NHL Rumor Mill – June 19, 2021

by | Jun 19, 2021 | Rumors | 35 comments

The latest Jack Eichel speculation, the Bruins are in the market for a left-side defenseman, Kirill Kaprizov’s contract talks go cold, and an update on Dylan Strome in today’s NHL rumor mill.


WGR 550: Appearing on “The Instigators” yesterday, TSN’s Darren Dreger said discussions on Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel increased over the past week. They’ve reached the point where Dreger is comfortable saying he’s getting traded. He indicated there’s a number of suitors, speculating the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets are in the mix. He also thinks the Los Angeles Kings will get into the bidding at some point.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All three teams have the cap space to absorb Eichel’s $10 million annual salary-cap hit plus young assets that could entice the Sabres.

The Ducks need a top-line center with 36-year-old captain Ryan Getzlaf no longer capable of first-line duty if he decides to return next season. However, I don’t think this is the right move for a team that’s really only just starting to rebuild. Eichel makes more sense for a club that’s trying to advance an ongoing rebuild process or a retooling team looking to quickly get back into playoff contention.

Eichel seems like a good fit for the Kings. Recent reports claim they’re in the market for two top-six forwards. As I’ve noted before, however, there’s a sense among Kings’ followers that they’re seeking players in their late-20s on short-term deals for those top-six roles. If that’s the case, they’re not getting into the mix for Eichel.

The Jackets have sought a first-line center for years. They have three first-round picks in this year’s draft to draw upon as trade bait. The Sabres also need goaltending and there’s talk the Jackets are willing to move Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo for a return that addresses another roster need. They’re in a good position to make a solid pitch for Eichel.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss reported Bruins president Cam Neely indicated his club’s off-season priority is finding a top-four left-side defenseman during his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday.

Goss speculated they could go the trade route as pickings are slim in this summer’s free-agent market for that type of blueliner. He feels Nashville Predators rearguard Mattias Ekholm would be a great fit but the Bruins’ weak prospect pool means they don’t have many tradeable assets.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty observed Vegas’ Alec Martinez, Arizona’s Alex Goligoski and the Bruins’ Mike Reilly are the top left-handed blueliner in this summer’s free-agent market. Other options could include New Jersey’s Ryan Murray and Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak. However, he felt the Bruins would be better-served by using trade chips such as Urho Vaakanainen or Jake DeBrusk to acquire a younger, established left-shot rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Predators moving Ekholm after passing up the opportunity to do so leading up to this year’s trade deadline. He’s got a year remaining on his contract but they appear keen to re-sign him.

Perhaps the Bruins will pursue St. Louis’ Vince Dunn. There’s speculation the Blues could attempt to trade the pending restricted free agent this summer.


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports early contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and the representatives for Kirill Kaprizov aren’t going well. He cited NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes reporting Friday that the 23-year-old winger was in Moscow and it’s believed CSKA would like to sign him for the KHL and the 2022 Olympics.

Russo indicates Kaprizov is in Moscow attending a friend’s wedding. CSKA Moscow would love to sign the Calder Trophy finalist but the winger’s desire is to play in the NHL. Nevertheless, the possibility of returning to the KHL provides the Kaprizov camp with leverage in contract talks with the Wild.

The sticking point is the term of the contract. The Wild want to ink Kaprizov to a seven- or eight-year deal but the winger’s camp prefers a two- or three-year deal to bring him up to his UFA eligibility at age 27.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russo also noted Kaprizov doesn’t seem to want a long-term deal unless the Wild are willing to pay him what his future market value could be. The Wild, however, would be nervous of doing so without having more time to fully evaluate his potential.

I don’t think Kaprizov will return to the KHL but his camp will attempt to use as much leverage as possible. I also doubt Wild general manager Bill Guerin will trade the promising young winger after his impressive NHL debut this season. It’ll be interesting to see how these negotiations proceed over the course of the offseason.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to move Dylan Strome. He had just 14 points in 40 games this season. “He would be eligible for the expansion draft,” writes Garrioch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strome showed potential as a second-line center with a 51-point performance in 58 games in 2018-19 after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in an early-season deal. However, injuries and inconsistent play held him to 38 points in 58 games in 2019-20 and 14 points this season. He’s got one season remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $3 million.


  1. Bruins could have had OEL from AZ….wonder if they might check on that again?🤔 His NMC and hefty contract means something ugly has to go back.to AZ….

