NHL Rumor Mill – June 11, 2021
A look at what could be ahead for the Avalanche in the offseason, more Bruins speculation and the latest on Jack Eichel in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE AVALANCHE?
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski observes the Colorado Avalanche face some big free-agent decisions in the offseason. Captain Gabriel Landeskog, Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer, and winger Brandon Saad are among those slated to become unrestricted free agents. Defenseman Cale Makar, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent in line for a significant pay raise coming off his entry-level contract.
The Avs also risk losing a good defenseman to the Seattle Kraken in next month’s expansion draft. Even if sidelined Erik Johnson agrees to waive his no-movement clause, someone like Ryan Graves or Jacob MacDonald could be left exposed if they opt to protect three defensemen.
Head coach Jared Bednar could be under the microscope after failing to get the Avs past the second round. He has a year remaining on his contract and could return to finish that season.
THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla believes Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic needs to build a tougher roster and replace Bednar as head coach, citing the latter’s inability to make strategic roster adjustments against the Vegas Golden Knights during their second-round series. “The Avs are pretty, not gritty,” opined Kiszla among his colorful descriptions of their lack of postseason toughness.
Ryan O’Halloran agreed with Kiszla in less hyperbolic terms. He feels the Avs aren’t in the same depths as the early-era Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals. Nevertheless, he believes “they need to get bigger on defense and deeper at center” to beat the Golden Knights next season.
THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh believes the Avalanche must address how long and for much they’re willing to sign Landeskog for. He also thinks paying Makar $10 million annually is worthwhile and considers it too risky to let Grubauer walk via free agency. He also recommends they explore creating cap space through trades and add some low-cost veterans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic did a fine job building the current roster. He must now figure out how to get this team to the next level without the salary-cap flexibility he enjoyed in recent years.
Yes, the Avalanche needs more depth at center and size on defense. Yes, they need to get tougher. However, Sakic and his staff must avoid overreacting as the 2010 version of the Capitals did following their first-round upset by the Montreal Canadiens. Those missteps set the Caps back several seasons before they finally won the Stanley Cup in 2018.
Landeskog, 28, will seek a substantial pay raise over his current $5.57 million cap hit. Some might scoff at Makar earning $10 million annually but his rise to Norris Trophy finalist in just three seasons provides his camp with sufficient grounds to seek that much. Sakic could try to go the bridge deal route but that seems unlikely given Makar’s talent. Grubauer’s Vezina nod this season also works in his favor as he pursues a big bump over his $3.33 million AAV.
Sakic has shown in the past a willingness to make bold moves to improve his roster. We should expect he’ll do the same this summer as he attempts to retain his core free agents and address his roster needs.
He could use one of the defensemen he risks losing in the expansion draft as a trade chip. Perhaps he’ll move a skilled blueliner like Samuel Girard for a bigger physical rearguard. Maybe he shops center Nazem Kadri to free up cap space to add a tough, cool-headed two-way replacement.
MORE BRUINS SPECULATION
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter wonders where the Bruins go from here after falling short against the New York Islanders in the second round.
His optimistic forecast regarding Tuukka Rask has the goaltender signing a short-term deal between $5 million and $6 million, undergoing whatever offseason surgery he requires and gradually returning to the lineup next season. He also suggests signing Taylor Hall to a five-year deal worth $6 million annually and David Krejci for a year at around $5 million. The latter would give the Bruins time to determine if Jack Studnicka or Charlie Coyle can play at second-line center or if they need to bring in someone for that role.
Porter also speculates Jake DeBrusk could be shopped for a helpful secondary player. The lack of quality left-side defense options via free agency could see them bring back Mike Reilly if another club doesn’t offer to double his $1.5 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss suggests the Bruins should transition Jeremy Swayman to the starter’s job but bring back Rask on a one-year deal worth between $3 million and $5 million. It’s a sensible suggestion but that depends on whether Rask is prepared to accept the backup/mentor role with the Bruins or look elsewhere for a starter’s job.
