NHL Rumor Mill – August 5, 2021

by | Aug 5, 2021 | Rumors | 56 comments

What’s the latest with the Wild? Could the Penguins trade Marcus Pettersson or shop for a goaltender?  Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani recently reported monitoring the trade market is among several items Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin has on his plate this summer. He believes Guerin could get back into the bidding for Jack Eichel if the Buffalo Sabres lower their asking price.

The Wild GM is also expected to keep an eye on the market to fill some holes at forward. If nothing’s available via trade, he could dip in the shrinking free-agent pool. Some available veterans include James Neal, Tomas Tatar, Tyler Bozak and Kyle Palmieri.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo weighed in on Kevin Fiala’s impending salary arbitration. He believes the winger has popped up in trade talks. If he’s not signed for longer than three years it could hurt his trade value. As an example, Russo believes the Sabres wouldn’t be interested in Fiala as part of a trade for Eichel if he’s on a short-term contract.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin has to be careful how much he invests in his payroll beyond next season. The Parise and Suter buyouts will bite deeply into their cap space from 2022-23 to 2024-25 to the tune of over $42 million total. He has to keep that in mind even if he decides to jump back into the Eichel sweepstakes. It could force him to look for affordable short-term options via free agency to plug holes up front for this season.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting there are some clubs with an interest in Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson. However, they’re not enamored with his contract. The 25-year-old Pettersson is earning $4.025 million annually through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski points out absorbing half of Pettersson’s deal won’t help the Penguins over the long term. While they’d get some short-term savings, the dead cap space of $3 million (including last year’s buyout of Jack Johnson) over the next four years isn’t the way the Penguins should go.

In other words, Pettersson’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future unless the Penguins can find a club to take his full contract off their hands without taking much salary back in return.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: On Tuesday, Mike DeFabo reported Penguins president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, claimed his club is happy with their goaltending. “Do we want to have a solution with a more experienced guy if we hit a rut? The answer is maybe,” said Burke, adding the caveat, “Depending on the cost.”

DeFabo reports the cost involved in signing starting goalies this summer was much higher than Penguins starter Tristan Jarry’s $3.5 million. Burke and general manager Ron Hextall examined Jarry’s full body of work and decided to put their limited salary-cap space into addressing other roster needs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jarry’s struggles in the 2021 playoffs sparked considerable speculation the Penguins would seek a replacement via trade or free agency. Their limited cap space, however, kept them from bidding on this summer’s best free-agent options. There’s not much available in the trade market right now.

That explains why they’ve changed goalie coaches this week. They want to work with Jarry and improve his performance.


  1. The Wild could use a number 1 center.
    Not since M. Koivu at at young age have they had one. They enough young assets to do it. Rossi Fiala Atkinson and a first next year. I would hang onto Boldy.

  2. If the Wild are comfortable with Jack getting disk replacement surgery, than a trade is doable. A slimmed down potential offer to the Sabres would be Fiala (signed to at three years under $7M), Addison (RD needed in their system and Kourmanous knows him from Pitt), a B prospect like Khovanov and a conditional 1st rd pick based upon how many games Jack plays this year. You can throw Rask in for salary balance but that might remove the conditions of the pick.

    • That’s ridiculous … another Wild fanboy living in fantasyland …

      • dude what is your problem ?

      • Don’t feed him.
        That’s him.

      • To be fair, in my opinion, Ron Moore is nothing more than an Ed 2.0. He’ll say some ridiculous things, some of it very entertaining. Some of it will be quite infuriating.

    • No way Osey

    • So Buffalo should go from asking “equivalent of 4 1sts” to 1 1st, a conditional 1st, and 2 B prospects? And take back a contract? Sorry. too many teams beat that offer.

      • ..well, when your original asking price was ridiculous right from the start, then yeah.

    • If the Wild would be comfortable with Jack getting disc replacement surgery, the Sabres would be stupid to accept any conditional pick based on how many games Eichel plays. The surgery would insure that he doesn’t play many–or any–this season.

      • Francis. The disc replacement surgery has a 6 week recovery timetable. It’s expected that if he gets it now, he”ll be ready for start of season. That’s the whole issue between him and Buffalo

      • Slick62–ScienceDaily published a study of 53 NFL players who underwent surgery for a herniated disc, 45% of them defensive backs and linebackers. Recovery time was about nine months. On average, players continued playing for about 44 games and three years after the surgery. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161004111655.htm)

        Six weeks is about the projected time for the usual person’s return to strenuous activity. A hockey player, however, lives in unusual circumstances.

