NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2021

by | Jun 2, 2021 | Rumors | 49 comments

Could Brendan Shanahan, Kyle Dubas or Sheldon Keefe lose their jobs following another early playoff exit by the Leafs? Could the Florida Panthers try to acquire Penguins center Evgeni Malkin? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO SUN/THE ATHLETIC: Lance Hornby and Jonas Siegel wondered if heads will roll in the Maple Leafs’ front office or among the coaching staff following the club’s early playoff exit.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas (NHL.com).

Brendan Shanahan’s in his seventh season as team president but the club’s postseason woes continue. General manager Kyle Dubas has been in the role three years and head coach Sheldon Keefe completed his second season.

Hornby and Siegel raised some questions about several of the moves made by the franchise in recent years and the overall performance. However, they don’t expect Shanahan, Dubas or Keefe to lose their jobs. They instead anticipate an assistant coach such as Manny Malhotra, Dave Hakstol or Paul MacLean or goalie coach Steve Briere could become a sacrificial firing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sun’s Steve Simmons also doesn’t expect Shanahan, Dubas or Keefe to be fired. One or two of the assistant coaches could be replaced. The Leafs’ struggling power play could cost Malhotra his job.

Hornby wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs see which goaltenders are available in the summer’s trade and free-agent markets. If nothing’s worthwhile there, he suggests returning with Jack Campbell and either David Rittich or a goalie from within their system. He doesn’t expect Frederik Andersen will be re-signed.

Of the Leafs’ other unrestricted free agents, Hornby feels Zach Hyman, Jason Spezza and perhaps Alex Galchenyuk should be signed. Siegel thinks restricted free agent Travis Dermott will be an affordable re-signing.

With defenseman Morgan Rielly a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility, Siegel believes the Leafs must decide on his future this year. Trading Rielly would fetch assets and clear cap space but the move would also leave a big hole on their blueline.

As for shopping a core player such as Mitch Marner or William Nylander, Siegel preaches caution here. Making change for change’s sake could set the Leafs back several years, pointing to the Boston Bruins’ trading Tyler Seguin in 2013 and the Edmonton Oilers trading Taylor Hall in 2016.

Both pundits believe the Leafs could lose Dermott or Alex Kerfoot in the expansion draft unless the Leafs cut a side deal with the Seattle Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have to tread carefully as Siegel suggests. Nevertheless, they must fully evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to determine what moves are necessary and what’s available to address their needs.

They’ve still handcuffed themselves with those big contracts for Marner, Nylander, John Tavares and Auston Matthews. The latter two, of course, aren’t going anywhere. Tavares has a full no-movement clause while Matthews is coming off a Richard Trophy performance despite his lack of production in the series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Marner, Nylander or Rielly are the prime trade candidates if they wish to shake up the core. Each would fetch significant returns in the trade market. By moving one of them, however, they must ensure they’re not creating one problem by trying to fix another.

Losing Rielly could hurt the Leafs the most as it could prove difficult to replace him on the blueline. If they’re going to trade him they better be sure they’ve got a suitable replacement lined up.

Their depth at center suffered against the Canadiens when Tavares and Nick Foligno were injured. They’ll have to address that issue if Foligno isn’t re-signed and they lose Kerfoot to the Kraken. Finding a suitable goaltender to split the duties with Campbell is a must. So is replacing Hyman if he departs via free agency.

The Leafs sacrificed speed for experienced grit this year. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have physical players in their lineup but they can’t be the slowfooted kind.

They could also end up pursuing bargain players via trades or free agency if they don’t make a significant cost-cutting move. Cap Friendly shows them with nearly $69 million tied up in 14 players. They will get some relief depending on which player they lose in the expansion draft, but not enough to make an impact addition.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards shot down a recent report in the New York Post speculating Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville could head to the Seattle Kraken. “No one is taking it too seriously,” said Richards, pointing out Quenneville is among the NHL’s highest-paid coaches and appears very happy in his current job.

Richards wondered what the Panthers will do with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and defenseman Keith Yandle. They’re the club’s highest-paid players with a combined annual average value of $16 million. However, both were healthy scratches during the Panthers’ final game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their first-round series.

Both players have no-movement clauses plus Bobrovsky has a lot of years left on his contract. After seeing GM Bill Zito trade Mike Matheson and his contract last year, Richards doesn’t rule out the possibility of trading Bobrovsky or Yandle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Richards considers it important for the Panthers to free up some salary to re-sign pending free agents such as Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair, Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Montour. They’ll also have to consider long-term cap space to sign Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to contract extensions over the next couple of years.

Zito didn’t sign Bobrovsky and Yandle to those contracts. He inherited them from his predecessor. Moving Matheson was easier because he lacked no-trade protection and had a more affordable $4.875 million cap hit. Trading those other two presents a bigger challenge for Zito.

