NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2021

by | Jul 26, 2021 | Rumors | 74 comments

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, the goaltending market and Evgeny Kuznetsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jack Eichel’s agents believe the 24-year-old center will be traded in the near future, adding all their discussions with the Buffalo Sabres have centered around that issue. Eyebrows were raised when Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said he’d have no problem if Eichel was still with the club when training camp opens in September.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Friedman listed the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild among the clubs with some interest in Eichel. The Montreal Canadiens have engaged in talks with the Sabres but they’re not anywhere near a point where the latter would agree to a deal. The New York Rangers and Sabres aren’t close in their conversations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point, of course, is the herniated disk in Eichel’s neck. While he’s returned to skating, it’s believed he still prefers surgery. However, the Sabres are reluctant to go that route because the procedure has never been done on a professional hockey player.

Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons is another issue. So is the Sabres’ rumored asking price of the equivalent of four first-round draft picks. As I’ve recently speculated, this could drag on throughout the summer before reaching a resolution before the start of training camp.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman observed the Toronto Maple Leafs have made finding a goaltending partner for Jack Campbell to be their top priority. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers seek an experienced partner for young starter Carter Hart.

He wondered if the Vancouver Canucks will buy out Braden Holtby if unable to trade him and if Martin Jones will get a fresh start elsewhere assuming he’s bought out by the San Jose Sharks.

Other goalie questions include where Arizona Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper ends up, what the Vegas Golden Knights will do with their goalie tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, and what the market will be for Sabres UFA Linus Ullmark.

He also mused over what the Colorado Avalanche’s contract limit will be for pending free agent Philipp Grubauer. It’s believed Grubauer’s asking price was close to the six-year, $6 million per season contract of St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan and The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox believe it’s crucial for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas to find the right partner for Campbell. Cox was scathing in his analysis of Dubas’ seeming unwillingness to adequately address the club’s goaltending.

There won’t be any long-term solutions walking through the door via free agency for the Leafs. I doubt they can win any bidding war for Grubauer. The asking price for Kuemper could be a first-round pick but they’ve go just three picks (including their first) in next year’s draft. Acquiring Fleury or Lehner could also cost them a valuable asset.


WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports the possibility of the Capitals trading Evgeny Kuznetsov appears less certain after GM Brian MacLellan downplayed that notion over the weekend. “We’ve never said we’re trading Kuznetsov,” he said. “I said we were open to discussions on most of our players in the trade market and if it comes up, it comes up and if it doesn’t make sense, same as always.”

The Capitals face a salary-cap crunch and still have to re-sign captain Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov. While clearing Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million AAV would address that issue, MacLellan said decisions to clear cap space will be based on how much they need. He also suggested swinging a blockbuster deal similar to those in recent days isn’t necessarily going to be his team’s strategy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kuznetsov’s disappointing season on and off the ice, MacLellan could be reluctant to part with him because of his previous contributions when he’s on his game. He may have also tested the market and found lukewarm interest in the 29-year-old center.


  1. Elliotte Freidman, predicted Derek Forbort will sign in Boston.

    Never gave him much thought but he would bring the size and toughness required. Good 3rd pairing

    I’m hoping for a Suter or Martinez

    • Forbort doesn’t move the needle, strictly a depth guy … very underwhelming …

      • I have to laugh when I read in NY newspapers how the Rangers won’t even offer any top prospects for Eichel, they want them to take some C level defensemen, the team needs forwards, we have Power, Dahlin, Jokiharju and many other great young D men. What kind of GM clown would think to get a point per Game Center age 24 you should offer up garbage?

    • Surprised you spent time watching Forbort Ed, closet Jet’s fan?
      Played 2nd pair minutes (3rd on team) in WPG, plus player who got most of his starts in his own end. Led them in PK TOI.
      Caper – who was he paired with most of the time?
      Jet’s young D are all LD, so makes sense they haven’t signed him to extension.

      While not a flashy player, he fits what they need. Stay at home D first physical player who kills penalties.