    • They could’ve had Krug too.

      • Slick62 Krug signed for 7yrs at 6.5 walking away from him was absolutely the right move.

        I would only hope Boston protect Lauzon over Grzelcyk in the expansion draft.

      • I agree with you Caper, I like Griz but I think Lauzon would be a better keep of the two. My only real regret of Krug was that they didn’t move him during that season for decent assets.

      • Almost 100% sure, those rumors are spreading by Adams, ducks and jackets are in a deep rebuild, and LA are upto D and W, rather Jones, Risto and Leine

      • Funny how Boston walked away from Krug @ 7 years / $45.5 mil but signed David Backes for 5 years / $30 mil.

  2. Eichel will be a Ranger. I doubt he wants to go to either Ducks or Columbus. I know he has no control, but if you’re either of those teams, do you want a guy that’s unhappy? NYR vs Kings. If Rangers had the center prospects that L A does, I’d say no thanks to Eichel. As far as Buffalo wanting to shop him west. I can understand not wanting him on a divisional rival. If Buffalo is cleaning house, and Eichel has 5 years left on deal, Buffalo might not be in playoffs until the end of his deal. If they rebuild right for once, they could be the better team in a few years.

    • Slick Agreed still think NYR or LA may be the imply landing spots w ANA possible if they are willing to move Zegras and a top pick. Depsite the obvious need and fit, I remain skeptical CBJ can put the best package together. Jarmo tends to surprise so it possible. However if Eichel doesn’t want to go and pulls a Carter it would be disastrous for the organization. Wow…difficult but intriguing times here in CBJ land

      • Deacon, Add to that Columbus is also in East, and Rangers could probably put better package together. Would add though, that JD was prez in NY and supposedly already discussed Eichel trade.

      • Rangers need a two way CEnter with all the talented wing kids…..
        Eichel is not the answer unless the price tag fits the health concerns

    • I doubt Kevin Adams gives a crap if Eichel is “happy” w/ where he goes, . Whomever gives Buffalo the most back, wins. Whomever that might be, he will show up & smile @ presser. From that point on he’ll be a Duck, a CBJ, or whatever. I disagree, Eichel will not be a Ranger.

  3. Slick good point. I suppose the only counterpoint is that w Jones leaving (possibly Laine and Werenski…some early concern he also isn’t going to re-sign long term) CBJ isn’t much different from BUF in their phase of rebuild so may be that makes them more comfortable dealing in conference to a non contending team. I still completely agree he ends up NYR or out west

    • Deacon, what is your understanding of why so many players want to leave Columbus? I had put it down to Torts’ draconian coaching style but that can’t be the case any more.

      • LJ, isn’t part of the reason that these players are still so young and wish to be seen socially in a big market like NY or LA as opposed to Columbus? I think they’re more concerned about making big bucks and being seen than winning. Columbus has lost some good players and when I saw them play the AVS, was very impressed with their team: dubois, panarin, Saad, Foligno, Savard, bobrosky , Anderson, that guy on Nashville but he’s useless as well as duchene. Sad, they had the makings of a real good team. Maybe not all of them, but they would rather be in the bigger markets with all that money!!

      • I don’t think it is wise to try and guess someone’s motivation that you have never met. Or think that all young players are the same.
        They are not.

        Here is what we know:
        Eichel was fine with the city of BUF, he signed a deal with term that included UFA years. The team still sucks and they are having a dispute over treatment of his injury. Big deal for a pro athlete I would think. The organization has also seen consistent turnover in MGT and coaches. Tell tale sign of disfunction, and far from the stability that provides the bedrock for success.

        If I had to bet I would go with he just wants to get out of BUF.

      • I think they have been a little tough in contract talks as well, they havent managed the balance between cost and keeping the player happy

    • DeaconFrost,

      I’m not a believer in Eichel , but CBJ could put together a great package and get the centre they need…using Laine as the main piece in return.

      Laine, Jones one of the goalies

      Eichel, Dahlin

      Fills needs on both teams

      • Habs fan, do you see either of Laine or Jones re-signing in Buffalo? Not happening.

      • How’s this for a IHateCrosby style proposal.
        To Buffalo: Lundell, Tippett, Stralman(for cap purposes)Florida’s 1st this year and next
        To Florida: Panarin
        To NYR: Eichel.

      • Slick,

        Jones is signed for another year , Laine can be qualified by Buffalo, so they don’t have a choice.

