NHL Rumor Mill – August 6, 2021

by | Aug 6, 2021 | Rumors | 40 comments

What’s the latest on the Jack Eichel trade market? Could the Lightning attempt to trade Steven Stamkos in a cost-cutting move? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski explored the trade market for Jack Eichel amid his impasse with the Buffalo Sabres over treatment for his neck injury as well as the difficulty of moving the 24-year-old center’s hefty contract.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Wyshynski observed more teams seeming to be out of the Eichel Derby than in at the moment. The Los Angeles Kings have moved on, as have the Minnesota Wild because of the Sabres’ high asking price.

The New York Rangers remain interested. However, Wyshynski doubts the Sabres will pick up half of Eichel’s $10 million cap hit to facilitate a trade as suggested by some in the New York media.

It’s believed the Vegas Golden Knights are still on the trail. Wyshynski suggested they could free up the necessary cap space by trading Reilly Smith ($5 million) and the sidelined Alex Tuch ($4.75 million). He also believes the Anaheim Ducks are still there but they won’t part with promising prospects like Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are reportedly in the mix. Wyshynski wondered if the Seattle Kraken would get involved given their cap space, though they lack sufficient prospect depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings kicked tires on Eichel around the April trade deadline but it doesn’t seem like they were seriously entertaining the idea. Their recent acquisitions of Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson indicate they’re no longer in the bidding.

Wild GM Bill Guerin has sought a first-line center since taking over the job a couple of years ago. His interest in Eichel appeared genuine but he’s reluctant to deplete his prospect pipeline. As Wyshynski also pointed out, the recent buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter would make it difficult to absorb Eichel’s cap hit from 2022-23 to 2024-25.

A recent report claimed Sabres owner Terry Pegula doesn’t want Eichel traded to an Eastern Conference club. That takes the Rangers out of the equation. Even if Pegula changes his mind, I doubt we’ll see him agreeing to Eichel getting traded to a team in the same state. Given Eichel’s cap hit, they’re probably not keen to have any amount of his annual cap hit on their books as dead cap space over the next five years.

Like the Wild, the Golden Knights lack a true No. 1 center. Unlike the Wild, however, I think they’re open to finding a way to acquire Eichel. The sticking point here is cap space but they also have an owner who’s hungry to win the Stanley Cup. If the Golden Knights can figure out a way to do it they’ll take the gamble.

The Ducks make the most sense in terms of location, cap space and depth in young assets to tempt the Sabres. The question remains whether GM Bob Murray sees Eichel as the foundation of his roster rebuild.

In late June The Athletic’s Aaron Portrzline reported the Jacket didn’t appear in hot pursuit of Eichel because of his injured neck. It would be quite the swerve if the Kraken got into the Eichel sweepstakes. GM Ron Francis surprised folks by inking Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz during the opening day of free agency but he doesn’t seem interested in swinging a blockbuster trade.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Smith was asked if Brayden Point’s recent contract extension increased the likelihood of the Tampa Bay Lightning trading Steven Stamkos at some point.

Smith pointed out Stamkos still has a full no-movement clause and refused to waive it when approached about it by management last fall. If he wants to finish his playing career in Tampa Bay then that’s how it’ll play out.

He doubted any club would be willing to take on the remainder of Stamkos’s contract. The 31-year-old Lightning captain carries an $8.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. He also doesn’t see Stamkos retiring before his contract expires.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of things can happen over the remainder of Stamkos’ contract that could determine whether he finishes his career with the Lightning. His nagging core injuries could prematurely end his career, allowing the Bolts to place him on permanent long-term injured reserve. Maybe his role becomes reduced and he decides to move on to a club where he’ll get more playing time.

It’s also possible none of those things happen and Stamkos plays out the remainder of his contract with the Lightning. In that case, they’ll have to find other way to free up cap space.


  1. Great weather, multiple cups, no (or low) taxes, consistent contender … very few reasons for Stamkos to want to move on from Tampa and my bet is he retires in Tampa.

