NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2021

by | Jun 25, 2021 | Rumors | 61 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill: Looking ahead at possible offseason moves by the Golden Knights and the Blue Jackets appear to be out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Vegas Golden Knights need to open up some salary-cap flexibility during the offseason. They’ve only got $3 million in cap room for 2021-22 with Alec Martinez and Tomas Nosek hitting free agency. Reilly Smith, Ryan Reaves, Brayden McNabb and Nick Holden will be UFAs next summer.

Could the Vegas Golden Knights attempt to trade Marc-Andre Fleury later this summer? (NHL Images).

They have over $12 million tied up in goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Wyshynski wonders if Fleury might be easier to move with a year remaining on his contract as a Vezina Trophy finalist.

Wyshynski believes they need to find a star center. With players like Jack Eichel, Evgeni Malkin, Aleksander Barkov and Evgeny Kuznetsov potentially available and the Golden Knights considered high-stakes gamblers, it wouldn’t be surprising if they made a major move this summer.

The Golden Knights are exempt from the expansion draft. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t swing a cost-cutting deal with the Seattle Kraken.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ed Graney believes offseason changes are needed for the Golden Knights after failing to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. Pointing to a power-play that went scoreless in 15 attempts against the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinal, he feels it needs a “massive overhaul, be it schematically or personnel.”

Graney also thinks the Golden Knights must move on from one of their two goaltenders. “You figure it would be Fleury,” he said.

He also pointed out the need for high-end talent up front. The lack of depth at center, including Cody Glass’ inability to develop as hoped, also needs to be addressed. He recommended putting together a package offer for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel or contacting the Columbus Blue Jackets about winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights aren’t likely to just stand pat this summer. They’re unafraid to make bold moves and could so again this summer, perhaps with one or two cost-cutting trades to free up room for an impact center.

Fleury carries a $7 million cap hit for next season ($6 million in actual salary) and a 10-team no-trade list. Still, the Golden Knights could gauge his value in the trade market, especially if he ends up winning the Vezina Trophy.

Landing an expensive talent like Eichel or Kuznetsov would be a complex move. The Sabres reportedly want between four-to-six assets for Eichel. Kuznetsov will cost less but the Capitals will still want to get back something decent. Laine could be available but the Golden Knights lack the quality center the Blue Jackets would probably want in return.

Forget about Malkin or Barkov, they’re not going anywhere. The former reportedly will only waive his no-movement clause to go to Florida, while the Panthers intend to sign the latter to a contract extension.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports of rumors the Columbus Blue Jackets are heavily involved in trade discussions with the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. However, his sources claim it doesn’t appear they’re in hot pursuit of the 24-year-old center.

Eichel’s health (herniated disc), the Sabres’ asking price, and the Blue Jackets’ position as a rebuilding club are the main issues here. Portzline speculates it could cost them their first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year’s draft, goaltender Elvis Merzlkins, forward Alexandre Texier or defenseman Andrew Peeke, and a top prospect. Even that probably wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I assumed the Blue Jackets’ depth in first-round picks in this year’s draft and in tradeable goaltenders (Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo) could give them an edge in the potential Eichel bidding war. Portzline’s report took the air out of that balloon.

Maybe the Jackets’ interest changes if the Sabres can’t find a suitable trade partner for Eichel and lower their rumored asking price. As Portzline pointed out, however, giving up a lot of promising young players for a superstar with injury concerns would be a risky move for a rebuilding club.


  1. Other than a goalie and Petierangelo what does Vegas have that would get them a game changer back?

    This is a serious question to fellow readers. Until this series I had not watched Vegas often. The Habs played great so factor that in. But I did not see much super high talent there nor are their draft choices high.

    Can anyone suggest a trade that would bring Vegas roster changing talent. I can’t.

    • M.A Fleury.

      • He would likely bring back a decent prospect/pick and a serviceable skater – but a “roster changing talent??” Don’t think so.

      • Not only will Fleury NOT bring back talent, but Vegas will have to add sweetner to get somone to swallow that contract for a year.

    • Did Patrik Laine bring back roster changing talent?

    • I think you nailed it..their first is no more then a glorified 2nd which is not what Adams reportedly wants . Are they willing to include a player like Tuch. Don’t know why the Sabres would need Glass since they have Mittelstadt.

    • Peyton Krebs, Cody glass, tuch, Fleury?

    • Shea Theodore and a pick/prospect for Kuznetsov.

      • Washington would roll on the floor laughing or hang up the phone on that offer. Theodore is on a great contract for many years and Kuznetsov is an albatross.

