NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2021

by | Aug 24, 2021 | Rumors | 67 comments

The latest on Jack Eichel and Kirill Kaprizov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, John Vogl was asked if the Buffalo Sabres would set a more realistic asking price to move Jack Eichel. He said there doesn’t appear to have been many negotiations during this saga. The Sabres have set their price but no one has met it over the past four months.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Despite Kevyn Adams claiming otherwise, Vogl believes the Sabres general manager knows he can’t bring Eichel back. With no other clubs willing to meet his asking price, Adams could be forced to lower it a little.

Vogl believes it will be harder for Adams to trade Eichel having failed to do so before the 2021 NHL Draft and the start of the free-agent market on July 28. “Teams that had assets and cap space don’t have them anymore,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sabres attempt to move Eichel before the start of training camp next month. The problem, of course, remains the ongoing impasse between the young center and Sabres doctors over which surgical procedure he should undergo for the herniated disc in his neck. He wants disc replacement surgery while the team doctors prefer a fusion procedure.

The longer Eichel goes without treatment the more playing time he’ll miss in the upcoming season. The few teams believed to still have an interest in him (Anaheim Ducks? New York Rangers? Vegas Golden Knights? Columbus Blue Jackets?) could be reluctant to pursue a trade if he’s not ready to play.

That could change if Adams lowers his asking price. It’s rumored he seeks four assets comparable to four first-round picks. If he maintains that price I doubt Eichel will be going anywhere this season.

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic’s Michael Russo yesterday tweeting it doesn’t appear a new contract is imminent between the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov. However, there’s been increased discussions between the two sides. He also indicated KHL club CSKA Moscow has publicly stated Kaprizov won’t be playing for them this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for that one-year, eight-figure deal Kaprizov’s camp was reportedly trying to use as leverage in their talks with the Wild.


  1. Saw this blurb:

    “Kaprizov’s agent, Paul Theofanous, isn’t a stranger to getting big money contracts out of his star Russian clients. Artemi Panarin’s cap hit is over $11.6-million with the Rangers, while Sergei Bobrovsky has one of the biggest deals for a goaltender in league history at $10-million per season.”

    Those deals were pre-Covid … with the flat cap here to stay for a while, and the Moscow team pouring cold water on the KHL option, I think Theofanous needs to lower his demands … just a tad!

    • Bobrovsky and Panarin were UFAs. Kaprizov is an RFA not eligible for arbitration or an offer sheet. That’s the difference right there.

      • That difference aside, do you think either would be getting those contracts now?

      • @George

        Bread might…other than losing his fight to Tom Wilson, he has point produced up to his contract and been very consistent.

        Even in the shortend season he played 45 and had 58 points.

        Bread is worth his bread
        Now Trouba and Kreider can be debated lol.

    • Kaprizov has had what one good year. He doesn’t deserve a huge contract. If he has a big deal in Russia…..go bye bye.

      Is he a talented player yes, the future yes, but no where close to $ 11 million.

  2. George, the kid also has only played 55 NHL games. Panarin had 2 full seasons over 70 points during his elc. He ended up with a bridge deal. The cap hit was 6M. With flat cap and not much body of work to go on, Kaprizov shouldn’t expect more than that.

  3. “Teams that had assets and cap space don’t have them anymore,”
    This was pretty much my comment the other day when it was suggested that Eichel start season with Buffalo to build value. Seems like we’re going in circles in Eichel. Every report is same discussions we’ve had. Nothing new. Have to wonder what the heck Buffalo is accomplishing.
    If he starts season on ltir, is Wixhels cap hit counted toward reaching cap floor? If not, Sabres aren’t getting there, unless they overpay their remaining RFA’s

    • *Eichel*

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Sabres are required to put Eichel on LTIR if he’s injured. They have the option, of course, but can still choose to count him against the cap.

  4. I doubt the Jackets have any interest in Eichel. They already have one center who will start the season on the injured list.

