NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2021

by | Jul 5, 2021 | Rumors | 62 comments

The Predators look to make an expansion draft deal with the Kraken plus the latest on Duncan Keith in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Cam Lewis cited Nashville Predators general manager David Poile appearance on ESPN 102.5 The Game last Thursday saying he’d like to make a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to have a certain player selected. He didn’t indicate which player it would be.

Could the Nashville Predators try to move Matt Duchene to the Seattle Kraken? (NHL Images)

Given their depth in defensemen, Lewis speculates the Predators could go with the eight-skater protection. Trading Vikor Arvidsson last week to the Los Angeles Kings for draft picks gives them one less player to worry about protecting.

One move Poile could have in mind is offering up draft picks to the Kraken to select center Matt Duchene in the expansion draft. Duchene has five more seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $8 million. He’s amassed just 55 points in 100 games with the Predators thus far.

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes also took note of Poile’s appearance on ESPN 102.5 last week. He focused on the GM’s comment suggesting Arvidsson was ok with being traded to the Kings because he was unhappy with where he was on the Predators.

Estes wondered who else on the Predators might be feeling the same way as Arvidsson did. While the infusion of promising young players replacing sidelined veterans helped to save the Predators’ season, the question was never asked as to why the veterans lacked intensity in the first place. He also wondered if the traits that head coach John Hynes values most in his players (effort, physical play, toughness) might not have meshed with the roster he inherited when he took over midway last season as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators featured prominently in this season’s rumor mill through February and March. Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg were among the players floated as possible trade candidates by the media. That talk faded away as the Predators staged their impressive second-half turnaround and died out when Poile didn’t become a seller at the trade deadline.

Poile, however, doesn’t intend to stand pat this summer. The Arvidson trade signaled he plans to shake things up. The rise of those young players, such as Eeli Tolvanen and Alexandre Carrier, seems to have emboldened him.

Ekholm and Forsberg are a year away from UFA eligibility. Poile prefers re-signing them but that will depend on what they’re seeking on their next contracts and if they still believe their futures lie in Nashville. If those extension talks get difficult, maybe one of them gets shopped this summer.

Poile will have to come up with some tasty sweeteners to convince the Kraken to take Duchene and his big contract. He might have to absorb some of that $8 million cap hit to get it done.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports there are two northwestern NHL cities (Edmonton and Seattle) that Duncan Keith would waive his no-movement clause for. The 37-year-old defenseman has asked the Chicago Blackhawks to look into a trade that would move him closer to his son in Penticton, B.C.

Leavins believes the Oilers are the front-runners for Keith because they’re far closer to winning than the Kraken and have a stronger supporting cast. He also doubts the Blackhawks want to absorb half of the blueline’s $5.538 million annual cap hit for the next two seasons, suggesting they could be comfortable picking up around 25 percent. However, he feels they’d be more comfortable taking back a contract and buying it out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could welcome a respected veteran like Keith in their dressing room. He wouldn’t be a top-two defenseman but could work on their second pairing.

Getting the dollars to fit appears the sticking point. That could involve the Blackhawks absorbing part of his cap hit, taking back a contract to buy out, or both. Maybe there’s a third team with cap space willing to get involved and pick up part of the cap hit in return for a draft pick or prospect.


  1. A carry-over from yesterday on the ongoing Seth Jones speculation. When comparing to Dougie Hamilton, some keep making the point that, while Hamilton is a UFA, getting Jones would mean giving up “assets.”

    I suppose it all depends on how one views “assets.” If the team acquiring him feels they have adequate assets which they can afford to relinquish, and Columbus is happy with what is being offered, then Jones becomes, himself, a huge asset.

    As for his offense not being “up there” with that of Hamilton, that could also be attributed to different systems – especially one run by Tortorella. In a new environment, with different players and approach, he might surprise in that regard.

    But the overriding key to any deal will be absolute assurance by the acquiring team that he will re-sign there when the time comes. Failing that, what Columbus gets in return will range from zero (he leaves as a UFA) to minimal (from a team prepared to have him for 1 season)

  2. NO amount of draft picks would encourage me to take Duchene. Nada. Everywhere this guy goes, disaster follows.

    123gp for 2 different teams since turning down an $8 mil offer from Dorion and he’s contributed 23 goals and 44 assists while being a collective -17. For $8 mil per in a flat cap era for 5 more years? Not bloody likely.

    Seattle would be hamstringing themselves right out of the gate.

