NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2021

by | Jun 26, 2021 | Rumors | 31 comments

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, we examine the latest speculation linking the Wild and Ducks to Jack Eichel and take an early look at the Islanders’ potential offseason plans.


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild had initial trade talks with the Buffalo Sabres regarding superstar center Jack Eichel. Despite this season’s improvement, the Wild’s depth at center drops sharply behind Joel Eriksson Ek.

Nick Bonino and Nick Bjugstad are unrestricted free agents. Victor Rask and Nico Sturm are a year away from UFA eligibility. Marco Rossi, their 2020 first-round pick (ninth overall) was sidelined this season battling COVID-19.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Eichel’s health remains a concern as he could face offseason surgery on a herniated disk in his neck. The Sabres are believed to be seeking futures in return. Russo feels a package from the Wild would have to include Rossi and Matthew Boldy plus other prospects or multiple first-round picks.

He doesn’t see general manager Bill Guerin blowing a hole in his prospect pool. The Sabres would have to take back a salaried player such as Matt Dumba or Kevin Fiala to make the dollars work for the Wild.

Meanwhile, Eric Stephens examined the pros and cons of the Anaheim Ducks potentially acquiring Eichel.

The Ducks could use a first-line, marketable star in his prime like Eichel. The downside, however, is he’s an expensive player with an ongoing injury concern and questions about his leadership ability.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are several NHL teams where Eichel could be a good fit. The best destinations appear to be teams that are carrying lots of cap space and tradeable assets (draft picks, prospects, young NHL-ready players) in need of a first-line center. However, Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit for the next five years, the ongoing worries about his neck injury and the Sabres’ expensive asking price is narrowing that field.

I felt the Blue Jackets would be a prime candidate but a recent report by The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline suggests otherwise. The Wild are coming off a promising season based largely on their young talent. They’ll want to keep that prospect pipeline flowing for a few more years. If they go shopping for a center, perhaps Eichel’s teammate Sam Reinhart would be a more affordable option.

The Ducks could have a potential star in Trevor Zegras. They could end up with another as they carry the third-overall pick in this year’s draft.

Pursuing Eichel would be worthwhile if the Ducks were on the cusp of playoff contention but that’s not where they are right now. Their best course in this rebuild is avoiding unnecessary shortcuts.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan examined possible moves by the New York Islanders as they enter the offseason.

Defenseman Nick Leddy, gritty winger Matt Martin and 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows could be exposed in next month’s expansion draft. Kaplan speculates Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello could try to entice the Seattle Kraken to take Andrew Ladd off their hands with a side deal.

Limited salary-cap space could make it difficult to retain unrestricted free agent forwards Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas. They also have to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are likely to tweak their roster this summer rather than make a big trade or UFA signing. Getting the Kraken to take Ladd and the remaining two years ($5.5 million annually) of his contract could require a substantial sweetener.

The Isles will also get some cap relief by placing permanently sidelined defenseman Johnny Boychuk ($6.5 million) on long-term injury reserve. However, the new contracts for Beauvillier, Pelech and Sorokin could also force Lamoriello to make a cost-cutting deal.


  1. Eichel wasn’t happy with team not permitting him to get surgery. Meanwhile, team got what they wanted by waiting continuing rest and treatment. That time frame they demanded has passed. He’s still a Sabre and we havnt heard any updates on his condition and what’s next. Everyday brings us closer to training camp and the possibility that Eichel might not be ready to play if they keep putting off surgery. Buffalo still hasn’t named a coach who, I would think will want some say in players they take back in a trade. Sabres need to make decisions. Just send him to NYR already. It’s inevitable.

    • Easy Pass….Next

    • no eichel @ msg unless the price tag meets the risks

  2. Big pass on Eichel, he is a 10 million dollar headache not worth it …

    Seattle taking Andrew Ladd??? bwa ha ha ha ha … Emily Kaplan is a joke, Isles can’t include a sweetener, they have no sugar left in the cupboard … Francis should take Martin and then spin him … or Leddy and do the same …

    • The only headache on here is you. Your parents must have been disappointed they wanted children. Eichel to B’s. Edvan anywhere but here.

      • Another day another baseless “Eichel to the Bruins” post. Plus an attack on someone who actually contributes to the site! Pure gem this guy.

      • How many times were you dropped on your head as a baby, Murray?

  3. For all the folks that aren’t in a locker room and make personal comments about players.

    • That was worth the listen, Slick. Thanks.

  4. I see alot of talk about the Kraken taking other teams problems for sweeteners.

    As a Habs fan, I can see Bergervin offering Francis something like the Habs 1st rder (basically a high 2nd rder now) & say Chicago’s 3rd rder to take Jonathan Drouin.

    It’s not that Drouin is an aging, declining player, he was still a top six forward on the Habs when in he took leave.

    Joe’s issue is that he is Francophone in a Francophone star starved market. As the Habs slumped, the heat grew more intense from the fans & media as to why their “Francophone star” was not delivering this team from the gates of Hell. Unfortunately, Joe buckled under that pressure. If he can go play in a market where he is just another player rather than the expected “savior” of team in it’s market, he will be able to finish his career, not as a leader of a franchise, but as a complementary, contributing top nine forward.

