NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2021

by | Sep 18, 2021 | Rumors | 24 comments

The latest Jack Eichel speculation and a look at possible goalie trade candidates this season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Duhatschek was asked which club makes the most sense for the Buffalo Sabres to trade Jack Eichel to get the best return.

Assuming Eichel eventually gets healthy and returns to form, Duhatschek feels it’ll take a team willing to make a bold move in order for the Sabres to get full value for him. He rules out the Los Angeles Kings as too conservative and unwilling to part with prospect Quinton Byfield. Also ruled out are the Boston Bruins as there doesn’t appear to be a fit in salary or the player/draft choice combination heading the other way.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Duhatschek feels the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Jarmo Kekalainen and the Minnesota Wild’s Bill Guerin are two general managers with the courage to wade into an Eichel deal. Both clubs need a genuine No. 1 center. He also considers the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks as long shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never with the Kings but I agree with Duhatschek’s take. Anze Kopitar is still their first-line center and the signing of Phillip Danault suggests they’re buying time until Byfield and Alex Turcotte are ready to join the roster on a full-time basis.

The Bruins certainly could use hometown boy Eichel but there just isn’t a fit there unless GM Don Sweeney gets very creative by bringing in a third team to pull off the swap. He could instead set his sights on a more affordable short-term option such as San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.

I’ve also suggested the Blue Jackets as a destination. They have over $10 million in cap space, carry potentially two first-round picks in next year’s draft and have some promising players in their system (Cole Sillinger, Yegor Chinakhov, Liam Foudy) that could tempt the Sabres. Kekalainen has made bold moves in the past but I’m not sure he’s willing to pursue a big fish like Eichel.

The Wild’s cap space will shrink considerably once winger Kirill Kaprizov is under contract unless Guerin pulls a swerve and becomes willing to part with the young winger in a package for the Sabres’ center. While the Wild need a bonafide first-line center, I don’t think they’ll pursue Eichel.

Flames general manager Brad Treliving reportedly looked into an Eichel swap but it doesn’t appear things got too far. Unless Treliving intends on a dramatic roster shake-up this season I don’t see Calgary as a serious bidder. The Ducks have lots of cap space and promising youngsters such as Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale but GM Bob Murray probably won’t part with those guys.

Duhatschek was also asked which goaltenders could surface in the trade rumor mill by the Olympic break in February. He points out the Dallas Stars’ depth between the pipes could make them the first place to call, especially if Ben Bishop returns from knee surgery. He doesn’t see Jake Oettinger getting moved as he’s their future starter but Braden Holtby could be an affordable option.

Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo could also get moved. He and Elvis Merzlikins are unrestricted free agents next summer but Merzlikins is the better goalie. Others could include Detroit’s Thomas Greiss, Edmonton’s Mikko Koskinen and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Stars’ goalie situation shakes out. The uncertainty over Bishop’s career is why they brought in Holtby. They could go with him and Anton Khudobin as their tandem to start the season and send Oettinger down to the minors as he’s waiver-exempt. They could also put Khudobin on the trade block.

It’s expected the Blue Jackets will retain Merzlikins and move Korpisalo by the March trade deadline. It was assumed Korpisalo would get shopped this summer but that plan was shelved by the tragic death of Matiss Kivlenieks in July.

Greiss and Koskinen are UFAs this summer and could become rental players at the deadline. Quick, however, has another season on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million. Given his age (35) and injury history, there might not be many takers for him.


  1. I don’t know why people say Boston doesn’t have the cap space. If Debrusk, Carlo, Wagner and Moore went that’s more than Eichel makes. Buffalo could retain some.
    Obviously that’s just to make the cap work. Buffalo would want prospects and picks.
    Lysell, Studnicka first rounder to start. Probably have to give up Swayman.
    No Saying I would do it, just that it could be done.

    • That wont get it done,

      It starts with Charlie Mac, prob 2 1sts and another high end prospect.

      4 assets, not 4 retreads although carlo is solid.