Hall was a good fit with the Bruins and he really wants to stay but that depends on how much he wants on his next deal and for how long. I think Krejci’s open to returning for another year or two for a lesser cap hit, perhaps around $5 million.
The Bruins were reportedly reluctant to trade DeBrusk this season over fear he’d regain his scoring touch elsewhere. However, I think they should explore the trade market while he still has some decent trade value. It’ll be interesting to see if Reilly is willing to stick in Boston for perhaps a little less than market value.
LATEST ON JACK EICHEL
WGR550: Franklin Heinzmann cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent appearance on “The Instigators” discussing possible trade interest in Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel.
Friedman believes the Sabres want to move on from their captain. He said the teams around the league with interest in Eichel are trying to convince GM Kevyn Adams to move the unhappy center sooner rather than later. Friedman feels Adams should set the marketplace himself rather than be influenced by those clubs.
The Sabres GM could try to play the interested clubs against each other to drive up Eichel’s trade value. Some teams, however, are pointing to the center’s neck injury to suggest Adams isn’t dealing from a position of strength.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman didn’t indicate which teams could be calling the Sabres. I’ve posted up a list of potential teams in my latest column for The Hockey News, including several suggested by Friedman last month.
If the Sabres trade Eichel during the offseason it’ll likely happen just before or during the opening day of this year’s NHL draft on July 23. Adams will use the next several weeks to evaluate the clubs with the most interest while also gauging Eichel’s ongoing treatment.
Regarding Jack Eichel … umm, no thanks
Regarding the Avs, much like the Pens, pretty not gritty … that about says it all … the I slanders crashed the net vs. Pittsburgh because they knew they could get away with it. Girard is a defensive liability for the Avs and should be moved out. It’s also time to move on from Bednar but owners are reluctant to pay guys for sitting these days in this economic climate. It’s doubtful he can take Colorado to the next level. I watched every game and to me Grubauer played just okay, nothing special. Fluery let some soft ones in but he was the better goalie. And the Avs took a physical pounding which was predicted. Erik Johnson is a good player but he’s always hurt. Is Landy worth big money? Should they overpay Saad to stay? Makar is a no-brainer, sign him and make him happy. Big decisions for Joe Sakic moving forward.
Ed, I feel like the 2015/16 and 2016/17 cup winning teams the Pens had were also pretty not gritty. They were able to pull off a couple wins in a row by employing a speedy defensively conscious game. To be fair though, that was in the east and Colorado plays out west. Maybe that makes a big difference.
Bruins need to make an all out effort to grab Eichel. Get rid of krecji.
Who goes back to Buffalo, Rick? Not sure the Bruins can meet Buffalo’s demands.
Also would the Sabres want to trade Eichel within their own division? Don’t think so.
Eichel has neck issues that lowers the sabres asking price considerably love to have him. I think with health problems you’re probably looking at a 1st rounder established player good prospect. If he was in good shape it would probably take couple of 1st rounders and maybe half your team.
BCLeaf, I agree with you based solely on the fact that both teams are in the same division. I know it’s happened before but I’m just not sure Buffalo would go that route.
Hopefully the Bruins avoid Eichel. Much too risky! He’s becoming a walking injury, waiting to happen. No thanks! They already have two such players, Carlo and Rask. They don’t need a third!
Avs need some beef in the bottom 6 and and element of bigger tougher D
I believe softer players like Burakovsky, Donskoi Nicushkin and smaller players like Jost and Compher and Girard did them in against Vegas
Even though I can’t stand the puke Kadri would have helped.
Burakovsky was going to the tough areas..Vegas overall so much deeper and seasoned.
Some UFAs price tags go up as another team wants to add the gritty players ala danualt, goodrow, hyman, foligno,palmirei,coleman, cizikas,janmark, paquette….etc
And another Presidents Trophy winner bites the dust. What a curse.