        Adding whichever goalie as well makes the Sabres a totally different competitive team.

        One year later, with some success, both cities can become stronger.

  4. I think it will be the Jackets. They want to do something big to show the roster they are serious and to change the press.

    Acquiring Eichel will help them retain Laine, who I don’t see being part of thr package. I see it revolving around a 1st, Rosolovic, & one of their Goalies.

    Buffalo likely going to grab Owen Power in the draft so putting value on one year of Jones doesn’t help their long term. Which gives CBJ an asset to move to bolster their club in other ways.

    A big move for Eichel (health permitting), locking up Laine, and moving Jones to bolster other areas could help stabilize the Jackets.

    NYR in my opinion are going to go heavily after a more affordable center option like RNH.

    • Add in guys like Edvisson, Clarke, or Hughes are going to be around at #5 (the first I’d refuse to trade for Eichel, trade both your others if you have to). There is some ability to offset Jones in the future. Plus the return they will get.

      I’d happily send a package from Ottawa to CBJ including Sanderson & the 10th OA for Jones if he is locked into a contract & they will take Zaitzev.

      CbJ will be the most interesting club to watch this off season imo.

    • It’s going to be the Ducks
      In a huge package deal

      Reinhardt will resign playing with his buddy
      Sabres 20 2nd rd pick

      Ducks send
      3rd overall
      2022 1st unprotected
      And the player the that no one is talking about I believe the Sabres want more than anyone

      • @S218
        good point on Gibson being a sought after asset but bringing in Jack and trading your Vezina caliber goalie sets you back another way.
        If Ducks want a full rebuild they should trade Rackell and Gibson this summer

    • I don’t see Columbus getting Eichel but I do see them getting Reinhart. I think Ana can put together a nice package and not include Zegras. Everyone wants Zegras in return but if they are willing to part with Comtois and Perrault plus their 3OA I think the Sabres have to give it serious thought.
      I think it was Friedman that said teams are asking about Ristolainen being included in trade talks for either Eichel or Reinhart so it could become a blockbuster type of trade.
      It’s being said that Adams is looking for a high first in this years draft which Ana can provide. If it happens this draft can provide the Sabres with Power and Bernier as looking how Francis drafted in Carolina his first 3 drafts were D so maybe he likes building from the D out which leaves him Evinsson, Hughes or Clarke to draft leaving the Sabres the best forward on their board at 3. of course just speculation on my part or maybe it’s wishful thinking lol

  5. Dillon Strome had success as a junior playing with McDavid. Any thoughts there?

    • McDavid makes everyone on the ice look like a superstar. I think Stroke McDavid had success also amongst lower level competition… Not saying it couldn’t work, but think it’s more due to how good McDavid is and not based on Strokes talent. Stroke will forever be labelled an underachiever (whether it’s accurate or not)… He was cursed with being third behind McD and Eichel and was followed by people who have developed better and faster….

      • Forgive the typos…. Autocorrect kept changing Strome to Stroke

      • The other Strome was not so great in Edmonton and Dylan might be unaffordable to the cap with his potential

  6. Lyle,

    I TOTALLY agree that Vince Dunn to the Bruins makes sense!

    I would expand the trade and say Dunn and Sanford to Boston for DeBrusk and a 4th.

    Everyone agree??

    • Looks good from here.

  7. Love Danault as a Rangers but his tag will be high with all the teams overpaying
    Rangers need to learn to hold leads and control the game at their pace more. more offensive stars not needed right now

  8. Seth Jones would be a better fit But Vince Dunn would be okay Martinez is a little long in the tooth which is hard for me to say since I’m twenty years his senior. But really come on you want someone who’s got some gas left in tank. That is why I say Seth or OEL since he wanted to come to Boston in the first place Sweeney should have been able to swing that deal.

    • I like the idea of Martinez to BOS. Vet with proven success in playoffs that will also accept a shorter term deal due to the long teeth.
      I think that works with their window.
      Sign him up!
      I would pursue a TB winger, or Colemen as a UFA as opposed to Hall.
      Did all right, but his game isn’t close to what it used to be. Depends what they pay him and term I suppose. Kecji needs a guy, I would look elsewhere unless he comes cheap.

  9. I think there will be a major shakeup in Toronto Top core will be broken up, maybe Reilly as well
    Doesn’t really matter , Dubais and Keefe are not the ones leading the Leafs to their promise land , they will be gone after the following season, hopefully sooner !