NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

by | Jun 24, 2021 | Rumors | 33 comments

A look at some of this summer’s notable trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones top Frank Seravalli’s list of 20 names in play in this summer’s trade market.

Seravalli encapsulates the previous reports explaining the broken relationship between Eichel and the Sabres. He also reports concerns have been voiced by multiple teams about Jones’ two seasons of declining production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones has 30 and 28 points respectively in 56 games each. That could be due to playing fewer games in two pandemic-shortened seasons. It could also be attributed to playing for one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring teams during that period. His two best offensive seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) occurred when winger Artemi Panarin was his teammate.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun cited sources claiming the Philadelphia Flyers are among the clubs with an interest in the Jackets blueliner. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expects a Jones trade to take place around next month’s NHL Draft.

The Washington Capitals are tired of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s off-ice antics. A talented but inconsistent player, his contract could be difficult to move but maybe less so after the Capitals pay his $5 million signing bonus in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll still carrying a $7.8 million annual average value through 2024-25 with a 15-team no-trade clause. The Capitals will either have to pick up part of that cap hit or take back an expensive contract.

There’s been no contract discussions between the Arizona Coyotes and restricted free agent winger Conor Garland since his agent submitted two contract proposals on May 20. Seravalli points out the Coyotes nearly moved Garland leading up to this season’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland has arbitration rights and is completing a two-year, $1.55 million contract. He’ll attract plenty of attention if the Coyotes decide to move him.

Seravalli cites sources claiming there was friction this season between Evander Kane and some of his San Jose Sharks teammates. He’s also coming off his best season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was the Sharks’ leading scorer this season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games. He’s also signed through 2024-25 with a $7 million cap hit and a three-team trade list. As Seravalli suggests, general manager Doug Wilson could face choppy waters here.

It’s believed the Arizona Coyotes seek a draft pick, prospect, roster player and perhaps a smaller, less desirable contract in exchange for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Coyotes get that much for OEL. Their goal is to shed the remaining six years (at $8.25 million annually) of his contract so they’ll probably have to settle for much less because of the flattened salary cap. Heck, it’ll be a win if they can move him without absorbing part of his cap hit.

Others appearing on Seravalli’s list include Carolina Hurricanes winger Warren Foegele, Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek and Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman.

He speculated the Hurricanes might be unable to give Foegele the extra playing time he seeks. Clearing out Voracek’s contract could give the Flyers the cap flexibility they need, perhaps by enticing the Seattle Kraken with a draft pick. Cap flexibility for the Panthers would also be behind moving Stralman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele’s stuck behind Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter on the Hurricanes depth chart at left wing. It will be interesting to see how they handle this situation.

Voracek lacks no-trade protection but carries an $8.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Maybe the Kraken would be interested but it could take a significant pick to tempt them.

Stralman turns 35 in August, carries a $5.5 million cap hit for next season with a 16-team no-trade list. Two words to Panthers GM Bill Zito: good luck.

Seravalli also listed the rights to Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, St. Louis Blues rearguard Vince Dunn, the rights to Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger, Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Travis Dermott and Winnipeg Jets defender Sami Niku.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Eichel, Seravalli summarizes why those players could be shopped this summer. Those factors have been previously documented here in the Rumor Mill based on various media sources, including Seravalli during his TSN tenure.


  1. With regard to OEL, isn’t it remarkable how so many NHL players seem to descend from valuable assets to cap albatrosses in such a short period of time?

    • Eh. Tough to tell now. I’m some cases yes. I’m others covid put a screeching halt on the rising cap so that contracts signed thinking their percentage of the cap would decrease failed to do so. Take Marner. Deal would be expensive with no COVID but acceptable for his talent. But now it’s borderline albatross.

  2. do the panthers move driedger???q seemed to lose faith in bob and knight , while full of potential, is still a young goalie who will have his ups and downs adjusting to a much heavier workload.

    • Dreiger is a UFA someone will scoop him up, Knight is the future. In the meantime Fla has Bobrovsky @10 mil for 5 more years with a NMC.

      Any Canes fans out there who can enlighten me on Foegele ? from what I have seen he fits a 3rd line grinder role, perhaps given the opportunity he could blossom into a top 6 but I have not seen him play enough.

      Evander Kane seems to rub people the wrong way wherever he goes, both teammates and opponents. Regardless of talent players like him and Kuznetsov are not players I would want on my team.