    • Ron Francis is smarter than David Poile .. Poile made his bed, let him lie in it …

    • I didn’t realize things were so bad for Duchene. Maybe someone could come up with a mystery team (kind of the opposite of an all star team) of disasters?
      My 1st addition would be Evander Kane and it sounds like Duchene would be a candidate for this team?

      • Lyle, since you wrote the above article, can you let us know why it did not include Matt Duchene? Would he make an update?

      • What are you referring to, George?

      • Just wondered why, when you wrote the article I linked above, Matt Duchene was not included among the worst contracts?

      • George: At the time, he was only a year into his new deal. His stats weren’t great (42 points in 66 games) but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Johansen, on the other hand, was four seasons into his eight-year deal and his performance last season was worse than Duchene’s.

      • So if Duncan Keith wouldn’t be a top 2 defenseman on the Oilers team what does that really say about how good he is these days? As the Oilers D is terrible!

      • Thanks for the clarification Lyle. So, as to my other question, would he make a revised list today in your estimation?

      • Yes, George, Duchene would make the list.

    • I was really upset when Duchene chose the Preds over the Habs a couple of years ago. I’ve gotten over it.

      • Howard, believe me, you aren’t as relieved as I became after realizing what a huge bullet Dorion evaded after Duchene decided he didn’t want to be part of their re-build.

    • George O, you seem mad that Duchene turned down Dorion offer. Time to move on. At this point you should be ecstatic.

      Agree it will take Nashville keeping salary and throwing in a sweeter to rid themselves of Duchene contract.

      • Caper, isn’t that what I imply above? Even at the time I wasn’t “mad” when he turned it down – they had finished last with him and he had demonstrated nothing that would suggest he was an $8 mil per talent. When I saw how ineffective he was for Columbus, and carried that over into Nashville my relief became palpable.

        Same with Karlsson. And after seeing Stone do zilch against the Habs I’m beginning to think that was another bullet dodged.

    • For a 2022 1st unprotected I’d take duschene off the preds. They have a legit chance to be a lotto team. And he’s overpaid but still er half a point per game. Not useless.

  3. Duncan Keith, at age 37, wants out of chicago and the 1 or 2 teams he wants to go to should miraculously want him on their roster. (Hilarious!)
    The GM’s for Edmonton and Seattle should terminate that telephone call unless chicago wants to pony up their 1st round draft choice.
    Maybe a package doel if Shaw, Seabrook and Toews want to be traded to the same team as Keith?
    I guess if they were able to find a taker for Marian Hossa, anything can happen.

    • To wpg with $1 m retained a second this year and carpenter for Lowry??

      Wpg can use the D with a few ufa guys. Still leaves room to resign some rfa d men for wpg

    • Presuming the money works, why wouldn’t the Oilers want a proven post-season performer, a Conn Smythe winner no less, to help them get over the hump?

      • Rob, If I’m the Oilers, I wouldn’t want Duncan Keith for the same reasons I don’t want Al MacInnis, Paul Coffey, Brad Park or Bobby Orr today.

    • Kosk for Keith is good for both teams.

      • It is Chrisms, if they can find another tender that is.
        Would prefer Neal and a sweetener as Keith is still a player. Neal, not so much.

      • I think it takes a heck of sweetener to move Neal. Probably more than oil want to pay. Keith doesn’t have negative value or positive value in my mind.

      • Keith is still a 2nd pair guy as of today IMO. Slightly overpaid as that. Some risk due to age and decline being a real possibility.
        CHI is trying to do him a solid.
        Oil one of 2 teams he wants to go to.
        But ya, Neil is big ask.

        Depends how fast CHI thinks they can turn it around and contend, otherwise it is just money. A lot of it mind you.

        Yesterday I said Caleb Jones and a 2nd being the add for EDM.

        Not enough?

  4. With detroit cap space would yzerman consider using some of that and work a deal with Poile ?

    To det: duchene 25%retained and 1st and prospect or something a long that philosophy of retained and picks/ prospect.

    To NSH: Nielsen who then gets bought out by Nashville

    And let duchene play wing on 2nd or 3rd line center

    • Yzerman is not putting Duchene into his young teams locker room

      • Amen to that. Poile couldn’t make any offer sweet enough to take him on for 5 more years – not one that allow him to keep his job anyway.

  5. “Effort, physical play, toughness”

    Key words in this article to describe what could be missing with Nashville veterans, which would include the overpaid Duchene.

