NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2021

by | May 7, 2021 | Rumors | 25 comments

Check out the latest on the Blue Jackets, Canucks, Hurricanes, and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski’s recent decision to change agents. He has a year remaining on his contract but changing agents suggests he wants to open contract discussions this summer.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would coincide with the contract talks expected this summer for Seth Jones, Werenski’s defense partner. Jones is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Werenski, meanwhile, will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll cost $7 million just to qualify his rights. The Jackets ownership will have to dig deep for the big bucks to keep their top-two defensemen in Columbus.

Portzline also believes Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen must evaluate his current centermen before going shopping for one via trade or free agency. Max Domi, Jack Roslovic, and Alexandre Texier struggled in that position this season. Portzline doesn’t see Kekalainen adding three centers this summer but wonders how many the GM feels he needs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Portzline pointed out, Kekalainen might be lucky to pry away a prominent center from another team. I expect he’ll try to add one experienced center and hope for improvement from Domi, Roslovic and Texier next season, perhaps with a new coach behind the bench if John Tortorella doesn’t return.

TSN’s Darren Dreger believes Kekalainen will try his best to bring in a top-line center for winger Patrik Laine next season. That would be a costly undertaking during the best of seasons. It could prove more difficult under a flattened salary cap.

Boston’s David Krejci and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are the best centers in this summer’s UFA market. At 35, Krejci is at the tail end of his career and best suited for second-line duty. Nugent-Hopkins is a versatile two-way forward but I don’t see him as a first-line center.

Cap Friendly shows the Jackets have $56.5 million invested in 16 players for 2021-22. Kekalainen could target a cap-strapped club trying to shed salary. However, re-signing Laine (an RFA with arbitration rights this summer) will bite deeply into that cap space, perhaps as much as $8 million. It’ll take $7.5 million to qualify his right.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks haven’t put a new offer on the table for head coach Travis Green. He wants to stay and the Canucks want to keep him. Green is earning $1 million per season, which is in the lower third among NHL head coaches. LeBrun speculates it could take around $2.5 million to get it done.

Darren Dreger reports the Carolina Hurricanes hope to get head coach Rod Brind’Amour under contract before the playoffs begin. Management seems confident it will get a deal done soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brind’Amour has turned the Hurricanes into a Stanley Cup contender in just three seasons. They’re on the verge of winning their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy.

Dreger also reports Arizona Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet could be moving on at the end of this season. His sources indicated Tocchet is more likely to test the open market this summer.

AFTONBLADET: Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson could return to HV71 Jonkoping of the Swedish Hockey League after 14 NHL seasons. Hjalmarsson, 33, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He spent three seasons with HV71 before starting his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007-08.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report doesn’t rule out Hjalmarsson staying in the NHL if he gets an offer he can’t resist or if the tax situation makes it difficult for him to play in Sweden this autumn.


  1. Boone Jenner and Liam Foudy for Monahan .

    • Not gonna happen

    • I like that

  2. Laine will be real interesting. Had a down offensive year. Not an asset on the defensive side either. In a tight salary cap, do you want an inconsistent, defensively challenged winger eating up about 10% of your cap? Especially if that salary cap cannot be used to get a top line center to feed him the puck? But then again you can’t not sign him based on what you gave up for him. Glad I don’t have to make that decision.

  3. If the Capitals decide to trade Kuznetsov, Columbus May be a good fit. Krejci actually had a pretty decent season. May not be a bad short term fit. I expect Nugent-Hopkins will re-sign in Edmonton.

  4. Krejci is best suited for 4th line duty … was always overrated and is now washed up ..

    Columbus is a mess, keep playing Domi at C and keep getting the same results … insanity

    • Hahaha…in 49 games this year Krejci has 40 points (.82 ppg), is a +14 and is winning almost 55% of faceoffs…

      “The more informed you are, the less arrogant and aggressive you are” – Nelson Mandela

      • Nice one on that quote. Poor delusional ed.

  5. Columbus MUST sign Laine no matter what they gave up (or didn’t give up) to obtain him. Anyone think he will flourish next season without the lowly tort breathing down his neck?

    Anyone interested in an article showing the salary for all NHL bench bosses? I think that would be a most popular topic!

    • Who’s going to set Laine up? On the Jets, Laine only had to be the third or fourth best forward any given night. On BJs he needs to be #1, night in and night out -I don’t see it. I loved the guy when he played for the Jets, but at this point he’s just defeated. Crazy that 1-2 in a draft that #1 can be 10X the player than #2 (happened with Crosby, McKinnon, and a few others too though).

