NHL Rumor Mill – August 3, 2021

by | Aug 3, 2021 | Rumors | 42 comments

A look at the teams that could afford to acquire Jack Eichel plus the latest on the Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examines which teams can actually afford to trade for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. That means being able to absorb his $10 million annual average value for the next five seasons and possess sufficient young assets to meet the Sabres’ asking price.

The New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks top Gretz’s list. While the Kings have less cap space following the acquisitions of Viktor Arvidsson and Phillip Danault, Gretz feels that’s never stopped a team from dealing for a player it badly wants.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gretz points out the Rangers have some short-term raises coming up for Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad but feels they should have sufficient flexibility to make it work. However, Shesterkin is projected to come in at around $5.75 million, Zibanejad could cost $9 million and Fox could hit $10 million annually after winning the Norris Trophy last season. One of them would have to move in a cost-cutting deal for Eichel and it would probably be Zibanejad, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

The Kings have just over $2.8 million in cap space after taking on Arvidsson, Danault and defenseman Alex Edler. If they were serious about Eichel I don’t think they would’ve added those three. They’re probably out of the Eichel sweepstakes.

The Ducks appear the best fit but that depends on whether general manager Bob Murray sees Eichel as a key piece in the club’s rebuild. The ongoing concern over the center’s herniated disc in his neck could also be an issue for the Ducks and the other clubs linked to him.

Gretz believes trading Eichel to either the Vegas Golden Knights or Minnesota Wild would make sense as both teams need a No. 1 center. However, it would take some work to pull off a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ asking price from the Golden Knights was said to be winger Reilly Smith, promising center Peyton Krebs, young defenseman Nicolas Hague and a first-round pick. The Sabres would also have to pick up half of Eichel’s cap hit to make this work.

Gretz points out the Wild’s cap constraints for 2022-23 and 2023-24 from the recent buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter could make it difficult to take on Eichel’s full cap hit. Wild GM Bill Guerin is also said to be reluctant to part with most of his club’s top young prospects.

The Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators are Gretz’s wild-card teams. Eichel to the Bruins could be a good fit but they lack cap space and depth in tradeable assets. The latter point is also an issue for the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks seem to think Eichel to the Bruins is doable. I’ve yet to see anyone come up with a realistic trade scenario that would address the cap issue or the lack of good young assets necessary to meet the Sabres’ asking price.

The Predators, meanwhile, have $16 million tied up in centers Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene. Unless they can find a way to get one of those players off their books, I doubt we’ll see Eichel suiting up with Nashville.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman quashing a rumor linking Sharks winger Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils. “Those were flatly denied to me,” said Friedman. “Someone said you’re way off, don’t go down that road.” Peng cited sources saying other clubs aren’t enamored with Meier’s contract. He’s got two years remaining on his deal with an annual average value of $6 million.

Peng also noted Friedman indicated the Sharks are believed to have an interest in Christian Dvorak. The 25-year-old Arizona Coyotes center has four years left on his contract worth $4.45 million annually. However, Friedman doesn’t believe the Sharks are engaged in trade talks with the Coyotes. He also linked the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers among those interested in Dvorak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Sharks GM Doug Wilson believes Meier can regain the 30-goal, 66-point form of 2018-19. As for Dvorak, the rebuilding Coyotes will likely want draft picks plus a quality prospect or a young NHL-ready player in return.


  1. I’ve said the other day, Buffalo has to retain salary. Without Eichel they’re way below cap floor. They’re nowhere near being in any cap trouble over next 5 seasons. Don’t see Rangers moving any assets without Sabres retaining at least 20%. Goal is to have bothEichel and Zib, who probably gets a long term deal to keep his cap hit down.

    • And just as I agreed with this then Slick I agree now. One additional thing that could be explored to minimize the concerns of potential suitors for Eichel would be to make any draft picks coming back to Buffalo conditional on his ability to play in the upcoming season. Not sure why that has not been discussed here or for that matter amongst the rumors so widely spread on this topic.

      • In all honesty there is no shortage of teams gasping for cap space & shortage of players with large cap hits & lower actual $$$ that Buffalo could easily acquire before the season starts to comply with the cap floor. Not sure that’s so much of an issue. As for other teams that can afford Eichel, several teams can afford Eichel if a player/salary goes the other way. For example, if Flames added Monahan, they suddenly wouldnt have such a difficult team rolling that 3.75 mill difference into their cap. No different than Vegas adding Smith. Problem is, would Buffalo be on Monahan’s limited NT list. Thats when a 3rd team may have to get involved.

        The real hold up is first health of Eichel, of which im sure GM’s are talking to their doctors & specialists. & secondly, Adams ask. I just wish Adams just either ***t or got off the pot on this. Either declare the returns are too underwhelming & they are going to deal with Eichel on his medical issue & get him back playing as a Sabre before entertaining trading him or just put a gun to this & take the best deal possible. Man Im sick of this ongoing drama.

    • Kreider or Zib will have to go in order to keep Fox since Trouba is making 8 and you are not trading Bread.

