NHL Rumor Mill – August 28, 2021

by | Aug 28, 2021 | Rumors | 60 comments

Could a change of agents help Jack Eichel get traded sooner? Could the Bruins or Canadiens become a destination for the Sabres captain? Which head coaches could be on the hot seat this season? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wonders what Jack Eichel’s decision to change agents could mean for the Bruins if they want to trade for the Buffalo Sabres captain. He said the Bruins are among several clubs with an interest in the 24-year-old center. Trade discussions were expected to intensify, with a source telling Murphy that there’s a hope of getting this done within the next couple of weeks.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Eichel’s new agent is Pat Brisson, who also represents high-profile stars such as Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Patrick Kane. He could be hoping Brisson’s cozy relationship with several NHL general managers could prove helpful in the trade market.

Murphy feels that might not help the Bruins as GM Don Sweeney had a good rapport with Eichel’s former agents. Brisson has a close relationship with Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and Eichel was linked to the Habs at one point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out soon enough if Brisson can succeed where his predecessors failed in finding a suitable trade for Eichel. Maybe he can convince Sabres GM Kevyn Adams to reduce his asking price of four assets comparable to first-round picks.

Any club acquiring Eichel will have to wait for his season debut because he’s still dealing with a herniated disc in his neck. Whatever procedure he undergoes to address that issue will determine how long he’s out of action. Disc replacement surgery would apparently sideline him for several weeks while fusion surgery could keep him on the shelf for months. His $10 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons is also a sticking point.

The question is whether this trade is worth doing. Eichel is very talented when healthy but he’s now facing a procedure that could keep him out of the lineup for perhaps most of this season. There’s also the risk he might not regain his high-scoring form once he returns to play.

The Canadiens could acquire Eichel if they’re prepared to ship out around $10 million annually in the deal to accommodate his hefty contract. They’re currently over $2.2 million into long-term injury reserve territory assuming Shea Weber goes on LTIR as expected. They also have restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi to sign.

Adams could ask for at least two good young roster players like Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov or Kotkaniemi as part of the return. Promising blueliner Kaiden Guhle could also be part of the asking price.

As for the Bruins, they only have $1.089 million in cap space. Landing Eichel means moving out significant cap dollars to free up sufficient space for Eichel’s contract. Maybe Sweeney can convince the Sabres to pick up some of his salary but that seems unlikely. The Bruins also don’t have a Suzuki or Caufield in their lineup to tempt the Sabres and they’re not that deep in tradeable young assets within their system.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau recently looked at five NHL head coaches on the hot seat for the coming season.

The Calgary Flames hired Darryl Sutter midway through last season. The club is at a crossroads right now. If they stumble out of the gate, perhaps general manager Brad Treliving seeks another replacement to save his job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Treliving is going to sink or swim with Sutter. A poor start could cost the GM his job before he even has a chance to consider another coaching change.

Travis Green recently signed a contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks. However, some general managers have no problem firing a coach with term remaining on his contract. The Canucks must quickly show progress or fans will call for Green’s firing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a decisive year for Green and GM Jim Benning. Canucks ownership have been very patient with Benning but that could run out if they’re not a contender this season.

The Chicago Blackhawks made a series of changes this offseason, which include the acquisitions of Marc-Andre Fleury and Seth Jones. Jeremy Colliton’s job could be in jeopardy if the Blackhawks fail to improve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So could Stan Bowman’s job as general manager, especially given the club’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against a former video coach a decade ago.

Jeff Blashill has been coach of the Detroit Red Wings for six seasons. A lack of improvement this season could cost him his job. Meanwhile, San Jose Sharks bench boss Bob Boughner could also get the ax if GM Doug Wilson decides to shake up his mediocre roster.


  1. Re Eichel and change of Agent…. the only thing I believe Brisson can bring (to increase chances of a trade) is the possible suasion of Adams to drop thr price

    Re “ Adams could ask for at least two good young roster players like Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov or Kotkaniemi as part of the return. Promising blueliner Kaiden Guhle could also be part of the asking price.“….

    I am a Leafs fan…. But have to logically say to GMMB…, don’t do it…. and especially if Suzuki is demanded in the package

    Re Bruins…. what is their package offer; where is the space?

    Would Bruins consider acquiring Kessler for LTIR space?

    I’ve not heard anything recently re Jackets in on him…, is that rumour now completely dead in the water?