      • To be fair, Laine has never had a line mate the caliber of Marner to feed him the puck like Matthews has this season. Not saying that Laine would be doing what Matthews is doing this season, but he would be doing a lot better. Marner is the type of player who makes others around him better.

      • Hi Brock

        I’m with KevJam on this

        Laine paired with a set up man…. would be a huge changer…. huge

        Imagine Mac K feeding him passes nightly

        McD & PL….. just say good night…. wow

        Handsome Jack and PL …. that certainly should work …. which one flips teams???

        Sid & PL….. that’s a bucket o’goals

        Kane/Laine 👍👍

        Marner/Laine 👍👍

        Breadman/Liane 👍👍

      • Guys you’re making my point for me. Laine will be a shadow of Matthews without an elite set-up man. He was lights out at times with Wheeler, very underrated passer, feeding him on the powerplay.

    • Looking at the 2016 NHL draft again. When considering this season and what the players earn, wonder what the order would be?
      Puljujarvi isn’t looking so bad at #4 anymore although still too high.
      Matthews, Segachev, McAvoy for the top 3?

      • Good question. I’d say Matthews, MacEvoy, Tkachuk

      • Filipip Helt,

        Joachim Blichfeld,

        Nicolas Krakken Christensen

  6. Re ‘Nucks and Green…”LeBrun speculates it could take around $2.5 million to get it done.”

    If Green gets $2.5 M…. what does Waddell have to offer Rod the Bod just to keep him?… Francis will be bidding on RTB

    • John Davidson, Jeff Gorton and Rod Brind a mour to Buffalo.

      • Im on the fence about Gorton, the other two are interesting

        About Columbus, maybe Zibanejad is available? he will ufa next year and they may want a tougher 1st line center with a new GM

        Hertl in SJ maybe is a fit

        But if I were Columbus I would ask Yzerman what the price is for Larkin, he will be 25 this summer and 29-30 before they are any good

      • I would also consider Miller in Vancouver, he plays wing but also center and since Vancouver will need at least 3 more years to rebuild he might be available

      • Kent. I am a little more optimistic about my Wings than you….Larkin will be 27/28 before the Wings are competitive again. But, it makes no difference….winning teams need guys in their late twenties with talent and experience to win. That is exactly what the Wings didn’t have when Yzerman took the helm. We had a few Young guys with talent, but the experienced guys were 30+ and not the most talented. And I think the Wings will get closer to the top of the hill before Columbus anyway.

    • Pengy,

      I can only assume Green hasnt been resigned because the Owner (Aqualini) has already decided to fire Benning at the end of the season (7 years into his 5 year rebuild but needs just a couple of more seasons for the Canucks to compete for a Cup) and wants to allow the new GM to pick his own coaching staff.

      Difficult to judge Greens coaching ability given the lack of talent and depth Benning has supplied him with. Pettersson, Boeser, Horvat, Demko, Miller and Hughes (though Hughes couldnt check a hat) are good building blocks the rest of the roster is a mess. Virtanen, Sutter, Beagle, Roussel, Myers, Edler are all vastly overpaid and that falls on Benning, not Green.

      I would guess Green doesnt return but will likely get another shot at an NHL gig (Columbus?).

      • Good points Ron

        Torts out Green in…. Jarmo and all of Metro Columbus wet their pants

        Jarmo will be able to keep some UFAs

  7. 🤬💩🤬💩🤬💩

    Pens need a victory tomorrow to secure home ice in first round…. their home ice record this year is 0.815

    But… Jarry and DeSmith out… starter will be Legace…17 total NHL games… 3.92 GAA and 867 Save %

    To add insult to injury (sore excuse the pun)…@ today’s practice… they had Ruhweedel pairing with Ceci (Matheson is injured but Friedman has been taking his place)

    Sully… WTF ??? Ruhweedel in for Friedman when you have a career 868 goalie in…. 💩🤬💩🤬💩🤬😡😡😡

    • Let me just add…

      1) Friedman is NOT injured… and practised

      2) Riikola is a leftie (Ruhweedel a rightie would be playing LHD) also not injured, also practised

      3) Both Friedman and Riikola far far superior (to Ruhweedel) D-Men; younger, smarter, faster

      Sully is just lowering chances of winning tomorrow (which would secure home ice in first round) 🤬💩😡🤬💩😡