NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2021

by | Jun 9, 2021 | Rumors | 57 comments

Dougie Hamilton’s contract status is the Hurricanes’ offseason priority, the Kings seek two top-six forwards, and the latest on the Rangers’ search for a head coach in today’s rumor mill.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan considers it crucial for the Carolina Hurricanes to re-sign Dougie Hamilton, pointing out their defense is built around him and Jaccob Slavin. The 27-year-old blueliner is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images).

Hamilton’s outplayed his current $5.75 million annual cap hit. While there’s mutual interest in a new deal, the two sides tabled contract negotiations until after this season. Kaplan speculates he could get as much as $8.5 million per season on the open market but the Hurricanes could be uncomfortable going that high.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock isn’t optimistic about the Hurricanes’ chances of re-signing Hamilton. He believes the rearguard has “almost certainly played his last game” for the Canes. The same goes for pending UFAs such as Jordan Martinook, Brock McGinn and Petr Mrazek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flattened salary cap could limit the number of teams willing to get into a bidding war for Hamilton’s services in this summer’s free-agent market. Nevertheless, there will be a team that will pay him over $8 million annually if the Hurricanes won’t do it.

The emergence of rookie goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic likely spells the end of Mrazek’s tenure with the Hurricanes. James Reimer is also a UFA this summer but it wouldn’t be surprising if he returned as Nedeljkovic’s backup.

Kaplan also considers re-signing head coach Rod Brind’Amour a priority. Sources indicate the two sides are believed to have the framework of a deal in place. However, Brind’Amour also wants his three assistant coaches taken care of as well. She also believes they could lose Brady Skjei, Warren Foegele or Morgan Geekie to the Seattle Kraken in next month’s expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeCock believes Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon would be insane to let Brind’Amour depart. I can see Hamilton hitting the free-agent market but not Brind’Amour, who’d be quickly snapped up by another club.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Los Angeles Kings could attempt to acquire two top-six forwards via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication as to who the Kings could target. Unrestricted free agent options include Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boston’s Taylor Hall, Toronto’s Zach Hyman, Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman, St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz, Colorado’s Brandon Saad, and the New York Islanders’ Kyle Palmieri.

I spoke with John Hoven of the Kings’ site Mayor’s Manor yesterday about Dreger’s report. He believes they’re seeking established scorers around 27 years old on short-term contracts of two-three years.

That would mean they won’t become a suitor for Buffalo Sabres’ center Jack Eichel. Maybe they’d have an interest in Eichel’s teammate Sam Reinhart? We’ll find out who’s on their radar in the coming weeks.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Gerard Gallant remains the favorite to become the new head coach of the Rangers. However, general manager Chris Drury is waiting to see if there is fallout from the second round of the playoffs that could make another candidate or two available.

Brooks believes the Rangers will watch Rod Brind’Amour’s contract negotiations with the Hurricanes. It’s believed those two sides were discussing a deal worth $1.8 million annually. Brind’Amour could be in line for $4 million per season with the Rangers but a source told Brooks he’d become the Seattle Kraken’s top choice if he goes to market.

The Blueshirts are also monitoring Paul Maurice’s situation with the Winnipeg Jets and Bruce Cassidy’s with the Boston Bruins. There’s talk Jared Bednar’s job as coach of the Colorado Avalanche could be in jeopardy if they fall to the Golden Knights but it’s not clear if he’d become a candidate for the Rangers’ job.

Former Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet remains a viable candidate after creating a favorable impression with Drury following two interviews with the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallant is probably atop most coaching wish lists this summer. He’ll land an NHL head-coaching gig this summer, be it the Rangers or another club. Brind’Amour would also be pursued by a number of clubs if the Hurricanes are foolish enough to let him walk.

Maurice has been the Jets’ bench boss for seven seasons but there’s no indication the Jets intend to shake things up behind the bench. I don’t think Cassidy will lose his job if the Bruins fall to the Islanders.

Bednar’s done a fine job in Colorado but his coaching of the Avs has come under criticism during their current series with the Golden Knights. It’ll be interesting to see what GM Joe Sakic does if his club fails to advance.