      Eichel cap would only work if Zib is let go and Chytl becomes 2C which I do not see them doing.

      Even with Strome potentially being gone, his 4.5 plus goes to Igor.

      • IHC. Panarin and Kreider both have nmc. Only way Bread waives is to Florida. I’d trade him straight up for a Barkov if that were an option.

      • Kreider’s NMC does not kick in until 2024.

      • IHC if your not trading bread, i don’t think crumbs will work.

      • Fantastic comment, Caper.

    • Not realistic. The Pegulas do not retain salary unless it is on an expiring deal (Hall), and especially not with a 5 year term still on the books.

  2. Eichel will start the season in Buffalo , if he is healthy and plays well interest will start up again. Kinda like buying a high end car that has been in an accident. You want the car to be checked out by a mechanic and you don’t want to pay top dollar because you know that while the car my be cleared there is a chance something was missed.
    Adams may be forced into taking a lot less than was projected. If it was me making the callas a suitor I would offer the minimum.

    • Adams is not having his hand forced. This is a game of chicken with other GMs, trying to low-ball their offers like they were at a garage sale.

      Eich can sit at home on the couch to the trade deadline, and Adams will still have leverage over the situation.

    • Eichel will not be starting season with Buffalo unless they agree to let him get surgery he wants! Rest and physical therapy havnt helped. He’s not going to agree to fusion surgery.

      • So is Eichel willing to go on LTIR for five years. Whoever is insuring the contract for the Sabres has nixed the artificial disk surgery. If Eichel wants to play he needs to get the recommended fusion surgery. Or his agents need to do their job and find a team that will approve the surgery and make the Sabres a reasonable offer (make the draft picks conditional if necessary

  3. As I said the other day, I believe the Blue Jackets have more than enough assets to acquire Eichel.

    The players/prospects are there, as are picks. But just make the picks conditional on Eichel’s performance this year, as well as any salary retained by Buffalo.

    • Artsy, I have begun to wonder about CBJ on Eichel as well. I have been convinced prior to the draft and FA that they wouldn’t be pursuing a trade because: a) they are in full rebuild so Eichel may not fit the timeline and/or they don’t want to give up the picks and young assets and b) multiple other teams like NYR, ANA, MIN, LA, VGK could all put together a better overall package. However, the longer this draws out and the more reluctant those teams are to include the assets BUF is asking for I do wonder if Jarmo doesn’t revisit it. If the other teams don’t budge on their current offers, CBJ may be able to develop a package that is competitive. However, publicly they are saying they will be patient, build right, and endure “growing pains” w/ their young players and prospects. If that is really the plan, it is hard to see them truly meeting BUF’s ask. Interesting to see where Eichel ultimately lands & what the cost will be.

      • I honestly thought they were going to make a run for him BEFORE this draft, just because of the picks they had this year too. And after resigning Laine and trading for Voracek, I’m intrigued to see a line of those three together!

  4. Boston could offer DeBrusk Studnicka Lysell next year’s first but does not address the salary they would have to take on. They would need to clear around $5m

    • Over the past few years the Bruins have traded away so many 1st round picks. Adding Lysell and next year’s deprives us of two more. It’s the major reason they have such lowly rated prospect pool. And next year we need to re-sign McAvoy and Bergeron.

    • Coyle, Debrusk, Steudnicka, Clifton and 1st Echeil

  5. I’m not sure how it works, but there’s new rules about conditional picks. I think they’re more based on teams performance? I don’t see anyway Eichel plays in Buffalo. As his agents said, they won’t allow him to have disc replacement surgery, which is only way he is ready to start season. 6 weeks until he resumes skating. 8-12 weeks before full contact. Depends on training and how quickly he gets game ready. Fusion surgery has a long recovery time. Eichel won’t get. No surgery does not correct problem. As far as any “damaged goods” comments, there’s tons of players that will be having off season surgeries.

  6. There’s been talk that if Eichel were to go ahead with the surgery he wants that it would void his contract and make him a UFA. If that was the case what would prevent him from going to his hometown team (Boston)? They’ve already lost Krecji so a $10million salary should’ve be hard to absorb – considering they wouldn’t have to give up any assets.

    • If a player does anything that voids/terminates their contract (think Kovalchuk) they get a minimum amount of years where the team still holds their NHL rights. It would be like 2-3 years before Eichel could sign with another team at minimum.

      • And losing Eichel for nothing makes absolutely no sense.

  7. Eichel could be traded for a realistic return and not first round prospects and draft picks.

    Considering he’s a question mark and a risk, the realistic return is a risk.

    Bad contracts, off year players could go the other way.

    -DeBrusk and Coyle
    -Drouin and Byron
    -Vlasic and Lebanc

    Something along these lines, doubtful it would happen, but is somewhat realistic as opposed to the pie in the sky discussions.

    • I feel the same way about people who sell their homes at distressed prices. Sure, it could use a few repairs but the foundation is still strong and can be restored over time.