      • Yes, Foegele currently plays the 3RW as part of a grinding line.

        I’m not really sure he’s suited to much more than that. He has good speed and can be a disrupter, but there are limitations in his offense. He can play up the lineup in a pinch, but he’s not really that kind of scoring forward. If he’s looking for a bigger role, I don’t know where he finds it.

        It can be argued that being stuck on a grinding line has hindered his offensive upside. But on those occasions where he has moved up – the offense didn’t really materialize, though in a small sample size.

        I certainly don’t blame him for trying to find a better role, but this seems to be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.

      • thanks Whalercane you confirmed my suspicion.

      • I agree Fergy. Just what the Sharks need, another headache. Doug Wilson must have enough money by now that retirement is starting to look good to him.

    • @ Rich…I believe Driedger is a UFA so he is leaving anyway !!

  3. I hope my favorite team is on Kuznetsov ‘s 15 team list….

  4. I doubt much movement will take place before expansion draft. Unless a team has a must-have player to add/protect. There are some Albatross contracts out there, but OEL’s would be more palatable if Ariz. absorbed a little of it (2 mil)? Very few will be lining up to trade for guys that might be decent but getting paid way too much. Most teams have one or two crap contracts.

  5. The interesting case of Jake Debrusk. I read where one pundit suggested leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft. That just not smart.

    Boston expansion draft protection list imo is:



    above are all locked

    leaving 2 spots for:


    the rest don’t matter

    At first glance i will protect Debrusk and Frederic, leaving both Ritchie and Kase exposed.

    If Boston wants to move Debrusk then, they would have to move him to a team that has room to protect him as one of their 7 forwards ie Edmonton and trade for a player who doesn’t require protection.

    To leave Debrusk unprotected makes no sense because he has trade value.

    Yes this year sucked for him: 41gp 5g 9a 14pts

    however his previous 2 seasons

    18-19 68gp 27g 15a 42pts
    19-20 65gp 19g 16a 35pts

    you don’t leave that player unprotected and picked up for free.

    If Boston trades Debrusk then i protect Ritchie leaving Kase exposed.


    I would leave Grzelcyk exposed and if Seattle takes him fine.

    Grzelcyk was suppose to take on Krug role but didn’t.

    McAvoy with 1g 11a 12pts in 11 playoff games has shown he is ready to man the PP, which also makes Grzelcyk less of an a requirement.

    I know the left side is weak but Grzelcyk isn’t a top pairing dman and I’m ok if Seattle takes him.

    Vladar is the goalie who will be protected as Swayman is exempt.

    • My kid is a die hard B’s fan who watches ever game and he’s ready to give Debrusk away (unprotected) and he’d leave Lauzon exposed.

      Also Foegelle might get some interest as teams try and create their own “identity line” (as much as I had that label) they’re very effective.

      • Dark G, that’s the issue when you let emotions get in the way of decision making.

        Yes Debrusk had bad year but to let him go for nothing would be poor management.

      • DeBrusk is a keeper over all those other 3 and Lauzon > Grez its thats simple.

      • Depends if they plan on signing Hall.
        If they are, expose DeBrusk as he will be 3rd line winger.
        If they don’t I expose Lauzon.
        Or Grzeclyk.
        Nah, Lauzon.

        Or trade DeBrusk to the Oil (they need wingers) if you plan on signing Hall and protect 4 D.

        More middle 6 wingers available as UFA’s than 3-4 LD IMO. They already need 1 this off season, finding 2 will be tough.

      • There’s a FO guy still there for the Bruins that had a very big part in giving Seguin away for nothing …. DeBrusk is no T Seguin when it comes to goal scoring

      • Ray Bark, i have to disagree with you. No way you protect 4 d even with a Debrusk move.

        You be deciding between Coyle and Smith for the 4th spot. The other be on his way to Seattle.

        Boston 4 deal with protecting are McAvoy, Carlo, Lauzon, and Zboril. Still no Grz.

        If you look at the 4 remaining teams they all have one thing in common.

        They have size on the back end, guys who can clear the front of the net and make it difficult to get there.

        Boston lacks size on the back end and they certainly missed Carlo and Miller against the Islanders.

