NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

by | Jul 3, 2021 | Rumors | 58 comments

Are the Blackhawks and Flames interested in Jack Eichel? Will Duncan Keith be traded to the Oilers? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports a source said the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t planning to get into the bidding for Jack Eichel. They cited the fact the club already has two $10-million players on the roster (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) and don’t see how they can have a third.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Powers said the Blackhawks are already preparing to pay Alex DeBrincat between $8 million and $9 million on his next contract. He has two years left on his current contract. He also advised not to put much stock into any trade scenario involving DeBrincat or Kirby Dach as they’re among the club’s untouchables.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames could pursue a deal for Eichel. He speculates general manager Brad Treliving could be interested in the 24-year-old Sabres captain so long as there aren’t any long-term concerns regarding his neck injury.

The Flames lack a high first-round pick or an obvious stud prospect. Gilbertson thinks the Sabres asking price could start with wingers Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane plus a promising player and more.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently dismissed the notion of the Flames acquiring Eichel, calling it little more than a pipe dream. He doesn’t believe they have sufficient tradeable assets to make a successful bid. He also expressed concern over Eichel’s big contract and the uncertainty regarding his neck injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Treliving or Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman contacted their counterpart in Buffalo to inquire about Eichel’s availability and the asking price. Unless Sabres GM Kevyn Adams gets desperate and lowers his asking price, don’t expect to see Eichel in a Blackhawks or Sabres jersey anytime soon.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports Duncan Keith was the one who initiated discussions with the Chicago Blackhawks about a potential trade this summer. A team source said the veteran defenseman wants to be closer to his son in Penticton, BC.

The question is whether a team will take on the 37-year-old’s $5.538 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons. A league source thought the Edmonton Oilers could be a destination, citing their need for a defenseman and their asset to make a deal.

Powers colleague Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Oilers are thought to be among Keith’s preferred destinations. A team source indicated the interest is mutual but only at the right price and circumstances.

The Oilers want the Blackhawks to absorb part of Keith’s cap hit or take back a bad contract (such as James Neal, Zack Kassian or Mikko Koskinen) in the deal. They also don’t expect the Hawks to just give him away because he’s a legacy player. The Oilers don’t view Keith as a top-pairing defenseman but that’s not an issue because they have Darnell Nurse as their top left-hand blueliner.

Hanging over this is uncertainty over Oscar Klefbom’s status following shoulder surgery in March. Nugent-Bowman feels the writing’s on the wall here because Klefbom’s agent said they probably couldn’t provide any clarity until the fall.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers insider Bob Stauffer saying he’s heard the Blackhawks don’t want to take salary back on Keith as they’re hoping to use the savings to put toward acquiring Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Oilers want to maintain cap flexibility in any trade for Keith. He also said there are whispers the Blackhawks would like to acquire Oilers blueliner Caleb Jones in hopes of reuniting him with Seth. He wondered if it would make sense for the Blackhawks to acquire a player from the Oilers in a Keith trade that they can buy out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be interested in Keith but they’re not under any pressure to make this move. If they can’t make a deal work they can just walk away and seek more affordable blueline options elsewhere.

The Blackhawks will have to retain part of Keith’s contract or take back a contract they can buy out to make the dollars fit here. Maybe they can acquire a contract from the Oilers and flip it to another team for a draft pick or prospect.


  1. Keith for kosk.

    • It would be good for both. Chigago saves on cap in two years. Could maybe move kosk with some salary retained to save more money this year.

  2. All this speculation over Eichel is simply summer column fodder as the Cup final winds down and they (the pundits) start running out of interesting topics.

    Given his health uncertainty – the world of pro athletes is full of individuals whose careers have been cut short by disc issues – and the inability of any doctor to guarantee it won’t happen again, a $10 mil per price tag is one helluva risk, especially with 5 years to go.

    So it only follows that teams will be hesitant to give up anything even approaching what Buffalo should seek in return for a # 1 C, while the Sabres would be stupid to accept what would be minimal returns – unless they are somehow convinced through their own examinations that his particular problem shows all the signs of being chronic.