    The real reason many teams do well in the regular season and can’t get out of the first round.

    Hopefully Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan have figured this out by now.

    Effort, physical play, and toughness are components on the individual and team level. Signing Wayne Simmonds to play on the fourth line to fight every 10-15 games, sporadically push and shove after an a whistle and cheer on figure skaters from the bench for most of the game will not win you a Stanley Cup.

    • And for 2 years! While the far more effective Spezza settled for one at $200,000 and change less

    • Oh man how dumb. Who’s winning the games for TB? Is it guys like you’re talking about making under $1m or is it their point leaders like the most underrated player like NK, BP and the many others on this team.
      Good players win you games the more you have the more likely to win. It’s basic man.

    • Bravo. Well said. The desire to ice a tough minded hockey team is only possible should there exist a top to bottom organizational culture. The Leafs see fit to carry bandaids while playing with the proverbial wood chipper. Shanny himself told the media last year he didn’t want his players fighting or throwing thunderous hits. Watching Matthews get ragdilled by Webber it is fair to say they listened to the boss

  6. How would retaining salary on Duncan Keith work with salary cap at 5.5m and actual salary 2.1m and 1.5m in last year?

    • It’s based on percentages. The team agrees to retain a % of the salary & cap hit.

      Cap hit is $5,000,000. Salary is $2,500,000. Team agrees to retain 50%. The team retains $2,500,000 against their cap and $1,250,000 in actual dollars.

  7. Duchene worked pretty well in Ottawa because of Mark Stone. Everyone works well with Mark Stone. Heck, he resurrected Pacoretty’s career. Remove Stone from the equation….and yes Ottawa dodged a bullet. I’m still in the bullish minority on Collin White (who was also on that Stone\Duchene line) we shall see.

    The Bruins need to work on that defense.

  8. Two common themes that I just don’t get and would never like “my” GM to do.

    Pick up a bad contract, in return for some kind of asset. I don’t want a bad contract, an underperforming player who would just be a bad apple on the team with others resenting him. It isn’t as if the odds of drafting a star player are more than a crapshoot.

    Chasing a Free Agent- I don’t want “my” GM getting into a bidding war, I want players who want to be on “my” team.

    Understand there’s a difference between putting together what you feel is a reasonable deal and a bidding war.

    The playoffs have shown that teams with “superstars” that are paid a fortune don’t necessarily go very far

    • A team built with high priced Superstars doesn’t go far? As Tampa closes in on the second cup in a row.

      Note: I completely agree with you, this is just a hilarious season for this to be a dominate topic of discussion. As the team with Kucherov, Stamkos, Hedman, & Valisasky heads to their second straight.

      • JJB,

        Neither of the TBL crack the highest paid players in the league.

        Kucherov (17) and Vasilevskiy (18)are at $9.5 million.

        Stamkos (27) and Hedman (41)are at, $8.5 and $ 7.875 respectively.

        14 of the top 15 cap players didn’t get into the playoffs or past the first round.

      • That’s a bit misleading. How do said players from Tampa compare as to actual take home pay compared to the others?

      • Also need to remember that TB is/was approx the combined salaries of Kucherov and Hedman over the cap after LTIR.

      • It isn’t as misleading as you make it, the tax rate applies for home games only for one,
        Only TBL, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars and VGK have the tax advantage.

        Cost of living needs to betaken into account.
        Health care, Housing and Education need to be taken into account.

        Without a breakdown for each team in each city, I’ll settle for the contract as a decent comparable.

        As for the cap overage, meh, nothing illegal in it and the “overage” was some $3-5 million players who played all year and the playoffs and as a Habs fan, it doesn’t bother me at all.

    • Huh? A team with superstars? You mean a team with depth in talent like the team that’s spanking yours right now?
      What exactly you saying because it sounds like an echo camber in here.

      • HF30, you’re right as usual (just ask him).
        Does your calculation take the exchange rate into account? Players on Canadian teams are paid in US dollars. Cost of living is in Canadian dollars. Health care is universal.
        Any more adjustments to be made? I’m sure you have it all covered. Oh, don’t forget the difference in a gallon of gas here vs the US, or is it litres?

      • Hahahaha.

  9. How does retaining salary on Duncan Keith work .cap hit is 5.5m but actual salary is 2.1m and 1.5m the last year.

  10. Why, I wonder does the sportswriter quoted above think the Oilers are closer to winning the Cup than the Kraken? To think that he ignores the success of the Knights who as the rest of us know went to the Cup final in their first year and have been contenders every year since inception.