Well technically right …. but tied with Knights in points (and deciding game …. 2nd last game of season …. Knights play Lehner and only 15 skaters and lose 2-1 on a tip in goal; if it goes to OT… Knights finish 1 point ahead [instead of tied] of Avs and get Pres trophy)…
….. two of the Leagues top 3 teams , facing each other 2nd round; is just 💩y
Girard could be fine but a guy that small needs to play first pair so that he can use his skill with the first or second line, if he plays lower and more D he is in trouble
Not sure about Bednar, was it him or was it the tools, whatever he failed to adjust their game
I think they risk of overpaying Grubauer, he is a good goalie but to me he isnt a top 10 goalie, more in the 10-15 range and worth 5m a year
Landeskog is worth a raise but they need to be careful not to overpay or to much term, 4-5 years max
Buffalo needs to wait until Eichel plays again before they trade him, but then as soon as possible
Rask is only coming back as first choice and is worth 5-6 on a 2 year deal but he needs to play less
Boston needs to trade DeBrusk so they dont end up like Vancouver with Virtanen
Re DeBrusk – be careful l what you wish for Kent. I mean, in 244gp, the guy has 67g 67a 134 pts which, based on an 82-game average, works out to 23g 23a 46 pts. And that’s not playing premium minutes. In addition, in 59 playoff games, he’s chipped in with 16g 10a 26 pts – which is just 1 goal shy of his seasonal average.
And he costs $3.6 mil off the cap. There are a lot of higher cost players who don’t have those totals.
Im not saying that he isnt good, probably better than Virtanen and his value is still pretty good, that is why its a good chance to trade him now because after next season it might be lower if he doesnt figure it out next season which is not a given
Bruins have room for Eichel if don’t bring back Rask or Krech but would need to trade some real talent back like a Pasta or McAvoy and can’t see them doing that. If Buffalo would accept two firsts and a couple prospects than fine but their not doing that. Jack won’t be any happier being traded to a team miles away from playoffs so it’s a tuff call where he ends up. Also there is his health lots to consider.
To NJ: Eichel & Skinner ($1m retained)
To BUF: #4 overall pick, Hughes and another 1st 2022 and 2nd 2021
Buffalo can use cap space to acquire players and picks fromteams looking To protect players pre expansion draft
No immediately becomes playofff contender with how hard Ruff has them playing and has the cap cap to absorb Eichel and Skinner long term since Hischier I started locked up and Subban will be a ufa in one season.
That might actually work!
As for the Bruins, Elliotte Friedman is tweeting that Rask will only play for the Bruins but will have labrum surgery which would keep him out till at least January. So even if he decides to not retire, they’ll need a reliable backup to start the year. I don’t see the Bruins going 5 years and $6m. For Hall. They need cap space for defensive depth as well. If he’ll accept $5-5.5m. For 3 or 4 years it might get done. And sorry Rick W. but the Sabres aren’t trading Eichel within the division.
That is a massive overpay from NJ.
Skinner has huge negative trade value.
From NJ on that offer, NFW. A hurt Eichel and $20 million in cap space? Fitz could not hang up the phone fast enough.
You are paying a second rd pick for Skinner
You are paying 3 1sts for Eichel.
Hughes will be good but Eichel now it’s light years ahead of him especially size wise.
The likelihood of the other 2 1sts becoming studs is less than 50%. NJ ownership fired Shero for losing and being stuck in rebuild mode with having coach Hines. They pushed for a veteran coach and got Ruff. Eichel coming to town would also draw significant community interest as NJ is a low draw team. This speeds their timeline up.
I think Eichel is hurt enough to leave town and not hurt enough to play for another team IMO
Buffalo gets to move on. NJ gets value.
Skinner will rebound playing with Eichel again and not thrown away bc Hall had to play with Eichel.