        I’d guess that his injury was caused by constant jolting that snapped his head in whatever direction throughout the season. I may know less about his particular case than you do, but based on typical cases, I’d be surprised if a doctor would want him going through more of that before six months recovery time.

      • Francis. I suggest you go research the disc replacement surgery that Eichel wants to have. Don’t just throw out random statistics on random athletes with various athletes. Disk replacement surgery. Return to skating 6 weeks. Full contact as soon as 8 weeks.

      • The only problem is, Slick62, is that this surgery has never been performed on a hockey player before – at least not one in the NHL – so how can they say with so absolute certainty that he could return to skating in 6 weeks and absorb full contact in 8 weeks? Does it come with that guarantee?

      • George, from what I remember about podcast I think they mentioned that there hasn’t been anyone that’s had same circumstances? Disk replacement has been around since 2000. And the doctor that Eichel consulted he’s worked with athletes in other sports. I believe he referenced nfl players and there’s a case of an MMA fighter who had it and has a video posted on YouTube explaining his experience. Once again, here’s link to story.

      • Slick is clearly a Neurosurgeon or a Orthopaedic spine surgeon, or maybe even both.
        May as well give up on the Eichel rumors. He’s obviously going to the Rags, because no one can match or beat they’re offer of unproven wingers, regardless of division or conference.
        Perhaps he’s a Clairvoyant as well.

      • Shoreorrpark. Clearly I took the time to listen to interview with the actual neurosurgeon that Eichel consulted. But feel free to take shots at me if it makes you feel bad. Sorry your team is getting old, has no assets, and has no shot at aquiring Jack.

      • Sorry…if it makes you feel *better*

  3. Re Pens and Goaltending and “ solution with a more experienced guy if we hit a rut?”

    Duby is still out there…..at this point he’s very likely going to be in the $1.5 M range

    His mentorship as a back-up to Jarry for only $250 K more than DeSmith…. Worth it IMHO

    Re Pettersson and moving him… under no circumstances can Pens retain 50% for 4 years

    I’m still hoping and praying for a Vlad/Zucker flip (as main pieces with other assets to balance)

    Zucker out; Pettersson out (say 25% retained)… that’s $8.5 M leaving

    In/Replaced by Vlad & PO-J… $8.4 M

    To Iowa Prince…. How about

    Vlad (50% retained)

    For Zucker (50% retained); Laffy

    Basically $0.2 M diff in Cap flip

    • Pengy what about Skinner & 3rd for Zucker & Petterson??

      • Hi IHC

        I would have to pass on that deal

        Definitely fits cap concerns…. Term on Skinner way too tough to take though

    • Zuc has a NMC and Tarasenko doesn’t have Minnesota on his Trade List.

      • Hi Brian

        at first I thought you were referring “Zuc” for Zucker (who does not have an NMC)

        I agree, I don’t see a trade that sends Vlad to the Wild

    • Duby?

      • Hi George

        It’s what they call Dubnyk

    • Desmith is as good a value or better than any ufa currently on market. If Jarry or he falter then it would be a deadline type deal so the salary is more manageable

      • Hi Chrisms

        I would personally prefer Duby (if he comes in at $1.5 M or less) over DeSmith

    • Since there seems to be a fair talk of retaining salary to facilitate a trade….we agree that when you propose retaining salary, you’re basically trading for a player that will contribute nothing to the team other than take up cap space in the sum of percentage proposing and for the full remaining term.
      So what is realistically positive for a team, find another trade where you trade bad contracts between one another or entice by cap retention?

      • Hi Ron

        I disagree with that assertion on retention

        My proposal of both Vlad’s and Zucker’s contracts being retained at 50% was to close the Cap differential from $2M to $1M

        They have the same term

        Vlad IMHO , even with his shoulder issue; is better than Zucker… hence adding Laffy

        Blues replace 1 winger with 2 for $200 K more in space

  4. Atkinson?

    • I’m guessing that was meant to be Addison

      • Pengy. Saw Addison after I posted. Still a weak proposal compared to others that have already been rumored to have been rejected.

  5. Having a top #1 centre needs to be reconsidered as being a “need” or a plus.

    In fact many #1 centres either haven’t made the playoffs or bowed out early.

    A centre’s true job is face off wins and puck distribution the rest is dependant on the coaches schemes, defense, net front, slot. etc.

    The Habs mythology of strength down the middle has led fans to vilify GMs for decades, fans who couldn’t name a true #1 centre they ever watched play in Montreal considering that Beliveau retired in 70-71.

    The great Bowman Habs didn’t have a true #1 centre, they had 2 Wingers, the big 3 D and an incredible goalie.