    Their best bet – if they truly want to unload him – is to hang onto him for the start of the season, get him the best wingers possible, and hope to hell he gets off to a blazing start while staying healthy, at which point interest will begin to perk. However, hanging over everything like the Sword of Damocles is that unproven (on a pro athlete) surgery process, and if he’s intent on going down that road, a team would be nuts to take him in a deal (I don’t buy for a second one moronic theory floated in here that the whole neck issue is a “bluff” on Eichel’s part to force a deal)


    • George. Almost seems like Buffalo just wants to rip the band aid off and get past this. Lots of talk from GM and coach about moving forward with “players that want to be there”
      As far as Eichel’s injury. I’ve dealt with herniated disk for years. I’m not an athlete, so I’ve never had any interest in surgery. As far as “surgery that’s never been performed”. That’s the artificial disk replacement that I think has been performed on an mma fighter. There’s also more conventional disk surgeries that have been performed on NHL players. Lemieux had lower back surgery in 1990. Guessing medical tech has progressed since then. Would much rather have a disk issue in my neck than lower back. I honestly don’t see this as being career threaghtening. Team doesn’t want him having surgery, so they must feel based on their med staff that this won’t be a chronic problem. I guess with agent stating “a resolution” is coming, we’ll know more soon.

      • Have to agree Slick62, like yourself not a professional athlete but I dealt with a herniated
        disk in my neck, rest and PT did the trick and it never hampered my golf swing. I’ll keep saying it, it was about causing controversy on Eichel’s part so to get traded….hopefully with 2 days before another game he’s traded this weekend to a western club and the other trades of Reinhart and Risto follow.

        I have to admit as a Sabres fan this has become boring since it has gone on for so long. The sooner it’s over the better. I still think he goes to the west coast mainly bc both Ana and LA can supply the goods without including their top center prospect and both can supply a top 10 pick in the draft. JMO of course but that 2nd top 10 pick is important to Adams.

      • Any of your 200 pound friends cross check you in the back of the neck with their golf clubs or slam you head first into the club house wall?

        In all due respect, it’s apples to battleships.

        I suffer from degenerative disc disease. And have for 20+ years. I will not do the corrective surgery because several people I know have had to get it done more than once and still have issues regardless.

        Some days I can lift a sofa with no issues, some days I tweek my neck turning to look behind me or simply just sleeping the wrong way.

        No rhyme or reason behind neck or back issues. The only certain thing about spine issues is NOTHING is certain. It’s impossible for any doctor to give a sunny prognosis that will his will be a 100% fix and won’t be an ongoing or reoccurring issue. Never mind GM or fan.

      • We can all speculate on Eichels condition, but at end of day, all teams have medical professionals that will chime in. Trade value will be determined by prognosis. I will say that Eichel seems quite aware that this disk problem could be an ongoing nuisance and probably is the reason he’s interested in this new procedure. As far as them not trading him now, Sabres run the risk of this being a recurring problem and putting off surgery till next off season will be a huge mistake. Team will probably still be bad, he’ll still want out, and his value will go down along with his nmc kicking in.

      • @Captain Obvious First let me say I’m sorry for what you are going through…but in regards to Eichel there was no reason to go public with the situation if you didn’t have a hidden agenda and you don’t watch to many Sabres games because Eichel has taken very few hard hits…last one might have been by Zadorov. He plays on the outside and very rarely does he go to the front of the net where those cross checks are more likely to happen. In saying that it takes only one time for it to happen but I still say it’s all about causing controversy and getting out of dodge.

      • Then if that is truly his motive and he is being that devious and unprofessional, and the issue is not as serious as he’s letting on, the Sabres should just call his bluff and tell him if he wants his $10 mil per he’d better show up at camp ready to go. One way or another – cleared to play or found to be incapable of playing – they have to pay him anyway. He signed the bloody contract – live it up to it.

      • George, according to Friedman 3 weeks ago the Sabres want to move on from Eichel but I agree 100% with what you say…you signed a contract so live up to it.

        I just think the Sabres want to start from scratch and as Adam’s keep saying we want players who want to be here and thst’s probably why Adams want young players under 25 so the new core and acquired players all grow together. We will see

    • Yeah George, every sports columnist who covers hockey can get some eyeballs onto their column by putting Eichel in the heading.

