NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2021

by | Aug 23, 2021 | Rumors | 9 comments

The latest on Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm plus a look at some Blackhawks trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked whether the Nashville Predators should re-sign Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm to long- or short-term contracts. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Vingan expects Ekholm to get a four-year deal worth around $6 million annually. He doesn’t anticipate the 32-year-old defenseman will drag out the process.

Forsberg’s negotiations, on the other hand, could get more complicated. The 27-year-old winger is in his playing prime as the Predators engage in a “competitive rebuild”. General manager David Poile will have to sell Forsberg on his short- and long-term plans for the Predators.

Poile must also decide Forsberg’s worth. He’s currently earning an annual cap hit of $6 million. While he’s the Preds’ most talented forward, he’s inconsistent and injury-prone.

Vingan believes Forsberg could get up to $8 million annually on the open market. He feels the Predators should avoid paying that much but it’s hard to see Forsberg accepting less than the $8 million annually being paid to teammates Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg’s contract situation will be worth following if he’s unsigned when the season begins. Vingan may be right about not paying him more than $8 million annually. However, having Johansen and Duchene each earning that much makes it difficult for Poile to justify paying Forsberg less.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing Forsberg’s name surface in this season’s rumor mill the longer he goes unsigned. That speculation could go into overdrive if the Predators are out of playoff contention as the trade deadline approaches.

Ekholm was the subject of intense trade chatter last season but that quickly died off as the Predators surged into a playoff spot in the weeks leading up to the April trade deadline. He seems keen to stay and Poile wants to keep him. I’ll be surprised if a new deal isn’t worked out before the season begins in October.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: With the Blackhawks bringing in additional depth and flexibility to their roster for this season, Ben Pope examined which players could become trade candidates.

Among the forwards, Dylan Strome could be shopped but that might not happen if captain Jonathan Toews isn’t ready to return to action in September and October. If that happens, Strome could get a second chance as a second-line center.

Brett Connolly could also hit the trade block. He’s 29 and overpaid at $3.5 million per season through 2022-23. With Marc-Andre Fleury and Kevin Lankinen expected to split the goalie duties, Malcolm Subban could be traded rather than lost for nothing via waivers.


  1. I’m somewhat surprised that Gms around the league haven’t used Ryan-Nugent Hopkins ($5.125 million), Brendan Gallagher ($6.5 million) and Jeff Petry ($6.25 million) as their templates this off season.

    Either these guys are amazing bargains or there were some huge overpays made.

  2. Forsberg is a tough one. My feeling is that he can’t be counted on to be in the lineup when you need him . Very talented nonetheless. Has had good playoff runs but you got to get there first. No more than $7m

    Toews is going to play . I read healthy and what ailed him is gone. Aside from some rust early will be his usual self. The Hawks are back in the conversation again

    • to PIT: Forsberg & Borowiecki

      to NSH: Zucker, Petterson, 1st and solid prospect

      not going to happen but there is the pitch

      • what is this obsession w/ Pens fans wanting to unload Zucker? He’s in everyones crosshairs.

  3. Swedish newspaper Expressen had a interview with Mattias Ekholm in todays paper. Link for those who read Swedish: https://www.expressen.se/sport/hockey/nhl/jag-ar-ute-efter-att-vinna-vi-har-tagit-steg-tillbaka/ .

    In the article ME says that although he and his family really like it in Nashville and himself like it in the organisation, he will want to take his time and see how the team rebuild is working out before making any decisions. He want to play for a contender the coming years.

    He’s not satisfied with the team 19/20 season. He wants to see how the young guys are developing and he also hints that he want to see some of the core to start playing up to their talent and status (i.e. pay), not naming anybody:-).

    On a personal note he’s sad that Arvi and Calle has left the team but my impression was that it ‘s not anything that influences his decision.


  4. Forsberg’s uncertain contract status helps to explain why RFA RW Eeli Tolvanen remains unsigned.

  5. Nashville should pay Forsberg the 8m, yes he has been injury prone at times but he is also their only game breaking talent. With him gone the forwards are just average quagmire, he also helps Johansen play at least decent, without Forsberg on his wing, Johansen will sink as a stone play wise

  6. Jimmy Hayes passed away? Tragic! 31 years of pd with a newborn. Absolutely awful!

    Anyone know how?

    • Nothing released as of yet. RIP Jimmy Hayse.