Works for both teams IMO
Agreed. If a bad contract, $5-6 million per year, is worth a 1st round pick (see Marleau, Patrick) then taking on Skinner’s contract is worth 2 or more first round picks. Essentially NJ is giving up 4 1st rd picks PLUS Hughes.
Buffalo is getting four pieces for Eichel. Some combination of a 1st round pick, prospect, good player, and a salary dump. Maybe a 2nd or 3rd round, which would be tied to how many games he plays on the new team.
All this Eichel talk – I would flag him heavy risk at that salary given his medical issues. Buyer HUGE beware here!
Swayman is the answer in Boston, see ya Rask!
Finally, I would suggest Colorado move Makar – Byram can replace him now allows to sign Landy and Grubauer – I think Makar at 10 Mil is an overpay and has PK vibes. As much as I like Makar – best move to do some changes is not commit 10 mil to a D – too many around who will never live up to that contract!
Second thought would be not resign Landy. Then you keep Makar. If Colorado is not careful will end up having too many heavy paid players in no time.
The Avs would insane to let Makar and Landeskog go, absolutely insane.
Theres other ways to create cap space on that roster. No need to trade a Norris trophy candidate whose in his early 20’s or let your captain leave for nothing who is one of the only gritty forwards on your roster.
That said, if Sakic does move on from either one, I hope to hell Blake lands them.
Where did I say both?
Okay Ill rephrase it. Avs would be insane to let one of those two go and sbsolutely moronic to let both go.
Not an Avs fan but when does this stop in the NHL. It is the only professional league that allows their game to be called differently during the post season. it really is comical. This isnt to say that Vegas or the Isles wouldnt advance if it was but you clearly see a disparity when you watch. I see numerous examples of obstruction and interference every game. Please dont call it grit thats an insult.
Saw the stat on on 17 of the 18 highest paid players not being in the 2nd round, slow clap to the NHL who loves their stars to not go far into the playoffs.. I mean why i would want to see Mcdavid Mackinnon Matthews when I can watch Kyle Palmieri and Philip Danault.
what a joke.
So as a GM what do you do because players want to be paid based on their regular season 82 game schedule performance but they arent allowed to play their game. the system is so flawed!
I see your point but there is also the fact that all players play more desperate in the postseason thereby there is less room for the skill guys and this fact also makes it harder for the refs so see and keep up. With that being said they should at least call more interference and grabbing than they do since that is the biggest problem for guys like McD and McK
Fair point but is it playing desperate really. The stars mentioned are skilled scorers and play under certain rules for an entire season and then the balance is shifted and the more ahem gritty players are allowed to take liberties during the playoffs they cant otherwise. The star players desperately want to score ! the systems dont change -just the calls arent enforced and until they do something to stop it its the same song and dance. The leafs fget crapped on bc their GM build a team around where the league said they would be..yet clearly they arent going there. Thats why guys liike Lamoriello are criticized during the year for signing Matt Martins and Komarovs ans then the same season lauded for being a genius when the same players are allowed to play a different game. We wont talk about Devon toews being dealt away from nothing lol.
I could argue Barry Trotz can inploment that system with any team and be succesful …
League needs to decide what they want – bc that crap wouldnt sell during the regular season. Dont tell me anyone outside of Isles or Habs fans enjoy their style of play
Kent, maybe but referee’s call the game differently and I don’t get it. Make calls as normal and teams that have a good power play will advance. Teams that give up power play goals will adjust their games. Situation normal and the stars get to shine.
Re Sam and BCLeaf: I somewhat agree because in general you are correct, however if a player is 4 feet away and does an infraction then its easy to see and penalize but in the postseason he is 2,5 feet away because he works harder and so did his teammates which resulted in for example McD had a tougher time getting there. Then is it still a penalty? maybe but its harder to see since the infraction didnt happen like it did before so its small small differences making the call more difficult to judge and referees dont want to affect the game so they would rather let it go.
