NHL Rumor Mill – June 12, 2021

by | Jun 12, 2021 | Rumors | 35 comments

What would be a fair return for Mitch Marner if the Leafs shopped him in the trade market? Should the Jets shop Kyle Connor for a defenseman? What moves should the Oilers make this summer? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest Toronto Maple Leafs mailbag, Luke Fox was asked if the club could win a Mitch Marner trade. While acknowledging the front office’s belief in the 24-year-old playmaker, Fox believes general manager Kyle Dubas would want a return that fits with his bet-on-young skill vision that helps the club now. He also doesn’t foresee Marner requesting a trade.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

He doubted Dubas would accept someone like Columbus’ Patrik Laine or Seth Jones or Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk in return. However, he could listen if the Buffalo Sabres offered up center Jack Eichel.

John Tavares’ injury highlights the Leafs lack of center depth. Fox suggests shifting Tavares to the wing as he ages and his foot speed slows.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox also said Eichel’s neck injury would be a huge caveat, adding they shouldn’t make that move unless certain he’s fully recovered.

Eichel for Marner straight up would work in terms of player value and cap dollars. Nevertheless, I doubt it’s a move we’ll see take place between these two long-standing rivals.

Fox was also asked which players the Leafs should add to address the lack of killer instinct team president Brendan Shanahan felt his club still needs. He wondered if Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf or Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny would accept a Joe Thornton deal, or if Colorado’s Brandon Saad would come more cheaply than Zach Hyman.

His other suggested options include Minnesota’s Nick Bonino, Vegas’ Mattias Janmark and Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak. He also proposed it would be great to see what a healthy Nick Foligno could do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas will have to engage in more salary-cap gymnastics given his club’s limited cap space to address that need. I think Getzlaf re-signs with Anaheim or retires. Stastny might be a possibility. Saad could cost more than Hyman.

The Wild could re-sign Bonino if he’s willing to accept a pay cut from his current $4.1 million cap hit. If not, he could be a good option for the Leafs. Janmark and Oleksiak could also be worthwhile cost-effective additions.

Foligno could also help if he’s fully healthy but that depends on whether he sees a future in Toronto or if they feel they should look toward younger alternatives.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma wondered if the Vancouver Canucks would be interested in Alex Kerfoot. The Leafs aren’t expected to protect the 26-year-old center in next month’s expansion draft. They need to clear cap space if they hope to re-sign Zach Hyman. The Leafs can’t afford to take back salary but perhaps they’d accept a draft pick or prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzma noted the Canucks pursue Kerfoot four years ago as a college free agent before he signed with the Colorado Avalanche. He could be an affordable option to bolster the Canucks’ depth at center.


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes it’s time for the Jets to pay the price to acquire some high-end defensive talent if they wish to be more than playoff also-rans. Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot all departed since the Jets marched to the 2018 Western Conference Final.

McIntyre doubts we’ll see any significant off-season activity out of Winnipeg based on their history. However, he wonders at what point general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be forced to consider moving a core player to balance a lineup that isn’t good enough.

Other than goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and perhaps winger Nikolaj Ehlers, McIntyre doesn’t believe there should be an untouchable on the Jets roster. He proposed shopping winger Kyle Connor, who struggled in the Montreal series after center Mark Scheifele was suspended. The Jets’ crop of promising young skaters like Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins and Cole Perfetti could give them the freedom to use Connor as trade bait to address their blueline issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff has occasionally made a big move during his tenure as Jets GM, the latest being his swap of Patrick Laine for Pierre-Luc Dubois. For the most part, however, he tends to be patient, sometimes to a fault.

The Jets GM could surprise us with a major offseason move. Like McIntyre, however, I don’t expect him to shop a core player like Connor this summer. He could instead look for affordable options via trade or free agency while preparing to promote promising youngsters like Ville Heinola or Dylan Samberg into the lineup.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited NHL insider Kevin Allen’s three main offseason proposals for the Oilers. They include pursuing a younger goalie like Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo or the New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov via trade, or Frederik Andersen or Linus Ullmark via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers intend to bring back 39-year-old Mike Smith for another season but could shop Mikko Koskinen. The Islanders aren’t in a hurry in shop Varlamov but inquiring with the Jackets about Merzlikins or Korpisalo makes sense. It wouldn’t hurt to kick tires on Andersen or Ullmark.