      • Ray I believe most times with Dylan Demelo who is a strong stay but underrated dman.

      • Forbort played almost all his 5v5 minutes with Pionk. They paired well. He started the season strong and faded in the second half. bumps and bruises perhaps?

        I agree with Caper that he is a strong 3 pair guy, very reliable/steady consistent game, no flash, simple plays with the puck to open ice. I am hoping he stays with the Jets for the PK ability. He was a bit of a lightning rod with some fans who saw only poor foot speed without seeing the sum of his game.

        Interesting was that the few times he lost his temper his whole game went to crap. He performs better when not playing like an enforcer.

      • I didn’t notice Forbort much in the regular season, nothing stands out in my mind.

        The playoffs were a different matter, either he upped his game or I paid more attention.

        He was very effective, physical and broke up plays, I’d be surprised if the Jets don’t resign him.

      • 1260 was talking about Forbort on my way home today as there is rumored interest in EDM.
        They said he played more minutes against the toughest assignments in both WPG and LA.
        Found that interesting which would also explain his possession #’s.
        Sounds like there may be some competition for his services.

    • Forbort?!? he hasn’t impressed me much over the years they’d better back that up with something a little sweeter like a Hamilton if they’re going for strength and size along the blue line and want to push the b’s toward being a cup contender.

      • Rick, the B’s dumped him.(Hamilton) Return to Boston? ………..no sir, that ship has sailed. No 2nd chances.

      • I think Dougie dumped Boston, he’s not a good fit for whatever reason he’s not interested in playing there

      • Hamilton bailed because the Bruins wouldn’t trade for his brother. Which cal agreed to do and did. He’s not a team guy he didn’t build any relationships with his teammates. He’s a defensive liability all set

      • Not many players have impressed you. No way Hamilton is brought back and I doubt the Bruins would even want him.

        With Martinez re-signing in Vegas and Suter wanting 4 years, the Bruins need to either look the trade route or look at Murray, Reilly, Savard, Vatanen or another second tier d-man.

        Looking like Yandle may be heading to Boston. Will help the PP but won’t help defensively.

      • Not sure I like the Yandle idea BosBrn32.
        Not slagging Yandle but the PP will be fine IMO with Grz and McAvoy along with the forwards though they seem to prefer the left shot.

      • Ray, I don’t really want Yandle. 5 years ago, maybe.

        Now they are saying he may be going to Philly for 950k on a one year deal. Low risk for the Flyers.

    • Watching him in the few Jets’ games I saw I didn’t really see the “toughness” or much of anything else. But then again maybe he was in the games I didn’t see?.

    • Forbort… good size but isn’t that physical will drop gloves but can’t win fights …. Won’t fill the Miller skates

    • Forbort… good size but isn’t that physical will drop gloves but can’t win fights …. Won’t fill the Miller skates ….. so the Bruins have $$$ left who they going to spend it on

    • Forbort ‘s a bum he couldn’t win a fight with my grandpa. No please!! something better

    • As a long time Kings fan I can tell you that Forbort is a big guy that is definitely not tough.

      He plays like hes 5’7. So dont expect him to throw any big body checks or toss guys around, cause it wont happen.

  2. Eichel’s health situation is probably putting teams off more than the return. If he does have surgery, that might be something that sidelines him for the entire season. That in itself will make teams very hesitant.
    As for Kuznetsov, his declining production and huge cap hit mean that the only way a team trades for him is if the return is minimal and the Caps retain significant salary. I don’t think the Caps want to do that.

    • If there was no disc problem or uncertainty after a disc problem, Eichel could be worth 4 first rounders. Now he has a disc problem and even if resolved, who knows for how long. It’s a big risk to take for a GM

      • Hi Kent, I saw on another site a suggestion that the team that acquires Eichel receive a conditional pick or picks from Buffalo if Eichel does not play 40 or more games. It would take some of the risk out if the acquiring team received Buffalo ‘s 1st round pick if he is too injured to play.