    Boughner potentially fired? I am having trouble believing the shortcomings of the Sharks rest entirely on him

    • Toe Blake couldn’t turn that sow’s ear into a silk purse

      • A tad before my time; but…Yep Toe Blake was very good

      • One of my favourite Toe Blake stories was when Yvan Cournoyer first joined the team in 1963-64. At one point in a game, with the Habs down, the crowd began chanting “nous voulons Cournoyer” (we want Cournoyer …)… after a few seconds Toe tapped Cournoyer on the shoulder, leaned down and said in his ear “better go up and see what they want ….”

        Yvan tells this story himself and once said the message was clear – Toe makes the decisions who plays – not the crowd.

      • I hadn’t heard that story… but that cracks me up…. Toe Blake was admired by my dad… and he was a stalwart Leaf fan

    • Pengy,
      I’ve been a Jackets’ fan since Cbus was given a franchise. If you ask me (and I follow several Jackets blogs), Jarmo had merely done due diligence in checking into Eichel. While the Jackets don’t have a #1C of Eichel’s caliber, Adams demands, Eichel’s salary & AAV, his injury and Domi missing at least the first month of the season due to surgery combined to cool Jarmo’s interest. If Adams lowers his asking price and allows Jackets doctors to evaluate Eichel, a trade could be worked out, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

      • Thanks Paul

        The price for sure must drop… Adam’s, as far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong) has not authorized other teams’ (potential suitors) doctors; to evaluate Eichel.

        I understand you can’t allow 31 different doctors to examine him; but if there are serious negotiations with 2 or 3 teams; allow those 2-3 Teams’ surgical experts to examine him

        Not allowing any…. Raises red flags IMHO

        I guess a team can offer a 1st as the only guaranteed offer; with the balance (up to the equivalent [in value] of 3 more 1sts) all with conditions re health

        No matter what…I repeat…. Adam’s , IMHO, must lower the ask

    • Boughner should be fired just for the way he gave Evander Kane preferential treatment … one huge shortcoming …

    • “All I know is I have a job here as long as I win.”- Toe Blake

      • Coaches don’t win hockey games. Stacked lineups of motivated players win hockey games.

  2. Eichel changing agents is a come to Jesus moment for him.

    Whether it was his or his agent’s idea to fight with team in public he wisely has chosen a change of direction.

    Brisson is known for getting things done while maintaining good relations. He tends to keep things private and non-acerbic.

    His friendship with Bergevin comes up frequently yet none of his big name clients have gone to Montreal, eg Duschene, Tavares and overblown now with Eichel.

    The Eichel show will/should go back to where it belongs, private discussion .

    • Good call habsfan30. I always hate to see what should be private come to public with comments to the press and social media, which makes things sound like a Kardashian’s publicity fiasco. There is too much at stake here – a talented young man’s career, an owner with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, the loyal fans of Buffalo, and probably jobs in the Sabre’s organization are all affected by this. Personally, I don’t see Eichel being traded until after he returns to the ice and demonstrates that both his health and ability are both sound. Buffalo is in no position to let him go for pennies on the dollar, and no GM should trade significant assets without knowing for sure that Jack is healthy and can still play at the top of his form.

      • Hi Iago

        I fully agree that they (Sabres) can’t let him go for peanuts; but current ask is too high

        On the flip… other GMs are taking a risk

        A lowered ask that perhaps includes conditional pick(s)/asset(s) depending on Eichel’s health; just might work

        Healthy and at his peak performance … 4 1sts/equivalents …. Pretty fair IMHO

        His value if he has surgery and it completely fails, rendering his hockey career over (low probability but there is a chance)… is the value of $10 M in LTIR for 5 years…. what’s that worth (as a trade chip, to a Cap strapped team)? Two 2nds?

        So with the above assumptions; the goalposts in trade are two 2nds to Four 1sts (or equivalent )

        With the uncertainty of (1) whether or not he does do the disc replacement surgery and (2) uncertainty of surgery success (if he does the the surgery) and (3) uncertainty of return to production levels IF surgery done and if it is a success; or no surgery and uncertainty of return to form….. renders his value , IMHO, less than Adam’s ask

        Sabres need to get this issue resolved, move on, focus on the rest of the team and the rebuild

        I still say that if Rangers are still expressing interest, that there is a deal out there that sees Zabinijad end in Vegas, Eichel in the Big Apple; retention on both (retention by Sabres); and Sabres getting a plateful of picks prospects collectively from Knights and Rangers

        Sabres retain 20% on Eichel, and 50% on MZ (on the 2 through)….

