NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Rumors | 43 comments

Could the Ducks end up moving players like John Gibson and Josh Manson this season? Could the Senators seek another center? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the speculation linking the Anaheim Ducks to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He believes Ducks general manager Bob Murray had some level of talks with the Sabres but doubts he would part with Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale as part of the return. The Sabres asking price of four top assets for an injured player is another obstacle. Waiting could drive that price down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s ongoing issues with the Sabres over treatment for a herniated disc in his neck and his hefty contract are also significant sticking points in any trade discussions. Murray would be wise not to part with Zegras or Drysdale if he’s planning to rebuild.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Stephens believes Ducks goaltender John Gibson has been frustrated by the club’s lack of progress over the past three seasons. It’s impossible to know, however, if Gibson will request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson would draw plenty of interest in the trade market if he did ask to be moved or if Murray decided to shop him for a return of young assets. The 28-year-old’s contract could be a stumbling block. His annual average salary is $6.4 million through 2026-27 and he now has a 10-team no-trade list.

Stephens believes the Ducks have fielded offers for Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Henrique or attempted to move some of them. A deal that would’ve sent Manson to the Winnipeg Jets was reportedly scuttled by Manson, who has a 12-team no-trade list. It’s believed teams were offering a first-round pick or a top prospect for Manson or Rakell, but the Ducks want both pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on Manson, Lindholm and Rakell this season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. The trio could draw plenty of attention as the trade deadline approaches. Manson is the only one of the three with no-trade protection.

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger believes the Ottawa Senators still need some veteran depth at center for the coming season. The departures of Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan leave the club thin at center. Promising Shane Pinto could help but he’d be another young center on the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators are believed to be in the market for a top-six winger or another center in order to move another forward to the wing. He mentioned New York Rangers center Ryan Strome and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome as possible trade targets but dismissed internet rumors linking the Sens to San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.


  1. Hertl? Would be a nice addition, but I think Wilson is sufficiently snake-bit to avoid any further deals with Dorion.

  2. With Kane’s status up in air and SJ still has cap space, I don’t see them moving Hertl. Maybe at deadline.
    Ryan Strome to Ottawa has been out there for awhile, but that was with assumption that NY was acquiring Eichel. Buffalo needs to let him get his surgery, otherwise thwy won’t be getting return they want.

    • Slick62, while I tend to stay away from speculating on xxx for y scenarios, I make an exception here and wonder if Wilson might be tempted by sending Hertl ($5,625,000 and a UFA next year) for C Chris Tierney ($3,500,000 and a UFA next year) along with C prospect 6′ 6″ 220lb Logan Brown (an RFA coming off an ELC of $863,333 and who might benefit from a change of scenery) and either of D Bernard-Docker ($925,000) or D Eric Brannstrom ($863,333)?

      The cap almost works out equal and since SJ is obviously in the early stages of a complete make-over, and with Hertl a UFA next year, it might make sense.

      • The sticky point for Ottawa is they need to worry about whether a player will resign with them. Especially if their current contract ends in a year or two.

        I’m positive Ottawa is hunting for an addition at forward. They have plenty of extra D to move. But as I said there is more to a trade then dollars in and dollars out for them.

      • I doubt Wilson would see value in giving up a proven good player for a mediocre one and who are at this point prospects.

      • Well, he’s headed for last place with or without Hertl. In their position a couple of prospects and a steady 3rd/4th line C for a guy who’ll likely bolt at season’s end anyway might be better in the long run. Of course, the otherv side of the coin is, if Hertl’s having a decent season personally by trade deadline, he could reap a bigger haul then.