Allen also suggested the Oilers try to come up with enough assets to bundle with James Neal to get a rebuilding club with cap space (Detroit Red Wings) to take the winger off their hands.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Holland will consider that option. The assets in that package, however, could be more than he’s willing to part with. A contract buyout remains possible for Neal if he isn’t moved in a cost-cutting deal.

Allen also recommended re-signing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Larsson and then calling the New York Rangers about Tony DeAngelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are working on the first two. DeAngelo’s character issues are a red flag but there could be clubs interested in the puck-moving defenseman. If the Oilers were interested, they could wait until he’s bought out of his current contract and then sign him as a free agent.


  1. Marners contract was a gamble when they signed it. Wouldn’t look so bad if pandemic didn’t hit. But now it’s an anchor. Leafs should have moved him the same day taveres signed. I couldn’t see pretty much any deal that didn’t take back significant salary or leafs hold a couple mil. Or leafs accept pennies on the dollar to dump the salary to Seattle.

    • The Leafs are not trading Marner for “pennies on the dollar” as you suggest. He’s a 23 year old point per game winger. He was the 4th overall scorer this season.

      Has he struggled in the playoffs? Yes. Does he still have value? Yes. If he was on the open market you’d better believe teams would be calling.

      Marner needs to shoot more. Far too often he looks to pass to Matthews.

      Unless they’re getting a star back he’s not going anywhere.

      The Tavares signing wasn’t necessary. They already had a capable 2C in Kadri and should have used that money to get help on LW or D. Even after signing Tavares they should have kept Kadri to use on LW. How many 2 time 30G scorers make $4.5M a year?

      • Marners contract is bad. Wouldn’t have been if not for COVID but dems the brakes. Great player? Yes. Worth investigating 1/8th of your cap on? Nope

        And taveres signing was great. You never ever turn down a top line player at less than market value (pre covid) when it costs nothing but money. It was incredibly foolish not to move either Marner or nylander after the signing.

      • He was 4th, playing in a division that was the worst in the league. He is still a very good player but not that good and not worth 10,9m

  2. How are Brandon Saad and Zach Hyman mentioned in the same breath?

    Saad is a year younger, has played twice the games, and is coming off a $6 million contract while Hyman is coming off a$2.25 million contract.

    In what world does Saad come in cheaper than Hyman?

    • Exactly!
      Welcome to Leafsland where nothing makes sense and the dumber the thing said the better, truth and logic be damned.

  3. I’m getting tired of this ridiculous suggestion that Tor could get Eichel for Marner. No NHL team is going to give you a number 1center for a winger unless that winger was kucherov

    • Marners contract was a win for Marner and his agent the moment they convinced Dubas the comparable they should be using was Auston Mathews . That was the mistake , Dubas fell head over heels during negotiations and paid Marner like a franchise center , when he already had two such contracts on the books. Now they are paying 3 at near top market value and only have 1 true franchise centre .

      • And two of the 3 , the young guys only came with 5 year term leading to ufa . Putting a rookie gm into the spot Shanahan did with 3 major contracts coming down the pipeline was probably the real error.

      • On July 1 Leafs will pay Marner his signing bonus. If a team has the cap room Marner comes in at just over 24 million in cash payment for next 4 years. If teams have the cap space why wouldn’t they take a top 4 scorer for 6 million a year. He could help teams that missed the playoffs make the playoffs next year before he disappears again.

    • Craig…

      It’s not impossible. Everyone knows that Eichel wants out of BUF. That somewhat ties Adams’ hands. Eichel’s neck injury also may affect his value.

      BUF can’t win this trade unless they get very creative or just plain lucky.

  4. the 4 remaining rosters can roll 4 lines.
    Leafs, Oilers,Jets so top heavy I cannot see them making up depth issues in one summer.

    Toronto might get the graces of players signing city friendly deals again.