        that would get a good haul… minimum of 2 1sts (one from each team); another 1st (from Knights) conditional on MZ re-sign with Knights( otherwise a 4th) and likely a *2nd (Rangers) plus a prospect (yet to play in NHL) from Knights

        *2nd is conditional…. if Eichel plays at least 20 games this year; 2nd; if Eichel plays 50 games this year…. 1st

        Both 1sts are lottery protected

        So if Eichel has successful surgery (or if he doesn’t but plays healthy… I.e. > 50 games) ; and MZ re-ups… Sabres get

        4 1sts and a prospect (Note they are retaining $13 M cash in Sals)

        Worst case…

        2 lottery protected 1sts, a 2nd, a 4th, a prospect (again Note… paying $13 M in Sal retention)

        This of course only happens if Rangers are still in on Eichel

  3. I don’t see change of agents meaning much for trade chances. I think maybe Eichel changed to a Riss on to help settle medical procedure. It’s possible with the more powerful agent with deeper pockets and better lawyers, maybe we see some legal challenges.

    • *Brisson*

    • Slick62…from what I have read Eichel has the option to take his case to medical mediation but he doesn’t have a leg to stand on bc of the NHLPA agreement/Sabres being within their rights. He blew it when he bind sided the Sabres on his locker cleanout zoom call whether he did it on his own or advisement of the Peters.

  4. Why should either Blashill/Boughner be on the hot seat? Look at what they have to work with! You can’t make a team successful with mediocre players.

    No, neither is on the hot seat.

    • Agree Vincois

      A good coach can bring a middling team into a WildCard battle; or a team just making the playoffs; through two series

      However, If you are thrown a very weak cadre in front of you; the limits of success are extremely small

      On the flip… sometimes a loaded team can make an average coach look good (cite ‘09 Pens)

  5. if anyone wants suzy, caufield, romanov, AND kk it better be leon draisaitl, AND mcjesus coming back. what are you mainlining?

    eichel for ghule, kk, and a 1st maybe. the whole teams worth of youth and all the centers? great weed you must have

    a damaged top center with 50 mil remaining isnt worth a 19 year old lindross

    • relax fil ….. the comment was ‘Adams could ask for at least two good young roster players’.

      • would HAVE to take 10 mil back somehow.
        so 0 chance we give 2 OR 3 entry level contracts. why? so we can be 20 mil over cap, and they 10 mil under cap floor?

        got to take someone like byron back, maybe drouin. someone with salary.

        suzy, and cc are absolutely untouchable. dont care who is coming back. unless its someone back from the dead

    • Agreed, in large part. Instead of Guhle, I give Mailoux. Big maybe on kk. Drouin as we have too many wingers. The first should be conditional….assuming Eichel plays AND the Habs make the playoff, Eichel playing 50% of games. At this point Eichel is not worth Suzuki alone…forget about adding in Caufield and Romanov.

    • fil

      Had to laugh with ….” if anyone wants suzy”….. somehow my lame brain time-wharped back 4 decades ….at a frat house listening to two very drunk East Coasters singing ….”There lies Suzy with…..”

      I was very gone as well…I had a hangover for a week after that night. Never learned all the verses

  6. Marc Bergevin’s mission to turn the Habs into a legitimate threat to contend for the cup are finally showing fruition. I cannot in any way see him sacrificing any of the 4 mentioned (Suzuki, Caufield, Romanov & Kotkaniemi) straight up for Eichel who is now a huge question mark given the neck injury; especially with that cap hit. Sabres would definitely have to be willing to retain salary, add a prospect and a veteran defenseman and accept a couple draft picks back in the deal on top of the player. Their prospect depth chart with Power, Cozens, Quinn, Rosen and Peterka has the same upside if not better as the Habs prospects right now. Nope, Bergie is smarter than that, especially considering in the last two free agency periods he’s been able to convince names and stars like Anderson, Allen, Toffoli, Perry, Frolik, Hoffman to sign in Montreal; when for the longest time (20 years plus) all Habs could get were lower tier depth players and names at the end of their careers (Audette, Briere, Gomez, Gionta etc..) who’s best were long behind them. Nope I don’t see Bergie biting unless the offer is unbelievable. Besides the urgent need right now is replacing the level of Shea Weber and what to do with Drouin if he has another subpar season. Eichel’s injury is not a secret and savvy GM’s will stay away until they see him play again; if he plays again and at the same level he did prior.

  7. Suzuki is a non starter for me. I think the same with Caufield. They will be a dynamic duo for years.
    Any other combinations I would listen. Romanov, K.K. and Poehling. Drouin a must for salary alone.