    Sportswriters tend to be boosters for their home team but really, Leavins, the Oil have a lot of work to do before they become legit contenders.

    • LJ, like a lot of “homer” journalists/pundits, Leavins allows the fact they have – arguably – the best individual hockey talent in the world, supported by a few decent players, get in the way of subjective analysis. And that is, that the difference between the top one-fifth of the roster and the rest is monumental – much like another team.

    • IMO LJ, the Oil are closer than some give them credit for. Both the last 2 regular seasons were good, but no playoff success. They have 2 of the best C’s in the NHL. A decent prospect pipeline. And finally, some cap space which gives them the opportunity to upgrade supporting cast for the first time since Holland got there.

      There is a team in TB that had a similar issue for a few years. Getting swept by CLB in RD 1.

      I think Seattle will be a playoff team as well, but we don’t even know who is on the team yet, so hard to measure.

      Considering teams that are close to Penticton, the Oil just need to be better than:
      CGY – Yes
      VAN – Yes
      Seattle – Who knows.

      I don’t think what he said is a reach at all.

  11. I wonder which Carey Price shows up tonight….. the one that played great against the Leafs, Jets and Knights….. or the over rated, over hyped, grossly overpaid pylon that leaks sieve goals like theyre going out of style….

    My guess is the ten million dollar chunk of swiss cheese gets lit and is out of the game halfway through….

    • Do you not see the contradiction in your comment, Ron? If Price played great during three straight playoff rounds how does he suddenly become overhyped, etc. in the next?

      Price’s save percentage in the final has been substandard for sure. But how many goals against him have been screens from the point, brutal defensive giveaways and odd man rushes? Lots.

      One was a 2 on 0 and some commentators criticized him on that. Is a goal from an uncontested 105 mile an hour slap shot during a PP a bad goal? I have been very critical of Price this season but in the Tampa series I saw one bad goal that he gave up; the 5th goal in the last game.

      Yes, Price has to be better as .835 doesn’t cut it. But in this series that stat is a reflection of the entire team. And as great as Vasilevski has been, the two softest goals in this series were the ones Suzuki scored on Vasilevski.

      • Could be, too, that the grind is wearing on him. Too bad Allen – another damned good netminder – wasn’t put in to spell him here and there.

      • A very impartial take.
        I agree.

      • I agree, George. Everybody in Hab-land second guesses the coach, but I think Price should have been given a night off. I also fail to understand why Romanov has been scratched in favour of Gufstasson. Guess rookie coaches go through a learning curve too.

      • Lj,

        A game off for Price in the Jets series may have helped Price for sure and I agree with you that Romanov should have been in the lineup ahead of Gustaffson.

      • It has been said that Montreal has the most knowledgeable fans in the NHL, unfortunately many believe they should the Coach or the GM or incredibly….the Owner.

        Tonight, KK, Merrill and Gustafsson are out and Evans, Kulak and Romanov are in.
        The lines have all been changed as well.

  12. I don’t know how Montreal managed to be Vegas.
    Would Vegas be faring better against the Tampa Bay LTIR’s ?

    who knows….

  13. The epitome of schadenfreude

  14. Bruins D…..

    What I see is that the Bruins have two Dmen for sure …a top Dman and a 3rd pairing Dman …. everybody else is up in the air including Carlo who the Bruins will resign but there’s no guarantees there with his multiple concussions in the last few years …..there’s a need for a Dman who can play both O & D and one or two SAH Dmen with size and toughness ….lot of work needs to be done with this team ….

  15. I think some of us may be missing the point here … Price’s numbers may not be stellar in the Final, and the Habs seem to be outclassed… but that’s just it init? Tampa is simply a far superior team. Vegas had their own issues against Montreal – it seemed like they got inside their own heads and defeated themselves. Montreal defeated a team in Toronto that doesn’t play playoff hockey, and then defeated a Jets team sans Scheifele purely on Price’s heroics. Just don’t confuse Winnipeg’s “firepower” with Tampa’s….

  16. To my knowledge Poile has never retained a dollar. A Duchene move without that will be tough. I have always thought he was over hyped, even in Junior. Not sure he gets $5m today.
    How about Johanson for Jones ?… I kid

    • A good test is if you want your team to add Duchene to their lineup even bad contract for bad contract….

  17. Random stat: Patrick Maroon will have won the Cup three years in a row! Well done..