      If you think about it logically no team in their right mind would ever trade one of the leagues top centerman.
      If a team wants to trade a top centerman it would usually indicate there is something wrong. In Eichels case we know about the injury, but is there something else that is motivating Buffalo to trade him. Either way it is buyer beware. The last thing some GM should do is gut his team for a player with issues.

      On the flip side I would commend Buffalo if they got a kings ransom for a damaged player that never elevated his team.
      I see no risk from the Buffalo point of view, only upside in trading Eichel.

  3. Giving up anything of value for Duncan Keith would be fool hardy … these managers have no one else to blame for these ridiculous contracts, i.e. Suter, Parise, Keith, Seabrook, Ladd, etc.

    • Duncan Keith was the best defenseman on the Blackhawks this year. He is tested as the most fit player in preseason. He is a Conn synth winner. The team that gets him for two seasons isn’t getting a Anton Stålman, Nick Leddy, who have the same cap hits. In a class move to get him Cup ring, the Flyers have traded defenseman Kimmo Timonen (3.2 Cap hit in 2015) to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a second round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional draft pick in 2016. Maybe an overpay but the hawks lost Johnny Oduya to injury, and Kimmo was out all season with blood clots.

      Keith is a better player now than Timonen was then.
      My point is Edmonton wouldn’t be getting a old gray mare.
      He makes his new team better in many ways.

      • Hawks are saying they are not taking a big salary back to even both team’s Cap hits. Maybe the return is Caleb Jones, but I bet they get a 2022 pick and let the Oilers attempt to solve their own cap mistakes. And the Hawks are not trading a second to unload a pile of used electronics here, as the home entertainment system they are selling works pretty well.

      • I’m in for Keith to EDM Bill.
        But, the Oil need to send some $ back IMO if they include Jones or a player of equal value.
        Jones is ready for regular minutes, just not on the 2nd pair of a team looking to make a run.
        Pair Keith up with Bouchard as mentor and effective puck moving pair?
        Nurse Larsson top pair.
        Agree on Klefbom, if he can sleep without pain and lift his kids it will be a win. Playing in NHL seems almost too good to be true. Less likely that Eichel being 100% IMO.

        Koskinen? Who plays net for them then? Neal? Big ask from CHI IMO so not likely without EDM adding something more than Jones.
        Hello Kassian, ride shotgun with some of the kids. Still an NHL player, just overpaid.
        Kassian & Jones for Keith.
        Or Jones, Neal and a 2nd for Keith.

    • I agree Ed. If Chicago thinks he is valuable enough, maybe they should just keep him. Personally, I think the only way he is traded is for the Hawks to add a sweetener. I see someone mentioned a possible trade where Chicago gives Seattle a third rounder to take him in the expansion draft – that sounds about right. If the Hawks think that is too much, or actually want something of value in return, then Keith should stay in Chicago retire as a Hawk.

      • He played on crappy Hawk team.
        “His advanced numbers weren’t as good as they could have been or should have been, but he was playing with a couple guys who probably shouldn’t have been playing in the league,” a Western-based NHL scout said. “He’s a robot. He’s wired a special way. In the right situation — playing 19-20 minutes a night with the right partner — he should be a perfect No. 2 left D for a couple more years.” He played 48 percent of his minutes against middle-calibre competition and managed a 42.8 Corsi For percentage while being outscored 23-17. His advanced metrics at five-on-five have dipped in recent years. His expected goals percentage hasn’t cracked 50 percent since 2016, Chicago hasn’t outscored opponents with Keith on the ice since 2017, and the team has been out-attempted with Keith skating in each of the past three seasons. But to think his “value” is in need of sweeteners, a trade isn’t happening.

  4. Would it be possible to have a third team involved for Edm and Chi? For the right sweetener they could absorb 50%. Yes looking at you Ottawa, Det and NJ…..

    • How high of a pick do you think Chicago would be willing to part with to make that happen ?

      • A 7th rounder or NONE.
        This is accommodation to a 3 – time Cup winner so he is closer to his son, not some master stroke to shed Brian Bickell’s or Brent Seabrook’s contract.
        Keith can play.