    Brisson will have stronger relationships with some clubs over others. New sets of ears. Although like it was noted above with CLB every team has inquired. Even if they had no real intentions

    • long shot but if Eichel moves to the Habs, Shea Weber could go the other way + KK, Guhle, Poehling, McNiven.
      Suzuki, Caufield and Romanov should not be moved.

      Weber would be then traded from Buffalo to Nashville for a couple of decent draft picks or prospects, he would stay on LTIR this season and then potentially retire next season.
      If Weber were to retire with another organization other than the Preds , as opposed to staying on long-term injured reserve, the Predators would face a cap charge in each of the next five seasons, starting with a $4.9 million charge in the upcoming season and building to a charge of $24.57 million in 2025-26, the final year of Weber’s deal.
      Poile will need to pay a price to avoid some serious recapture penalties.

  8. Eichel’s a bruin bank on it.

    • Lyle, can you take this post of Rick’s and Pin it, like a Twitter thing.

      This way it just shows up everyday and Rick doesn’t have to repost daily.

      • Cappeeeeeeeeeee Cappeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Leave it be Cappy!

  9. Honestly, I think the Sabers GM is letting his ego play into this because it got out into the public. His trade demand is Ludacris, not losing teams to evaluate medical records, or Jack himself… these all look like things designed to avoid a trade happening, not encourage it. Maybe I’m crazy, it just feels like he is purposely tanking the deal.

    The team wants the 1st OA this year anyway. This can also be a pressure tactic. Make the trade impossible, the teams preferred method puts Jack back on the ice faster, which they could be looking at as a way to increase his return faster…

    Seems like a bigger game going on there.

    • IMO JJB, it is not Adams’ ego but a bad set of circumstances. Yes as a rookie coach he can’t be seen to have his pocket picked on his first major deal. But who knows what pressure the Pegulas have put on him? The Sabres’ position would not have been made by Adams on his own.

      The biggest mistake is two fold: not letting Eichel get the operation he wants and then asking a ridiculous price when it was obvious that 4 firsts under the circumstances was delusional. It gave effective control to Eichel and now the Sabres are doing a tap dance in a mine field to a polka tune.

      Frankly, who out there would give four firsts for a never injured, healthy as a bull Eichel? It’s the same price as the most expensive offer sheet and no one has made such an offer since … what, Dustin Penner?

      So I put this whole fiasco on the Sabres organization as a whole, and the Pegulas in particular. God help Adams

      • @LJ “a tap dance in a mine field to a polka tune”! OMG that literally made me LoL! 😂

      • Glad you liked it.

    • JJB, is Ludacris a forward or a defence man?

  10. Canadiens could be ready to move on from Kotkaniemi. And have to wonder about Drouin. Sabres biggest needs are a young center, a RD and a scorer. Could see a trade with the Canadiens that would be Kotkaniemi, Romanov, Drouin and a conditional 1st.
    Canadiens have over $5M in LTIR left with Weber’s contract. Drouin and Romanov would be $6.4 M coming off the cap. The condition on the pick could be lottery protected or relate to games played. This is risky for both sides. Will Drouin return to form? Will Kotkaniemi ever play to level of his draft position? Eichel is clearly the best player in the deal but will he be the same after surgery?

    • Maybe, G-Man. But trading KK for a not yet now and possibly never healthy center is a double risk when you factor in the risk that KK develops into a good # 2 center. I say again, KK is 21. Kaprizov won the Calder at 24. KK’s issue isn’t that he can’t play at a high level, his issue is doing so consistently so we know the talent is there now.

      I assume that it was the pressure of playing in Montreal that triggered Drouin’s leave so him being traded this year makes sense. Guhle or another strong defensive prospect is doable, but trading Romanov immediately weakens the Habs D.

      When you account for the fact that it seems impossible that Eichel under any circumstance is ready for the start of the season there is no way any team is going to empty their cupboard and then wait and hope. That writes off the coming season. For the Habs – any team – roster significant players will not be shipped out for an “I hope so.”

    • I think the Habs will have a tough time making the playoffs.

      • They do have a question at center, Rick. And this is not tit for tat, but I think the Bruins will have a tougher time.

      • I think a very good team in that division is going to miss, whether it is the hand , my Leafs or the Bruins. None of them improved this off season

  11. I wish these reports of Eichel going to Boston or Montreal would just stop. There is no way no how Eichel is going to either one of those teams unless they give up a boatload. I think that’s part of what Adams meant by he’s in control.