    I also think that ultimately this Jack Eichel thing is going to go south and one side is going to do something stupid, you can just feel it. Ultimately, I think Eichel gets traded for what everyone deems an underwhelming return because the situation becomes forced… but later on turns out to be a win ala Erik Karlsson.

    The Jackets may actually want to take the gamble on him. For them it might be nice to have a star player in his prime years actually be under contract. A top 6 in Columbus featuring Laine, Eichel, Nyquist, Rosolvic, Voracek, & Bjorkstrand feels fairly good.

    Domi, One of the two 1st, Tarasov, & Chinakov/Marchenko

    • That top six looks really good there. Scary good when all firing together.

    • It’s a massively hard no on trading Tarasov. He’s already seen as the Jackets’ future starting goalie.

  2. A recent report claimed Sabres owner Terry Pegula doesn’t want Eichel traded to an Eastern Conference club.

    I can never understand that way of thinking. It’s short sided and just bad business.

    • So is publicly forcing an outdated surgery on your star player because the better one ‘hasn’t been performed on an NHL player.’ Don’t think the Pegula’s are high on seeing the long game. This one is also born from not wanting to run into Eichel more than a couple times a year to avoid fans complaining about how he torches them when he’s in town.

      Side note; heard that the surgery Eichel wants has been successfully performed on multiple high-level athletes including a UFC fighter. It’s been around for 20 years, so it’s not like it is an experimental procedure. The surgeon was on Friedman’s 30-thoughts podcast.

      • That surgeon stated that physical trauma has happened to people who have had the disc replaced and the artificial disc was never harmed. He stated the fall back plan to the disc replacement if it doesn’t work is a fusion. He stated the recovery time is less. He stated that there is a 25% f another fusion being needed after 10 years of the first.

        I do not get Buffalos stance. I would like to hear from the doctor who advices against it and whose opinion is to do a fusion.

        But if Eichel can be treated and playing again by season start I’d think that would garner them a better return than him being untreated.

    • Agree, but I also dont see them trading Eichel to NYR and retaining salary, could you imagine the feeling of him scoring and we are still paying for him?

  3. Ducks have tons of prospects other than Zegras and Drysdale. They will absolutely not move those two.
    Steele Terry Comtois in addition to veterans Rakell Manson Lindholm and Silfverberg could be in the mix. Getzlaf on his last legs and they will need a number one

    • If im Anaheim i am offering,

      Rakell (can be traded at deadline for picks)
      Manson(prob get 1st rounder at deadline)
      1st round pick (lottery win protected)

      I wouldnt offer anymore than that, Comtois is a non starter also because whos going to score the goals for these centers?

  4. First line centres are hard to find. If Vegas can get Eichel for Smith Krebs Hague and a 1st they should make the deal and just take on his whole cap hit and figure it out from there. They could then offer Stephenson to a team like Seattle that needs forwards for a low salary dman to replace Hague. Seattle is stacked on young affordable LHD.

  5. Eichel isn’t coming to Boston.

    Boston doesn’t have the assets or needed cap space.

    Charlie Coyle is Boston second line Center. Personally i believe that was always the plan.

    Coyle makes $5.250 per, you don’t pay third line C $5m

    Coyle $5.250 is ranked 45th (one more spot be 46) that puts him in the second round of C.

    No he is not as good as Krecji but i’m interested to see how it works and hopefully Coyle will better after having knee surgery.

    If fortunate enough that Sudnicka can take the second line C , Boston will have a deep 3 lines and if not, then we will wait and see.

    Next year Boston has $21m committed with 16 players. 3 players of Note Bergeron, McAvoy and Debrusk account for $15.45m

    Bergy will probably drop down to $5m, while McAvoy will go to $9m, Debrusk even at flat rate of $3.675 will bring the total to $17.675 leaving around $4m to sign 4 minimum wage employees.

    • Pretty optimistic to think Betgy would or should accept that rate. Unless you already think his skills this year start really bottoming out.

    • Chrism, I don’t believe Bergy is worth more, he is also 36yrs old. He’ll sign a 2yr 10m deal.

      If Boston is out of the playoffs, i hope he gets traded to a cup contender and the Bruins get some solid prospects or picks.

