NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2021

by | Jul 27, 2021 | Rumors | 58 comments

With the NHL free-agent market opening July 28, here’s the latest on the goalie market, Ryan Getzlaf’s status with the Ducks and updates on the Canadiens and Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports talks between the Colorado Avalanche and goaltender Philipp Grubauer are expected to go down to the wire before the free-agent market opens at noon ET on July 28. The Avs are holding firm with an offer of five years and $5 million annually while the Grubauer camp seeks over $6 million per season.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer (NHL Images).

The Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs view Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper as a primary trade target but the asking price is high. The Chicago Blackhawks are among several teams with an interest in Vancouver Canucks netminder Braden Holtby. The Vegas Golden Knights have dangled Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury at varying points this season.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports have an interest in Kuemper and Carolina’s Petr Mrazek. They haven’t made a contract offer to former starter Frederik Andersen. He thinks Andersen could be on the Hurricanes’ shortlist.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting a deal for one of the Golden Knights’ goaltenders fell through over the weekend. It was either Fleury going to the Blackhawks or Lehner heading to the New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can expect a fair bit of jockeying over the next couple of days as teams attempt to address their goalie needs via trades and/or free agency.

Grubauer’s situation will be interesting. The Avs wouldn’t have clinched this year’s Presidents’ Trophy without him but he was shaky in their second-round series against Vegas. Nevertheless, I don’t see a better option in the trade or free-agent markets.

Kuemper is the best of the bunch after Grubauer but he carries a $4.5 million cap hit for next season, has a recent injury history and is slated to become a UFA next summer. The Coyotes asking price is likely a high draft pick and/or a top prospect or young NHL-ready player.

The Lehner to New Jersey rumor caught my eye. The Devils seemed keen on young Mackenzie Blackwood as their starter. I assumed they’d want a reliable backup to mentor him. Lehner, however, is a full-fledged starter. If the Devils were trying to get him that suggests they have less confidence in Blackwood than originally thought.

It sounds like the Leafs are scouting the market for someone to share the goalie duties with Jack Campbell. If they don’t find anything that fits within their limited cap space perhaps they’ll circle back to Andersen, provided another club hasn’t snapped him up.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks and captain Ryan Getzlaf aren’t close to a new contract but he doesn’t rule out the possibility that they’ll get one done. Nevertheless, the 36-year-old center is readying himself to hear offers from clubs on Wednesday if he’s still unsigned by then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Eric Stephens reports the Ducks want to bring back Getzlaf. He suggested the speculation about the captain leaving might be to put a bit of pressure on the Ducks. We’ll see what transpires. Despite his age and declining production, he will attract plenty of interest in the free-agent market.


TVA SPORTS: Rumors are circulating suggesting the Montreal Canadiens could sign Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman David Savard and Carolina Hurricanes forward Cedric Paquette when the UFA market opens on Wednesday.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston took to Twitter reporting Chris Wideman is a “good bet” to land with the Canadiens via free agency. The 31-year-old defenseman is coming off a productive season in the KHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are looking to fill the gap on defense with Shea Weber sidelined for next season (and possibly longer). They’ll also need some checking-line depth if they lose center Phillip Danault to free agency. One rumor claims Wideman already has a one-year deal in place with the Habs that will be announced tomorrow.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the expansion Seattle Kraken are expected to be active in the upcoming free-agent market. They have lots of cap space to invest. LeBrun believes they’ll circle back on St. Louis Blues’ left winger Jaden Schwartz and make him a concrete offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken have over $30 million in projected cap space. They have sufficient room to re-sign their four restricted free agents (including Vince Dunn) and make a splash or two in the UFA pool for someone like Schwartz.



  1. If Kuemper is worht a first or top prospect what is lehner going to cost?

    I would like either in a tandem with Carter Hart.

    • Perhaps AZ lowers price on Kuemper t AVS to take Kessel too for Byram and a 2nd… different ask BUT gets a former #1 draft pick a 2nd for Phil
      and then can use the added cap space again to make more moves to garner more picks.

      Avs would get a goalie and a scorer for basically 1 good D prosect and an unknown commodity.