  3. Caps…. $9.7 M to sign 5 …. One of which … Ovi… has been reported to be getting in the $9M – $9.5 M range…. and not moving Kuz???

    Kuz contract nigh buyout proof even if they maniacally we’re considering it… 8 years on books; only save $1.5 M this year and next

    Perhaps this is where GMRF was gearing to with a low total Cap hit with the expansion draft…., “I’ll rescue you…. But boy is it going to cost you in assets”

    Would love to see the Flower back with Pens…. Alas a dream that only happens with an EXTREMELY farfetchedto-through multi-player move/deal in the nutty/crazy/impossible level of…..

    Kuemper on Knights @ 25%…. $2.25 M Cap…Knights net $9.75 M in space (see below); get a 2nd from Arz; but give up a 1st and Dugan and Smith.., Space lets them sign Landeskog as UFA…. basically flipping MAF and Smith; a First and Duggan ; for Keumper and Landeskog and a 2nd

    Kraken retain 50% each of MAF & Kuemper …. $5.75 M cash; $5.25 M Cap; receive 3 seconds (1 from Pens and 2 from Arz [has 5 next year]; and Dugan (from Knights) and O’Connor and ZAR from Pens

    Arz…. Retains 25% (50% of 50% ) of MAF and Keumper; and 50% of Smith… ~ $5.3 M total cash; gives up 3 2nds; gets a 1st (Knights) ; Pettersson; Zucker; Laffy; DeSmith

    Pens …. Get the Flower @$2.25 M Cap; Smith ($2.5 M Cap) ; give up a 2nd, Zucker, Petersson; O’Connor; Laffy; ZAR; DeSmith…. Nets at least $8.5 M in Cap space…. Valuable in UFA market

    So Pens convert DeSmith into MAF; Zucker into Smith; Pettersson into PO-J ; free up an extra $8.5 M in space; for the price of O’Connor; Laffy; ZAR; and a 2nd

    Math and desires work for the 4 teams….. odds of happening……. 0.00000000001 %

    So…. As at now …. Pens are set up for likelihood of missing the playoffs 😡💩🤬👎👎👎

    Oh … and unless Francis signs Bayreuther (would have to be League min; and preferably 2-way contract)…. Kraken end up with Zilch from Jackets in expansion draft…. Still very strange to me that they picked Bayreuther🧐🤨

    • to WSH: Bernier & a 2nd in 2022
      to SEA: Kuzy

      cap space, #3 C as Eller moves to#2 c and OSHIE back to wing….cap space to make more moves.

      Seattle gets a #1C

      win win

      • Hi IHC

        Francis will want more out of that deal… He’s doing MacLellan the big favour

        MacLellan will need to retain and/or cough up pucks and/or prospects to move Kuz (Cap heavy with term and baggage and declining performance)

    • Pengy, since it’s highly doubtful that Francis went momentarily senile when selecting Bayreuther rather than a Domi or Carlsson, it’s clear that something else is headed Seattle way in the future – probably a pick.

      • I would have thought so George

        But all side deals had to be announced by now

        And with information leaking out from Kraken like a sieve….

        This would have had to have been a double secret “handshake” deal between Ronny and Jarmo; done on an encrypted Sat phone

        Not looking good for Ronny

        Looking great for Jarmo

        That was not the only questionable ED pick by Kraken…. but the only one definitely NOT guaranteed …. UFA….

        The fact that he was a depth Dman; never drafted; less than 30 total NHL games…. Made the pick stranger

        I can accept the pass on Domi

        But Kukan and Harrington … both 1 more year at $1.6M; and Carlsson ($0.8 M , then RFA) were all available to be picked by Ronny????

        BTW… Zito inked Benett 4@$4.4 M

      • Pengy, re: “But all side deals had to be announced by now …”

        Where is that stated? Looked around and could find nothing to that end. Could it be nothing more than “a favour sometime in the future …”??