  5. Blue Jackets could include Domi in a deal for Eichel. But they don’t seem to be in contention for the play-offs in 2022.

    Vegas are in a window to win now. They could put Eichel on LTIR until after the trade deadline or the playoff (Example Kucherov). They need a #1 center to go over the top. Propose Vegas gives Buffalo Smith, Dean, Coghlan and a conditional #1.

    • I would do a three way deal with NYR where Eichel goes to Vegas and then to NYR with Zibanejad going back to Vegas. Of course other parts are involved but for Vegas it makes sense. Z is cheaper to get and paid less. They could probably extend him next year at 8m since its a no state tax state

      • Hi Kent

        I did a 3 way proposal that has Eichel ending with Rangers; MZ with Knights

  6. If I was Kevin Adams, I’d just pretend he wasn’t there. At this point he’s practically a bust – until he’s healthy. Pop him on LTIR until someone decides what surgery he’s getting and fix the rest of the Sabres.

    A year from now when he can play again, revisit things. He’s not playing anywhere else.

    And isn’t the KHL team salary cap like 4 million? Unless Kaprisov is getting stock in some tractor company I don’t think he’s playing in the KHL. Another bluff to call. Let him sit.

    George. I’ve maintained all along putting a letter on Brady’s jersey is the worst thing the Sens could do.

    • Well, you’re entitled to your opinion of course. But from everything I see on the ice the rest of the young team already look to Chabot and Tkachuk as team leaders.

      • I just think it handcuffs him. I always go back to the Brad Marchand example. You love the way he plays. You hate when he plays against you. And there’s NO WAY Marchand can be captain with his behavior.

        Now is Brady gonna be a face licking weasel? No, I don’t think so. But some of his behavior is very similar, and if you put a C on him he has to curtail a lot of it and be a respectful example. Not a douchebag. I like DB Brady.

      • Dark G, being a captain and, at times, a douchebag, never seemed to curtail or hamper the one-ice presence of Scott Stevens, Booby Clarke, Mark Messier, Shea Weber or Jarome Iginla.

      • Marchand wore an A for the B’s last year.

      • Ottawa couldn’t beat a bus load of blind nuns.

      • Haw haw haw. You must have wasted 2 hours putting that gem together given your limited knowledge of the game – outside of repeated harping on Sweeney.

      • Is that a common thing you do In Boston Rick?

      • I’m thinking the Nun’s would be the underdog?
        I’ll take the nuns plus the pts.

    • I heard from sources at Hockey Wilderness that the KHL caps at $12m

      • Sens only had one win less than my Habs, last year, and it was because of their horrible start. But, hey, Rick Whatever, this is a welcome change, from your usual rant.

      • Also signing bonuses don’t count against the cap. So they could sign him to a oner year deal at $1 million with a signing bonus of $9 million

  7. Buffalo doesn’t want Eichel to have the procedure he wants; Eichel has dug his heels in and doesn’t want the procedure Buffalo doctors are suggesting.

    Any team willing to trade for Eichel first off have to be willing to allow Eichel to have the procedure he wants, or there is no purpose to trade for him.

    As it stands today Eichel recovery time isn’t starting anytime soon.

    I don’t believe the asking price is the issue, it the concern of the health of Eichel before and after the surgery.

    As it stands today Buffalo has a player who won’t be in their lineup until he has his procedure done.

    How long is Adams willing to let him sit out? How long does Eichel want to sit out?

    The combination of prospects/players/picks and cap hit is to great of a risk for the reward of a #1c with an unknown health result.

    Lower the ask lower the risk, but you don’t want to be shorted only to see the player to be a very effective #1C somewhere else.

    • Wouldn’t it make sense to make the picks going to Buffalo conditional on Eichel’s performance (especially games played). Teams do this all the time.

      This, of course, shifts some of the risk to Buffalo but that’s the way it goes when you are dealing with an injured player.