      Win win for both teams

  2. That Chris Wideman link to Montreal is interesting in that I thought he had finally played his way out of the NHL for good. Taken in the 2009 4th round (100th overall) by Ottawa, the 5′ 10″ 185lb D always showed some good offensive upside, but it was his often questionable decision-making back of his own blue line and lack of physical ability that kept getting him sent back to the AHL.

    • And a curious replacement for someone 6’4″ and 230 pounds. If the Habs sign him it tells me they are confident that Romanov is ready to play top 4 minutes, or there is other movement in and out of the Habs d corp that is to take place. I think this is a dubious rumour.

      • LJ.
        If Wideman’s a replacement or anybody it’s Merrill.

        He’s a depth signing coming off a great season in the KHL and we won’t see much of him.

        All it shows me is that Bergevin has his fingers all over the hockey world.

      • Wideman will not be a replacement for Weber, not by any means. He is a cheap depth option, probably coming in at $1m. or so, who will hopefully be able to take a regular turn on the 3rd pairing (12-14 minutes per game or so). This will not be their last pick up on D. I’m hoping they’ll take a run at Hamilton, but I don’t see that happening. I hope Bergevin checks in on Barrie – he’d be a cheaper option who will help out offensively. I’d go 5 years, $5-5.5m. AAV on him. If not, I imagine they’d pick up Savard. Won’t help out offensively, but he’d at least provide leadership and solidify their defensive play and PK. Would be a good idea to pick up a guy like Montour to go along with Savard, but signing Wideman may make that less likely. If they do go the Savard route, they’d have the cap space to go after a good forward – here’s hoping they do.

        Reports are that the Leafs have made no offer at all to Anderson. If that’s the case, I don’t see them circling back.

      • Re Leafs not circling back to Anderssen – not necessarily, Howard. I suppose it will all depend on whether he and his agent can find a contract at or more than that pitched to Dubas. And maybe the latter knows they’re not apt to get that anywhere so, if they are to come down substantially from their initial demand, perhaps they and Dubas can talk again.

        If he’s not signed anywhere else in the first hour tomorrow then I doubt they’ll be getting a big, long-term deal anywhere else.

  3. Another interesting story is the Oilers ready to buy out James Neal. Will someone jump on him once he becomes a UFA, but at a much-reduced cap hit? This is a big guy at 6′ 3″ 212 lbs who has had some productive years, and although turning 34 in Sept, probably still has a couple of seasons left in the tank.

    I recall reading some negative comments about him and his days in Pittsburgh. Are these factual? Is there some truth to his not being a good “team player?”

    • Well there is a pattern, Pitts moved on, Nash moved on, Vegas moved on and now EDM wants to move on……

      • Two of Neal’s last 3 seasons, since he signed a big UFA deal with Calgary, have been bad ones. The middle year was okay at best. He seems to have lost his touch – although he may be a decent pick-up on a one-year, low cost deal. Like you said ihatecrosby, when you have a decent player who so many teams seem to move on from, there could be something there. Is it buyer beware on Hamilton?

      • Actually, he’s been with 6 teams, 5 of which have (or will soon) move on. But teams kept dealing for (or signing) him. often giving up quality players.

        In 2011 at trade deadline day Dallas sent him to Pittsburgh with D Matt Niskanen for D Alex Goligoski (who then had some productive years for Dallas as did Neal in Pittsburgh.

        But in 2014 at the entry draft Pittsburgh sent him to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, and he was there until 2017 when Nashville exposed him in the Vegas expansion draft, and he was instrumental in their advance to the finals. But in 2018 he left Vegas for Calgary as a UFA where he was signed to a 5-year deal.

        They, however, then sent him to Edmonton in July 2019 for Milan Lucic and a conditional 3rd round pick.

        What you have to wonder is, if those rumors of his lack of “team” commitment were true, you’d think teams would have been gun-shy at dealing for him or picking him up for free.

