NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2021

by | Jul 30, 2021 | Rumors | 63 comments

Check out the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko and Jack Eichel plus updates on the Stars and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford speculates the St. Louis Blues’ signing left winger Brandon Saad yesterday might spark a trade of Vladimir Tarasenko. The New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes are believed to have an interest in the 29-year-old right winger, and there are signs the New York Islanders could get back into the mix.

Could the St. Louis Blues be closer to trading Vladimir Tarasenko? (NHL Images)

Having signed Saad for less than expected, perhaps Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will be more willing to retain part of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit. That could be enticing for the Islanders, who have $17.6 million in cap space but must also re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin. Beauvillier, 24, has also been mentioned as a trade candidate. The Islanders remain on Tarasenko’s list of preferred destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quiet on the Islanders’ front. As usual, GM Lou Lamoriello has yet to tip his hand as to his plans for his RFAs or for UFAs Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas, though there’s plenty of conjecture suggesting he intends to re-sign them or already has them under contract but hasn’t officially announced them yet. There’s also talk he’s signing Zach Parise.

If the Isles are in the mix for Tarasenko the Blues must retain some salary and/or take back a contract as part of the return. Parting with an RFA like Beauvillier would also work but we don’t know if Armstrong has any interest in him.

The Hurricanes have almost $14 million in cap space but they must re-sign RFA winger Andrei Svechnikov. Owner Tom Dundon could prefer keeping the payroll as far below the $81.5 million cap as possible. With over $22 million in cap room and five more roster spots to fill, the Devils are best positioned to swing a deal for Tarasenko. However, they could be on his no-trade list.


THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams feels no pressure to trade Jack Eichel. He explained he’ll make that move if he gets an offer that makes sense for his club but won’t ship out the 24-year-old center simply for the sake of doing so.

However, Vogl points out Eichel wants out and his agents’ only discussions with Adams center on trade requests. He feels Eichel can’t show up in training camp as captain as it would damage the fresh start with a young core. The Sabres GM still believes there’s a market for his captain.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if Mika Zibanejad would accept a six-year contract extension from the Rangers worth between $9 million and $9.5 million annually. “Wouldn’t that be enough to put an end to the Jack Eichel narrative as relates to the Rangers?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of course Adams is going to publicly say he feels no pressure to move Eichel. He’s not going to admit that it could get difficult to move the unhappy center with the NHL Draft and the start of free agency behind them.

While Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit for the next five years and the Sabres’ high asking price are sticking points, his neck injury remains the main issue. If he was healthy, he’d probably be with another team (like the Rangers?) by now. But interested parties are understandably reluctant to part with assets for a player who might not be able to participate in a full schedule next season.

Still, it’s not too late for the Sabres to trade Eichel, or the Blues to move Tarasenko. Three years ago, the Ottawa Senators traded Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens shipped Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights just before training camp opened in September. The Eichel and Tarasenko trade situations could be resolved in the same time frame.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Stars signing Braden Holtby on Wednesday to a one-year contract worth $2 million raised questions about their overcrowded crease that already features Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger.

Stars GM Jim Nill said Bishop’s status for next season remains uncertain as he continues to recover from last fall’s knee surgery. The Stars could send Oettinger back to the AHL as he remains waiver-exempt but that might not be best for potentially the best healthy goalie in the organization. DeFranks speculates they could also shop Khudobin, who’s under contract for two more seasons at $3.33 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill told DeFranks his club would wait to figure out their situation before opting to move one of their surplus goalies. Bishop’s career could be over if his surgically repaired knee isn’t up to the rigors of NHL action.

Oettinger is their goalie of the future coming off a solid NHL debut (11-8-7, 2.36 GAA, .911 SP) last season. Khudobin could be the odd man out here. There will be teams on the lookout for a goalie during training camp.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could still try to add a center and a winger through a trade. They’re still in the mix for New York Rangers center Ryan Strome. They kicked tires on Jack Eichel but his contract and the asking price make that prohibitive. They could draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait. Victor Mete or Erik Brannstrom could become trade candidates if GM Pierre Dorion decides to go that route.