Yandle could be easier to move than Bobrovsky. The 34-year-old blueliner’s got two years left on his deal with an annual average value of $6.35 million. It will require some creativity, perhaps a third-party broker and it could cost the Panthers a couple of draft picks or prospects to make happen in a package deal. Still, they’d have a better chance at moving Yandle than Bobrovsky’s $10 million AAV for the next five years.

Jimmy Murphy reported there have been numerous rumors over the last two years linking Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin to the Panthers. Malkin lives in Florida with his family during the offseason.

Murphy cited an NHL source with direct knowledge of the situation saying he believes there is and has been mutual interest there. However, they’re stuck with Bobrovsky’s big contract plus they’re planning to sign Barkov to an expensive new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers’ rumored interest in Malkin first surfaced when Dale Tallon was the general manager. I doubt that’s the case now under Bill Zito. Even if he found a way to shed Bobrovsky’s salary, I don’t think he’ll use the savings to acquire an aging Malkin.


  1. Unless you trade Malkin for Bob. You had better do that soon if there is any interest.

    Aside from Tavares and Spezza do the Leafs have a center ? Mathews Marner are truly wingers. They won’t be able to resign Foligno.
    I predict Andersson ends up in Edmonton or Buffalo

    • So we cant talk OEL+Barrett Hayton+? for Auston?

    • Not sure if you are kidding/trolling with the Mathews not a center comment SilverSeven.
      You serious?

      • silverscreen don’t make a comment that really makes you look like we should ignore it. If you honestly think he’s more a winger than a center, you have to explain that hot take.

        I LOL’d at your line Lyle where you say the Leafs sacrificed speed for experience grit this year I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have physical players in their lineup but they can’t be the slowfooted kind.

        It’s like no matter what they do…mmm it not quite acceptable or good enough. Sums up this team and how most view them and sort of are. Very meh.

      • It’s funny Siegel says moving marner or nylander could set them back???? Set them back from what exactly? The team hasn’t been past the first round in a very long time

      • Mathews is a shooter Led the league in goals. My idea of a Center man is a playmaker With more helpers than goals.

        I post every day not what I would call trolling .

      • Sorry SS, my bad for using the troll word. You ain’t one.
        I think Matthews is a top 5 C in the NHL. Good a both ends too.

  2. Buff should grab Yandle for a few good picks to help build the roster. They need a vet back there to help their guys especially if Risto is moved leaving only Miller with a sizeable amount of NHL games played.

    Still think they should offer Skinner to FLA for Bob plus pick lol

    • pretty certain that Bobrovski nor Yandle would waive their NMCs to go to Buffalo

    • Yandle to Buffalo makes absolutely zero sense … Sabres have more than enough blueliners who can’t defend now … and who would want Bob’s contract, especially when he plays like the sieve he is? Buffalo fans are rejoicing you aren’t making the decisions …

  3. I get a kick out of pundits and fan bases running down players for lack of character, not showing up, not earning their pay……and then expecting big rewards in a trade.

    Either they are wrong in their critique or they presume that NHL GM’s don’t see it.

    This isn’t a TML thing, Habs ran down Paccoretty and Galchenyuk for years before they were traded and I never understood it, tbh I’m shocked that Bergevin got good returns on both.

    This summer will be an adventure for most teams dealing with the cap, rfa and ufa contracts.

    Professional scouting becomes more important in finding talent for low cost.

  4. Bob is only Florida goalie with a large sample size. He hasn’t been great as of late, but there’s very few teams that can take on that contract. Defense still needs fixing. Not having Ekblad didn’t help matters. Yandle to Bruins.

    • No thanks on Yandle Slick, but agree on Bob, sort of.
      He hasn’t been good in FLA, but NHL tenders can go from good to bad to good again. He was the best tender in the NHL, or at very least top 3 for a few years. Have to think he can find it if he wants to. I haven’t heard that he has put his feet up and is simply collecting checks and is still a competitive guy.
      Having said that, I sure wouldn’t trade for him. FLA is stuck with him, best hope is he finds his game. Just saying he might.

      • Ray, as well as that, even if they could trade him, what’s left? Agree Bob can be good again, just like Driedger could be bad. With Knight on elc, and Florida a playoff team, I’d keep Bobrovsky. He’s at least been a true #1. Worse case scenario, you buy him out when Knight is up for new deal.

      • Ray the good to bad to good thoughts you expressed are not only true but they incline me to believe if Florida ate half the $10M and Bob went to Seattle it could be a win-win for both. In my eyes it might be sort of be like MAF and his resurgence in Vegas. When you look back at that it’s hard to believe Pittsburgh saw no value in him behind the likes of Murray and Jarry. Eating $5 million would be less of a pain with Knight on a rookie contract and enough money saved for Florida to simultaneously address another need

      • Ya, that’s a tough one ShaneinTpa. $5M for 5 is still a lot for a long time. I would want to see some performance first.
        But ya, the upside could be big. He was a really, really good player 2 seasons ago.