    • Edmonton will have the cap space to address the depth in a big way , crucial summer for Ken .
      And Ed , for a second time , mike smith was fantastic this year , why wouldn’t holland sign him to a short term deal? He exceeded all expectations and then some . Finding a younger, solid upside partner with some term should be the goal . Can buyout koskinen or find a taker for his last season even if it costs an asset to sweeten the deal . Smith was hands down a top 10 goalie last year , only mistake would be giving him extra term at his age . 1 year , slight pay increase should be the target

      • Kenny will spend big on Darren Helm and the ghost of Danny Cleary.

  5. Once again the Toronto media is starting to throw out ridiculous scenarios.
    You can imagine the howls if the Calgary media started to suggest Gaudreau for Matthews

    Come on Toronto let’s get real

    • Agreed FlamesFan, Luke Fox is another out of touch hockey maven from Toronto, who thinks the world revolves around the Leafs. “He doubted Dubas would accept someone like Columbus’ Patrik Laine or Seth Jones or Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk in return.” Marner is a highly skilled player but with his cap hit the Leafs should jump at any of these guys. I doubt the other teams would accept Marner unless money was retained.

    • Such as Getzlaf accepting Thornton money…..Getzlaf is 36 years old, when Thornton was 36 he was being paid 6.7 per year.
      Saad and Hyman….what a comparison….Toronto media…..same thing every year.
      You destroyed your rebuild with that JT contract, instead of going out and getting defense you blow your wad of cash on JT. What a joke

  6. If I’m the Maple Loaves I am not giving up on Marner … speed, skill and scoring in one player is hard to find … he’s only 24 … Loaves have plenty of other players to ditch …

    and as long as Ken Holland is calling the shots the Oilers will be a non-factor …. Mike Smith??? bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha

  7. I’m not a fan of DeAngelo’s personality, but the kid can skate. If Rangers buy him out, which is 99% chance if Krakken don’t take him, he’ll have a few suitors. There’s no reason for Oilers to trade for him unless they believe he’s matured and more importantly, there might not be a chance of signing him if he becomes a ufa. Big issue for some teams will also be the fact his actual salary is over 5 million. Cap hit is 4 something.

  8. Listened to Taylor Halls interview said money and term not number one and that fit and a chance to win are. Sounds to me like a great deal for Boston again. Marners contract will limit where he can go so return minimal nobody wants a 160 lb little man who disappears during playoffs.

    • OBE, was that this year or last? Pretty sure winning isn’t always his priority.

      • Slick62,

        It was part of Hall’s end of year interview on Friday.

        He said a few important things that should make Bruins fans happy.

        !) said he doesn’t know what his value is anymore, feels like had two seasons.

        2) said hewas fortunate to have made good money in his career and he likes his fit in Boston.

        This was in reply to if he’d take a home town discount like others have.

      • Just yesterday Hall said he has made plenty of cash.

      • The writer should’ve read Mike McIntyre’s Saturday column which is a more accurate description of what the Jets need to do. They need to fire the coach and Install some accountability, and start demonstrating through actions that they even give a you know what. As long as Maurice is in charge, we will continue to be A decent team in capable of taking the next step. Maurice has installed some dysfunctional self-serving relationship with the team leaders where they get opportunity and paid and he keeps his job but the team stinks.Apparently Chevy is OK with this so unless Chipman decides that he actually wants to try to win some thing we are doomed.

    • Hahaha, hall saying money and term not no.1.

  9. like to touch on the Bruins D

    they have signed for next season and some of them wont be protected and could be gone to expansion

    Grezelcyk ( his game takes a hit in the playoffs)

    the could bring back

    Reilly ( UFA… who wants $$$$ no doubt)
    Carlo ( RFA… he’s not a healthy player way to many concussions)
    Miller ( good soldier but please no more )

    Sweeney has his work cut out for himself here they need a playoff caliber D not a regular season D …bigger quicker meaner

  10. I am not saying Eichel Marner is credible on a player quality basis, Eichel is more valuable. I do think with some commentators their dislike for the Leaf franchise seems to affect their opinion of a Leaf player.