      • I honestly think it is the super high and super low of his game play. either he is super hot having multi goal games or disappearing for dozens of games and not being noticeable on the ice. Even the best of scorers are streaky but you still NOTICE them on the ice generating chances. Neal is not that and I think their GMs and Coaches just believe the energy is not worth it to commit to him over a younger player.

        Everyone tries and finds out they cannot motivate consistency in Neal. It is up to him.

        Hoffman and Neal are identical in this feature.

      • Good comparison Ihatecrosby

      • A lot of good points here. I will add that when he went to Calgary they were expecting him to be the same James Neal as in Nashville – score goals often and effortlessly. For whatever reason he had a bad start in Calgary, and never really recovered, (The Flames apparently didn’t like his conditioning prior to camp) He ended up on the third and fourth lines where the style of play demanded of him didn’t suit his skill set. He can check, but he is also a genuine sniper so he needs to play with skill who can get him the puck.

        His contract was eerily similar to Lucic’ contract in Edmonton except for one important factor – it was not based mostly on bonuses, so if needed could be bought out. Calgary needed grit, and so they swapped players, and for the most part both teams have seemed satisfied with the trade.

        So if Edmonton does buy out Neal it is not a reflection on how he is in the dressing room, it is simply the Oilers taking advantage of the main attraction in trading for him – he CAN be bought out.

        Furthermore, in Neal’s defense, he had both Covid and injuries this year and that not only kept him out of the line up, it really hampered his play when he was on the ice,

        Neal’s biggest issue is that he has slowed down. He never had the fastest boots, so now his speed is below par. He still has great hands though, and on the right team at a low price will be great value and will score 15 to 20

      • Thanks for that assessment Mesmer. I didn’t know about the Covid or the shuffling to 3rd/4th line duty in Calgary.

        He could be an interesting pick-up at a bargain price for 1 or 2 seasons.

      • And Calgary moved on and Min. Etc. Has lost a lot of speed

  4. With all the talk about goalies going to all these team where are the oilers they have to get a goalie because all we have are old goalies please oilers get in the game

    • Oils should give upa 1st and something to NYR for Gorgi……

      He is going to be good. He is also YOUNG.

      • Not a bad idea, although if you were going to give up a first I think this year would have been the year.

        Talbot was in a similar position to Georgiev and it worked out well for both him and the Oilers when he went there.

        Strome has worked out surprisingly well for the Rangers from a different deal.

        The Oilers have Skinner, Rodrigue, and Konavolov, all with great pedigree, and all developing well. Still, developing goalies is witchcraft and the only time you know for sure if they will become an NHLer is when they actually become one. Georgiev has become one.

        I doubt he’s available though. Is he?

      • @Mesmer…Gorgi can be had for a 1st provided it is not at the bottom of the round.

  5. why would Devils bring in another starting goalie? They need a decent reliable 1B to support Blackwood. Bringing in Lehner? hell no. Signing Raanta? or Halak? makes sense.

    I agree with taking a flyer on J. Neal. He’s criticized not for production, but the salary attached.
    Well, we’ll all know a lot more tomorrow afternoon.

    • to me Halak makes a on of sense especially since the last few years he has been on a strong contending team in BOS. He can bring that locker room aspect from a winning team into a young NJ squad and help Blackwood.

      Any vets NJ brings in need to have either extending playoff experience or have won cups. The rest do not make sense to me.

  6. To AZ : Martin Jones (1.5m retained) & 2023 2nd and 2024 2nd

    To SJ: 2024 3rd

    this way they can trade Kuemper and have another goalie to trade too for more picks. (if he rebounds his career)

    • Given what they have been paid for taking on other contracts I don’t see them taking only a 3rd for Jones, he’s arguably the worst of the lot given term.
      Arizona isn’t looking for any players to make them better

      • @TAZ

        AZ is getting 2 2nd rd picks
        the 3rd rd pick being sent by AZ to SJ is for the 1.5 m in retention in my proposal

        this allows AZ to hold 50% of remaining and flip him for more 2nd rd picks again

  7. Would EDM do

    to EDM: Kessel (25% retained)
    to ARZ: Neal, Koskinen & a 2022 1st & 2023 2nd?

    would give EDM good amount of cap space to do other things.

