NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2021

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Rumors | 59 comments

The Blackhawks are working on a trade for Duncan Keith plus the latest on the Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported last evening the Chicago Blackhawks are working on a potential trade for Duncan Keith. The move could send the 37-year-old defenseman to “either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada.”

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cited Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times reporting Keith’s family lives in Penticton, British Columbia during the off-season and his son stayed there this season. He wants to be closer to his family as his career winds down. Wegman suggested the teams that fit the criteria are the Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and perhaps the San Jose Sharks.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cites a source saying the Canucks aren’t believed to be interested in acquiring Keith citing their limited cap space. They seem inclined toward re-signing Alexander Edler. Cap space could also rule out the Flames as a destination. Another source suggested the Jets would be too far east.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (NHL Images).

Keith has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.538 million but he’s owed just $3.6 million in actual salary over those remaining seasons.

Johnston believes the Oilers have cap space to work with, as do the expansion Kraken. Both are relatively short flights from Penticton.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples examines if Keith would make sense for the Oilers. Given his high cap hit, it would be a steep price to pay for a defenseman on his last NHL legs unless the Oiler can move out an iffy contract like James Neal or Mikko Koskinen in the deal. He doubts the Blackhawks would pick up half of Keith’s annual cap hit. Staples also points out Keith’s stats indicate he’s producing at a low third-pairing level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken could be the best destination. They have plenty of cap space, Keith could provide leadership and experience to the expansion roster, and he’s still a recognizable name. Whether the Kraken or any of those other clubs are interested remains to be seen.


WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are said to be seeking the equivalent of four first-round picks in exchange for captain Jack Eichel. However, TSN’s Darren Dreger believes that the high asking price is depressing the 24-year-old center’s value in the trade market.

The Blackhawks are reportedly among the suitors for Eichel. However, Dreger cited a source saying their interest isn’t believed to be that high as they already have three high-priced forwards in Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. He believes they’re more interested in adding a high-end defenseman like Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

Dreger noted the Anaheim Ducks have also been connected to Eichel. Because they’re in the midst of a rebuild, they’re believed to be balking at the Sabres’ asking price. He also doubted their interest is as high as has been speculated. Dreger feels the New York Rangers remain well-positioned to make the best offer, despite the Sabres’ misgivings about sending Eichel there.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks and Ducks could be performing due diligence to determine the Sabres’ asking price. Maybe they’ll be more interested if Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams drops his price to a more reasonable level.

I don’t blame Adams for setting a high ask as he wants the best possible return. He’ll see what interested parties counter with and try to find something in-between that works for both clubs.

The Blackhawks could free up additional cap dollars if they can find a taker for Duncan Keith. They’ll likely use those savings to put toward landing a star defenseman as Dreger observed.

I originally believed the Los Angeles Kings would be the best destination. They appear more interested in less expensive top-six forwards.

We don’t know how serious the Rangers’ reported interest in Eichel could be. Adams probably prefers moving him as far away from Buffalo as possible. However, he could have little choice but to move him to an eastern club if he can’t find better offers from western teams.



  1. No one is going to give up four first rounders for Eichel, even if he is healthy any gm that does that deserves to be fired. He’s Boston Bound. They will get it DONE.

    • It depends on where you are in the league, if you are a sure fire playoff team, 4 first for a healthy Eichel is ok, if you are a team like LA that isnt certain to make the playoffs, not so much. The problem for Buffalo is that the teams that are in category one are capped out. The only team that works are the Rangers and that gives them leverage. I can see a package of Kacko, Strome and this years 1st rounder and maybe a B prospect as max what the Rangers will offer.

      • I hope the Rangers do not make a bid for Eichel even if he is 100% healthy. He is young but he is very fragile. I think the Rangers could use that $10M elsewhere and get more bang for the buck.

      • Kent,
        if it’s going to be the Rangers then that is probably pretty much correct re players going back.

        Given the medical issue it could even easily be an overpay to include the 1st.

        The Rangers might also throw in DeAngelo (at no cost to themselves) if the Sabres are interested.