  12. Jack may be thinking it’s now or never for him.

    Imagine if, in addition to the obstacles standing in the way of his being traded that Spector cites now, his contract contained an NMC good through the 2025-25 season. After this season, that will be Jack’s situation.- Whether or not he’s shown by then that he can play at 100% efficiency, the team acquiring him is stuck with that clause.

    Changing agents may be a move made in desperation.

  13. Just a couple of notes that seems to be way overlooked. First, if the Habs were to acquire Eichel, he would be the best player on that team, period. He would be better than any of the combination of castoffs you offer for him. And for a team who has a RFA lest to sign and currently needs to dip into the LTIR to be cap compliant, it’s hard to image them fitting in $10m more.

    If the Habs could get him, it would be worth the risk and the assets to finally give this team a great player besides Price.

    All those “can’t miss” prospect the Habs have will be more of a can’t miss playing with him than without someone of his caliber.

    • You have to wonder if the leafs would give a marner and rielly for eichel? Marner and Reilly never show up in the playoffs they wont be able to keep Reilly and that marner contract is hurting the team more than helping! Have you ever seen an almost 11million dollar play be such a dud in the playoffs as marner has been?

  14. I don’t see Eichel coming to Montreal anytime soon if at all, certainly not before he has proven himself on the ice.

    Notwithstanding the run to the finals, the Habs are still building and veterans are there to bring along the prospects.

    I think the future #1 centre of the Habs is Kotkaniemi, he continues to improve, performs under pressure, doesn’t get rattled by other players (hello McD) or by officials (hello Eric Furlatt) he can drop the gloves (hello Robert Hagg)

    None other than Scotty Bowman said “When he’s about 22, he’ll be a No. 1 centre for Montreal.”….that would be next season or the next.

    • Interesting that you see him as their future #1 C, he just signed an offer sheet with Carolina. Pay backs a b****!

      • LOL! Yep! The question is, do they take the 1st & 3rd or match it. The 1st will probably be a late one. Got to applaud the Canes, we need to see a little more cutthroat Godfather style stuff to make up the ho hum trading has become because of the Cap.

      • That’s a huge overpayment for kk you have to wonder why you wouldn’t give the money for one of the best dmen in the game in Hamilton instead of a 3rd line center like kk?? This is going to burn one of these 2 teams thats as bad as the leafs signing marner for close to 11 million lol

      • My favourite part is the gamesmenship by Waddell on this. A $20 signing bonus, hilarious!

  15. Kotkaniemi signed an offer sheet with Carolina. Hahaha. Guess this is payback for Aho!

    • This is precisely the reason offer sheets don’t happen.

      $6.1 for one season

      Montreal you are on the clock.

      • What a massive overpayment for kk! Wow no wonder he signed now his qualifying offer next year is also 6.1 million this could turn out to really burn someone

      • Hey bbb who’ you got as centers on ours team? Suzuki then?
        Stop talking about over payments when you have no players. Everyone can agree losing a player you selected 3rd overall just looks bad… like what a big dummy bad.

  16. Compensation is one 1st round pick and one 3rd round pick.

    • Do the habs take the picks and go after Peterson in Vancouver now? Lol

  17. I like the last laugh route by the canes… but they should have waited for Suzuki or caufield. Take the picks and watch the future bust be Carolinas problem now. What the qualifying offer needed next year? Over 7? All in all it looks like a potential rental at a premium price.

  18. Doesn’t change what I think of Kotkaniemi if he signed it.

    Puts Carolina over the cap if the Habs let him go and take the 1st and 3rd round compensation.

    Carolina will have to qualify him at a minimum of $6.1 million and deal with Necas, Trocheck and Niederreiter as well.

    Bergevin should let KK go and pick up the pieces next year, if he signed it. 🙂

    • Isn’t that a bargain for a future #1 centre HF30? Can’t wait to see what the Habs Do!

  19. Puck pedia reporting $20 signing bonus and contract $6,1000, 015

    $20 aho number is 20

    $15 kk number 15

  20. Aho, Staal & Trocheck are the top three centers for the Canes.

    So either KK plays as winger or he becomes the leagues most expensive 4th line winger????

  21. KK is gonna be a superstar in the league for at least 15 years. 6.1m is a bargain for who will be undoubtedly be a #1 C in the league for a long time. He’s just 21, and will only get better with seasoning. I know it was a troll job by Carolina, but they really can’t lose in this situation. A late 1st and a late 3rd is a paltry price to pay for this gem of a player.
    I wish he was a Bruin.