  8. Ray Bark, seen you comments as of late and thinking Boston will score less goals this season.

    I don’t see it that way, I think they will score more goals.

    Boston plan all along was to have Coyle as their number 2 C you don’t pay over $5m for a number 3C, I also believe after his surgery he will be productive as a number 2c.

    Boston 3rd and 4th line will be more productive then last season and Charlie McAvoy will increase his goal scoring.

    Don’t for their also playing 82 games this season so i’m betting they’ll score more goals. (wink)

    • You might be right Caper, they are deeper up front, so will need to spread it around. Will Coyle click with Hall? I dunno, I think Hall’s #’s have dipped for a reason. Looks great carrying the puck through the neutral zone and O zone entry, but then nothing happens too often. His game is off the rush, Coyle cycles it. Maybe both are due to circumstances previously, so will be interesting.

      We really need Ullmark to stay healthy. And Bergeron of course.

    • See Pageau, JG

      • “you don’t pay over $5m for a number 3C,”

        See Pageau, JG

        Sorry about the double post

  9. Re Kaprizov …..With no KHL offer; only 55 games under his belt; flat Cap; no Arb; Wild with upcoming $13M, $15 M; $15 M dead cap; and Billy G now with upper hand in negotiations; concur with Slick 62 … Bridge deal is the most prudent; logical; and feasible solution

    Re Handsome Jack and Adams…. time is shortening; # of suitors and HJ’s value plummeting; and deal MUST be done by 1/7/22 (HJ’s full NMC kicks in)…. time to do the Walmart price drop

    Knights are contenders now (so waaaay too risky to lay $10 M of valuable Cap space on a player unlikely to start season and who has a reasonable chance of NOT ever coming back to pre-injury levels);

    Ducks and Jackets aren’t (can be patient for HJ return) contenders now; and

    Rangers window, IMHO, starts next year

    I still think there is a golden opportunity for a 3 way that has MZ ending up in the desert and HJ in the Big Apple; Sabres getting Smith and combined picks/prospects from BOTH Rangers and Knights

    Knights tight on Cap; MZ has one year left on contract; Sabres retain 50% of MZ on the to-through

    Rangers get HJ

    Knights get MZ (@ 50% Cap hit)

    Sabres get Rangers 1st (‘22) 2nd (‘22… Blues-from Rangers); 1st (‘22) Knights ; *Conditional 1st (‘23) Knights; Smith (Knights) ; Dugan (Knights)

    *Condition …. 1st in ‘23 if MZ re-signs with VGK; becomes a 4th if he does not

    • Well that window never opens trading Zibanejad and being uncertain on Eichels future.

      Who is playing center in NY if Zibanejad is traded and Eichels issues linger? Beyond Strome , (who may depart by the time your window even opens) I’m not sure anyone is up to playing consistent top 2 center.

      Aside from that neck being an issue, Eichels general attitude and losing culture seems to be the only consistency in Buffalo. No thanks! Especially at the cost of Zibanejad plus.

      • Cap I agree…. losing Zibby makes no sense. ” Stick with the devil ya know” and Zibby has been an good trooper for NY.
        Eichel 1c and Strome 2C is NOT an improvement over Zibby 1C and Strome 2C

        so keep Zib and if Eichel for Strome plus pans out bonus if not no big deal at this point.

        They need to maintain cap flexibility for all the upcoming contracts expecially since Trouba and Bread eat a chunk and Kreider has a long term deal at 6.5 (ouch)

      • Hi CO and IHC

        My proposal was only floated out there as Rangers keep popping up as “possibilities” for acquiring HJ

        If they do (I’m not saying they will; but if they do) acquire HJ; I think it is possible that they can’t then afford (Cap wise) to re-sign MZ next year….. so… if and only if they are going after HJ…. then moving out MZ while still not in window; and to minimize the trade hit; is a possibility

        Sorry re my trade… I had missed one point…. on top of Sabres retaining 50% on MZ for one year; retention of 20% of HJ for balance of contract

        Under those circumstances (and of course this all presupposes Rangers bite on HJ)….