  1. If Dorion wanted to add another winger to the Senators his best option would be one of your bargain free agents Nick Ritchie.

    • I think what he’s looking for is a RW – he’s overloaded at LW.

      • Nick Ritchie can play both RW and LW.
        Who are better options on the free agent market that can play RW?
        Who are some RW that could be traded?

      • Al, I wasn’t aware that he’s been used at RW. If so, that could make a difference.

    • Hi Al and George

      Yes Ritchie (at a reasonable hit) would certainly benefit Sens….I’m hoping HexBurkie have been roused from their coma … and they get Ritchie

      Burkie committed to getting bigger… Ritchie would do that

      • Pengy Burke and Hextall are a complete disappointment when it comes to size and toughness. Hextall good at forming a team to draft and develop players. Burke is collectiong a paycheck

      • Hi JZ

        Can we give Burke his paycheque but have him not influence any decisions?

        I agree that Hextall is likely much better suited to build a team up (draft and develop as you’ve stated)… but if that is the task… rebuild should have started

        By doing Jack Sh💩….. not likely playoff bound; no playoff revenues; 1 further year removed from rebuild

        He should have aggressively talked with GMRF about taking Zucker…. Side deal of McC (which he lost for nothing); if GMRF wanted more… throw in Laffy

        Had he done that… and signed Gaudreau for 4th C… Pens would still have Turbo; Poulin replace Zucker on 3rd line; and with and DeSmith in WBS) ; that’s $9.3 M to get a good 2nd line winger and another goalie (and re-sign Ceci)

        13th/14th: ER/Heinen

        Friedman/P-O J


        Note… $9.3 M above…. $9 M(so $600 K more) Gets Ceci back; gets Hoffman on 2nd line; and Duby…. so $475 K freed up

        Instead of Duby… Raanta or Holtby…. Total $9.75 M…. So that’s finding only $450 K in space… easy

        If somehow they could move Pettersson… P-O J in; extra space gets Ritchie:

        13th/14th: ER/Heinen


        Jarry/Holtby or Raanta

        But instead… current line-up… likely to miss playoffs

    • I tweeted about this this morning. I’d love the Sens to add Ritchie, I think that Paul – White – Ritchie could make a difficult 3rd line to play against and all of them have great goal scoring potential. Ritchie is young as well and could have a career resurgence here in Ottawa.

      I’d love it even more, if instead of trading they could lure Krejci in for 2 years, particularly to mentor Stuetzle to become a C.

    • Just a warning on Ritchie, he often was behind the play due to his lack of speed. Even if he gets pp time, planted in front of the net, he is unlikely to pot 15 goals again in his career.

  2. When Brooks speaks, it just sounds soooo silly. Zibs is a good first line center. Is he worth $9.5 million/year? I would say no he is not. The Rangers have a decision to make, Zibs or Eichel.
    Reaves, really? That guy should have been thrown out of the league (along with Wilson) years ago. That will be some opening night in Washington. No one will be turning in for the game, but the heavyweight match will be a huge draw.

    • but how much of Buffalo’s lack of success been on their captain? what was wrong in that room…
      i dont hear any former player endorsements of jack

      i dont want him @ msg but it looks inevitable

      • Hall endorsed him when he left.

      • @JeffNoel
        Hall on 5th team and 3rd since being league MVP. not sure what that means either.

        with Boston not resigning Rusk or Krejci (yet?) maybe they are in play for Eichel

      • ahh strike my Eichel to Boston… i forgot about foligno++

      • https://youtu.be/aowAJhiQF6g

        Zib will be 30 when he starts next deal. Jack has 5 years left starting at age 25. If they pass on him, and Zib decides to test market, then what?