      GM Jack Eichel would make that move, but Adams is not going to take garbage contracts just to help out your team.

      • Wally, thanks for some sanity among these posts.

      • Wally,

        It isn’t about helping “my” team.

        To use your example more accurately, if you want to sell your home when it is in need of repair and you have contractors pointing out major weakness in the foundation and drastically different repair strategies with neither offering a guarantee.

        Nobody will give you top dollar on your home and assume the risk of repair.

        You either need to do the repair or substantially discount your home.

  8. Watch Tbay sign him and get the ltir as long as he takes until April 7 to recover

    • FFS you make it sound like Tampa Bay is the only team that does this sort of thing. No, they don’t have special privileges.

      • Easy boy it was a joke.Maybe try some decafe

      • Relax it was a joke but does make you curious what the value of LTIR.Maybe switch to decafe

    • I’m Still disappointed that Gaborik didn’t win the Con Smythe. What a rip off! Kucherov needs another bare chested, alcohol fueled rant!

  9. Bruins can offer 2 1st rdrs Debrusk Moore 1 of ZYB OR VAK and toss in another prospect with sabres eating a portion to cap hit to make it work

    • Or he could sit out a year and play a year in the Swedish Elite league and then try the NHL again. If you are a GM asking the question “does he help my team win this year?” this is a tough go. ‘At the price does he help long term?” is also tough. “Why couldn’t Buf build around him?” is realistic. I think the burden of proof is on Jack. If he & his agent believe it can’t happen in Buf then why not think outside the box? Not serious, but then none of these “deals” are either for a guy facing back surgery.

  10. Ottawa needs a top two center. Here is this young center in Dvorak, who looks like a #2c or high end #3c. Wins faceoffs, was on track for 25 goals 50pts this season, he lead the Coytoes forwards in TOI for the PK. He is a solid two way center, exactly in the mold of what Ottawa wants. They have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds in this next draft (though with Arizona hold 5 seconds they might want next year) and a wealth of young assets. How is Ottawa not linked here … out of everyone, to me, he makes the most sense.

    Ottawa easily has the assets to make this work as long as Pinto is not included in the return. Ottawa is also seeking that scoring winger… why not make a bigger one year deal?

    To Ottawa: F Christian Dvorak, F Phil Kessel, Any of the 5 2022 2nds
    To Arizona: Ottawa 1st 2022, Ottawa 3rd 2023, D Lassi Thomson, D Victor Mete, F Chris Tierney

    Picks balance, young players back to Arizona, addresses Yotes need to add some depth on D into their system. Probably a bit of an overpayment on Ottawa’s part, but they can afford it right now.

    Dvorack gives them a #2 center and the ability to let him and Pinto battle it out for #2/#3 in the future. Kessel will be a legit scoring threat, particularly alongside Stutzle. Ottawa’s forward lines would be much improved and they’d be sending the message they are taking the next step. Without giving up something they cannot live with in the future.

    • Actually, the Preds are well positioned to fit Eichel’s contract within their cap situation. Once Saros and Tolvanen are signed, they’ll have about 12 million in cap space left, which could open up even more depending on who moves to Buffalo in the deal. My guess is one of Fabbro or Myers goes along with Glass, next years 1st round pick and one other prospect not named Tomasino.

      So just from the cap situation, the Preds could do this.

  11. What does everyone think the likelihood of Krejci returning to the Bruins around the trade deadline is? He could still raise his family back home for most of the year while using the Czech league as an extended training camp.

    He could then sign with Boston for whatever they have available under the cap and slot back in as their 2C down the stretch and into the playoffs. Meanwhile, Boston goes with their “2C by committee” and sees what kind of chemistry develops. The risk here, of course, is that the experiment fails terribly and Boston is not in line for a playoff spot come trade deadline time.

  12. Double Minor….I think the rules state he would have to sign a contract by December 31 to be eligible to play in the playoffs

    • pretty sure he would have to clear waivers then too.

  13. Looking at this, Nashville could hold one-half of Johanson’s and Duchene’s salary, add a first, and a couple picks and/or prospects.

    Then Buffalo decides if They are worth keeping at four million a year for the rest of their contract? If not there would be other teams willing to take them off Sabers hands for picks and prospects?

    This kind of deal protects prospects and picks from Nashville. Buffalo might even have to throw something else in?

  14. what about

    To CMB: FLA 1st 2022 & Skinner, & 3rd rd pick 2023
    To BUF: Nyquist & Domi

    Heard Domi is not wanted in CMB

    clears Buff cap long term of the 9M but CMB is reward with a 1st rd pick.

    • Domi to Pittsburgh for either Marcus Petersson or Jason Zucker??

      Domi $5.0 and Zucker’s $5.5 salaries are close.

      Petersson 25 and Domi 26 are similar in age..

      I think Domi needs a change of scenery and maybe hanging around Sid, Carter, Guentzel he plays better.
      Domi can be a 3rd line center until Geno comes back then move to wing on Carters line.