      Then resign him for the contract stated above.

      • Even at that age unless he really starts to go down hill I’d think he’d want a salary commiserate with a number 1 center. If that’s so even a hometown discount starts at 7. I’d be surprised if on the open market… based on last years play and assuming he doesn’t fall off a cliff… he’d probably be worth 8 mil.

    • Regarding Eichel to Boston it’s also worth noting that Eichel and Hall didn’t exactly set the world on fire as linemates last year. If I wanted Eichel as my 2C I wouldn’t have signed Hall.

      • They only played ten games together. Soooo

    • Eichel’s coming ….. wait for it he’ll be a bruin bank on it. They have to deal for him. There’s nothing left in cupboard don’t count on Studnicka, Haula or especially Coyle. They’ve got nothing.

  6. Most people have concerns about trading or players who have had surgery because there is usually a decline in performance though not always.

    Players with shoulder and knee surgery are frequently described as being fully recovered yet are not and its seen on the ice.

    Will Alex Tuch be the same? Will he be as physical? will he be able to?

    Ben Bishop sat out the year after knee surgery and he may sit out this year too.

    People are so flippant about Eichel as if its guaranteed that he fully recovers from surgery if he gets it.

    Reality is that its an unknown no matter what a particular doctor may or may not say, the surgery may or may not be successful and his recovery may or may not be successful.

    • You got it. I find it amazing that some in here can toss out trade scenarios involving players who have a huge medical ? hanging over their heads like Joe Btfsplk and his little black cloud. as if, once the trade is done, that player simply shrugs off the medical problem and returns to their dominant performances of the past.

    • According to eichels surgeon the fusion can affect his play as it adds pressure to surround disc and muscles. The fusion is most likely to bring him back to normal. Another reason I don’t get buffalos stance.

    • Buffalo’s ownership and management is a disgrace IMO. Are they convinced Eichel is a hypochondriac? Just makes zero sense to not allow him to get the surgery he needs to get as close to 100% as possible. While he may never get ‘pre-injury’ Jack Eichel he will be 1,000% better when compared to trying to play with the damaged shoulder/neck. Just wow!

  7. To NSH: Eichel (provided healthy and NSH ok’s med procedure)

    To BUF: Johansen (1.5 retained) & Forsberg

    Put Forsberg & Johansen to flank Cozens

  8. 100% agree You are never the same as the original . Shoulders and knees especially. I have seen it too many times at all ages to think otherwise. My son snapped his wrist in practice. Well after surgery couldn’t even flip a basketball let alone slap snap or wrist a puck. Another teammate crushed his heal. Can still skate because of the boot but dry land training was an issue

  9. Eichel will be a Ranger by end of today. If not today, by end of weekend

    • who goes the other way?

    • If this is true I do hope the price is low.

      Risk factor too high with the injury and potential change to the room.

      This Ranger fan not into adding Jack.

      • to add jack Strome & Kreider have to go bc Zib is more valueable than Kreider or Strome to the roster for he (Zib) brings to the table.

  10. So some help me understand, Nurse signs eight-year deal worth $74 million. His new contract carries a salary-cap hit of $9.25 million. Is he worth that? I don’t see him play enough to know, but that seems like an overpay.

    • redmonsters, if you asked that question before this off season, yes an overpay.
      After Jones and Werenski, not so much.

      He was better than both last year.

      Big, fast, physical and kills more PK than PP, and still scored 16 with 15 at even strength. (Same as Leon).
      Leader in the room.
      25 plus a night. True #1.

      Over $9M for 8 years or he hits the market next year. That wasn’t going to happen.

      After the Jones and Werenski deals, they had no choice. He is a good as either of them IMO but yes I am biased.

      • Hello Ray Bark, thanks for the perspective!

    • not worth it

      • Curious as to why you think that IHC?
        Obviously Oiler fans would want less $$, but he was going to market if it didn’t start with a 9, and IMO he gets it as a UFA.

        So Nurse at 9.25 for 8 years, or roll the dice and risk paying more or losing him next off season.

