NHL Rumor Mill – June 28, 2021

by | Jun 28, 2021 | Rumors | 40 comments

Could the Golden Knights pursue Jack Eichel? Can they find a way to re-sign Alec Martinez? Should the Penguins try to bring back Marc-Andre Fleury? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WGR 550: During his recent appearance on “The Instigators,” TSN’s Darren Dreger discussed the possibility of the Vegas Golden Knights pursuing Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel with the hosts. Dreger said he’d be surprised if the Golden Knights hadn’t had that discussion with the Sabres. He also said he’s not buying reports suggesting the Columbus Blue Jackets are out of the bidding for the 24-year-old Eichel.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Tom Callahan believes the Golden Knights need a first-line center and have the assets to put together a deal for Eichel. He pointed out they have their first-round pick plus the New Jersey Devils’ second-rounder (36th overall). They also have pieces that can help the Sabres now (Reilly Smith and Chandler Stephenson) and later (Cody Glass). Callahan acknowledged their limited cap space and believes there would have to be further whittling of the roster to make the dollars fit.

Can the Vegas Golden Knights afford to acquire Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel? (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have a history of making big moves, acquiring core players such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Alex Pietrangelo via trades and free agency. They could look into the cost of an Eichel trade. However, I don’t think the package proposed by Callahan is sufficient to outbid other teams unless those clubs chicken out and the Sabres get desperate.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Mark Madden suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to bring back Marc-Andre Fleury. He said the Penguins came close to getting him before this season but the Golden Knights reneged on the deal because ownership got “dewy-eyed” over Fleury’s value to the franchise since its inception in 2017.

Madden believes the Golden Knights would have to absorb part of Fleury’s $7 million cap hit. “The Penguins shouldn’t give more than a third-round pick for a 36-year-old goalie.” He also suggested they try to add a few bigger, older players like Wayne Simmonds, Zdeno Chara, Corey Perry or Eric Staal to affordable short-term contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury said he wants to finish his career with the Golden Knights. He’s got a year left on his contract with a 10-team no-trade clause. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t welcome a return to Pittsburgh but Penguins GM Ron Hextall could have other plans in goal.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger believes the Golden Knights want to keep Alec Martinez. The 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. It could come down to how much term Martinez seeks on his next contract. Offers of three or more years from rival clubs could be difficult to match.

Granger pointed out Fleury wants to finish his career in Vegas and team owner Bill Foley doesn’t want him traded. The Golden Knights also have to make decisions regarding pending UFAs such as Mattias Janmark and Patrick Brown, as well as Cody Glass’ future following his disappointing performance this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Golden Knights have a projected $6.09 million in cap space for next season. Martinez is coming off a six-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4 million. His solid performance throughout this season will draw plenty of interest in the free-agent market. Even if he agreed to accept the same cap hit it would eat up most of their cap room. If they pursue Jack Eichel they won’t have enough to keep Martinez.


  1. I just don’t see Eichel to the Knights – Vegas doesn’t have the pieces or the cap space. The Knights first rounder this year will be #29, basically a second rounder. There will be other teams offering a higher pick. The Knights would have to include a top 6 player (Smith, Stephenson, Marchessault), and at least two top prospects – likely Glass and Nic Hague. They would not be able to re-sign or replace Martinez. Such a trade would open another huge hole in the roster. As Lyle says, the only way Vegas can do it is if other teams back off and the Sabres are desperate.

    • I see you Howard.

      Subtle but nice.

    • I agree with Howie, those picks are weak on a good draft year. Glass could be a nice piece, maybe Tuch too?

    • Marchessault has a M-NTC, he’s out. I agree about the Vegas first’s are in name only as they are a few spots from a 2nd. As Dreger pointed out if their firsts are included that means the players/prospects will be “spicier” meaning Tuch should be a starter as he hasn’t any no M-NTC.
      I still think Minn, Ana and LA could do a deal for Eichel and not deplete themselves.

      • Anaheim and LA are going to be playing in a division with Vegas, and Seattle. Eichel is not going to bring either team up to the talent of the expansion squads.
        Both are better off sticking with their re-builds, and holding onto their prospects and their picks for 3-4 years.

    • VGK has the pieces if they are willing and Eichel is healthy and just unhappy.

      Alex Tuch
      Chandler Stephenson
      Cody Glass
      Peyton Krebs

      Contracts are a wash, Buffalo gets a centre, a wing and two prospects. LVK get a real #1 centre.