      • Cannot see how Eichel works to the Rangers. In the very near future new contacts needed for Norris Fox, Laf, Igor and the decision on Zib long term. They already have the big contracts of Panarin, Trouba and Kreider….I cannot see any of those being moved this summer.

      • Re DS: NYR have 27,5m in cap space with an additional 23 next season. So if they get Eichel that is 10, but 4,5 goes out with Strome who must be going the other way I dont really see a problem. Mika will want a raise but I would be surprised if he gets more than 8. Sure Fox needs a new contract 22 but D are usually paid less, going rate is 5-6 on 3 year deal or 8×8, but say that Fox gets 8×9. I still dont see the problem. As for me I would rather see an offersheet for Pettersson. To me 5×10,5 could get him and the price of 2 first+2nd+3rd if you make the playoffs is much cheaper than Eichel, salary basically the same and for me Pettersson is better. Less whine, better two way player and even if he has had injuries they are more like of s¤#t happens kind, not something to worry about in the long run

      • Like I said no-one will give up 4 1st rounders for Eichel

    • Given that Eichel is given a clear bill of health

      • Jack Eichel is a good player not sure why people are getting all worked up over this guy. He is certainly not worth what Buffalo is asking for him.

    • I think the meaning of 4 first rounders means that a player coming back was a first round pick when drafted. The player could have been a late first rounder. But in saying that I think Adams wants another top 10 pick in this draft.

    • Rick–Get it done with what going back? You really think they want to trade him in the division ? They cant be that dumb to do that

      • Rick won’t tell you how they get it done. Rick just tells you it will be done. No reasoning required.

    • They never said 4 first rd picks, they want a A list prospect, first rd pick, and two other players who had first rd talent, probably like a Cody Glass or something like that. Eichel was going to get 100 points last year until Chinese gov decided to mess around with viruses, scoring 10th in league playing with slow bums like Reinhart is a miracle.

    • If General Manager Kevyn Adams does not get a decent return for Eichel in a trade, then he deserves to be fired. I doubt a general manager with one year experience would want to work hard to lose his job.

  2. Assuming Buffalo does draft Power 1OA, if they get a second top ten pick, wouldn’t a center make more sense then a winger? Especially when they over drafted Quinn last year.

    • redmonster

      You would think so but I think it all matters what comes back for Eichel and Reinhart then they work from there. As an example say it’s Minn where Eichel goes and Rossi were to come back so that got the Sabres a center prospect. Also if they like Eklund that much he also has played center.

      I’m not convinced they go Power…they haven’t even spoke to him according to Power who said he has spoken to between 10-15 teams so far. Adam’s went Quinn last year over a center when there was a good 6-7 center prospects available.

  3. Lyle, Thanks for sharing the great analysis! I still think NYR is the most likely to land Eichel w/ MIN or ANA as the fallbacks if the deal can’t be sealed. Rumblings here are CBJ were very interested on Eichel but are going into a deeper rebuild mode and apparently shifted their interest to Reinhart from BUF (take that for what it’s worth). Another interesting note…there is persistent buzz that Jarmo is quietly listening on Laine. We’ll see where that goes but LA & FLA were mentioned as being teams to watch if that is true. Hope it’s interesting to those on the board though it may be nothing more than speculation….

    • Also some new buzz connecting CBJ w/ Kuznetsov…not sure if he would accept a trade to CBJ w/ his NTC and also unsure how acquiring him fits the rebuild mode JD is now publicly discussing….though they are careful not to use that specific term and used multiple R word terms (reload, retool) to describe the plan…LOL

      • Im not giving much for Kuznetsov given his play and cap hit. I can actually see Washington getting rid of him due to poor play and need of cap space

      • Deacon,
        I don’t know where you’re getting your info. I’m a CBJ fan living in Columbus. No Jackets blog, nor any local media have stated your rumors. Please, cite your sources.

      • DeaconFrost: I’ve also heard the rumors about Laine. Seems to be just internet chatter at this point, though I could see Kekalainen swapping him for a first-line center. We’ll see. He’s going to be a busy GM this summer!