        Rangers get HJ at $8M per; for MZ (only 1 year left); their 1st; Blues 2nd

        Sabres (if MZ re-signs ) pay 20% of HJ for balance; pay 50% of MZ one year; but get 3 1sts; a 2nd; Smith; Dugan

        Knights get MZ locked as 1C for the next few years; save Cap this year; for Smith, 2 1sts, Dugan

        Again, I stress, this only happens if Rangers are still wanting HJ

        The deal from Sabres and Knights side easily makes sense

    • Pengy how i read what you propose Rangers lose Zibby and 2 1sts for Eichel and if that were only a straight trade to Buffalo that is an overpayment,

      • Hi IHC

        It was MZ ; 1st; and StL’s 2nd for HJ

        Sorry; I had missed putting that Sabres retain 20% (so HJ hit $8 M)

      • Gotcha Pengy.

        Ya still rather not trade MZ & 1 1st for Eichel unless i KNOW his long term health is 100% for the better, and even then adding a 1st rather than a 2nd or a prospect feels a tad much currently.

        As I stated Eichel & Strome equals Zibby & Strome to me and not an upgrade in the team aspect of it all.

    • It is my understanding that it is the player, Kaprizov that WANTS the short term bridge-like deal so that he can bet on himself to get a BIG payday in 3 to 4 years….and it is Minny management that want him long term at $9M x 8 years. To me I think that Geurin will end up blinking first. $6M x 3 years is my guess and then they will have to pony up $11M/year for 8 after that.

      Just my two cents… I’m a poolie and this could severely affect my future success as I was counting on Karill the Thrill as the backbone of my offense for the next few years.

  10. Other than just digging there heels in, what does Buffalo care which procedure he gets. It should not effect his trade value which at this point is their only concern.

    • Hi MCS

      Once he does have surgery; his value immediately decreases until the surgery heals and IS successful …. uncertainty hits the value

      As at now; the risk of successful surgery (and return to performance pre injury) is built into the trade offers

      The receiving team (before surgery) then holds the same position (as Adam’s/Sabres have) over the direction to take (artificial disc replacement or not)

      Without my (if I were a bidding GM) own team doctors and surgeons examining HJ; I wouldn’t take the risk. Add to that his reported (many times) dressing room issues (cite the RoR as just one example) …. Just not worth the risk

      It is not a financial risk…. If surgery is not a success and HJ remains LTIR for the balance of contract…. Insurance covers

      The risk is assets given up (diminishing current and future roster)…. If surgery fails…. You are out the 1C you were looking for AND out the assets

      This will come down to which GM (or possible owner nudging their GM) blinks first

      No matter what…. HJ is starting the season on IR and possibly LTIR

      As an aside…. If HJ with his neck and personality issues is being touted (by Adam’s/Sabres) as worth 4 sets or equivalent…. What is AM worth…. 6? McD 7 or 8?

  11. I still don’t understand why Buffalo does not ok the disc replacement procedure. Have Eichel back on the ice and training so they are not trading an injured asset. If it doesn’t solve his issue his doctor states they can then do a fusion.

    I simply don’t get it. It seems it is simply because it has not been done in a professional hockey player. But it has been done in people who partake in a contact sport or physical job .

    I do t get it. Your getting nothing for him now .