  1. I stopped reading after Emily Kaplan considers it crucial …

    • Ed,

      Lol, me too.

      • Why? She’s among the best hockey pundits in the business.

      • Simply because they’re the two biggest contrarians on this wonderful site.

      • I agree with you Lyle but if you follow the comments on here, you should know why they said that. 😂

  2. If he doesn’t cost a lot and is willing to stay and split duties the Canes would be smart to keep Mrazek over Reimer.

    • He will cost more money than Reimer.

  3. Hamilton has done well in Carolina after being dealt a couple times. Not sure he’d leave just for top bidder. Cost of living plus quality of life should be factors. If he’s happy living there, why leave? Team is right there among contenders.
    Guessing if Rangers considered Gallant their top choice, maybe they’re not Gallants? I’d think picking a coach would be top priority before making trades. I’m still going with Bob Hartley as my dark horse. I’d be shocked if Drury hasn’t spoken to him already.

    • Would add, I don’t see Ranger fans being happy with Tochett as a choice. Should be a last resort. Possibly an assistant?

      • Slick,

        I wonder how secure Alain Vigneault’s position with the Flyers is???

        It would seem to me that Rick Tocchet would be an interesting fit in Philly.

      • Uwey, I’d think AV’s shelf life is almost up there. Tochett belongs there, not NY!

  4. I don’t think we are going to see a lot of coaching moves happen until the pieces fall with RB & the Canes! I think this is probably the most hype we have had around a coach since Mike Babcock left Detroit. The difference is, with RB, IF he leaves, we don’t know for sure where he will land. Though, New York & Seattle seem to be the most likely destinations.

    I believe RB leaving would also have a negative affect on the Hurricanes ability to retain Hamilton.

    The Hurricanes are also in a good place right now. They are on the brink of being a cup contender, have a talented main roster, and arguably one of the top 5 prospect pools in the NHL! Young guys like Jarvis & Keane probably getting a look at being full-time with the club, and guys like Bean & Geekie taking a step forward in their developement. If I am the Canes I am worried about getting McGinn, Martinook, & Hamitlon back next season … and try and bring Alex & James back as your 1…2 duo in between the pipes. They have $27,000,000 in space to sign these guys and fill out their roster.

    Hamilton & Nedelijkovic are likely to be your biggest cap hits. Reimer will come in cheaper than this year, McGinn & Marinook are affordable resignings. I don’t see a world in which they cannot get this done? Hamilton & Ned, cost your 12mil-13mil maxium to sign, McGinn & Marinook are 4-5 million … so let’s say $18million, then you just have to figure out Svechiknov, probably around 5-6 million a year, on a 4-5 year bridge. Leaves you around 4-5 million to fill out the roster. Bean shouldn’t be expensive to resign yet … and at that point with Jarvis likely to take a spot you are only looking at signing a couple of depth players.

    Svenchikov – Aho – Terevaninen
    Neidorietter – Trocheck – Jarvis
    McGinn – Stall – Necas

    Or some combination of that top 9. Has the potential to be one of the best Top 9 in the NHL, The Canes are in good shape.

    • JJB imagine if Carolina had of selected McAvoy over Bean.

      This is where Boston might of gotten a little luck, as prior to the draft it was reported the bruins were hoping to land Bean.

      This isn’t to say Bean won’t be a good dman but McAvoy been a stud for Boston.

      • These suppositions don’t factor in the development of said players. In Boston bean could have developed into a better player than mccalvoy. Or vise versa. Not saying that’s how it happens but who knows.

  5. Leafs and Carolina do sign and trade.

    Reilly for Hamilton (8yrs $8.5M)

    Trade marner to Columbus for 5th overall pick, Jenner and merzlikins.

    Use cap savings to find new winger for Matthews and sign Sam Bennett.

    • Not happening but I like it.

      • i like it as well

    • Rielly does not come close to enough to get Hamilton. Try Rielly, and a 1st for starters. Id go as far to say Rielly, 1st round pick and 2nd round ick minimum.