      • ds. Click that link in my last comment. There’s your testimonial

      • @Slick
        they were both terrible in buffalo injuries or not….
        grain of salt

        trade less for a Hertl or similar…. trade a D kid for a C kid incase Chytil does not grow. offer Zib extenstion or move him….

    • Wilson picks his spots…he want nothing to do with Reaves or Ross The Boss and a few others ….

      • Joe I think Wilson picks his spots on account of him being a excellent player with his gloves on versus Reaves. I think he will go with anyone

    • I keep Zib and the assets it would take to get Eichel if I am NY.
      Chase a younger C with one of their high end wingers or D.

      • Laf is a big wild card. kid got 3rd line minutes and almost zero PP time. he is engaged and plays a similar game to Sid imho.
        problem is the chemistry buch+zib is now gone…. so who feeds zib now? kakko or kratsov

        i dont worry about panarin.
        and i dont think eichel needed?

    • They also picked up Tinordi- they’re not gonna be pushed around like last season, period!

  3. Kevyn Adams is trying to sell a narrative that no gm is buying and fans in and out of Buffalo aren’t buying either.

    He has an asset costing $10 million that isn’t playing and publicly states he isn’t healthy.

    His “value” isn’t what it was on drat day or what it might be when healthy.

    His value to Buffalo right now is a $10 million expense with no return no matter how they spin it.

    Eichel’s willingness to sit makes him even less appealing to trade partners.

    The “big return” will only come if Eichel proves his present worth on the ice, meanwhile Buffalo keeps paying him.

    He’s a disgruntled damaged asset who’s value keeps dropping as time goes on.
    He’s getting close to becoming worth only bad contracts who at least get on the ice.

  4. Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon talks out of both sides of hos mouth … he’s comitted to win yet he lets Dougie Hamilton walk out the door and his gm tries to replace him with Tony D’Angelo and Ian Cole … weak

    I don’t like the term Chris Drury gave to Goodrow but if I’m a Rangers fan I really like the fact that he addressed their lack of physicality with Goodrow, Reaves & Tinordi … something that Ron Hextall and Brian Burke needed to act on and so far they haven’t …

    Sabres are a mess .. Ristolainen and Reinhardt are guys you build around … this is going to take years and years to straighten out …

    • Im not a fan of Dundon because of the way he treated Francis but he has been consistent in that he will not over pay for individual players yet he will spend up to the cap. Every day I read posts on this site about how foolish owners/GM are with their money yet when they don’t over pay they are criticized for being cheap. For Carolina it would have been foolish to invest 9 million a year in Dougie. Congrats to Dougie for getting 9 million and and I wish him well. A salary that works for one team may not work for another.

    • Hey Ed. I kind of get Tom Dundon not resigning Hamilton, but like you wonder what he is thinking. For whatever reason Hamilton has failed to become a core player on any team he has been on in spite of his massive talent. That 9 million could be better spent.

      What confuses me is how he let Nedeljkovic, Bean, and Geekie, three really good and young developing players escape the organization for not much return this summer. Those players have value and it seems like they just gave up on them and then gave them away.

      When you have a rookie goalie who is nominated for the Calder and then trade him away for some futures, you are actually betting that the goalie is Jim Carey and not Terry Sawchuk. Historically the odds are that you will not win that trade.

      • There is a lot of speculation on the reason that Hamilton did not stick with Boston or Calgary but Carolina thought a lot of him, on the ice, and in the locker room. They tried to sign him to an 8 year contract that made sense for the team.

        Slavin and Pesce are the core assets on defense. Necas, Svech and Trocheck will eat up a lot of future cap space.

  5. Hey Sweeney you have my permission to trade DeBrusk/Studnicka & the next 2 1st rd draft picks you have for Eichel.

    • Joe

      I don’t think BUF remotely considers that proposal?

      Studnicka was drafted in 2017 and has played 22 NHL games with 4pts. Very little trade value.

      DeBrusk has fallen out of favour in BOS and his stats have been in decline the past 3 years. Very little trade value as shown by him being on the trade block for the past year and no takers.