    • That would be a bad move for Edmonton. Yes it clears some cap space but Kos comes off the books next year anyway and Kessel is also off the books next year. The cap savings would go a long way but giving up a 1st and 2nd just to basically clear cap space is a high price to pay.

      • @Marty

        Kessel can still score…Neal cannot really.

        Kessel is a top 6 player. Even adds stength to top 9 in EDM who is looking to contend. That cap saceallows them to better their goalie depth and bottom 6 depth with the added $$

  8. Looks like MAF is on his way to Chicago

    • Wow

      I’m not sure he wanted to go there… he only had a 10 team nix-trade list

      Will Chi flip him? Maybe he retires?

      $7 M freed up by MacCrimmon…. does this set up him offering a 1st and prospect for Keumper (if they’ll retain 50%) ??

      • Pengy…this is an


        set up.

        Vegas learned in AVS series their lack of depth at center.

      • Given that he has a 10 team no trade list, it’s obvious Chicago isn’t on it, or the deal would not have been made. There are reports, however, that he only wants to play in Vegas and may choose to retire. His agent tweeted that he was not told of the trade and found out on Twitter.

  9. Re Neal…. Fairly sure he gets bought out

    Set aside 6 teams he has been on

    24 goals in last 84 games…. 23 Goal full season pace….

    With all the UFAs that signed short term low cap deals last year…. Neal will get signed

    He’s losing $3.8 M gross in the buyout… signing only a 1 year deal; makes him in the precarious 35+ contract place next summer

    Not saying it will happen but I would not be surprised if a team does a 2 @ $1.25 M deal… low risk as he can be buried if he massively falters…leaving only $180 K above the line

    He should be able to get 15 goals… $1.25 M is commensurate for that IMHO

    Krakken would be wise to take him… if he does well… he can be flipped for futures at TDL…. if he falters…. It’s just $550 K over League min

  10. Neal, Holtby, and Jones all on waivers for buyouts.

  11. So Fleury is contemplating retirement rather than reporting to Chicago. When was the last time a goalie retired after winning the Vezina?

    I read a comment from Fleury’s agent that Fleury hadn’t heard from Vegas even after the trade. Hockey is a business, but man that is brutal treatment of the face of the Vegas franchise.

    • especially after the owner was allegedly telling his management team he did NOT want Flower traded.

  12. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period is reporting that Jake Virtanen has drawn interest from multiple clubs and will have options.

    For all us Big Bang Theory fans, this reminds me of an episode where Leonard was dating the sister of his Indian friend, Raj. She was very nervous about telling her wealthy parents, still living in India, that she was dating a white guy. An exasperated Leonard asks her when she will tell them. She responded “I have 5 brothers and sisters. One of them is bound to screw up big sooner or later. Then I’ll tell them”.

    That was probably Marc Bergevin’s thinking on draft night. There are 31 other GMs in the league. One of them will likely screw up big-time soon. Then everyone will forget about me.

    • Now that I’ve given you all a good chuckle with the Big Bang story, it’s time to stir up some controversy and make you all hate me.

      As I’ve previously indicated, I believe the Habs made a huge mistake and error in judgment in picking Mailloux. It was not the right time. The kid requested that no one draft him because he needed a year to straighten himself out, make amends and prove himself as a player and as a person. The Habs should have respected his wishes. I would imagine that he received guidance from his parents in requesting not to be drafted; they certainly know better about what’s best for their son than anyone in the NHL.

      That being said, let’s not lose focus. Accepting that the kid committed a reckless, selfish and thoughtless act, he’s being treated like Jack the Ripper in some circles. That is overkill. Had he committed physical, sexual assault, as the significantly older Jake Virtanen and Trevor Bauer are accused of doing, I can accept that he should not be able to play in the NHL. But he’s not being accused of anything like that. From what I’ve read, and I apologize if I missed anything, he took a photo of a young woman while engaged in a consensual act, a photo which did not reveal her face or private parts, and sent it and her screen shot profile to a few teammates. From what I saw, he did not post it publicly. Again, correct me if I’m wrong. While this certainly merits consequences, let’s bear in mind that these acts are from a not-yet fully developed teenaged brain. Is the onus now on him to make amends and prove that he deserves a chance to play in the NHL? Absolutely – and it’ll be at least 2 years before he makes his debut. Was it wrong for the Habs to forgive too soon and draft him? Of course. But he deserves the chance to prove himself as a man and should be allowed the opportunity to do so.