  4. Minnesota could be in this. Fiala may be difficult to sign. Probably seeking term and at least $5+M per year. Sending him along with a 1st and couple of prospects like Filip Johansson and Khovanev would seem like a good package. If needed to balance the cap hit throw in Rask (he once had chemistry with Skinner in Carolina.

    • Paul…good to meet a fellow CBus residnt and CBJ fan! As Lyle said some internet chatter. But I’ll try and summarize…Portzline has stated multiple times in his Athletic podcast & Q&As that he has heard from league and team sources that Laine will not be here next year. Again, I fully acknowledge that many folks are skeptical on his sources so it could be speculation. Also, Friedman and LeBrun (I beleive) shared they have heard Jarmo is listening and that was where the LA and FLA connections were suggested…again could be nothing but I found it interesting. Hope this helps

      • barkov won the selke. if he can put Laine under his wing, he’ll win the babysitter of the year award.in theory, laine could walk the entire length of oakland park blvd, from the beach to the arena, and few, if any would notice him.

  5. I do believe NYR will be in on Eichel till the end. Minnesota seems like their biggest competition, if Buffalo wants Dumba. If I’m Minny, I’d offer him, Greenway, Rossi and one of their 1st round picks this year. Maybe add a future puck or B prospect. Honestly, as a Ranger fan, an opportunity like this to get a legit 1c entering his prime doesn’t come along too often. Missed on Dubois. I don’t see Chytil ever becoming a 2C. And there’s really not much else in pipeline of centers. Loaded with prospects at every other position.

    • Dumba, Greenway, Rossi & a first??? for an injured Jack Eichel??? Wild fans are ecstatic you aren’t Bill Guerin …

      • Ed, I’ve said before, injury will be well vetted before anyone gives up anything for him.

    • 1st line centers don’t come along very often, but Eichels injury history should calm any expectations or trade pieces going the other way.

      He’s missed 86 games over the last 6 seasons and 85 of them over the last 5. That’s more than concerning for a guy taking up that much cap room.

      I’m not a fan of this idea. They rolled the dice on Bure and Lindros and lost. The main issue is his current injury. Who knows what you’re getting?

    • Slick, he’s going to Boston, so no need to discuss.
      * A trade w/ Rangers starts with Fox.

      • Fox?


      • It starts with Fox and ends with a dial tone.

        Fox PLUS? Not a chance.

        Sure 1st line centers are hard to come by, but are there a lot of 22-23 year old defensemen that come to market of that caliber?

      • The only thing more valuable in the league than a true number 1 d man is a true number 1 center.

      • A true number one center that could get through shaving without being placed on ltir , and you may have a case.

        But I don’t really agree. I’d take Hedman over every center in the league not named Mcdavid or McKinnon.

  6. Buyers remorse for the team that ends up trading for Eichel …

    • Fox is not just a #1 D, he’s a #1 RHD.
      You know, the harder-to-obtain side?

      Who turned 23 only 3 or 4 months ago.

      And he’s a Norris Trophy winner.

      Eichel is potentially damaged goods and comes with a $10 million (!) Cap hit.

      “Fans” should wake up.


  7. I know the Canucks don’t have much cap space to play with, but with kids like Hughes, Rathbone and Juolevi all possibly playing this year, maybe it makes sense to grab a guy like Keith and put him in a mentorship role. The knowledge he could pass on to those kids could be priceless, if the Canucks could work out a deal somehow. Maybe Virtanen goes the other way?

    • Canucks have next to zero cap room to try and add Keith with and Virtanen has zero trade value let alone the possibility of a lengthy suspension coming his way.

      • I know. More wishful thinking on my part about Virtanen getting traded. He’s getting bought out, most likely.

      • Possible that the Canucks are able to void Virtanens contract for violating a morals clause and just release him without cap penalties.

      • Agreed. I think it would be much better to re-sign Edler to continue to mentor as opposed to bringing in Keith for the same reason instead.