    • Hi Slick62

      Here I humbly disagree

      The minute they allow for the surgery, HJ’s value drops further. At that very point there is further uncertainty; and that risk/uncertainty further drops his value. If the surgery is not successful…. Even further devaluation. If after surgery and recovery, he is healthy and back to pre injury levels… then value has a huge uptick. All comes down to risk/uncertainty of HJ’s future performance

      IMHO, The best move as at now, for Sabres, is to do the Walmart price drop and trade him, thus passing the risk on to another team

      This will come down to another GM (with I’m sure influence by his owner) willing to take the risk and willing to (and able to) meet the “new” (read “MUST” be) lowered HJ trade ask

      As at now suitors are dwindling. Starting the season with HJ still LTIR and holding firm (on no surgery) is not a pretty outlook for the struggling Sabres

      Trade him, move on

      If Duck’s/Murray are still interested…. Lower the ask….. gedderdone

      If Drysdale & Zegras off the table….

      -Next year’s first (lottery protected; ‘23 if Ducks get lottery drop)

      -McT (‘21 1st)


      Then Sabres retain 50% on Manson and flip him for a 1st and a 3rd

      Net…. 3 firsts and a 3rd

      • I agree McTavish should be the centerpiece.
        I would still focus on younger players like Perrault, or Andersson. Make the 2022 1st have some protection or conditions related to Eichel’s recovery.

      • But the risk is tiny. The recovery period is 6 weeks compared to months for a fusion and the solution if it doesn’t work is a fusion.

        Again I don’t get it.

        Say to Eichel. Ok you can have the surgery you want. We require you to come back and play for another year. During which we will attempt to trade you if unable we will revisit our positions.

        Buffalo is getting zilch for him now because of the uncertainty. If they get zilch for him later after surgery they are no worse off. If he plays well after surgery then they can get a quality return.

        And if the surgery doesn’t work they can have 10 mil on LTIR

      • who is hj

      • I read up on the procedure that Eichel wants and I understand why Buffalo says no. Short term benefits are debated and long term, +4-5 years are not positive. It was a fab 10-15 years ago but the number of operations has gone down 86% in the US since. It wasnt as popular in Europe but the number of operations there has also decreased

      • Better off keeping him through the end of next season rather than settling for B-level prospects. The fan base won’t support another fire sale.

      • Pengy been begging for someone to ask that question caper.

      • HJ = Happy Jack? Handsome Jack? Hallucinating Jack? I gotta admit Pengy, sometimes you lose me with your shorthand. 🙂

      • Pengy. I don’t think you’ll see Eichel play until he gets the disk replacement. The recovery is around 8 weeks, but should know right away if surgery went ok.
        George, I’m surprised you’d be willing to give up young assets for a pending ufa in Hertl. I’d definitely ly take that deal if I’m Wilson. Can Rangers get same return for Ryan Strome?

      • ***Slightly Off-Topic But Relevant***

        As a long-time reader of this site, but rarely posting my own opinion, I would like to say one thing. Pengy…love your opinions…I find that I agree with a lot of what you post…however, you use too many abbreviated names or nicknames. I feel I am a smart, well-read individual and I have to rack my brain to figure out who you are talking about a lot of times. I am assuming (which I hate to do), that “HJ” is Jack Eichel based on context…but I really had to do the leap to recognize that HJ stands for Handsome Jack. Using nicknames is fun and part of the hockey culture but as a reader it is waaaaay too difficult if you abbreviate the nickname too. Just my $0.02. Thank you.

      • Kent, could you please post some links to where you “read up”? Last month I posted interview that the neurosurgeon Eichel consulted gave. It included links to medical journals. I’ve never seen anything where anyone called it a fad. To the contrary, the surgery he wanted only had a .04 % chance of patient needing another procedure as opposed to fusion surgery which had a .25% chance.

      • Slick62, with Chabot, Zub, Zaitsev, Holden, Mete, Del Zotto and, at Belleville, Thompson and Alsing and soon to turn pro Sanderson and Tychonick, Ottawa’s D depth is set for the next short while. So, really, Bernard-Docker and Brannstrom are expendable – for an experienced C such as Hertl. But certainly not for Domi.