      • George O

        A few years ago the Habs made a trade, Jarred Tinordi and Stefan Fournier to Arizona for Victor Bartley and John Scott.

        We (Hab fans) laughed, couldn’t figure it and were convinced that the trade had a favour owed in the future. We’re still waiting.

      • LOL. Well, I guess the difference here is that that Habs-Arizona transaction was an actual trade Habfan30. This was a draft selection of what has all the appearances of a career AHLer – and, if so, was it done as a favor so Columbus did not lose someone they wished to keep. In that case you have to think there’s a favour “in the bank” for Seattle.

      • George O

        It was the year Scott was elected to the All Star game, so the “talk” was it was a favour to either Arizona or Bettman and a side deal was backing it all up.

        That’s the similarity, the expectation that there was more to come, everybody knew it and everybody was wrong.

      • Hi George

        NHL actually did say that all side trades had to be rec’d by (I believe it was 11 AM…. time may be off an hour or two) on ED day

        NHL also said they would announce any (if there were any) side trades ; after roster freeze was lifted (afternoon after ED)

        So…. There is no “official” side deal pending…. Secret side deals ???? Who knows…. We’ll see what happens (if anything) between Clb and Krakken on Wed

      • The Habs trade for Scott was a favour for Bettman so MB could bury him in the minors hoping the all star selection would go away. I’m sure they got something out of it but we don’t often get to see the actual back door dealing payoffs, except when they get caught once in a while.

    • Pengy–Sully not a fan of Maf

      • Hi crrob

        Sully was a BIG BIG fan of JJ…. and gave way too much rope to Zucker….and manaically plays Ruhweedel and won’t give a sniff of play to Riikola

        So him not liking the Vezina owner…., seems apropos

        This won’t be his call though…. its up to HexBurkie

    • @ Pengy check out my Anaheim Proposal from the other day….I posted late.

      Insidepittsburgh sports says Penguins quietly in on two free agents.

      Brandon Sadd
      Zack Bogosian


      Say kings have a 4 tear $5.25 AVV offer ready for Saad this Wednesday we will see….

    • @ Pengy my basic premise was a trade with Anaheim who we have traded with often and Burke has a relationship with Murray GM of the Ducks.


      – 29 RHD Josh Manson 1 year left $ 4.5 (actual $4.1 cap hit

      – 27 Winger Rickard Rakell 1 year left at $3.8 million

      – 22 Maxime Comtois Winger last year of his entry deal at $820,000

      $ 8.72 million to Pittsburgh


      – 29 Jason Zucker Winger 2 years left @ $5.5 million

      – 25 Marcus Petersson signed until 2024 @ 44.025 million.

      – 26 Zack Aston Reese last salary at $1.0 million.

      – Plus a 1st round pick in 2022

      $ 10.6 million to Anaheim..

      thoughts ?

      Only bad part everybody we get is on the last year of their deal…we do save like $1.5 in the deal

      • $4.025 sorry.. Marcus Petersson salary

      • Sorry BnG

        Didn’t see that

        I’d take the deal in a heartbeat…. But Murray wouldn’t even take the call on that deal

        In my best dreams… Comtois as a Pen

        I’d be surprised if Murray accepted Zucker and Pettersson for Manson alone

        Hextal blew the expansion draft huge

        He somehow became brain dead and protected his 4C that could have been replaced easily by Gaudreau (and cheaper than Blueger signed for)

        Instead… nothing for McC and also lost Turbo

        He should have done a side deal with Francis… take Zucker… Pens give you both McC and Turbo…. Kraken flips Bastien to Pens

        That deal clears $11 M and replaces Zucker with Bastien…. 6 years younger; Rightie; C & W; tremendously bigger; 1/6 th the Cap hit; bright future

        $11 M would go a long way in the UFA market


  4. From what I’ve read here, Eichel prefers an unconventional repair procedure. Does anybody know how that procedure differs from the surgery Kris Letang had in 2017 to repair a herniated disc in his neck?

