NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2021

by | Aug 4, 2021 | Rumors | 32 comments

Could the Coyotes shop Phil Kessel, Christian Dvorak or Clayton Keller? Should the Oilers attempt to acquire Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz believes it’s a given the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes will trade Phil Kessel at some point. The 33-year-old winger becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer and a re-signing appears unlikely.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports Kessel’s trade status seems to change daily. He felt the club might be content retaining the winger this season with an eye on shopping him near the trade deadline. However, multiple sources claim Kessel’s representatives have approached Coyotes general manager Bob Armstrong requesting a trade before this season begins.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Honoring that request won’t be easy. Kessel would like to play for the Vegas Golden Knights but a source said they’re not interested in acquiring him. The Coyotes might have to remain patient as there isn’t much interest in the veteran winger around the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel also carries a $6.8 million cap hit and an eight-team trade list along with a no-movement clause that prevents him from being demoted to the minors. Unless the Coyotes are willing to pick up half of his cap hit his best chance of getting traded could be the February trade deadline.

Morgan also observed the considerable interest around the league in Christian Dvorak. The 25-year-old has become a hot commodity because of his two-way play and affordable contract. However, it’s not a certainty Armstrong will trade Dvorak. Morgan suggests it would take a significant offer of either a couple of prospects or a prospect and a first-round pick.

The Boston Bruins expressed interest in Dvorak and could use another center after David Krejci’s departure. Other teams linked to the Coyotes center include the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and his hometown Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak’s situation could be worth monitoring through training camp and leading up to the start of this season in mid-October. That’s when teams will evaluate their rosters and determine if they need to turn to the trade market for help. One of them could make an offer for Dvorak too good for Armstrong to pass up.

Gretz also suggested the Coyotes consider shopping Clayton Keller. Under contract for seven more seasons at $7.15 million annually, the 23-year-old forward is in theory one of the players they should build around. However, if they weren’t going to keep a key player like Conor Garland, what’s the point of holding onto Keller at this point?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gretz believes no one should be kept out of trade discussions with the rebuild underway. However, Morgan hasn’t mentioned Keller as a trade candidate. Neither did Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest podcast. Perhaps Armstrong sees Keller as one of a small core of players to build around.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wondered if the Oilers should make a pitch for Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin. The Stars need to move out a goalie and the Oilers need one.

The Stars have a crowded crease with Khudobin, Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Bishop, however, could be sidelined for the upcoming season with a knee injury. It was assumed they’d start this season with Khudobin and Oettinger but the addition of Holtby raised questions about their intentions in goal and whether one of them could be used as a trade chip.

Staples believes the Oilers would have to find someone to take Mikko Koskinen off their hands before acquiring Khudobin. That could include adding a sweetener in the deal with Koskinen. It also depends on whether the Oilers are on Khudobin’s four-team no-trade list.

The Stars’ plan could be to put Bishop on long-term injury reserve, demote Oettinger to the minors (he’s waiver-exempt this season) and start with Khudobin and Holtby. However, if they can move Khudobin it would free up cap space to sign a forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That seems to be the game Stars GM Jim Nill is playing. Bishop’s career could be in jeopardy but for now, he faces an uncertain future regarding this season. Adding Holtby gives them the opportunity to shop Khudobin and go with a Holtby-Oettinger tandem. If there’s no immediate market for Khudobin, they send Oettinger to the minors until a new home for the 35-year-old veteran netminder and his $3.33 million cap hit is found.

The Oilers’ situation could be more complicated. Koskinen’s $4.5 million cap hit, inconsistent play and 15-team no-trade list make him difficult to move unless the Oilers are willing to retain salary or package him with a quality prospect or draft pick. Even then, there’s no certainty they can land Khudobin or any other suitable replacement at this point. The Oilers could be starting this season with Koskinen backing up Smith again.


  1. How did Koskinen get that deal ? Obscure pickup and overpaid. No one is taking him at that full rate. What’s happens when Smith pulls his 40 year old groin ?

    Coyotes are rebuilding but yet get rid of a 23 year old Keller that is your best player. Dumb

    I “bet” someone can take a “gamble” and land E.Kane.

    • The 15 teams Koskinen’s no trade list are grateful…..

    • Chia signed Koskinen to that deal.
      Koskinen was actually pretty good, better than Smith in 19/20 and above league average.

      Last year struggled, but Smith was really good.

      The cost to trade Koskinen AND get a goalie in return is big. Holland is rumored to have been in on Kuemper, didn’t like the price, which was steep.

      So roll to the TDL and see how they do, take it from there.

      Next year contract over and see what they can round up when they have more$$.

      Chose to address other areas first.

      Goaltending wasn’t a problem for the Oil last year. They didn’t score in the playoffs, plus no Klefbom and Larrson which had to be addressed first.