    • the only way I see Bobrovski being moved is if Fla retains a large chunk of his cap/salary and or they get a bad contract in return. Maybe someone takes him @ 4.5 retained and a couple of sweeteners thrown in?
      To make matters worse he has a NMC so he controls where he gets moved to. Five years left on that contract to boot, tough sel.

  5. Dubas/Shanahan? mmm… You don’t kill a snake by cutting off his tail. They assembled a decent team. Suppose they bring Eric Staal or Derek Brassard as UFA’s.cause that’s all they can fit under the cap. Nobody feels sorry for them (TML) do they?

    • I don’t see the Leafs yet making major changes in management, coaches or on the ice. Of course, an early exit next year would likely result in these changes. If Anderson won’t be back, they’ll have to make sure to get a solid and experienced backup. Campbell is 29 years old and has yet to establish himself as a No. 1 goalie. The jury’s still out on whether he’ll be able to carry the load over a full season.

      • At 29 years old and having never been a starter in the NHL Id say the jury is no longer out and clearly Campbell is not a #1 goalie.

  6. The one place Malkin may waive his no trade (outside the Rangers) is Florida.

    He has a house in Florida and lives there, his fellow Russian all go there, and they have a good team and former teammate in Hornqvist.

    At this point I would take C/W Sam Bennett, 25, d-man Radko Gudas and a high draft pick (1st 2nd)

    While Malkin is super talented, he is moody, inconsistent, and injury prone, oh and $9.5 million.. No State Tax..

    Malkin -150 games missed due to injury since 2013…wow

    Florida can clear some cap space i’m sure

  7. The Leafs will likely do very little other than tinker with their 3rd and 4th lines. Tavares and Matthews are going anywhere. Marners value at 11 million is at a low. Nylander, one of the few to show up vs Montreal has the highest value of moveable parts.

    Out with Jumbo Slo, Simmonds is well past his best before date. Spezza offered up decent value for his contract.

    Muzzin and Brodie are decent defencemen. Reilly is above average and moveable but do you really want Bogosian as one of your top six?

    Andersen is likely gone which leaves you two career backups in goal. Hard to imagine Campbell and Rittich being the answer in goal.

    Dubas will tinker, add a new marshmellow here and there but do nothing to add testicular fortitude to the roster.

    Another year of high scoring pond hockey with 100 point seasons and 50 goals in the mix which will lead to noted Leaf loving media types at Sportsnet and TSN to crown the Leafs as Cup favorites again with another early playoff exit certain to follow.

    Toronto needs a major shakeup. Dubas and Keefe are clearly over their heads. Outsmarted at every step. Shanahan is responsible for putting incompetents in place and should be held to account as well.

    The Leafs will never contend for, let alone win a Cup as long as they maintain their pond hockey mentality.

    Its great to score a ton of goals and rack up a million assists while beating up on the leagues bottom feeders but keep in mind next season its back to Tampa, Boston, Florida and Montreal.

    If the Leafs truly believe they have what it takes to beat all of these teams then keep the status quo. If not it clearly should be bye bye time for the Shanascam, Dubas and Keefe.

    Somethings got to give……. going to be interesting to see what.

    • In his column this morning in the Sun, Traikos muses about what might have been had it been Dubas forced out and not Lamorielo. In the 3 years since taking over the Leafs, Dubas’ concoction has yet to win a playoff series, while the Islanders – which he says were arguably weaker overall than the Leafs at the time, have won 4 playoff rounds and remain in the thick of things this season.

      Interesting comparisons


      • George,

        Great article.

    • I dont feel Dubas is outsmarted, but I do feel that his inexperience makes him undecided as to what he wants the team to be. I also believe that the move for Tavares was wrong, very wrong. That contract would build a very good 3rd line, instead he will be on the 3rd line in 2 years

      • Kent,

        Totally agree. Dubas sees a shiney toy and has to have it despite needs elsewhere.

        Very similar to the Vegas modus operandi.

        With very very similar results.

  8. Just spitballing. What about Jarry Malkin for bob (3 mil held) trocheck. My pens fandom would also think another decent asset from Florida but that could be black and gold glasses.

    • Trocheck is on Carolina

      • Damn it your right. Not sure how to structure it then.

  9. Toronto has Matthews, Marner, and Nylander. They go and get top FA at the time, Tavares. And they can’t win a playoff series… Rangers in a rebuild and owner fired everyone. How exactly does the management in Toronto deserve to keep their jobs?