    I cannot imagine a scenario now that would have Drouin remaining a Hab next season. The more success the Habs have in the playoffs, the more Drouin will be destroyed in this market upon his return. Not a situation neither he or the franchise will wish to place upon him.

    The Habs have eight draft picks in the first four rounds, so there should be no issue with moving draft picks to make a deal.

    • Uwey, I also cannot see a scenario where Drouin returns to the Habs. I am guessing but it seems to me that he had some sort of mental breakdown for the reasons you too guess at.

      For the Habs, well, time to move on. And I agree any movement is going to take retaining salary or more draft picks given up than I would like.

      • Why?

        He has two years remaining on his contract and if he is unable to play he goes on LTIR and doesn’t count against the cap.

        Retaining salary and giving away picks makes no sense at all. If anything Habs should ask for picks while sending him to a team in cap hell to put on LTIR.

      • hf30,

        Maybe just out of compassion, if indeed, it is feeling the pressure of playing in his hometown.

        The kid can continue his career without a constant barrage of criticism from the expectations heaped upon by the fans & the media of Montreal.

        Can’t imagine him coming back & the Habs staring off slow to begin the season. It would be an absolute disaster for player & the franchise.

        Can’t believe that Habs management would force him into that kind of situation either.

      • habfan30: my comments are speculative. I have no inside knowledge of Drouin’s situation. Mental health seems to me to be the most logical, ie the pressure of not performing and the scrutiny that a francophone gets in Montreal.

        From there my thoughts are that if Drouin couldn’t cope this year, how will he do better next year?

        IMO I can’t see it being good for him to come back to a place where he can’t cope. Remember, he came to Montreal brimming with confidence, and many sports commentators stated if any francophone could cope with the spotlight in Montreal it would be Drouin. Apparently not.

        As for moving him, I think – sadly – that he will be seen as damaged goods, making him harder to move by itself. As an underperforming player at 5.5 million in a tight cap space this makes it harder. So it is likely that retaining salary or a “sweetener” will be required.

        But, what do I know? I have been wrong many times here …

    • you know we are going to hear the ‘what if they had not traded Sergachev for Drouin’ a couple of times during the SCF’s.

      • When that trade took place Jo was coming off a period of very effective play with the Lightning- fitting well on the second line and first power play unit.

    • I saw Drouin as part of an overpay to move up into the 2nd round of the draft. Something like:

      To SEA: Drouin, Hudon, 2nd, 3rd and 4th this year

      To MTL: 2nd round pick 2021, future considerations

      The future consideration being that Seattle takes Brett Kulak in the draft and not a bigger piece of their core.

    • Remember…Seattle isn’t building just a 23 man roster.

      They need to take future assets to build the farm.

      They will have an AHL team in 22/23 they need to feed. On that time they’d like to have..
      5 players in final ELC year
      5 players in 2nd ELC year
      And 5 players starting ELC year
      21 draft picks don’t start ELC till 23/24.

      They are going to look at acquiring players to fill these slots in the ED.

      From the Islanders to take Ladd they likely get a 1st++. The + being players drafted in 18-20.

      If they were to take Leddy and flip him they’d be looking at similar return with retention. Flipping Martin isn’t worth it.

  5. It’s not surprising that the Jackets have dropped out of the Eichel chase. While JD & Jarmo certainly would love to have a player of his caliber on the team. They’re also not fools. Until Adams allows teams to talk to Eichel, see his medical reports or allow another team’s doctors to examine him, and brings down his demands, I doubt any team is going to have serious talks about Eichel.

    • Paul. I think it’s safe to assume all of those discussions are taking place behind the scenes. Nothing being reported, but I’m sure every team with serious interest are doing their “due diligence”.

    • Exactly. There is a reason he has not. I believe his injury is significant. Allowing other teams to talk with his representatives would expose his true condition. That is the only reason Adams has not done that.

      • And no one’s going to buy a pig in the poke.

    • I think they are in on Sam Reinhart. Could see Korpisalo, a late 1st and an A prospect (Foudy, or Texier).

  6. Eichel is going to be traded. The Wild could do this with a package of Dumba, a 1st, and Rossi. You would be trading one injured center for another, and Dumba will likely go to the Kraken for free. I think Chicago is also a real possibility. They have the cap space and I think they could hang on to Dach. Could see Boqvist, Reichel and a 1st.

  7. Hi Lyle,

    You have posted the “Trade Rumours” column in the “Coffee Headlines” site.



    • Fixed! Thanks, Rich.

  8. Eichel For Pasta

    • In a heartbeat.

      I’d offer Debrusk, Coyle, Studnika, 2 first round picks, and a second round pick. Take on the full $ hit or beg for some retention.

      • Too much a number 1 draft pick your aforementioned throw in Beecher too he’s awfull one second rounder. Eichel’s injury will work toward any team trying to acquire him.

  9. I bet Seth Jones lands a bigger return than Eichel .

    • Done, it’s a bet.


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