      • Bill Placzek – then Detroit says no. A 7th rounder to absorb 50% of Keith’s contract and cap hit ? That’s ridiculous. We received a 2nd rounder to accept Panik, whose contract is similar to 50% of Keith’s, and a 4th rounder to absorb some of Savard’s salary and cap hit in the Tampa/Columbus deal. And I watched every Detroit/Chicago game this season, and disagree with your assessment of Keith: he is a shadow of his former self with not much left in the tank.

      • Lago, Pánik couldn’t hold Keith’s jock as a hockey player and I don’t think the Hawks braintrust would over pay to aid a player’s wish, to the tune of sending away draft picks to help him be with his son. I guess we will see in the result, which of us is misguided in thought.

      • And no one said he could Bill. Keith of five years ago or more was one of, if not the best defenseman in the league, as his trophy’s from 2013/2014/2015 prove. But Keith at 38 isn’t worth a $5.5M cap hit either, not even close.

    • Redmonsters, with all those kids needing new deals over the next couple of seasons, the system loaded with top prospects, and the probability of their attempting to bring in a couple of quality veterans either through free agency or trade, I just don’t see Ottawa going down that road any time soon.

    • Not sure why all the hubub is, Keith just waives his NMC to be exposed in the expansion draft to Seattle & the Hawks click them a 3rd rounder & Bob’s your uncle. Hawks score a bunch of cap space to go after either Hamilton or Jones. This doesnt have to get too complicated. Seattle gets a solid 2nd pairing D with championship pedigree.
      Then Seattle picks off Gio & they suddenly have a pretty solid pair stabilizing leaders on their backend.

      • Kevin R,

        Hawks 3rd rder already belongs to Montreal.

        The Hawks could offer them Vegas’ 2nd rder which belongs to them.

      • Uwey, never checked that before posting but I guess it could be a 2022 3rd, or that Vegas 2nd as its almost a 3rd rounder. If for whatever reason Seattle didnt take Keith after they expose him for the ED, they can work the trade angle prior to the season.

  5. All these Eichel articles and rumors are just filler. Everybody knows Eichels going to Boston. For what? For who? Only our resident “insider” is privy to that information.

    Stay tuned!!!

  6. I see the real Carey Price has shown up for the Finals. The overhyped, overpraised always the second best goalie on the ice Carey Price.

    • Wow, after the injury riddled season he had in arguably the weakest perceived conference he led Montreal to victories against this year Rocket Richard award winner, shutting them down for games 4-7, then led his team to a sweep against last year Vezina winner, then led his team again the team tied for the most points this season and this year’s Vezina award winner.

      I’m not a Habs fan, yes his salary is inflated but only he or Vasilevsky could have taken a 4th place team in the weakest division to the finals.

      Call a spade a spade, he’s the second best goalie when he’s on his A game in the league, the top guy plays for the soon to be two defending champs

  7. To Edmonton : Keith at 50% to Chicago : Caleb jones
    To Detroit : Tyler benson James Neal , 2nd rd pick from Chicago
    Edmonton gets Keith at 50 %
    Chicago gets cap space to chase Seth jones and his brother
    Detroit gets benson and Chicago pick for taking neals contract and retaining Money on Keith . Who says no ?

    • Detroit….without a doubt or second thought.

      • Would Edmonton trade Caleb Jones as a sweetener for Chicago taking back Neal? Chicago could buy out Neal and combined with Caleb Jones on roster would clear nearly 3m in cap space towards Seth

  8. Detroit maybe if it’s too much $ to take on , maybe swap in koskinen if so

  9. Boston has signed their token little guy with offensive talent in Eli Zummack will be interesting to see how he performs in the AHL and if Boston gives him a look on the big team.

    • Bruins sure like the little guys who can get you to the playoffs but get overrun in the playoffs

  10. Eichel will be a Sabre the entire 21-22 season. And if healthy will be traded next summer.

    • Bickleton, thats exactly what the Sabres should do. I just dont see any GM willing to pull the trigger on a deal where they may not even have that player for 82 games next year & they are gutting their team.

      If Adams was smart, he would go after the Flames for Gaudreau as I actually could see those two clicking. A Reinhart ++ for Gaudreau scenario.