    Letang’s surgery kept him out for seven months, which means a similar operation may cause Eichel to miss the season,

    As Kent suggests, a team giving up players for him would be gambling on what the future may hold. It could also be operating with a talent deficit at least until his recovery.

    • Hi Francis

      Eichel’s preference is for a relatively new procedure; as I understand, never been tried on a pro Hockey player

      If I also read correctly ; procedure has been done only once on a prominent pro athelete… an MMA fighter… it apparently was succesful

      So there is not much to go on re succesful results of this op

      Could prove very succesful… but with very limited data…. Risky

      Tanger’s surgery was the much more common/conventional neck surgery…. Tested ; tried; proven; low risk

      • Looks like Jack doesn;t mind sticking out his neck.

      • 👍👍🤣🤣

        Same as Mary Antoinette, Anne Bolyn, Catherine Howard?

      • @Pengy…I dont kbow they dont seem to want to resign Manson or Rakell. Both have been consistently on the trade block..

        Zucker. = Rakell. Both 20 goal scorers

        Manson >Peterson. But petersson younger and cheaper and stable

        Zack Aston reese gives defensive credibility to the dicks plus makes them better on the PK. Only 26.

        #1 draft pick in 2022

        For three expiring contacts..I dont know

  5. Eichel is seriously underrated on this, and many other sites. The kid is a top 10 center. High ankle sprains have kept him from displaying his true potential. The neck injury isn’t as bad as people perceive.
    I’d pay four first rounders or the equivalent to that all day, everyday. Heck I’d trade Pasta + for him.

    • After you’ve traded Pasta, put Eichel on Bergeron’s right. Eichel would never again have to twist his neck.

    • “The neck injury isn’t as bad as people perceive.”

      Please enlighten us on this statement. Seriously … as we’ve seen nothing substantial to indicate its severity one way or another.

      • Hey, George. I have no evidence one way or the other, however based on some of the return packages bandied around here by our fellow posters, you’d think the kid is laid up somewhere in traction. Or one hit away from retirement. That’s why I stated the injury isn’t as bad as some people perceive. I have nothing other than my opinion to back me up. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I’m both.

        I’m just glad I got the chance to respond before Mr. Moore did.

      • LOL – I assure I wasn’t being nasty ShoreOrrPark – but you had me curious as to whether I may have missed some published diagnosis. I guess we’ll know if he decides to go ahead with that controversial surgery.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone question Eichels talent. I’ve seen people question his durability and inability to stay healthy and rightfully so.

      I think Eichel is very much on the block and I believe Buffalo has had multiple conversations about moving him. Yet he remains in Buffalo? I take it gms share the same concerns.

      The one thing about neck, back , spine injuries is it’s impossible to give a sunny prognosis. The only thing certain about spine injuries is uncertainty.

      Before any gm hands over that return, they’ll at least want his medical records and to let their doctors have a look , which Buffalo has not entertained as of today. Why?

      A lot of great players have health issues that have been a constant problem. Stamkos , Bishop, Malkin etc.

      I’m not giving up a kings ransom for a a player that spends 1/2 his career on the sidelines, and paying him 10 million against the cap while in at it.

      • Sensible stance.

  6. If Boston moved Pasta for Jack they would be no closer to winning and would have more money invested. If Bruins traded for Jack they wouldn’t sign Krech I could see them giving up picks and prospects but not Pasta or Charlie McAvoy.

    • Bergeron turned 36 today. If the Bruins traded Pasta for Eichel, could they be wondering how much longer Bergeron can play, and could they be asking if they have anyone in sight who might be able to replace Bergeron?

      I think it will be tough enough for them to just find a Krech replacement He’s also a guy who will be missed soon and sorely, isn’t he.

      • Sorry, my memory was two days slow to remember Bergeron’s birthday. Or maybe it’s just behind the times.

  7. In my opinion your don’t trade a young 40-50 goal scorer for a center with health issues especially when Pasta is loved by all and wants to be a Bruin. I understand who will replace Bergeron will be hard to find but a center with no wings is called a helicopter line. Pasta is just too good especially under 7 million.