      • Pengy–It could be that Eichel’s insistence on prescribing his treatment is attended by greater risk than the Sabres can pass on to another team, even for the reduced return that you suggest. There’s no reason to believe that the doctors of any team would think any differently about how to treat Eichel’s injury than do the Sabres’ doctors. Some might regard Eichel’s doctor’s methods as near quackery, like a doctor selling a cream that’s proven make grandma look like a teenager. If any body of doctors could assure its team that Eichel’s desired treatment is low-risk, or that it could have him good as new and ready to play in six weeks, Eichel would have been traded already, for more than what you suggest.

      • Hi All

        Yes I want My Curtains Back is correct….I’ve been using HJ for Handsome Jack (Eichel)…. just lazy (or accommodating … LOL…..with the shorthand …..as I’m typing single fingered (not even Double Thumbed) on my iPhone ; and trying to read over my distance lenses… quite a sight to watch

        I was following the moniker already given to Eichel ; cruelly so (but apropos ) as a sarcastic nickname (as they said… “he has a face made for radio”)

        I only used the name Handsome Jack here after others had posted it

        Re surgery/no surgery….. the risk right now is built in to the offers (or lack thereof)

        Having the surgery is NOT a guarantee of success ; and the minute the surgery decision is made (if it ever does)…. his value goes down… immediately. It doesn’t rise again until the surgeon pronounces the surgery a success . It then gets another kick up after recovery and he big is to skate

        With any surgery there is a risk of failure

        This is a big risk that could be 100% successful and he returns back to form

        It could also (much less probability but it does exist) fail and fail miserably rendering him unable to ever return to the NHL

        My contention is that the best move by Sabres is to “move on” from him, and very soon

        This is only done if Adam’s lowers his ask…. and soon

        I’m thinking that his value now vs after a SUCCESSFUL surgery is maybe a difference of 1 first

        so…. the gain if successful…. Maybe 1 1st (over now)….

        Have surgery and it fails…. zero return

        The issue is preoccupying too much of Sabres time and in a negative way…. at a time where bringing back as many to home games as possible, should be the focus

        Take the lower deal and move on

      • Slick 62 Are those numbers 4% and 25%, or did you really mean .04% and .25%? Thanks. Just trying to wrap my brain around this situation.

  3. Why would you move Gibson. I am sure there is a long list ahead of him on the Ducks that would move first.
    Maintained for months they have the right amount and types of assets to pull off a trade with Buffalo for Eichel and St. Louis for Tarasenko. . They need to replace Getzlaf

  4. There has been some buzz here that OTT and CBJ discussed a Domi trade. Not sure how accurate it is.

    If OTT is really interested it would be a low risk acquisition as Domi is UFA after this season and likely require a very modest price. If plays in OTT the way he did at the end of last season in CBJ it could be a nice addition for OTT as a top six C/W (though I fully acknowledge his ability to play C consistently is always in question and rightfully so)

    • Hi DeaconFrost

      Agree… but what is the modest ask?

      • No thanks on Domi, DeaconFrost. The guy’s been in the league for 6 seasons, averaging 17g 35a 52 pts while bouncing around and is costing $5.3 mil off the cap, isn’t all that big and is a UFA next year.

        He would not be an improvement at C over any of the current Ottawa Cs (Norris, Pinto, Tierney and, if he moves to that position, Stutzle) and at LW isn’t even close to Ottawa’s collection of Tkachuk, Paul, Connor Brown, Alex Formenton.

        Ottawa’s not operating under any illusions of suddenly becoming a serious contender this coming season – seeing continued improvement and getting more game experience for the young crop is what most fans want to see. If they progress well enough to be in the playoff hunt by season’s end that will be seen as a bonus.

      • George O
        Those average goals/assists/total point put Domi near the head of the class in Ottawa.

        His poor last year still had him behind only Josh Norris in points.

        Stutzle who you rave about had 5 points more than Domi.

        “He would not be an improvement at C over any of the current Ottawa Cs Norris, Pinto, Tierney ”

        You think CBJ would trade Tierney for Domi straight up?????

        Of course not.

      • Interesting selection of comparisons, Habsfan30. Do you think Domi has more up side than Stuztle going forward?