      The two firsts would likely be in the middle of round one. They have trade value but not as much as a top 5 pick would.

      I am very surprised that CLB wouldn’t be all over this Eichel trade. They have a glaring need for C, had 3-1st round picks this year, and some good assets to offer in trade. They’ve also had difficulty retaining their star players and Eichel is signed for 5 more years.

    • You can add John Moore in the pkg with Wagner as well That would pretty much even out the $$
      Or better yet wait 1 year his nmc kicks in then he can force his way to Boston not costing Bruins as much like Hall did

  6. Ottawa is 9 million below the cap floor. With 5 or six RFA’s to qualify including Brady. They are a team who could absorb Eichel’s cap hit easily if the cost isn’t excessive. Or make a trade for some pricey players if they are willing to come to Ottawa. Melnyk said they will spend near the cap but I guess he was a bit premature by including this year in that statement. Pre covid and stuff haha.

    • I’ve really been thinking about the whole Eichel situation and while the neck scares me, if the price was good, I’d consider making the move.

      To Ottawa: Jack Eichel
      To Buffalo: 2022 1st, White, Thomson, Jaiarvie, Mete

      White a good young center who has upside, but at worst a solid checking line C. Thomson and Mete bring some young assets to the blue line and both are top 4 potential/capable, Jaiarvie represents a potential top 6 scoring winger.

      Are any of these home run guys (maybe the 2022 1st), no. But the injury and contract gives Buffalo no leverage. So I’d feild a take it or leave it offer.

      Sens with Eichel – Norris – Pinto down the center for the future would be incredible.

      • Why the heck are so many people prepared to see a team give up the farm for a guy costing $ 10 mil off the cap and who may spend more time on LTIR than off – either for the rest of his career or depending on the results of controversial surgery?

        It’s fine to say “oh, he’s all right – it’s just a giant BS job … yadda yadda ….” but NOBODY in here knows one way or the other. Can you imagine the vitriol if, say, Dorion made such a move and it turns out to be a disaster?

        I could not possibly care less what he was until there is absolute certainty that his career could continue undiminished by that disc situation. And if and when that becomes known, Ottawa will be quickly out of the picture.

        Right now, as matters stand, it just isn’t worth the gamble – not at that price.

    • Hi Jeff

      For sure Sens could accomplish the trade; but IMHO, should pass on getting Eichel

      They are building a good team… taking on the neck risk and his (Handsome Jack’s) much less than raved about dressing room attitude (cite RoR debacle)…. Not worth it

      I can just imagine Dorion trading for him and the HJ demanding a meeting with Melnyk to tell him why he MUST be captain over a Chabot/Tkachuck

      Sens don’t need his ‘Tudeh

      If he goes to Ranger’s… that existing dressing room is strong enough to quell his ego

  7. The only way as a isles fan I would consider trading Beau for Vlady if the Blues would take uncle Leo along in that deal. Getting his salary off the books is worth it. Beau is great in big games but gets lost sometimes during the season. What is Lou up to? No one knows for sure but he needs to get a sniper on the power play. Get it done sir. And Reaves the rags can have him he skates even slower now then ever before but it will be fun when they play Wilson.

  8. To Ranger’s fans here

    All this talk re Eichel

    If they get Eichel are they keeping Zib?

    If they are not, is there a 3-way trade possibility that has Eichel ending up in the Big Apple; Zib on the Vegas strip; Smith in The Queen’s city; with both Rangers AND Vegas giving up a first; and Vegas giving up a couple of prospects

    Or do Rangers go 1-2 with Eichel/Zib….