    • I would make that Marner trade but only for Columbus first rounder NEXT year instead of this years #5 pick. Oh yeah and it CAN’T be lottery protected.

    • Big overpay for Marner. Unless Toronto eats at least 3 mil.

  6. Leafs and Carolina do sign and trade.

    Reilly for Hamilton (8yrs $8.5M)

    Trade marner to Columbus for 5th overall pick, Jenner and merzlikins.

    Use cap savings to find new winger for Matthews and sign Sam Bennett.

  7. Carolinas defense is not built around Hamilton it’s built around Pesce and Slavin. Ron Francis signed Slavin (5.3 million) and Pesce $4.025 Million) to affordable long term contracts early in their professional careers. It’s not crucial that Carolina sign Dougie Hamilton. Thats not to say they don’t want him back but its has to make sense financially. I could see Carolina going as high as 7 million. There is a possibility that Seattle works a deal with Hamilton during the expansion draft.

    Keeping Brind’Amour is crucial and I suspect the deal is close to done.

    The Canes will try to bring Mrazek and Ned back but Mrazek doesn’t see himself as a back up. I could see Mrazek ending up in Seattle.

    • He will cost more money than Reimer. I could see Mrazk reunite with his old goalie coach Bales in Buffalo

  8. As the current construction of the Ranger roster Brindy makes the most sense in this stage of the roster development.

    Gallant, whom I like a lot, IMO is a coach for a more veteran squad ala Vegas in which he inherited.

    Maurice I do not think would take the current roster to the “next level” and honestly after called the Scheifele dirty hit clean…not sure I want that mentality to develop this young roster.

    I’ll take Bednar, if let go by the Avs if we cannot have Brindy.

    But we know neither is being let go by their current clubs.

    • Of a long list of former head coaches, Gerard Gallant is at the top of the list in terms of landing an NHL job, followed by Bruce Boudreau.

      Anything think any of the following will ever get another gig as head coach?:

      Mike Babcock; Bob Hartley; Mike Keenan; Ken Hitchcock; Todd Rierden; Bill Peters; Geoff Ward; Jim Montgomery; Guy Boucher; Claude Julien; Paul Maclean

      I’ve likely forgotten a few.

      • Anyone … sheesh

      • @George

        Claude Julien may … though the game’s younger players seem to tune him out faster he still brings experience value and I believe has not been a “cancer” coach to the locker room.

        Jim Montgomery will get an AHL or college coaching gig again. His situation will be swept under and forgiving.

        Don’t forget David Quinn…. who will certainly get interviews but I think back at the college ranks only.

      • A couple of months ago, Spector wrote of an organization ( I forget its name) that voted Guy Boucher to be the front-runner for the Canadiens’ coaching job.

        Apparently, you didn’t care for him then any more than you do now. Shortly before then, I had mentioned that Boucher was a worthy candidate because he was once said to be the most cerebral coach in hockey. You replied that he didn’t show that as a Senator.

      • Capuano could get some consideration

      • I know what I think of him Francis S. That hasn’t changed. I was just wondering what others thought about those names and their chances for a new job.

        If I included all the former head coaches in Ottawa, only their first – Rick Bowness – is an active head coach today. The others, including Boucher – who’s not even involved with a team anywhere (he’s apparently on some TV show) – are working at various other levels in the game: Mark Crawford; Dave Cameron; Corey Clouston; Crag Hartsburg; John Paddock; Jacques Martin, Dave Allison

      • George– You seem to be a bit miffed. I was merely responding to your question asking if anyone thought that “any of the following will ever get another gig as head coach?:”, in which you named Boucher. He’s a recognized possibility. If you doubt me, maybe, your familiarity with Lyle will allow you to ask him the pertinent organization that named him, and which Lyle referenced.

      • George, I stated earlier that I think Hartley could be an option in NY. Had great success in Colorado, including a cup. Has that connection with Drury. Just won KHL championship. Gorton has positioned team for success for many years. Top youth talent. A couple of star players in Panarin and Zib. Healthy cap situation. To me, is there a better opening available right now? No where to go but up. With that said, why wouldn’t Gallant want job….and if he’s truly at top of Drury’s list, why hasn’t he been locked up yet?