  11. Eli Zummack will do nothing at the nhl level ahl filler but I agree with you on Orr I once saw Bobby do something I’ve never seen anyone do before he pulled three straight spinaramas from his own end all the way to the Canadiens net. He was just blurr leaving behind a wake of habs, oh yeah he scored

    • Who was the “blur” on the Boston D for 5 straight goals by the Habs in a comeback from a 5-1 deficit … watch it and then tell us


      • Yes George, Bobby Orr was a terrible hockey. 🤣

      • Where did I say that? I know what a tremendous talent he was. He spoke about him being a “blur” in a game against the Habs – I simply showed another instance where he wasn’t much of a blur – at least not to Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau and Jacques Lemaire.

      • Or is it OK to speak of him in terms of skating through an entire Habs team – but not OK to show where he was an integral part of one of the biggest blown playoffs games in history?

      • Fred Sheros strategy in 74 Finals vs Boston was to dump the puck into Orrs corner every time and hit him as hard and as often as possible. The exact opposite of the usual plan teams used.

        Result? Flyers win Cup in 6 games.

        “Take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor” – Freddy the fog Shero.

    • The best player all time… period

      I know I didn’t didn’t see every bruins game as a kid but twice I saw him deke by all 6 players (including the goalie) to score… so with me not seeing allBruins games AND seeing him do that twice…. He must have done it more than twice

      • Pengy….Orr is in the top 4 of all time not number one.
        Gretzky / Lemieux / Howe / Orr /

        I think once he is finished that Sidney Crosby could move in to that 5th best player of all time. He is such an amazing player with scoring titles, Conn Symth trophies, 3 Stanley Cups, Olympic gold medals, Hart trophies and the list goes on.

        At 33 which isnt that old he has become the most complete player along with Patrice Bergeron voted on by the players this year.

        He will pass Mario in points before he is done playing…

        Regards to Mario he missed 5 seasons due to early retirement 1997-2000 and two complete seasons missed due to back injuries and cancer.

        you take a modest 4o goal season times that 200 goals. He has 695 that make 895 he is right with Gretkzy.

  12. The Eichel talk is just prattle because both Eichel and the team are handling it poorly.

    Going public has shed zero light other than a 24 y/0 who stands to earn $10 million a year for 21 games this and $40 million over the next 4 years is unhappy.

    There is zero transparency about his condition, which is the ONLY thing that’s important?

    He isn’t happy? who cares
    The Sabres aren’t happy? who cares

    Suck it up and play next year to show the league if he has any value at all or just stfu.

  13. Chrisms, BNG and other Pens fans

    Reaching out to find out how the Handsome Jack (at 40% retained) for Zucker and Ruhweedel negotiations are going

    Asking for a friend

  14. ya right!!!! Edmonton isnt Keiths preferred team lol Vancouver is but it wont happen because even Benning isnt foolish enough to take that cap hit for a washed up player. Sort of like Edmonton was the NHL preferred bubble ……..right?

    • Pieter, pasted from above.

      Powers colleague Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Oilers are thought to be among Keith’s preferred destinations.

  15. Can anyone back up the following
    D.Keith is owed 2.1 m and 1.5m in salary the next 2 yrs. If Chicago is retaining 50% to move him .it would be 750 k each yr.because it must be same amount each yr.therefore 750k retained from cap hit leaves him around 4.75m approximately

  16. Gretzky Mario and even Gordie we’re not a better hockey player than Bobby. Gordie’s mentioned before Orr was the best hockey he’s ever Gretzky says he wished he could skate like Bobby

    • Interesting Rick !

    • And both Gretzky and Orr are on record as saying they thought Howe was the greatest hockey player of all time.

      Point being, take what the players say with a grain of salt, they’re Canadian, so inherently modest.

      The true barometer on who’s the best player lies in the stats, and that goes to the great one, bar none.


    • And at the roundtable which featured Gretzky, Orr, Lemieux and Messier all 4 unanimously said Howe….that’s good enough for me!

      • Not for me Orr was better

      • Let’s just put it this way: they were all great players, and all very humble. I don’t think any of them wanted to argue about why each might be better than one of the others. I, for one, am glad that I got to see them all play.

  17. There has never ever been a hockey player better than Orr.