    • Then we roll the dice on a 36 year old, St. Patrice and Charlie Colye as our 1-2 punch for the next 3 years?
      My question is, what about the years after that?
      You can’t hope to win without a number 1 center. I don’t care if we have Pasta, Lafleur Ovie, and Jagr in their primes. No dominant center, no cup.

    • Valid points, Obe. I’m just thinking about the long game. I love Pasta, and would hate to see him go. That’s why I’ve been beating the drum for a swap of four 1st rounders for Eichel.
      I like Stud, but he’s unproven as of yet.

  8. Bruins don’t qualify Ritchie or Kase and shore don’t forget Studnicka.

    • Ritchie just prop him in front of net in O zone and aim for him pucks will bounce off and into net … Kase please no he can’t stay healthy

  9. There has to be better LD out there than Forbort at what he does … next team will be his 4th in the last 3-4 years ….he’s so good everyone wants him

  10. Why do I get the feeling that the Bruins are getting Eichel

    • Cause Charlie Jacobs said do it.

    • It’s not a feeling Joe it will happen Krecji ain’t coming back I think the bruins may have lowballed him in order to try and stay under the cap and sign everyone they need to & I believe Krecji didn’t like it. Eichel will be a bruin. Now if they can just get rid of Rask.

  11. didn’t some team pay four first rounders for Phil Kessel?

    And his neck was just fine. Hotdog firm.

  12. Nope two first rounders Leafs paid.

  13. You want 4 first rounders for Eichel ……here you go

    Bruins get their center to replace PB

  14. Bennet inked for 4×4.4 will be the most regrettable contract this summer next to whatever contract Edmonton gives Hyman .

    Recency bias overlooking the career.

    • I think you might end up eating those words, habsfan30. I wouldn’t say I’m a Bennett fan, but I watched most of the Florida games down the stretch and into the playoffs. Bennett played like a man possessed. If what he needed was the right environment and linemates to thrive, then he might just turn out to be a decent signing. William Karlsson scored 40+ goals one year after the Blue Jackets gave up on him with a new team…why couldn’t Bennett? Maybe he’s trying to show his old team they made a big mistake. Just my 2 cents…and that might be overpaying for my opinion. 🙂

      • Armadillo Ed,

        You just described recency bias to a T.

        Columbus gave up on Karlsson after about 2 years.
        Bennett has had 5 years to show who he is, the two have played roughly the same number of NHL games. K-466 B- 412

        They have both shown who they are over time IMHO.

        Let’s see a year from now 🙂

      • I’m not disagreeing about the recency bias but I am saying that there are other factors in play here. New team, new linemates and new motivation might have finally unlocked the potential that made Calgary draft him. I equate it a lot to chemistry…perfectly safe molecules put together can suddenly become something much more dangerous. After watching the playoffs I have a whole lot more faith that there is a player there and not the bust he was looking like at the end of his Calgary tenure.

  15. Stralman sent to Yotes… after sending a couple of depth players below the line … Zito will have $13 M to sign Reinhardt, Wennerberg; Montour… completing the full 23… certainly doable

    If Bobo plays even at 75% of his Cap value… Panthers have great shot of winning the Div

    Dubas…. Hello McFly ???

  16. Ok … I’ve been ranting about Kraken potentially getting nothing from Jackets in the expansion draft…. Bayreuther is UFA

    I just checked…. I mistakenly had assumed he (Bayreuther) was the only UFA

    Nope….Quenneville is as well

    So potentially Ronny wasted the Hawks pick as well

    He could have chosen (still under contract):

    Carpenter, Connolly,Gaudette, de Haan,Delia, Subban

    But the HUGE miss (of a pick) was the Vehemoth RFA Nikita Zadorov

    big big MAn RFA vs depth forward UFA ?????? WTF?

  17. James Greenway & Nick Wolff

    Two huge Dmen ….