      • Not miffed at all Francis S. Just puzzled as to why you brought it up. I don’t, in fact, think much of any on that list – except Gallant and Boudreau – I simply listed the names of former head coaches that I could remember in recent times and wondered if any thought they might be considered for any vacancies – or soon-to-be vacancies. Re-cycling has been the norm in the NHL for a long time (look at Laviolette!)

        Slick62, there has to be a reason Hartley has been without an NHL job this long … as for winning a cup, that was 20 years ago. Another with a cup and who I forgot to list is Randy Carlyle – and his was a bit more recent – 2007. Another I forgot is Brent Sittler (and frankly, I was surprised that Darryl was given the job again).

      • George, I’m aware Hartley cup win was awhile ago. It’s still more than other candidates. After his stint in Colorado, he had success with Atlanta. He won Jack Adam’s award with Calgary. He’s won a Swiss championship and he’s coming off KHL championship with coach of the year honors. As I said, Drury played for him and I don’t doubt there’s possibly been some contact. Friedman reported recently that he could be interested in returning to nhl.

      • Babcock and Julien, George.

      • Ballsma

  9. Meanwhile Connor Hellebuyck had declared the Jets are close to being a dynasty …

  10. Having already danced with the Penguins to the Jeff Carter tune , maybe the Kings would be interested in a second twirl.

    If the Kings are looking for two top-six forwards who are established scorers around 27 years old on short-term contracts of two-three years, Jake Guentzel would seem to be made to their order.

    The Penguins want to get bigger and younger, and the KIngs are rife with prospects. If the Kings would consider a two-year age allowance, the Penguins could also offer them Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker, both 29.

    Guentzel is a 40-goal scorer good for a point per game, and is under contract through 2023-24; Rust has scored 49 goals and 98 points in his last 111 games, and is under contract through next season; Zucker averaged 50 points per season over his last 3 seasons with the Wild, though he was less productive with the Penguins. He’s signed through 2022-23.

    • Go all out crazy and offer Pengy and BlankNGold

      To BUF: Rust, Guenztel, Petterson, Marino
      To PIT: Eichel, Eakin & Miller

      Buff with the #1 can draft a center
      Go the UFA route to fill in gaps.

      Matthew Beniers (2021 #1 pick) centers 3rd line with Tage Thompson on his right.
      Then fill in gaps

      and fill in gaps

      • I can see why you made no mention of Zucker. Pengy has an NMC when it comes to his opinion of Zucker. I don’t think he’d accept a trade to the same team unless he would be threatened with the likelihood of becoming Jack Johnson’s roommate, otherwise.

      • Hi IHC

        Have to pass on any deal with Handsome Jack to the Pens

        If but a 10th of what they have reported on him (re being meddlesome and skipping coach and GM and going straight to owner to vent) is true…. Then Hextall should pass

    • not happening. When Hextall was hired it was with a win-now prerogative.

      While the Kings have the assets to acquire someone like Guentzel, or Rust or Zucker, none of those assets would help the Penguins win now more than Guentzel would.

    • Hi Francis

      Recently there was talk of potentially moving Guenzel…. For size

      Yes Kings have great prospect pool but I can’t see Hextall moving Guentzel for a prospect…. That’s basically rebuild kind of move…. Moving s 40 G guy for a future

      I’d think it would have to be roster for roster snd there are but maybe 2 roster players that (a) Pens want from Kings AND more importantly (B) Kings willing to give up

      If course I’d love a Zucker for Byfield flip; but then again I would also like to sell my firm for what it was worth in January of ‘20

      IF (big IF) Hextall does want to move Guentzel to get bigger …. AND if it is with Kings…. The inly trade I can see as s possibility is

      26 year old Guentzel for

      24 year old Kempe ; PLUS (Kings 2nd in ‘21)

      Pens lose scoring but get a player 3” taller and 22 lbs heavier

      Maybe Guentz and Zucker for

      Kempe and AA?