    • MAF, Reaves, Carrier and ’22 2nd rounder to Rangers for Kreider & Georgiev

  2. Bruins will land Eichel

    • Just like Vegas would blow out Montreal in 4 eh Rick? Don’t quit your current job to go into the fortune-telling business.

    • Rick, B’s getting Eichel is going to start with McAvoy. Or, tell me which main piece will go from B’s to Buffalo? DeBrusk? (c’mon-healthy scratch)
      Lot’s of other teams have way more to offer.

    • The Bruins don’t have the cap space, nor the assets to land Eichel. Seattle has a better chance of getting Eichel than Boston does. But, hey, keep making these insane statements. I get a good laugh, every time I read one.

    • For what??

    • Doubt it…Adam’s doesn’t want him in the east. Bruins don’t have the goods to get him.
      Honestly if I’m Adam’s and I look at the Bruins roster why would I want to help them since there centers are getting long in the tooth and Eichel will be the best player in the trade. You willing to put Pasta in the trade?

    • With what Bruins have no top 6 forward prospects , no top 4 d prospects , outside of Pasta , McAvoy , Carlo Boston has no young talent

  3. So the Jackets are heavily involved in discussions but not in hot pursuit??? huh?

    Vegas lacks speed in today’s game and having 12 Million tied up in two goalies is foolish … it’s difficult to propose any trades because we don’t (and probably won’t) know who is available and who isn’t.

    Unless you want to propose something brilliant like Alexander Kerfoot straight up for Evander Kane …

    • I don’t know how foolish having that money tied up in goaltending is Montreal has $13.35mill tied up in their 2 goalies and are in the Stanley Cup final.

      • Dino, see my post on $’s and Goalies below.


    • What???? Vegas having 12 Million tied up in two goalies is foolish???

      Would that make the Canadiens more foolish since they have over $13 million tied up in two goalies???

      • What about MAF in Colorado ? If Vegas eats a bit of his contract and Grubaeur goes elsewhere as a UFA?

  4. The need for VGK to retool is ridiculous considering how far they have come.

    The team was built after the draft and not during it with great analysis and professional scouting.

    Every franchise would love to have had the VGK season this year.

    Getting shut down by a hot goalie isn’t a reason to turn the team over.

    The jealousy of VGK is based on mythology like that of the Habs protected Quebec born player, which not only was short lived but didn’t net a single NHL player of value.

    Seattle has the exact same “advantage” as VGK, lets see how well they do.

    • Congratulations habfan30 on your team reaching the Stanley Cup Finals!
      After all the smack talk about how the Leafs were going to sweep the Canadians and then how Vegas will sweep the Canadians this must feel really good.
      Go Canadians Go!!!

      • Agreed, congrats to all Canadians fans! Pulling for you on Long Island! As a Devs fan, it is just brutal out here on Long Island right now.

  5. Kuznetsov to Vegas does not seem that complex.

  6. Fleury cost Vegas the series not much else. That game 4 mistake with less than 2 to go is inexcusable . Should have sat the rest of the series. Game 5 not that stellar either . Colorado series as well. He has done this more than once in his career. Gold medal game world Juniors skated to the hash marks and served up an empty net winner.. did it in Pit a few times as well prior to the cup win. Not someone I could absolutely count on . I am sure someone will want him . Vegas does need a star Center. I believe Stone was hurt and we will see in the coming days.

    • Really? Placing all the blame on MAF eh.

      Where were the forwards and all the goals? Top two lines did squat in this series. Thats what cost LV the series.

      That said, excellent job by the Habs D core and goaltending to shut down LVs offense, something the President trophy winners couldnt do.

      Go Habs Go (Im still mad about 93 though)

      • Agreed CDN King.
        That and 0-15 on the PP didn’t help.

        Also, the refs have taken a lot of flack on here, and deservedly so. Not the most consistent group.

        But “letting them play” may have helped the Habs as well.

        Allowed them to slow down the Vegas forward speed advantage vs slower MTL D.
        I’m talking obstruction, not the hacks and cheap shots etc.

        Having said that, they played to it and used it to their advantage. All the power to them.

        Still hate the Habs and am now torn as would like to see a CDN team win one.

    • Lehner lost last nights game by letting in three goals. He even said that Suzuki goes 5 hole or up high. How did Suzuki beat him last night? High glove side. Fleury was the reason why the Knights got passed the Wild.
      IMO the Knights just got beat by a better team.