    • Hi Jeff

      See my response above to MCS

      Immediately after his surgery his value drops further…. Until it is shown that the surgery was a success

      It will dramatically rise if the surgery does prove successful … but as at now it is an unknown

      From a business perspective… for Sabres, it is better to trade him pre surgery… the risk then is burdened by the acquiring team…. Hence lower return

      If, as has been reported; Sabres doctors have recommended against it (surgery); then there is definitely a business risk to be considered

      If he gets surgery and it fails…. Sabres are out all they could get in trade now

      It’s becoming a bu* issue for the team at a time when return to normal is still not quite there….. trade him for whatever they can get now; is the most prudent move

      Remember.., come 1/7/22… full control of where he plays (or sits on LTIR if still the case) lies with HJ

      Lower the ask; move him out; move on with the rebuild

    • it might be an insurance issue.
      His contract is insured and, that fusion procedure is covered by whomever underwrites that NHL’s coverage. Perhaps the disc replacement therapy procedure is NOT. A rather expensive financial risk by the Sabres.
      …just a thought. I don’t know.

      • That is a good thought Dark G, one I never had.
        Would like to know the answer to that question.
        This might all make sense then from the team perspective, unless this is simply their doctors don’t trust the replacement procedure.

      • Hi DarkG

        I had posted a few weeks ago re the “true” risk takers in this…. That being the ins. Company (not sure which one it is)

        HJ gets paid no matter what… from Sabres if he is playing; from insurance if he is not

        If he is playing (for Sabres)…. That means he is healthy… and they have already got a contract in place… no re-writing a contract for poor play (see Okposo)

        I had asked before whether the insurance company has “nixing” power (not covered) in some surgeries…. I’d think that the actuaries have done due diligence on probabilities of payouts and counselled the lawyers (writing the policy) re potential “exclusions” to consider

        If it (that surgery) is definitely excluded from insurance payout on LTIR…. then Sabres should have every right to nix the surgery (unsuccessful then, Sabres in hook for $10 M per for a player who won’t be playing)

        I still think it is in the best interest for Sabres to lower the ask and get the deal done…. Post haste

    • A lower return would be some retention on Eichel and Zibanejads contract plus 3-1st rounders a 2nd rounder and prospects as you suggest above?

      That seems like a full value trade. Unless Buffalo thinks they can get 8-1st rounders plus?

      To either of those proposals I say good luck with that considering the current issue with Eichel.

      • Hi CO

        The proposed 3 1sts , 2nd, and Dugan is

        1) conditional on Zib signing; but more importantly

        2) Sabres are in effect “buying” extra in TRADE return for (a) taking on Smith; and (b) taking 50% of MZ’s Cap this year and 20% of balance of HJ’s Cap for rest of contract; but mostly (c) the extra $12.5 M cash paid out in retention and the $3.5 M for Smith this year…. So $16 M more cash paid out compared to trading HJ for 4 firsts)

        If Zib does not re-sign …. Sabres layout $16 M …. To get 1 year of Smith; 2 1sts , a 2nd; Dugan

        The return is not the issue

        The complexity of the deal; the fact that it is 3 teams; make it very very difficult to pull off… nigh impossible. It’s easy n paper and easy to post…. Reality is a huge difference

        The most difficult of all is the risk of HJ’s play (if at all…. Surgery no surgery); in the future

        I’m pleased as punch that HexBurkie and Dubas as not considering a move on HJ

  12. I would do something around Marner for Eichel. Don’t know who would add. Then I would consider Matthews for 3 Arizona assets….Jacob Chychrun, Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak…I don’t who adds.

    I know other Leaf fans will hate this and consider it an overreaction to this Spring. I don’t think Marner or Matthews will win in Toronto. If Matthews had a longer contract he might mature enough if 5 or 6 yrs. But he will leave to achieve his best somewhere else. Marner as Toronto boy just has too much pressure too much dislike by many Leafs fan, for a player of his age. I think he won’t bear up well under it.

    Fire Dubas and Keefe ( badly outcoached last 2 years) and declare this re-build a failure before you get nothing for these guys.

    Better a day early, than a week late.

    • Hi OBD

      I agree that wining a cup in the AM window (up to June ‘24) is a long shot

      But only 3 pieces for AM?