    • Tuch and Theodore, Cody Glass and first rd pick. The cap hit is even wash perfect. Tuch is from NY

  2. As much as I rag on Eichel that proposal from whoever Tom Callahan is borders on delusional …

    And regarding Mark Madden, here in Pittsburgh you either love him or hate him, there’s no middle ground but in this case he is absolutely spot on … Pens need bigger players, not just one but several …

    • Agreed Ed. Pitt needs to get bigger. But Chara and Simmons are no longer effective. Staal and Perry (despite this playoffs) nearly so. They need to target players who can still influence the game.

      • @ Mike….I agree the Penguins need to go after players that can influence the game….

        I would trade for Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
        He is 26, LHD, 6ft 5 235 LBS can skate really well, has a strong outlet pass, and is a beat physicality.

        He is Ulf Samuelson 2.0 except bigger, meaner, faster, and way more skilled. Salary is affordable and he is rumored to be on the block.

        Blackhawks are going to make a play for Seth Jones and with Seabrook on LTR and no word that Jonathan Toews is coming back they have cap space.

        They can take a Jason Zucker in return because they need some scoring. (Zucker is a 6 time 20 goal scorer)

        Zadorov will knock your head off, crush you in the corner, and make you pay in front of the net.

        Jason Zucker to Chicago $5.5
        Nikita Zadorov to Pittsburgh $ 3.2

  3. Knights could use a Center-man but not a $10m one.
    Maybe Glass and Hague and and the 36th overall for a less heralded Center.
    Like McCann Drouin Backlund along those lines.

    • @SS You maybe right but the owner isn’t in that thought process. Dreger said he is in his 70’s and impatient about winning a cup. They will go after Eichel

  4. From what I’ve been reading on different Blue Jackets blogs, the Jackets may be more interested in Reinhardt than Eichel.

    • I’ve read that also…also read that they maybe interested in Ristolainen as part of that trade also. Probably matters what happens with Jones

  5. Columbus seems like it has the assets/cap space to do it (Eichel trade) comfortably. Vegas would have to unload too much to make room for Eichel. Besides, after the Vegas forwards performance against Habs? I don’t know.

    * Cue the absurd trade scenarios. (7-8 players going either way)

    • Hey if Vegas needs Canucks to take anymore salary like last year…McNabb or Marchessault, then Im sure they’re more than willing to make that happen

      • Canucks cant afford to sign their own guys, let alone take on someone elses salary dump.

  6. I wonder if there is an opportunity for a swap of guys who are struggling. Not saying one for one as a rule, but something like Cody Glass & Logan Brown. Two guys who have demonstrated high end potential, but are not putting it together with their respective clubs.

    Personally, I want Ottawa to see if they can grab struggling young forward Nolan Patrick out of Philly. But for Vegas, I think it makes sense to see if there is a swap of two struggling prospects in need of a change of scenery.

    They also have to stop loading up on these big players eventually. It will deplete their depth and they don’t have a deep prospect pool. In the near future, something will give in Vegas and they will go from top to the bottom real real fast.

  7. Any Vegas trade for Eichel begins with Tuch.

    • Then, imo, the conversation is over.

      • And that will likely be the response of any team which inquires about Eichel when Buffalo comes back with a list of what they want.

        The Sabres are, right at the moment, between a classic rock and hard place when it comes to their star C and it looks more and more like they are going to have to hang onto him, hope he’s ready to start the season in Buffalo and double-hope that he shows no ill effects of that disc problem and puts up some numbers that will intensify interest. Only then will they get anything close to what they consider “full value.”

    • Tuch is a very good player but he is not a 1C like Eichel.

      Cannot see a fit with Vegas getting Eichel with their cap issues and lack of prospects

      Running Jack-WillKarl-Roy is not a bad center situationf

  8. Eichel will be a bruin for years to come. He won’t be going to Vegas or anywhere else for that matter but Boston.

    • You keep saying this, but haven’t expressed what realistic package they are giving to get him. That isn’t easily beat by 6-10 other teams in the league. Eichel doesn’t have trade protection and has no way to force Buffalo to trade him to a specific location.

      • Well golly jjb I believe I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll mention it again for your benefit, last time though okay? got this from the athletic, fluto A guy who’s been covering the bruins for over a decade as well as the Providence Journal I know these well seasoned vets can’t compete with the masterful craftsmen on this site, but they’ll have to do. As to who’ll they’ll have to trade to get Eichel that question you’ll have to ask fluto.

      • Don’t expect a reply any time soon JJB. He just tosses that out there regularly in the faint hope that, through some miraculous package of phantom prospects and players that Buffalo cannot refuse, the deal does go down and then he can come in and crow that he “called it.”

        This is another Wendell under a different flag.