      • Kevjam,

        I think you mean Caulfield, not Suzuki.



      • I think Vegas got beat by a team that played better, not by a better team.


        It’s all about EXECUTING.

  7. Vegas was still a final four team. Carrying your potential #1 goalies isn’t ideal, but not sure they need to make any big moves in off season. They’ll be a playoff team again next year, and will probably wait till next years tdl to address whatever needs then.
    Last summer, I thought Montreal had one of the best off seasons. Congrats to them. Hope fans can stop labeling teams “contenders”. Every off season we hear who is/isn’t ready to win and who’s window is open/shut. Ideally, teams need to get in and go from there. You add players when they’re available. Rangers added Panarin 2 seasons ago. Eichel is available. Until he’s traded elsewhere, I’ll believe Rangers are in on him despite the daily reports of whether they are/aren’t interested.

  8. Interesting notes out of Vegas that just goes to show how the NHL draft is often a crapshoot.

    There is some moaning over Nick Suzuki, (Vegas pick at #13) being traded to Mtl. instead of Cody Glass, (Vegas pick at #6 in the same year).

    These kids get drafted and are pressed into service at such a young age that its so easy to get it wrong or lack the patience with them.

    On a side note, as a life long Hab fan I’m obviously happy now but I just don’t get folks who constantly disparage others or try to get a rise out of them.

  9. One scenario that I haven’t seen mentioned is a team approaching the Kraken about a sign and then trade for another teams UFA. Is there anything preventing the Knights from approaching the Kraken to try and get them to sign RNH to a contract and then trade him to the Knights? The only benefit if this for the Knights is that they would be able to get RNH before free agency starts. So I don’t know if that is enough of a benefit or not.

  10. It is immaturity Habsfan30….thank Goodness there is less of it here than other sites….but part of being team fan seems to be schadenfruede….( I can’t enjoy my pleasure….but I can enjoy your pain)….a hell of base philosophy in the short life we all have….I am Leaf fan who cheers for the Leafs only but that is where it ends….

    I got some emails this morning from Leaf fan friends saying they will cheer for Montreal vs Islanders final as it embarrasses Dubas the most and may force the Leaf Board to remove him ….any means to the desired end….another questionable philosphy….

  11. So glad to see that Patches and Mark Stone got a chance to play for a “winner”.

    Sometime the grass isnt greener on the other side.

    Bettman and his buddies in New York must be ready to puke. Imagine the tv ratings theyre going to get with an Islanders/Canadiens Final. Not the viewing bonanza in the U.S. that Tampa/Vegas would have drawn.

    Not even the blatant one sided officiating could get the Golden Showers into the Finals.


    • Same with Duchene. Perpetually looking to join that “winner.”

      • Stone and Patches make me sick. Watching them fold up and disappear was most enjoyable.

        Almost as invisible against the Habs as Leaf Hall of Famers Matthews and Marner were.

        Soft, soft soft.

    • The fact that Vegas was allowed their salary cap antics, the blatant one sided officiating, the suspected tampering with Pietrangelo, the head shot by Stone on Bozak this year, not even being reviewed, and the constant mugging by the 4th line of Vegas going uncalled, shows this push by the league office for Vegas to be successful.

  12. Malkin for Fleury

    I bet the Knight could convince Malkin to waive his NTC to go there

    • At the time I was wondering if it was a mistake by the Penguins in letting Fleury go and keeping Murray. I think at the time Murray was recovering from his second concussion and had a couple of other injuries that season.

  13. Vegas needs a first line center and Stone wasnt very good.
    2nd line was ok but not great and Pietrangelo was Vegas best player.
    Fleury wasnt the problem in this series but not the solution either. The 4th game mistake is s**t happens but DeBoer should have stayed with Lehner in game 5
    Finally, Vegas needs to trade MAF for cap space to get a center. How about an offersheet for Pettersson at 5×10,9, its only 2 1st+2nd+3rd, it would be tight but it could work with MAF gone

  14. From Dobber:

    “ The Golden Knights and the Canadiens are actually the two teams with the highest cap hit spent on goalies this season. With all four goalies likely back with their respective teams, and only Jake Allen coming in on a different cap hit ($2.875 million next season, down from $4.35 million), these two teams should once again be sitting at the top of that leaderboard. Interestingly Tampa Bay is fourth overall, and the Islanders are in the top half; Ilya Sorokin being underpaid as a rookie is part of the reason there.”

  15. Funny how teams think they need to add players after being eliminated from the playoffs. Most of the time I think these teams just need to EXECUTE.