    • Still cant believe Holland took the cheap route last year and didnt sign Markstrom

      • Not sure if you’re kidding Kent?
        Markstrom wasn’t good and costs a fortune. But it’s goaltending so next year can be completely different I suppose.
        Heck, Koskinen could get on a roll for all I know.

    • You think Keller is their best player? He isn’t even their best forward!

  2. Koskinen could be a fit with the Sabres. But there would need to be a significant sweetener. Maybe a Raphie Lavoie, Cooper Marody or Tyler Benson and salary retained

    • I would think Buffalo would take him for a song just to get to the cap floor!

    • Dallas would be dumb to get rid of Khoudobin. Holtby can’t get anywhere near his save% it would be a sure way to miss the playoffs this year.

  3. RE: Kane and Eichal…it’s too bad the Oakland Raiders can’t sign hockey players.

    • What are the Oakland Raiders?

      • You had to have been there.

      • Now that’s funny

  4. just win baby

  5. Would love Dvorak, however got stick with Eichel.

  6. I have no idea if this is too much or too
    little….but here we go…

    Austin Matthews to the Coyotes

    Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, and Jacob Chychrun to the Leafs

    Who would add and how much….looking for serious feedback. My logic…Leafs don’t win in 3 years…..time admit this rebuild has failed….get ahead of the curve….This might seen dramatic to some ….I really don’t think it is. Matthews does not want to be in TO. so maximize his value.

    Better a month early than a day late.

    • I agree 100% with you OBD and have said this for a few years now, especially after the Tavares signing.

      I think the players you mentioned would be fair, as well.

      • OldBlueDog, strictly from a cap perspective, with $16,206,000 going out with those 3 and Matthews’ $11,640,000 coming in, that’s certainly doable where Arizona is concerned.

        But Dubas would go from a current over-the-cap headache of $1,394,783 to one of $5,960,533 over.

        And Arizona, just starting its re-build, would suddenly find themselves out of a cornerstone potential 26 goal-scoring D-man in Chychrun. That would be the deal killer right there. Besides, even if they went along with the proposal, bringing in Matthews – good as he is – wouldn’t turn them into a winner for at least 4 years and I doubt he, alone, fills the building.

        They can probably proceed with their re-build by drafting wisely, signing the odd UFA over the next 3 years (or trades), and simply go after Matthews when he becomes a UFA in 2024, at which point he could make a huge difference.

      • You’re correct about the cap issues regarding an AZ/TO trade like this. But to me, if I was Mark Hunter, that would set up another trade involving Nylander. Then again, if I were Mark Hunter, the Leafs wouldn’t be in this mess.

        I digress…

        Everyone not named Dubas knows Matthews is gonna be gone after this contract. He’s an amazing goal scorer and big man (I put him up there with OV – without the physicality). A cornerstone to build around, like OV.

        I think Armstrong would think long and hard on this trade.

        Alas, Dubas is in control of the “other” side and seems to have no idea. Nor do the rest of the Leafs high ups.

        So this point is moot.

        And for the record…I most definitely am NOT a Leafs fan. Living in Ontario among a house full of Leafs fans, I’m just constantly inundated with their idiocy and try to bring logic into their conversations.

      • I’m sure that Hunter would also throw Nylander in for the low, low price of AZ or SJ’s 2nd Rounder.

      • I like the thinking around here when it come so to Matthews and the fantasy of him leaving. To me it opens the door to mcdavid following suit a year later and joining his home team the Leafs too!
        Flawless and about 100% possible.

    • OBD,

      The TML are able to make this deal if they unload another $4-5 million.
      Rielly would have to join Matthews going the other way.

      Rielly and Chychrun would replace each other.
      Keller and Dvorak would replace Matthews

      Its a cap move for TML giving the team flexibility with three strong young pieces.

      Arizona gets the best player in the deal who’s 23y/o, and they can afford it, the rebuild continues with 11 picks in the next entry draft.

  7. Kenny should go big for Khubodin, though I don’t think his old buddy Nill will allow it nor make it easy on him.

    To Edm – Khubodin, 2022 2nd

    To Dal – 2022 1st, 2023 3rd, Samorukov, Yamo

    Then give Koskinen to Buffalo for Eichel. Ha!

  8. Love to see Dvorak in Detroit! I enjoyed his play with London in Junior. And I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen him top out yet. Same with Crouse.

  9. Bruins could use Dvorak come on Sweeney put something together to get him

    • Would you trade Carlo for him Joe?

      • Yes…… Carlo is VG at what he does but his health worries me

      • I think I would too. Not sure ARI would do it though.

  10. Wasn’t a London line M.Tkachuk Dvorak and Marner ?

  11. Talk in EDM is that they are going to announce a Nurse deal soon.
    8 yrs, in the 9 range.

    • Given what Heiskanen got from Dallas, Nurse getting 9 per season is insane. Jones was overpaid in the Chicago deal for sure, Hamilton overpaid in New jersey. The market has been set, but damn, Nurse is not 9 million per year good.

  12. It’s Bill Armstrong (not Bob).


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