      Adam’s is asking the equivalent of 4 1sts for HJ; who even when healthy is not as good as AM. Not close IMHO.

      Currently on LTIR; surgery up in the air; bad attitude in dressing room…. If his current value is 4 1sts (or equivalent)… then AM must be worth 6; and even more still for McD

      Arz won’t bid on AM now with the hovering uncertainty re arena and next year

      I would never ever do the HJ for MM flip

      I personally wouldn’t take the risk on HJ if I was any GM unless the asking price comes down considerably and/or there is reasonable retention

      • OBD, Pengy,

        The deal gives TML $16 million cap in for $11.6 cap out, putting TML in a further $4.4 million hole….and you want Arizona to add another piece?

        Arizona gets short-changed in this proposal as it is.
        AM is the best player but the three Coyotes replace his scoring and they lose a stud D leaving them with just 4 NHL D.

    • Wow, obd, wow!

      • After a while of posting I just realized you and old blue dog ain’t the same person.


    • Old Blue Dog…have you run this by Wendel17 for approval? Where is Wendel, I miss his insight on how the Leafs are going to smoke everybody.

      • He hasn’t recovered yet from the blown 3-1 series lead against the hated Habs.

      • Either that or he’s now Rick W. Murray

      • Preach

      • Please don’t mention Wendell, is absence is just PERFECT, to someone like me, who just wants to read about hockey ! Don’t wake up the dead…. 🙂

  13. Would love to see Eichel bet on himself and get the surgery he prefers. Would Buffalo void his contract? If so, Eichel could sigh a one or two year contract to prove he is still the impact player everyone assumes he is.

    I know it will never happen but it would make a great story line for the next couple of years.

  14. Does NYI strike and trade JGP, Bailey, Bellows and and Komarov for Eichel ??

    Clears cap for Islanders to take on Eichel AND gives NYI the best center combo top to bottom in the league by far, expecially after CZ signs to be their 4th.

    also increase their winning the SC % IMO

    Walhstrom can take Bailey’s spot, Bellows can slot in Komarov’s spot.

    Plus they already have Zajac and Palmieri locked up. They have the roster flexibility to go B IG.

    • *Johhnston takes Komarov spot not Bellows. (since he was trade in proposal)

    • great deal for Isles (assuming he’s health shortly), don’t see why Buff would do that.

      • they get a full serviceable NHL line with JGP centering their now #1 with Bailey on his right and Bellows on his left

        allows Cozen more time to be 2c and develop with Skinner on his left and Olofsson on his right.

        perhaps a 1st too from NYI. since they

      • Pageau’s mom just took a snap shot of this post, framed it and hung it over the mantle. Broke out a bottle of champagne and invited everyone over to look at that framed snap shot.

        Even she never saw the day someone would accuse him of being a 1st line center!

  15. I would imagine that insurance has a say in the matter of what surgery to give Eichel since they are potentially on the hook for $10 million a year if he goes on LTIR .
    I haven’t seen or read anything about it.

    There are pro athletes in different sports that were considered entitled, greedy, disruptors who in the long run were seen as honourable and revolutionary, Ted Lindsay and Curt Flood for example.

    I wonder how Eichel will be seen in the future.

  16. HF 30 & Pengy….I did not consider the Cap issues on purpose. If you are trading out Matthews you do that for fair value and after deal with the Cap issues IMO. I thought maybe the Coyotes were short changed but was not sure. Talked to a Coyotes fan who actually travels so see them. His opinion is that Clayton Keller contract is a bad one and a long one. So I factored that in.

    • Old Blue Dog, point out to your friend that, next year, the Coyotes are committed to just 5 players with no less than 12 UFAs and 5 RFAs giving them cap space of almost $58 million.

      So, while Keller’s 4 year average of 19g 35a 54 pts per season might not be worth the $7.1 mil per cap hit when compared to his production, he’s also been surrounded by a lot of crap, so I doubt getting rid of his cap is a priority there.