    There is one point of view from Buffalo’s perspective that might make the trade worthwhile. I read somewhere ( assuming not sure if it is true) that over the course of the 2 contracts Buffalo would save over $20 million. That is number that gathers some attention. It might give them enough to buy out Skinner. Thus solving 2 problems and leaving you with Marner at $6.25 cash 10+ cap for the remainder of the contract. Marner at $6.25 is not bad.

    I don’t think it will happen. It would not shock me though.

    • If they did the trade after the bonuses are paid then Marner 4 yrs roughly 25 million owed Eichel 5 yrs. 50 million. While Marner didn`t totally disappear in the playoffs just his goal scoring he still set up Matthews enough times while Eichel has never played a playoff game so you don`t even know what he`ll be like in a playoff situation. Then there`s Eichel`s injury. Right now too many question mark`s surrounding Eichel for me I`d rather keep Marner and hope for better days than make this deal

  11. Bruins 3rd & 4th lines…..brough nothing to these playoffs…

    Coyle ( 6 year 5.2 was a mistake )
    DeBrusk ( 2 year 3.6…mistake
    Kuraly UFA
    Wagner 3 year 1.3 brings nothing
    Lazar….#12 player

    besides Coyle who they probably cant get rid of because of the bloated contract and what he brings but will be back all the rest of these players can leave …..gey some kind of 3rd line scoring and take a cue of the NYI 4th line ……they play quick hard & clean up the mess…….Sweeney/Neely

  12. Not a leafs fan by any stretch but it make no sense to me to move Marner. Is he overpaid? Yes.

    But what value do you put on a top 5 point producer?

    8 million? 9 Million? How much would you pay?

    On the open market, Marner is a 8-9 million a year player. Does anyone dispute that?

    So, the Leafs are paying say 2-3 million over market value for him.
    Not great, but also not horrible.
    Not like paying Andrew Ladd 6 million to watch games from the pressbox.

    The big mistake for Toronto was Tavares.

    They did not need him. And they gave him one eighth of the salary cap knowing that they had 3 homegrown stars to pay.

    Imagine how different things would be if they had went out and got two 5.5 million dollar D-men instead of Johnny T!!

    My take is that the leafs just need to stay the course with the top 4. JT is a NMC so you are stuck with him. Matthews is your cornerstone. Nylander actually played up to his contract, so shut up about him.
    Which leaves Marner.

    Dubas is not getting fair value for Marner, so bite your tongue and wait for the Cap to rise.

    Not much else for the Leafs to do.

  13. I could easily make a third line an energy line that can score and will work their butts off and combined salary of less than 4 million. Providence has plenty of young talent and fortunately they belong to Boston call them the imperfection line a run with them.

    • Obe, OK, lets see.

      • Centre is easy Jack Studnicka kid is real deal and on left wing option 1 – Jakub Lauko 2- Anton Blidh on right wing 1- Oskar Steen 2- Curtis Hall 3- Zach Senyshyn. Bruins drafted them put them on the ice see what they can do. Tired of watching so called more mature players producing zip. Make a fourth line that’s big and fast and mean. Beecher is big and fast not sure if can play physical yet he is couple years away I think.

  14. Ehlers is not untouchable . In fact I would move him way before Connor He was in the rumour mill pre-covid and is invariably hurt year after year. Lighting as in fast and small as in elf (which is his nickname)

  15. Am I hearing correct. as per the above article
    Leafs wouldn’t trade , M r. Hot dog – Marner for Tkachuk, or Seth Jones…
    I will tell U right now, it will take more than Marner to obtain, either 1 of those guys…
    I am “shocked” someone hasn”t commented on this article..
    I am late arriving on the scene…
    I couldn’t get either deal done fast enough !
    Marner is not built for the playoffs, SORRY !!!!
    Leafs have alot of work to be done, either one of these deals would be a significant edition, but still not enough..
    Tavares needs to be bought out, and wouldn;t have been enough to take out Montreal…
    Alot of money lost on Tavares, but needs to be done,,,,,
    His career is going to get worse before it gets better,,,
    This was a HUGE mistake…