      The protests from around the NHL and the media that covers it would be a lot easier to accept if its own house was in order. In case anyone has not yet heard, the Caps have re-signed Ovechkin to a 5 year deal. While obviously a great player, Ovie has been a very loud and vocal supporter of the Russian president, an authoritarian thug who has had political opponents and critical journalists attacked, imprisoned and even murdered, and who openly provides support to rogue actors and murderers in the Middle East who have perpetrated attacks upon Americans and their allies. Indeed, Ovie has even started a celebrity group in support of this thug. That is something which ought to cast the NHL in a much worse light than a 17 year old kid circulating offensive photos. Yet, no one seems to care. The NHL should be especially sensitive to this, given that a star player, Artemi Panarin, has been targeted, and had to take time off, for his criticism of the Russian president.

      There’s more. In the coming weeks, the NHL will decide on Olympic participation. NHL players are practically demanding the right to go. The upcoming Olympics will be held in China, an authoritarian country which routinely denies basic rights to its citizens, imprisons al critics and stifles dissent, and is committing genocide against religious and ethnic minorities. Again, that doesn’t seem to bother anyone.

      Further as to the Olympics, and as to the women everyone professes to be fighting for, the Olympic Committee, and some of the athletic federations with which it works, has forced many young women to compete, in public and on TV, in a state of (un)dress that is truly embarrassing. And those who “violate” these mandates have been fined. This, in my view, does more harm to young women than any 17 year old boy can. Yet, the league, players and media won’t let this bother them as they push for inclusion in the Winter Olympics – at great benefit to themselves.

      So before we try to outdo one another is criticizing a kid, who certainly deserves criticism, to the point of keeping him from any second chance, let’s work to improve more important facets of hockey culture which may be the root cause.

      • The problem with society is we have forgotten how to give second chances. We want to forgive some crimes and not others. We excuse some “mistakes” and not others.

        Agreed timing, in this current culture climate, is not ideal but young kids need mentors and support as does any adult.

        MB and MTL said they would help him walk thru this process and did not act dismissive of the allegations nor did they say they excuse it, MB merely indicated he would help mentor the young child ( trying to become an adult) thru the process so he can get back to a normal life.

        People need to weigh the scales more accurately before casting off a human to ensure he does not get support to redeem himself.

      • Totally agree with both of you, Howard and ihatecrosby

      • The kid made a mistake and then tried to do the right thing. I don’t feel like he is being vilified – MB is and rightfully so. He, at pick #31, took a player that other teams laid off of, because they respected the boy’s wishes. I’m sure there were other teams that had Logan on their boards that had picks before 31, but respected the kid and his parent’s wishes and passed on him. MB took advantage of this and knew there was no rule saying he COULDN’T draft him and did so under the ruse that “MTL could help him through this”. I call BS. MB did what he did to get a better prospect at 31 – it was underhanded and shady.

        Rumors after the expansion draft say that Ron Francis and his staff were unhappy with MTL in the shoddy info they were given on Price’s health status. Is it a surprise that info that Price has had successful knee surgery comes to light AFTER the expansion draft and that the news is that Price should be good to go for the start of next season? Some might call this MB being good at his job – some might call two examples of operating in grey areas where the rules aren’t necessarily reflective of what most people might consider morally acceptable behavior.