        That’s the choice, and if you let him walk and you window is now, what do you do?

        That’s the logic anyway, I get it.

        Nurse is a really really good player.

      • Hey Ray…sorry just saw your reply

        I am not saying he is not worth investing in but the market went beyond what he is actually worth. Rather than using mere $ to compare I’ll use $ and % of cap for their teams

        Kane, Keith, Toews, Kopitar, Quick, Brown, Doughty, Sid, Malkin, LeTang, etc…. all got paid for in seaon but most certainly got rewarded from playoff performance and winning CUPS.

        Some players maybe TB as a reference and others got paid in advance of such and clearly some paid off but historically most do not.

        If Nurse, away from McDavid, had more consistent numbers and drove the play from both ends better I may agree he is worth more than 6.5 (current market value) but I do not se him at 9.5.

        Makar (nominated for Norris) gets paid less.
        Nurse finish 7th in voting.

        Top 3 Dman sure but he isnt top 3 in the conference let alone league.

        only one season over 40pts. now to say maybe from sub 7 to maybe (stretching) 7.25 ..ok I can have that convo but to jump 4m$ increase and he hasn’t led his team to the Conference final or been top 3 in Norris voting.

        Watching EMD last playoffs I honestly barely noticed him on the ice. Never said wow what a great defensive save by him on multiple occasions.

        Not a bad player but Seth Jones, Werenski, and Nurse are NOT worth 9$m plus.

        Just my humble opinion.

        Also with cap issues and roster balance Holland had a chance to wait and see if he pulls off a great season or not before dipping into the cap like that.

      • Thanks IHC, nice to see someone make a detailed logical argument on here instead just statements.
        We just disagree.

        I view Makar differently. Best offensive D man in the league IMO, drives the play, and I can see a Norris in his future. As that is who gets the Norris, it’s always the points guys.

        Nurse does to a lesser degree offensively, but he is a high end shut down guy as well.
        Makar isn’t, at least not yet. Not his job either, nor should it be. And after this years playoffs big D who do that got paid, as they are finally getting the appreciation they deserve. Plus Nurse brings offense, and snarl. He will also fight anyone, and win, not that he needs to often.

        Biggest difference is Makar just came out of entry deal. So purchased 2 years of no leverage, plus a bunch of RFA years. Only threat for next 2 years was an offer sheet and we almost never see those. They could have bridged him.

        Nurse is all UFA years. He took bridge deals and bet on himself. Now he gets paid. Just the way the system works.

        The Oil had no choice as how do you replace him for the same or less in the UFA market? Trade for one? It costs you a fortune, plus the $$ if you can even get it done, as guys like him don’t get traded often.

        You could argue the Oil should have locked him up 3 years ago. Didn’t, but Nurse had a say in that too.

        Happy he’s here as they need him bad.

        Hope he proves me right!

  11. Re Eichel Rangers. It would have to involve Kakko K”Andre Miller 2021 first Othmann and next year’s first . They can take on the full salary next year but could get dicey after that

    I can’t find confirmation of Nurse”s new deal. I guess he is a comparable to S.Jones. How do you pay him more than Draisaitl ? Or Pietrangelo for that matter .

    • I don’t disagree much with that package although it seems steep. But for Buffalo to trade in-state its going to cost a pretty penny. I also do not see Buffalo retaining salary, that would be too painful to play the Rangers and pay for his goals….The cost for a West coast team would be cheaper….

    • I’m a huge Nurse fan he plays all parts of the game well and good skater with a lot of size and toughness …. Maybe a little overpriced but he’s only 26 ….I offered Carlo & DeBrusk for him and was turned down as I should’ve been

  12. LL scores again. Pelech signs for 8 years at 5.75 million per.

    Best defensive D-Man in hockey.

    And people still come here and trash LL. LOL LOL

    • @nevinsrip
      Amazing signing for the Isles…. from a Rangers fan.
      Pelech wants to win.

      • yup Trouba overpaid and Pelech perfect salary and term for both teams.

        Pelech gets his long term cash to set up his family while Islanders get cap balance to pay other members and keep the roster together to compete.


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