    • Slick,

      They dont and should be held accountable, from the Shanascam to Dubas to Keefe.

    • In any loss there is a scape goat.
      As a Leafs fan, I think Dubas has done a great job with the cap. This team has been in cap hell for years but each year he wiggles out of it somehow and addresses concerns.
      Have a look at the forward/Dgroup from 3 years ago, the team is better (at least on paper).
      Jumbo didn’t work out – but Riley Nash sat the last two games as a healthy scratch, why? Thats on the coach. Riley Nash is a good penalty killer – Montreal’s terrible PP scored 3 PP goals in the last two games.
      The lines were never shifted. Game 7 where Leafs had the last change, match ups weren’t controlled.

      I put this on Keefe – he was hired by Dubas and I put that part of it on Dubas for sure.

      There is no excuse for Malhotra to not get more out of this PP, what were they down the stretch 10%? Thats crazy considering the names that are on that PP1.

  10. Chrisms.. That’s not awful.. Spit balling further

    You exchange two underachieving stars both at basically $10.0 million.
    (MALKIN $9.5)

    I add this Bennett can be the new third line center….Carter slides to two spot

    Bob’s contract 4 years at 32
    Geno’s contract 1 year at 35

    If they take Jarry maybe we get Sam Bennett C/W.

    To Florida
    26 Jarry $3.5 signed through 2023
    25 Malkin $9.5 signed through 2021
    $13.0 million

    25 Bennett $2.55 RFA Next Season
    32 Brobrosky $10.0 signed through 2024
    $12.55 million

    Hoping two superstars can regain their form in a new city, the money is even, ages on all the players close, mmmhhhhhhh

    would you do it…

    • I dont hate Malkin for Bob in some sort of deal
      but Pitts would be on the hook for Bob for a long long time

      • Bob would have to have salary retained. Bob at 10. Never. Bob at 7? Gamble but maybe.

      • bob @ 7 for 5 more seasons is a tough pill

        florida stuck @10×5

      • Like Chrims said Florida retains $3 million which makes sense.

  11. To Pittsburgh Bennet and Brobrosky.. ooppss

  12. Florida has the cap space to do that agreed…

  13. Bob at $ 7 yes agreed I think he would do well in Pittsburgh couldn’t be any worse than Jarry was in the playoffs

  14. I don’t see the Penguins with any regularity but over the years it always appeared to mr that Malkin plays his best hockey when Crosby is out of the lineup.

    Does he need to be the 1C to shine or just be out from under Crosby’s shadow?

    • 100% agree something actually clicks if Sid is out of the line-up. If we could only bottle that Malkin would be consistently unstoppable…

  15. Mathews to NYR for Strome, Buchnevich, Nils Lundkvist and 1st round pick this year and next. How bout it Leafs fans?

    • as a Ranger fan I would not make that trade. The Rangers have enough shiny toys…They need size and grit….Players like Simmons Blake Coleman,Jordan Martinook…David Sevard, all of whom are UFA’s this summer…If the Rangers want to make a trade go for Ryan O’Reilly…I love Matthews but he isn’t what the Rangers need…By the way they willnot trade Nils Lunquist…I can see Zac Jones being traded

  16. Jack Edwadrs is such a homer broadcaster so annoying…

    • i used to live back ther over 20 plus years ago, now I live in Colorado. Didn’t thin he was even a good sport reporter back then but when they gave him the job to do Bruins games, couldn’t believe it, the worst. However, living in Colorado and following Avalanche, their broadcast is ok play by play; however, McNab never shuts up and is obsessed with stats that I could care less about, extremely annoying. But between periods and pre game is horrendous with Keefe and Rycroft; two real clowns that make for a bad broadcast. I don’t know who makes these decisions but they should be run out of town. When I first moved here the Avalanche broadcasts were very good 1999-2009, then they took a nose dive!!!!

  17. The Leafs looked a gift horse in the mouth and fainted. They may have blown their best opportunity to win a Cup. They had an easy ride to the playoffs in a generally weak Northern Division. Finishing in first place assured them home ice advantage through the division final. Now, the winner of the Montreal/Winnipeg series punches their ticket to the final four.

    My point is that next season things get more difficult with the resumption of regular divisions. Certainly, Tampa and Boston aren’t going anywhere. They will again ice strong teams, as will the Islanders, Panthers and Pens. As well, look for the Senators and Rangers to make a strong runs for a playoff position. The Leafs had problems with Ottawa this season. It’s only gonna get worse, in my opinion. And yet, Morgan Reilly has the audacity to say, “We have to learn how to close a series”. What a joke! This is something should be learned at the junior level. Sad, sad, sad. But, hey, I’m a Bruins’
    fan, so I celebrated the loss with a glass of champagne. 🙂

  18. Marner for Jones