    Strome (@ 50%) to Knights
    Smith to Sabres
    Sabres retain 50% on Strome on the to-through

    2 firsts from Rangers; 1 first from Knights

    So Adam’s gets 3 1sts and Smith for Eichel

    • Pengy. I think Rangers go after Eichel as long as it’s reasonable trade. IMO, they should push for a Kessel type retention. For Buffalo, there cap space should be used for better return. Zib has a year left at 5.3. I don’t see Rangers giving him 9.5-10m. They’re in a better position with Eichel on roster. No rush to extend Zib unless it’s team friendly deal. Strome goes in separate deal.

      • Sounds rational… I guess we shall see what happens

    • What Smith Riley he is an UFA next year and is a below average player he is worth maybe a third”

  9. It’s a massive gamble. Eiechel could probably be had for Mete, Brandstrom (PD’s proudest moment), a first and a second.

    But why upset the apple cart. Eichel doesn’t strike me as a DJ. Smith kinda guy.

    • Dark G

      BUF is definitely not trading their #1 franchise centre for a guy they could have had for free on waivers last season, another small D-man with 63G of NHL experience, a 1st and a 2nd round lottery ticket.

      BUF would ask for at least Norris, Pinto, or Formenton from the forwards, possibly Zub from the D core and two 1st round picks.

      I’m not sure OTT even needs this trade? Rumours out of BUF have said that Eichel’s personality grates on his teammates…not something you want with a young team.

      • LOL – if Dorion ever made THAT trade all he’d be doing is reversing the benefits reaped from the Karlsson trade, following which he’d be out of job.

        Remember Karlsson – the deal where Dorion got “hosed” many were braying (“whoever gets the best player wins the trade” was another favourite).

        Ask SJ fans what they think now of that trade and that huge and unmovable cap hit.

    • Ottawa would not be able to get Eichel for Mete, Branstrom, a 1st and a 2nd. Remember Mtl tried to trade Mete who was making pretty much league minimum and no one offered a pick so Ott got him on waivers for nothing.
      Buf will want more than a prospect (former 1st rounder Branstrom) and a 1st and 2nd. The ask is rumored to be the equivalent of 4 1st rounders in picks/prospects and a salary dump (2022 UFA) that Buf can flip at the deadline for another return.

  10. If Boston wants to do anything and are presently all most at the cap. Including if they want to bring Krejci back at a salary exceptable to Krejci. They realistically own have a few players to move:

    Jake Debrusk
    Craig Smith
    Charlie Coyle
    John Moore
    Matt Grzelcyk

    The above are over $3m cap hit except Moore at 2.75 and Coyle topping out at $5.25m but has a 10 team no trade list.

    No other Bruin is being traded or has any $$ value in a move.

    Moore if not on Ltir needs to be shopped.

    If Boston wants to do anything of value then something above needs to happen.

    Make a trade for Dunn and ship out Grzelcyk be a start.

  11. Straight up trade

    DeBrusk for Marcus Foligno

  12. If I am Dorion I don’t let Eichel anywhere near the chemistry he is already building within that young core. That is not to suggest Eichel is a cancer because I don’t know. But I’m smart enough to know it would be a distraction. To get to the floor and beyond Ottawa is better bringing in some cost-effective veteran players to mentor the talented youth there

  13. I think it is a case no team wants DeBrusk at his salary versus Boston really wanting to keep him.
    The Bruins have to have a plan to bring back Krejci. He has been too important for them . Had a pretty good season last year . I’m sure he would take a couple years at 4m but they need to make some cap room.

    • Silverstone, I have heard a rumor that the Krejci deal is already done. Just not revealed.

      It’s rumor to be a 1 or 2 year deal at $4m with incentives to get to $6m

  14. To bad for the Bruins Krejci heading home…. This really hurts the Bruins in their quest for another run it won’t happen with the centers after PB ….my question is if Sweeney knew this which he must have why didn’t he address it instead of bringing in those B-List players

    • I am sure he tried Joe, not sure which UFA you would pick that is better than Coyle? Danault was it, but Coyle is kind of like him, just not a good defensively, but still good in that regard.
      Pretty bare at the C position after that.
      All things considered, he did pretty good IMO.