    • Well, in the cup stretch 1976 to 1979 how would you describe Jacques Lemaire? And Pete Mahovlich would have been a # 1 C on many other teams.

      • George O

        Neither of those guys were #1 centres, or were regular top 10 points, or top 20.

        Perreault, Dionne,Sittler were #1 centres then and neither won a cup.

        I’d describe Lemaire and Mahovlich as complementary pieces to Laleur, Shutt, Lapointe, Robinson, Savard and Dryden.

      • I’d have considered koivu in his prime a true number 1.

      • Chrisms,

        Koivu had heart and the attributes to be a loved player but even in his prime was never more than a 2C.

        Mats Sundin was a 1C

      • IMO Jacques Lemaire is a #1C all day, every day.
        Hall of Fame C actually.

        That is like saying Patrice Bergeron isn’t a #1C. He is IMO. In fact he was a top 10 C in the NHL for a decade. Is Bergeron a 1C?

        Same story for Toews in CHI. Also a #1C and not a leading point getter. He led that team to 3 cups. Is he not a 1C and it was all Kane, Keith and Seabrook?

        Coaches and GM’s don’t equate strictly points to #1C either.

      • Easy now, George, the man’s an expert. Wonder if he ever watched those guys play?

      • LOL. I saw those teams a LOT at the old Forum and both Lemaire and Mahovlich were, in every sense of the term, #1 Cs. Some of the other teams could only drool at the thought of having one of them. He has to have some very rigid opinions on what constitutes a # 1.

    • Red, white and blue koolaide bender?

      • I agree there Ray Bark. If you don’t think Jacque Lemaire wasn’t a good center, I don’t know what hockey games you were watching?

    • Bobby Smith was a number 1 center.

      • 2422,

        Bobby Smith wasn’t a Hab during the Cup years, he came along a few years later with a totally different lineup.

        He was a #1 centre but the Habs were a middling disappointing team while he was there.

      • Yeah, but you were going on about the Habs not having a true number 1 center since Beliveau.
        I’m pretty sure the lads and I have named at least 4.
        What did the Leafs win with 40g 40a 80pt Sundin?

  6. Perhaps

    to WPG: Eichel ($1m retained)
    to BUF: Heinola, & Dubois along with a conditional 1st if they make the western conference finals

  7. Penguins are done. They should trade Malkin and Letang at TDL for picks. Let Crosby decide if he wants to do rebuild or be traded.

    • or trade zucker , petterson, rust & 3 1sts for EIchel

      • So a 29 yo with one year left on his deal, another 29 year old with 2 years left on his deal and a 3rd pairing d-man?

        That isn’t even close to a deal Buffalo considers. I don’t think Eichel is worth the price tag Buffalo is looking for given his inability to stay healthy, or this neck issue. However that deal is just not getting it. Some Gm will definitely beat out this offer.

      • It was more for getting 3 1sts and can flip Zucker or Rust at the deadline for additional picks. Keeps them competitive and above salary cap floor.

        not ideal but 3 1sts is nice to start

    • The division winners who only lost a couple of bottom 6 forwards are done?

      • Hi Chrisms

        As you know…I’m a Pens fan

        “Pens done” sounds harsh… but not as far off as you might think

        They finished out in first round; again!!

        Out of roster…. McC Turbo Gaudreau Ceci

        In McGinn Heinen Simone

        No replacement of Ceci… so D overall worse

        G…. Status quo

        McGinn apparently was brought in to replace Turbo….McGinn is a fair player but is not as good as Turbo

        Neither Heinen or Simone play C as McC and Gaudreau can and did… and

        McC + Gaudreau waaaaaay waaaaaay better than Heinen + Simone

        Let’s not forget Gino out a minimum of 1/6th of the season

        With all above…. I can’t see Pens in top 4 in Metro and likely to end up 5th or 6th

        6th…. Means no playoffs; 5th…. And it’s a battle for bettering Atl’s 4th place

        “Pens done” is harsh and sad; but unless HexBurkie can make a significant move… the statement of “Pens done” is sadly much closer than we think

      • Just to add to that… average age of Pens top 3 Cs this year….35

  8. Looks like Coyle is going to start off as the teams # 2 Center the same guy they were talking about moving to wing because he wasn’t getting it done at center … hope it works out

    • We’re going to have to win our share of 2-1 games Joe. Throw in some 3-2’s for good measure.
      Not much choice now.
      If we win it will be boring hockey when the big line isn’t out there.

      Maybe we get lucky and Studnicka surprises and takes the job after xmas.

      Or trade for one a TDL for one last run

  9. trade zucker for ben bishop?


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