    One bounce here or one bounce there and the end result is completely different (Ask the 2019 Stanley Cup Champ St. Louis Blues about Pat Maroon’s OT goal in Game 7/Round 2 against Dallas).

    • Normally I would agree with you but as far as Vegas goes they need a first line center, doesnt have to be an elite center. Karlsson could fit but then they would need a good 2nd line center so pretty much the same results. Not sure RNH or Reinhardt fits that description

    • LOL. Uwey, it sure sounds like the drivel spewed by Wendel. WE WUZ ROBBED!

      People should just ask themselves this: would any of the Leafs, Oilers or Jets have beaten Vegas? Not bloody likely with their respective D and goalies who aren’t even in the same universe as Price.

      They should put the “injuries cost us” to bed – GMs are paid to make sure their team has the right depth to overcome them. Winning teams have that.

      If Kucherov is out tonight and the Isles win are we going to hear that that is what cost TB? It shouldn’t – they have plenty of depth. But if this game goes deep with the Islanders ahead or even close we’ll see what the rest of that Lightning roster is made of.

    • Thanks Uwey, I wondered what Wendel was up to!
      I argued with him all the time, agreed some of the time, found him to be funny quite a bit. Have to admit he made you laugh.

      The article does have some truth to it, you do need to be lucky to win a cup and the margin between teams is small.

      Luckiest thing for the Habs was Tavares getting hurt after playing less than 3 minutes.

      Having the better goalie isn’t, not like they aren’t paying him plenty. He should be better.

    • Yes….JT/Wendel are the same ” non-linear thinking” person that is stuck in the circular file.

  16. Im no Islanders fan but I truly hope they put the Lightning out.

    NHL needs to close the loophole that allowed the Leafs, Lightning and Golden Showers to cheat the cap and ice playoff teams over the 81.5 cap limit.

    Seriously, Tampa is icing a 95 million dollar roster and is allowed to get away with it?

    Didnt New Jersey get fined or lose picks because of the Kovolchuk cap cirmcumvention? They werent technically breaking the rukes either but exploiting a loophole, just like the Leafs, Knights and the Bolts are.

    NHL playing feild is supposed to be even and fair. How is it fair to allow the Lightning to ice a team more than 14 million over the cap against teams that followed the rules or at minimum the spirit of the rules?

    Why arent the Leafs, Vegas or Tampa being punished in a similar fashion to the Devils?

    Cheating is cheating.

    • Is that like referees calling penalties when penalties happen, Ron? The league might want to close that loophole too.

      • Totally agree….the officiating has been at an all time worst.

  17. I appreciate there a lot of reasons Vegas lost. A game of bounces . Bipartisan not a fan of either but when Anderson scored on the Fleury gaff I felt they were winning in O.T.and the series. I am sure the Habs and Knights felt the same way.
    The Identity line gets away with murder. Get the tissues ready if in fact they win tonight. Will Point tie the Riverton Rifle tonight with 10 consecutive playoff games with a goal ?

    • Silver,

      Im hoping the Rifles record(s) remain standing. 10 consecutive playoff games with a goal. A record 5 goals in one playoff game (also held by Richard and Sittler). A record (tied by Kurri) 19 goals in one playoff.

      Add in the 61 regular season goals Leach scored, the Conn Smythe Trophy and 1976 short of a Stanley Cup was a very good year for Mr Leach.

  18. Jets should offer Dubois Heinola and a 1st for Eichel. Eichel Schiefele Stastny as top 3 centres would be amazing.

    Other thoughts. As much as I like him trade Ehlers for a top pairing RHD. Jets need one. Then they could protect Copp in the expansion draft and play him at 3C. Move Stastny to Ehlers spot on the wing. There is history with the Jackets. A package around Ehlers for Seth Jones? Biggest problem. Jones or Eichel don’t want to move to Winnipeg.

    • Sunny, how about Chevvy just offers Hamilton a bunch $$.
      Would be tight with cap space then, but there are more affordable RD’s available as UFA’s this year. Decent ones too.
      Barrie for offence.
      Savard or Larsson for physical D first types.

  19. Trade:
    Toronto: William Nylander
    Vegas: Marc Andre Fleury and a 2nd rd pick.

  20. How about MAF (retain $1M) and McNabb to the Caps for Kuzy and Vanacek

    • Oops!!! I should include a Vegas 2nd rounder in that trade!

  21. A young, superbly skilled budding winger in exchange for a 36/37 year old goalie with one year left on his contract and a pick that has just an OK chance of making it ….


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