        MB isn’t the GM of my team – so it’s not my business… but his shady behavior shows that winning is more important to him then “fair play” when dealing with his fellow GMs…

  13. Just for fun, my goaltender signing predictions:

    Grubauer resigns with the Avalanche
    Mrazek resigns with the Hurricanes
    Ullmark resigns with the Sabres
    Brossoit signs with the Canucks
    Bernier signs with the G Knights
    Reimer signs with the Sharks
    Raanta signs with the Predators
    Halak signs with the Lightning
    Rittich signs with the Hurricanes
    Jones signs with the Maple Leafs
    Andersen signs with the Oilers
    Holtby signs with the Capitals
    Hogberg signs with the Sabres
    Nilsson signs with the Flames

    Coyotes are left holding on to Kuemper

    I usually only get about 25% or so. Pretty sucky average, I know. Find out tomorrow.

    • It’s a goalie festival! July 28! Get your programs now! Can’t tell the players without a program!

  14. Any BRUINS news or rumors

    • Krech should be re signed by end of the day.
      Sounds like they have interest in Getzlaf as well.

      • Getzlaf’s only fraction quicker than a three toed sloth no thanks. I don’t want the bruins to be known as the over the hill gang.

      • Bruins can sit on Rask & Krech for a little while don’t think they are going anywhere

      • Shoreorrpark,

        Habs said to be sniffing around Getzlaf as well.

  15. Reports are growing that both David Savard and Cedric Paquette have deals with the Habs.

    Savard will adequately fill the defensive void left by Weber,
    Paquette has all kinds of upside as reports are that he’s taking a pay cut to sign. He’s a legit checking centre who can score with some TOI.

    A scoring LW would be a nice add

    • I disagree on Paquette. He’s a fringe player – may wind up in Laval.
      As to Savard, there’s no question he’ll eat up minutes, will make the team stronger defensively and will help the PK. But he’ll likely contribute next to nothing offensively. That’s why I would have preferred Barrie. Even so, they should try to pick up a low cost RD who has the potential to contribute offensively. Montour will likely cost too much. Sami Vatanen may be a possibility. He’s coming off a 1-year $2m. deal in NJ and had an awful year. They may be able to sign him for 1 year at $1-1.5m.
      If there will be no great offense from the D, a scoring winger is pretty much a necessity. They also need a center to replace Danault. Alex Wennberg, at $3-3.5m. would be nice. If they can offload a contract like Byron’s, taking a run at Landeskog would be worthwhile. If not, then Hoffman. I’d offer up $8m. x 7 years for the former, $5.5m. x 4 years for the latter.

      • Howard,
        Paquette had a role with TBL and he did it well enough to be resigned and increased his contract.

        He was good enough to get Ottawa consider him worth eating that pylon Coburn’s contract.

        Ottawa got Dzingel for him.

        He has the ability and physicality to do the role that Danault is good at, checking centre.

        Training camp will show.

        Interesting sidenote that may give some insight to value.

        Wideman played for Richardson in Binghampton

        Paquette played for J F Houle with Blainville-Boisbriand

    • Habsfan30–If the Habs were looking for a player that could restore a lot of what Weber did, and one who might do some things Weber couldn;t do, wouId they be interested in Kris Letang? My guess is that if Letang were ever to waive his NMC, it would be to go to Montreal. He’s a bit younger than Weber and makes about as much money. I’d guess, too, new GM Hextall might want to change some familiar faces on the Penguins to younger ones

  16. According to Frank Seravalli;

    “Hearing #Canes are closing in on an agreement with UFA D Tony DeAngelo.

    Not done yet. But expecting a 1-year deal. There was lots of interest and the opportunity to play for Rod Brind’Amour was appealing.”

  17. Yandle to the Flyers, one year $900k

  18. I’m going to play the role of optimist and say if Chris Wideman plays all 82 games for MTL, then he puts up 30 pts. Ten goals, 20 assists.

    • From your mouth, Craig. We can only hope.

  19. I wonder if Lou is looking at Kessel?

    How many goals would he pot playing with Barzal?
    How much would the PP improve?

    If Lou can dump Uncle Leo on AZ and have them retain 50% salary, I would love to see that happen.

    Any thoughts?

  20. Would the Bruins be interested in Holtby or is his $$$$ to high if they plan on bringing Rask back too

    thoughts on Ryan Murray LD for the Bruins along with bringing back Reilly … D wouldn’t be much bigger but it would be better