      • I don’t think Seattle would take Coyle at that AAV? In a flat cap? Smith is 31 with 2 years left on deal. Maybe they take him, but I would keep it guys who are younger with control if I am Seattle.
        Yes they have a ton of cap space, but I would use to acquire more assets and higher end talent not on a 3C with 6G and 10A.
        UFA’s like Hamilton, RNH, Landeskog, Saad, Rask, Krecji etc are the higher end type guys they won’t be able to draft.

      • I think the Bruins will lose one of:


        The others just aren’t worth the money

      • I think they protect Vlader HF30.
        Swayman not eligible, Rask and Halak both UFA’s.
        They qualify Booth and expose him IMO.

        I don’t know what they do, they have options like other teams.
        Perhaps we see more deals that don’t include Seattle than last go round with this.
        Caper makes a fair point on Grz and his size come playoff time, but he is still a good player. Him & Charlie are a good pair and the B’s have the puck all the time when they are on the ice together.
        That is why it is a tough call and who do you want to lose?

      • Ray Bark,

        You’re probably right, in that case, either:


        I don’t see the value in guys like Coyle and DeBrusk

        They might/should sign Halak after the draft as a UFA. I don’t know why he gets bounced around despite having excellent numbers everywhere he goes and is cheap.

    • I have been thinking of a Debrusk to the Oilers trade. wouldn’t be the first young player to have a down season only to bounce back the next season. I wonder what kind of shape he came into the season in. I think the Oilers have the room to protect him in the expansion draft. I would think that Caleb Jones would be going to the Bruins.

      • More than that KevJam.
        I like Jones, but not a regular yet and he would be exposed too. Still think he has middle 2 potential. Skates well.
        Throw in Samarukov as well?

  6. TO CGY: Kuznetsov & Schultz (11.8m)

    TO WSH: Monohan & Giordano (13.125m)

    Some retained salary to make the caps work

    • Why would Calgary do that? Its 19m vs 36m, Giordano is a better player than Schultz and while Monahan has his issues and lack of production last two season, he only has 2 more to go while Kuznetzov has 4 at a higher cap while not bringing much more and also being 3 years older and he has group issues. As for me Im at no by the time you get to Kuz

      • Gio is 37. one last cup run with WSH

        Schultz is younger

        thats why

      • Only issue IHC is that the trade doesn’t move the needle for Calgary. Kuznetsov’s off-ice issues and his on-ice inconsistency would land him in Sutter’s doghouse very early, and 4 years of that is just a no-go. Schultz doesn’t improve the D at all, younger than Gio or not.

        If Gio leaves, Flames need a left shot blueliner to replace him, not another righty, which the Flames need also for the 3rd pair. One D in, one D out doesn’t make anything better, especially swapping Gio for Schultz.

        If anything, the Flames will be rebuilding sooner than later – but in any case, this trade would not make Calgary stronger, and only add to their cap woes as Kuz’s contract is played out with likely increasingly diminishing returns.

        Kuznetsov’s destinations are limited by his trade list, and it will be difficult even for those on his OK list as I doubt many teams are willing to take a chance on him outside of maybe Seattle..

        In summary, your proposal is good for Gio and good for Washington, but I doubt it would do much for Calgary.

      • I would have loved to see Calgary pony up 1m or 1.5 for Jan Ruutta to be that third pair righty, but Tampa brought him back.

    • Gio might be older but he is still better and since its only ine year for both it doesnt really matter.

      • Regardless, aren’t we facing a year where the aggregate cap is probably a it less than the aggregate salaries, and certainly less than the salaries plus the raises due those who have performed well. Does this put the squeeze on FA’s? Do players try to find a good place to park on a one year deal rather than sign a skinny contract? Albatross, or gooney bird, those big numbers aren’t coming off the books;
        thus the squeeze is on. WIll the owners panic and do a one-time post-COVID save-us-from-ourselves deal…what can they give the players assn for this?

      • Can’t see Bettman and some of the owners agreeing to that Richard.
        If I am the B’s, Leafs, etc who have taken their medicine and moved assets to move bad contracts, or did the buyouts and have dead cap space, I would pretty choked if all of a sudden teams got a freebie.

    • Fell off my beer if I had one.

  7. Evander Kane is just bad news. It doesn’t matter which team he plays for. It doesn’t matter how many points he has, he’s just bad news – always has been and always will be. I have no idea why the Sharks decided to pony up a small fortune for him but they were destined to regret it sooner or later.