With this being said they should call more and there are probably ways to help the referees make the right call. Me for instance am in favour of a third referee in front of a monitor that can make calls to the referees on the ice as the play happens. He shouldnt make the small calls but if the referees on the ice misses an obvious call he there to make it. Not 1 minute after but 5 seconds after
Luxury tax like basketball and baseball. Should solve a ton
The PA proposed the luxury tax during the 2004-05 lockout but the league insisted on the three-tiered, hard-cap system. It’s not going anywhere.
And there a lot associated with basketball and baseball who would love to see a hard cap – or something akin to the NFL where there are no guaranteed contracts. You may get $25 mil as a running back – but if you stink up the joint and don’t produced at that level, the team can just walk away from the deal every spring.
Luxury tax wont solve that- you can sign 3 mcdavids but if you can roll out guys to clutch and grab them – obstruct and interfere with them nothing will change.
Just call the game its quite simple- call the penalties.
Playoff hockey is intense but imagine playoff hockey where everyone can skate and get hit legally not held onto- game would grow
Luke, I think if the players backed off a bit on the guaranteed contracts, sure have some payout formula but no where near what it is today without the Cap implications, perhaps the Owners would consider the luxury tax path. Some of these contracts for the likes of Skinner, Okposo, Neal, I can go on & on is ridiculous. Something has to give.
Ooops I meant to type Lyle not Luke sorry Lyle haha, too much multi tasking :-<
Completely Agree. Nathan MacKinnon was essentially tackled, held, tripped, slashed, and elbowed nearly every shift the last couple of games. The NHL has got to put a stop to this crap. How many times did you see Holden or Chandler Stephenson holding…..or tackling MacKinnon? Chandler Stephenson should be really proud of his football tackling ability. Its gotten comical.
Really don’t want to hear about what DeBrusk might do if traded scoring wise it didn’t stop the Bruins from giving away Tyler Seguin did it, I might be wrong but I think trading Seguin had a lot to do with his playoff production while with the Bruins & not the partying on Cape Cod … Bruins had their fair share of party boys thru the years …. enter Turk & the Boys
Trading very talented players is tuff in both cases of Seguin and Jumbo Joe I think Bruins should have gotten more. Jumbo has never won much and Tyler is a headache he’s in love with himself have zero issue trading them but return should have been more. Buffalo asking the moon for disgruntled Eichel May be harder than you think.
I love Hockey writers! Bruins get bounced …sign Hall and Reilly.
Colorado gets bounced pay Makar and Landy the moon…we all remember when the Jets had big Buff and all those up n coming first round forwards and this big defender who now plays in NYC for the Rangers? The windows on winning a Cup don’t close quickly, but we hear “We’re very close to being able to make runs and being a Dynasty”
It is humorous to think Byram, Timmins, Graves, and Toews and Makar are not a fit backline for their future…or are we just talking Samuel Girard is not a tough guy? in the same breath as tarde Kadri, he is too undisciplined and dirty tough.
I started as a regular when there were 6 teams and there were STILL #4 season finishers winning that second series and Cup, but to me the ice is pretty tilted and the biggest advantage is when the ref is standing 6 feet away and sees the 4 consecutive cross checks and let’s THEM play…one of those THEM is being given an advantage if they are the rougher. Seems like you have to play ALL ways. But what do I know? I am trying to figure out what comments I write next to Josh Bloom’s name after no OHL season, and slot him in my 7 round mock draft at DraftSite/Lines com based on 2018-19 and his 42 goals and 83 points in 63 games while in U-16 AAA with Toronto Nationals, not his 6 goals and 14 points in 54 games with Saginaw OHL tow season ago. And I thought was at a loss for words …these pro writers never get exhausted at their keystrokes to solve hockeys pressing “problems.”
Yeah. It’s almost like they’re paid to write about hockey, isn’t it? And that they have to write things on a constant deadline whether there’s an actual good story to write or not because they want to get paid so that they can feed themselves and their families, clothe themselves and their families and house themselves and their families.
