impact player and not a hack as a player. Just a couple of screws loose. Maybe he has issues . Kasian to a lesser degree and Miller with Boston and the recently retired Andrew Shaw all the same stare- loco. There are others past present and certainly in the future. Unless you are going to take crazy out of the game

    No matter how flat the pancake there is always two sides. Dolan is probably thinking, millions of dollars in assets and no one is protecting them ? You’re fired…. and all that other stuff. Terrible timing

    Lucic waived his no trade for the expansion draft wink wink

  19. Loved your video George! To answer Bob about Schultz vs Robinson, here’s another video:

    And I loved how the Habs came back in the preseason the following year and Goldup, Chatraw, Shanahan (Sean) and a few others mopped the floor with Philly…truly one of the best beatdowns of all time!