    • If I’m Adam’s I keep him in hell before trading him to Boston…he can do all the foot stomping he wants. He can sit out or go to Europe to play but for the next 5 years he isn’t a Bruin.

    • From Larry Brooks today:
      “The Rangers have displayed increased interest in scoping out Jack Eichel’s medical condition and have had preliminary talks with the Sabres regarding his availability,”

  9. And here I thought madden was gonna suggest stone cold hulk hogan the ultimate warrior and Andre the giant as the pens replacements.

    Seriously how does the trib run this guy out there. It’s embarrassing.

  10. Thoughts and prayers for Pasta’s family. I can only imagine what the young couple are going through. He’s had to deal with a tremendous amount of loss in his young life. I feel terrible for him and his wife. Six days of joy and anguish. Life isn’t fair.

  11. Vegas should offer sheet Pettersson at 5×10.5m it only costs 2 firsts+2nd+3rd, much cheaper than Eichel and Vegas dont have the assets anyway. To make it work they need to trade MAF with not holding money back. Than its only 3,5 left and to get that and fill up the roster, they have to trade Reilly Smith who seems to be trending down

    • Hi Kent

      If they were to offer sheet… perhaps a more reasonable 5@$6.6 M for Reinhardt… 1st and 3rd

      However with any offer sheet… picks MUST be their own and I believe the 2nd and 3rds MUST be for the draft right after (next) the trade….. so if done in next few weeks; would be ‘21 draft; and Knights don’t own their own 2nd and 3rd this year (they could do separate trades with Wings and Hawks to get their own picks back; but that’s a longshot).

      • They should make the offer but wait until september when Vancouver will have a hard time to match because they have very little cap space, now and worse then. But you are correct they need to get their 2022 3rd rounder back from chicago, They have the Vancouver 3rd from same year and Chicago would probably accept a switch

      • Pengy. Free agency is after draft. Picks would be 2022. Vancouver would most likely match any offer. Besides, has their been any sign Petesson is unhappy and would sign his way out of Van?

      • Re Slick62. No there are no indications of him being unhappy, but he can read to and the situation isnt very bright and he isnt the type of guy that would voice his unhappiness.

        Timing is of essens if you want to succeed with the offersheet, so the later you do it the higher chance of success, because you are correct, they would match but to match you have to have the cap and Vancouver could find themselves in cap hell in september

    • Vegas cant do that. Not enough of their own draft picks to pull it off.

  12. Eichel to Knights ; IMHO ; is a longshot….. the risk (successful return; with or without injury) is tough for a team that has fallen 4 separate goals shy of being in the SCFs 3 out of it’s first 4 years; AND there is the added (1) Eichel “attitude” issue; (2) Cap hit ; (3) assets to acquire

    Agree …. first line C (or 2C if you keep Wild Bill at 1C) is a priority

    Knights lose nothing to Krakken

    All other teams do

    Knights could repeat the roster… 22 of 23 players ; lose only Martinez; bring up/sign a 23rd player @/near league min; and be under Cap

    Agree with a couple here that have said …..Eichel on Knights means that Sabres (in addition to a great deal more) get Tuch…. so that should stop the trade in it’s tracks

    Monahan for a change of scenery trade? Has partial trade protection

    Wild Bill to Flames (change of scenery)? Also has partial trade protection

    Move Wild Bill for space (prospects/ picks back only); sign RNH for 2C; keep CS as 1C???

    CS, Patches, Stone
    RNH; Marsh; Smith
    Krebs or Glass; Tuch; Nosek
    Roy at 4C with Kolesar

    12th – 14th Fwds … in no particular order: Carrier, Krebs or Glass; Reaves

    LDs…., McN, Hague, Holden
    RDs…. Petro, Theo, Whitecloud

    7th/8th D…,Korczack ? Corcoran ? *Hayes ?

    The Flower/Lehner

    * Hayes… undrafted big stay at home LD that had a strong year with the Silver Knights…. could see him as a late bloomer akin to the likes of Soucy

    What about Reinhardt and Risto (50% retained) for Wild Bill; Knight’s 1st (‘21); Knight’s 2nd (‘22) ; NJ’s 2nd in ‘21( 34th pick); and Duggan or Lechyshyn (sp?)

    keep CS at 1C with Patches and Stone; Reinhardt cantering Marsh & Smith

    • This (above) is exactly scenarios i was speaking of.

    • Karlsson is better and cheaper than Monahan so I dont see the point. The player to move for cap is Smith since he was very average this year and is his last season

  13. Shea Theodore 5.2 mill, Alex Tuch 4.75(NY guy), first rd pick and Cody Glass, the cap hit is a wash.