        I think Keith would be good for the Kraken as a name people recognize and as a mentor. There wouldn’t be outrageous expectations from him in Seattle. Anywhere else and people will expect him to be an earlier edition of his current self.

  8. Eichel to Tampa Bay. Spend the season on LTIR and then be activated just in time for the playoffs.

    • Ron…..Tampa would NEVER do that….😂

    • There ya go. And no League wink-wink if course … everything kosher for another 6-day miraculous recovery.

    • If you really watch Kucherov now, and have watched him prior to this season, there is no question he isn’t anywhere near 100%.

      I don’t buy into this conspiracy theory. I don’t see any team shelving their best player, and I can’t see their best player willing to sit out an entire season.

      • Captain Obvious… He looks pretty damn freaking good to me in this whole playoff run.

        He is better than McKinnon, McDavid and Matthews all of which dont play the smart overall game that Kuch does.

        It was cool to see that players vote/poll that voted Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron tied as the most complete players in the game.

        All true..

      • Also, it could be that, if he isn’t 100% it may be related, not to that off-season surgery but rather whatever caused him to leave that NYI game after only 46 seconds and not return.

  9. Keith to San Jose. Because the Sharks don’t have enough overpaid veterans on the downside of their careers. The only team that really makes sense for Keith is Seattle.

    • Especially of they re-up Marleau and bring Jumbo Joe back for his swan song. Of course they’d need to change their nickname from Sharks to Geriatrics.

  10. There may be a situation where the Flames loose Giordano to the Kraken and try to replace him with Kieth.
    That would be a big step backwards in my opinion.

  11. The pic of D. Keith above looks like he’s about us his blessing. Hard to believe a team will take on his (D. Keith) whole salary. Unless Hawks are making a “deal” w/ Kraken.
    Well folks, we have 3 talented players that have locker room “issues” (DeAngelo, E. Kane, and Kuznetsov)

  12. How about the face of the franchise in Seattle for Eichel? He might like that role a lot.

    • Think you hit it on the head Kracken very interested in Eichel. This is what I think has slowed down a trade.

      Sabres awaiting to see who Kracken pick in expansion draft

      My bet 21 2nd overall 22 1st unprotected Dumba and Korpisalo or Kivlenieks

  13. Arvidsson to the Kings for a 2021 2nd and 2022 3rd , nice pick up by Blake. Poile could be tearing down , if I was a GM I would be calling about Forsberg’s availability.

    • I am a little surprised that nobody offered more than that. Maybe most are afraid to add a roster player this close to the expansion draft.

  14. Best move would be Eichel and Skinner to where ever for a top ten pick and a a very good prospect or roster player? The acquiring team could throw a couple more salary dumps in but Sabres are out of the Skinner situation. Then keep Reinhardt and move Risto.

    as far as I am concerned whoever wants him can have him that way? Where skinner ends up who cares. If I was the Kraken, Coyotes, Detroit or Columbus I would take that deal.

  15. Pasta for Eichel….

    A healthy Carlo & DeBrusk to the Oilers for the Nurse …

    Sign a large tough SAH Dman

    Sign Hall

    Rebuild the 3rd and 4th line

    Bye to Rask & 46 and any other UFA & RFA

  16. CBJ Jones trade update…Portzline just dropped a report that according to league execs he spoke w/ 4 teams are pushing hard to trade for Jones : LA, CHI, COL, & PHI. Should get interesting around draft time.

  17. Interesting ideas today. Eichel to Kraken .. would Ron Francis have to give up 2nd overall pick to get him? Wait and see who Seattle picks up, they could get a few decent young players but then why would they waste expansion draft picks on players they will just trade right away? This one seems less likely.

    Whether or not the chatter around Laine has any substance, Florida probably would be the best option for him, but they would need to shed salary to make it happen. How much does Bennett get and for how long? My guess is 1-3 years, whatever length is required to ensure he is an RFA still at its expiration, at between 3.5 and 4.5 per season (based on his 2nd line role with strong numbers and play post-trade, but recognizing small sample size).

    LA would likely have to give up Byfield for Laine and I don’t think they would do that, Byfield is too important for their center position going forward.