Why don’t they just not write a column?
Why don’t they base the columns in reality?
Colorado vs Vegas. Best team you can build vs the best team you can buy.
Now Im forced to root for Montreal…… playoff hockey sucks, lol.
young players traded by the Bruins and they are worried about trading DeBrusk who will never be any of these players
Reggie Leach..21years old
Tyler Seguin…21 years old
Joe Thorton…26 years old
Shawn McEachern..26 years old
Rick MacLeish…20 years old Al Secord..22years old
Blake Wheeler… 24 years old
Phil Kessel …21 years old
Ken Dryden…22 years old
As a side note, The league essentially allowed Vegas to play with a Cap hit of around 83-84 million this season. They did a masterful job of manipulating the Taxi Squad, Emergency Call Up, and other Covid guidelines to ice a team, that in any other year would have been deemed over the cap.
Vegas, Tampa and Toronto all did it. That loophole needs to be closed. All teams should be required to be cap compliant for the duration of the playoffs.
Av’s need a couple of veteran dmen. Teams don’t win the Cup with all young blueliners no matter how talented they are.
Vegas D won the series in my opinion they are huge and tuff and still can move the puck. I think there’s room for one smaller D man who can run a PP it when the game is on the line you need mean tuff Defense.
I know its popular to bash the league and the referees for calling the playoffs differently than the regular season but so much of that is mythology.
Players, coaches and fans have complained all year begging for consistency. The stars have been getting mugged all year according to fans of McD and Matthews.
Refs have been letting them play all year and calling little hooking and a tap to the skates….and continuing in the playoffs.
HF30, I could see how you reach that conclusion.
Re: “Head coach Jared Bednar could be under the microscope after failing to get the Avs past the second round.”
They lost to the team that tied them for best overall team in the league ; went to 6; and the roster (assembled by GM) is not in his control.
Why would they want to rid Bednar?
The temp Covid realignment resulted in 2 of the Leagues top 3 teams in the same Div… that is not on Bednar
Re Baugh and “ He also thinks paying Makar $10 million annually is worthwhile”….. to me that sets up Mac K for $13M * 8 next summer.
Bridge him (Makar) for 2 years … get Mac K re-upped right on 1/7/22; then deal after that with Makar’s long term deal
Just a quick poser for all here
I realize that Knights are favoured…. but what if Habs win the series….
Prince of Whales Trophy …. “ Awarded to the Eastern Conference playoff champion. ”
Do Habs AND one of Bolts/Isles then BOTH get their names on it with nobody getting the Clarence Campbell Bowl (“ Awarded to the Western Conference playoff champion. ”)
Just a silly point 🧐😎
Its happened before….. The Flyers have won both the Campbell and Wales Trophies…… and Im sure others have as well.
Sure teams have one them, in different years and different configurations of teams, not thesameat all.
The NHL knew you would ask and pre-empted you by announcing that since there are no conferences this year there will be no Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell trophies awarded.
I didn’t know they had done that
The salary cap is now out of control. There will not be enough space for teams to sign players to flesh out rosters.
If the NHL is adamant about the cap not rising, then they should allow each team one free mulligan.
Let each team “cut” one contract without penalty. The player would receive his full amount that he was owed and would be declared a free agent.
That would even things out a bit and allow teams to regroup.
It’s no one’s fault that the Pandemic happened.
GM’s could not possibly foresee what was to occur and teams were built around a projected cap.
Time for the NHL to wake up and see that this business model is not sustainable.
PS Devon Toews is out of the playoffs and may be out of Colorado.
Lou still has his team playing and two 2 nd rounders.
So how much did they need Toews?
heres a trade proposal just wondering what everybody thinks of it. seth jones and one of cbj goalies plus either a 2nd or 3rd round pick to buffalo for jack eichel