      Great opportunity for Studnicka, we’ll see if he has it in him or not as a 3C.

      Best be shutting down the other team, which isn’t out of the question.

  15. Ray…don’t know about Coyle they were talking about moving him to the wing if they could find another center even with Krejci back ..

    Bruins look to be a Dman and a #2 center short

  16. Eichel is not going to Sens, or any other Canadian team…I would bet rangers but that is a bad move for them with what they are now creating. They would have to give up too much from the current roster.

  17. Krejci is a big loss for Boston at least for today. If not replaced in some fashion they are hooped up the middle Not realistic for Bergeron and Coyle to play all 82 games . Thin depth and also lost a big contributor on the PP wearing a letter. Sounds like nothing to do with management and he just wanted to go home. I bet Rask does the same.

    • SS…. Hate beating this thing but one more time and I’m done ….. The season has been over for a while now and Sweeney says he’s talked to Krejci a lot so he had to know which way he was leaning about coming back . There were some Bruins and centers rumors out there but I guess they just couldn’t pull it off ….

  18. I think 9,5 for a 6 year contract for Z is a bit high, its not easy for a 29 year old C to get that money and turn and I really think he likes it in NY. It its a 6 year contract he wants I would keep it at 8,5-8,75.

    If Ottawa is looking at C and have a surplus of D, Calgary sound like a good partner with Monahan as the most interesting when you also consider his age. Bernard Docker is the obvious choice from a Calgary view as they need RD and Ottawa needs to get to the floor. So Docker plus a 2nd?

  19. So much talk about Eichel, haven’t we been assured that he’s going to Boston?

    • Hb30 I think Eichel at this point is a big risk for any team.

      His health issues are a major concern.

      Certainly a gamble for any team.

      • I am thinking that Eichel stays in Buffalo for the time being. Adams would have to sell low at this point because of the health concerns. His best option is to have Eichel come back and play and prove that he is healthy, which would drive the price up. Patience is needed by both Eichel and the Sabres.

    • Ya HF30, according to Rick!
      Not sure they were ever that serious if in at all.
      Somebody posted why not wait until his NTC kicks to to try and acquire to lower the ask.

      Along with his significant injury concern, seems like a reasonable thing to do.

      B’s – TDL seems like the bet, just get get there and see what you can do for one more push.

      If he didn’t like it in BUF before, he really isn’t going to like it this year. The tank is on. That might be the worst goaltending on paper I have seen in a long time.

  20. Let me start by saying I think there are a lot of knowledgeable hockey fans on here and I’d like to get your opinions on a discussion on RDS in Canada (french sports network in Mtl for those who don’t know). So please don’t attack me for the below idea, I’m just the messenger don’t shoot me. LOL

    The following is a 3-way with Mtl, Colorado and Buffalo.
    To Col: Drouin (Buf retains 50%), C.Miller
    To Mtl: Eichel (Buf retains $2M per)
    To Buf: Kotkaniemi, Newhook, E.Johnson, Jordan Harris, Mtl’s 2022 2nd and Mtl’s 2023 1st.

    Benefit for Col is it reunites Drouin with MacKinnon addressing Col’s need for another top 6 winger, dumps Johnson’s $6M and replaces him with a solid Miller. Col now has room to operate under the cap and fill out roster. No better place for a fresh start for Drouin out of Mtl. Could be dynamite as the playmaker for MacK and Rantanen.

    Benefit for Buf is 2 young centres that have played in the NHL (so not prospects) that are so young they can be part of the rebuild. Also a stud young D prospect in Harris that Mtl may not be able to sign by the Jun deadline. Plus a 1st and a 2nd in addition to Johnson who will help get them to the cap floor and they could possibly flip later.

    For Mtl, obviously a franchise C that can help them make a run in the time Price has left. Plus if Buf retains $2M getting Jack at $8M/yr is worth paying more. Also allows Mtl to keep their 2022 1st when they are having the draft in Mtl.