      • LJ,

        I don’t think Domi has more upside than Stutzle long term, but short term, maybe.

        Sens #1 centre has 60 games experience.
        #2 centre has 12 games.
        #3 centre has 500 games and is an overpaid 4th liner at best.
        #4 centre is who? Logan Brown?

        I’m just saying that Domi would be a big improvement

      • Ok. Fair enough. And the Sens have a shocking amount of cap space.

        But I think George has it right, the expectations in Ottawa are for continued improvement so a one year improvement at center can’t be at the cost of a good prospect and a straight Domi for Tierney is not going to happen.

      • Thanks, LJ. for clarifying that for him. I thought I had made that clear from the outset.
        And where, I should also ask him, did I ever suggest Tierney or Domi straight up?

        The salient fact is, Tierney is a 3rd/4th line C making just over $3 mil per off the cap. That alone is a little steep, never mind putting Domi and his $5 mil + in that position. And as a C, Domi just can’t cut it. TWO Montreal coaches had no patience with his performance there, so there’s no way he’d be brought in to effectively waste a year of further development for Norris, Stutzle and Pinto. And an even bigger no way would he move Ottawa into contention with his 17g per average.

        After 6 seasons – and 3 teams – what you see is what you get

      • I was addressing the nonsense that Domi wouldn’t be an improvement, he clearly would be.

        Domi’s first year playing centre in Montreal he had 28G-44A-72 pts .

        He’d be a perfect #2C on the Sens giving a young prospect with only 12 games under his belt the time to groom.

        Domi is just 26 y/o, young enough to be part of a growing team and old enough to help rookies and sophomore slumps.

        The Sens don’t have much to trade so the point is moot.

  5. I honestly would like to see MTL get in on Dylan Strome. I think if MTL offers Drouin and a sweetner or 2, it gets done.

    • Why Strome, Craig? He had a good season three seasons ago but his point production since then has been unremarkable. He would take time away from KK and Poehling for no appreciable gain.

      This proposal would add 2.5 million to the Hawks, already over the cap.

    • Drouin? Talk about a question mark. And someone just called Tierney mediocre! Those would have to be some sweet sweeteners.

      • A 2nd and a 3rd should get it done

    • My first reply seems to have disappeared, Lyle, so if the first one is a duplicate please don’t post.

      Why Strome, Craig? Strome had one good season three years ago and since then not much. He would take away time from KK and perhaps Poehling for no gain.

      As for the Hawks, your proposal adds 2.5 million to a team that is already over the cap …

  6. George, I can understand that perspective. I was surprised when I heard the rumor myself as I also had trouble seeing the fit w/ OTT. I didn’t hate Domi during his time here as some fans did. The fit w/ Torts’ was ill-suited from the start but he needs to find a place where he does fit and produces consistently soon. Patience is likely wearing thin and his opportunities may soon be getting quite limited

    Pengy, just spitballing his value is low right now so maybe a 3rd or B prospect. If Domi comes back healthy and plays well this season his value could be higher at the trade deadline so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a trade to a contender at that point for a bit more valuable asset commensurate w/ a deadline rental

  7. Seeing Ottawa’s affection for Leaf players and coaches. How about Bozak to fill the veteran centerman position.

    • Nooooooo. The only affection Ottawa has for Leafs players and coaches is for the good ones 🙂

  8. Pengy & BNG….. do ya give us a 1st, top prospect or another 1st along with Zucker and Jarry for Gibson???

    Does ANA like that trade??

    • No , Hextall insists not trading future #1 draft picks unlike Jim Rutherford.

  9. Ottawa will pick up a lower cost journeyman Face-off only limited minutes type. Like a Bozak but not him specifically – Zajack, Bonino ? Maybe someone better on an expiring deal.
    Dorion has surprised us in the past (Murray Stepan) . We will be waiting a while before any more player activity

  10. Meanwhile Colin White can play center. Sens don’t need any more forwards. They need a top four shut down D to play with Chabbot. Too bad Parayko shoots right.