      I think thr LA trade Part Deux is a longshot

  11. There are no sure things for coaches, Rod Brind’Amour has spent his coaching career in Carolina what puts him at the top of the heap?

    Gallant was the darling and still hasn’t been hired yet along with his BFF Mike Kelly.

    There are Cup winning coaches out of a job

    There are Adams trophy winners out of a job.

    When will top Swedes and Finns who have been doing remarkably well begin joining the coaching ranks in the NHL.

    I’m NOT knocking RBA, just saying its a pretty wide open field out there.

    • Habsfan–As a follow-up to your question regarding coaching hires, when will the NHL consider bringing more European officials into its fold? Last I looked, there was only one. Perhaps, some fresh perspectives and more job competition may lead to the game being called more according to its rules.

      • Francis S and Habfan. Recently read that Sweden’s natl team coach was interviewed for Buffalo job last time there was an opening. Rumors he could be in consideration again. Bronborg.

      • How did that work out in Buffalo?

        Had Buffalo done well, you might have seen more European head coaches given a shot.

        But after that disaster, who is going to give a European coach a chance?

        Every league, whether MLB, NFL or NBA recycles coaches.
        It’s just the nature of the beast.

      • Nevinsrip–Events thus far suggest you may be right, but let’s not forget that the Sabres haven’t had a successful head coach since Lindy Ruff in 2011, and before him, Scotty Bowman in 1986. Perhaps, it’s Edmonton and Buffalo that are responsible for Krueger’s downfall, not Germany. Only Hall-of-Famers need apply.

    • Gallant just finished at the IIHF World’s where he won as head coach. Maybe the team (NYR?) was waiting til that dust settled.

  12. Columbus should look at Hallam from SHL in Sweden

    The Avs should look at Tampa in being tougher and heavier combined with the skill they have

    Julienne will get a new job, is still a good coach. Wonder why Gallant is still available.

    Carolina has the cap space to sign Hamilton but not the desire to pay what it takes.

    Rangers should offer sheet Pettersson at 5 times 10.5, it’s only 2 firsts, 2nd+3rd and Vancouver is in cap hell this year. However they should wait until late September to do so

    • or offer Chytil in leu of the 2nd & 3rd and the 2 1sts for Petterson instead of the offer sheet.

      if offer sheet then resign, as soon as eligible, Fox, Laf & Kakko so the retaliation offers don’t come avalanching in the front door

      • They wont accept that offer. As for retaliation its a possibility however if Pettersson accepts and Vancouver hasnt got the money to accept because they are capped out Benning will be fired and there is no way he gets another GM job and would Fox, Kacko etc really sign the mess that is the Canucks at this time and

  13. Hamilton deserves a raise no question. Paid like Pietrangelo lots of questions.

    Rod the Bod won a cup as a player captain with the Canes unless they insult him I think he stays

    Boudreau is interesting . A very good wining percentage regular season. Post no so much

    • perhaps they trade Skjei to Det along with a 2nd for cap relief to sign Hamilton (albeit the signing post expansion draft)

      similar to how NYR traded Staal for cap relief.

  14. Neal, who turns 34 in September, had 5g 5a 10pts in 29gp and in the playoffs played in 2 games with zilch. And he costs $5,750,000 off the cap for TWO more years,

    Yzerman is a whole helluva lot smarter than that.

    There are a few teams with albatross contracts – and Edmonton is one of them.

  15. On European coaches, I haven’t got any names in mind but looking at my team of choice the Finns are gamers who elevate their game in the playoffs.

    They use there sticks differently frequently taking away the puck and are beasts in the corners.

    There has to be something in the coaching, the systems that makes them an international powerhouse .

    There are first rate Finns like Aho, Barkov, Granlund, Laine, Rantanen, Teravainen, Rask, Rinne etc etc coming from a small country, Finland, population 5.5 million.

  16. I guess the Flames one that deal with Lucic. Wasn’t overly thrilled at the time but Flames needed a tougher prescence in the lineup. At least Lucic has a role and plays on a nightly basis. Not eating popcorn in the suite.