      • It would never happen Mac is Already one of top d men in nhl. Would not even trade 1 for 1 for. Jack. Let alone adding 1sts. Jack would be great with the spoked b. But it won’t happen

      • Sweeney hangs up the phone if Adams even mentions McAvoy’s name. That trade wouldn’t happen one for one from Boston’s side. With Eichel’s health questions, even though he is a great player, Buffalo will have to come down some on asking price, or take back some salary.

        I think Boston has three untouchables. McAvoy, Pasta and Lysell.

        And with that, I don’t think they have the assets to make a offer that competes with others unless it is heavy on draft picks..

  2. Eichel still has a bad neck, doesn’t he? the thing that scares me is the mention of the Blue Jacket might be in the hunt for him. I think we have had enough of that. Nathan Horton and David Clarkson come to mind. Eichel is not on my list unless his neck is ok.

  3. Bluejackets fan here. Don’t want Eichel. To pricey and to risky. Jarmo should be institutionalized if he even considers moving Chinakhov or Sillinger.

    • Agree with both of you, Columbus is starting a rebuild why go after HJ and waste the assets when you need them for the rebuild.

      Maybe in 3 years they should consider this type of trade. If one of there prospects doesnt turn out to be the first line center they have been looking for since crybaby left.

      • Crybaby? Im assuming you’re talking about Dubois. Im curious, whats your clever nickname for Roslovic and Laine?

      • RYJO is who i am talking about Dubois is spoiled lil boy.

      • Interesting. Seriously though, whats your nickname for Laine and Roslovic?

    • The Jackets have one of the best proven goal scorers in the league in 23-year-old Patrik Laine, but he scored only 10 goals in 45 games for them last season. He makes $7.5 million and his contract will expire after this season.

      Patrik’s value to the Jackets this season, as a player or as a tradeable asset, will not be what it should be if he doesn’t play with a top-notch center.

      I think that Eichel, if healthy, might might be the key to the Jackets getting their money’s worth out of Laine. If you feel that is the case, what would you consider to be an appropriate bet if the Jackets were to gamble on Eichel being healthy?

    • Would the Jackets and Sabres agree on a deal of Eichel for Laine even up?

      • Not sure why Columbus would do that – the cap hits may be close but at least they know Laine doesn’t have a lingering health problem.

        I said weeks ago that Eichel, if he wants to show he can still be effective without surgery, is going to have to start in Buffalo and, if he shows he can play with the issue (for now) his trade value will go up and possibly attract several bidders.

        Otherwise, who’s giving up assets for – as things stand at the moment – for “what once was?”

      • George–I was thinking that Laine, with an expiring contract, might be “what once was” and with no return , after this season, and that “as is” he would not bring back nearly what he cost after his contract status, cap hit, his production of last season, and his projected production without a quality center this season . are talen into account.

        Would the Jacket’s potential loss of value , or worse yet, the total loss of the player after this season, balance the scale that weights the risks?

      • Boy, that’s a gamble I’m so glad that doesn’t even have Ottawa on the distant radar.

  4. Most teams would be “gutted” landing Eichel.
    It would be a transformational deal and cant see that happening right now. Because right now every club has big aspirations and right now every team is equal in the standings

    Anxious to see this year’s rookie crop there are at least a dozen than could make some noice

    • — “Most teams would be “gutted” landing Eichel.”

      Only if they know he’ll be fully recovered, which is the main problem right now, not the cap, not the 4 assets, but the uncertainty over is performance going forward

  5. The only speculation is when will Eichel go to the b’s

    • When McAvoy and Pasta suit up for the blue and gold!

  6. i’m no doctor, but what is the timeline for eichel this season???we’re less than a month away from opening nite. he’s yet to be traded. and moreover, once the trade is done, how much time is he expected to miss. i guess every player assumes risk, but the neck area is a bit different. hope it works out for him. saw him once in florida and he was the #1 star

  7. Kevin Weeks is reporting that Zdeno Chara is signing a 1 year deal with the Islanders.
    Full circle for the big man.
    I hate it, but I’m happy for him.

    • At least Mad Mike Milbury isn’t a factor 🙂

    • Chara’s been washed up for years

  8. Yamamoto, 1.175 . What a steal for Ken . Yamo betting on himself and doing a favour in the process .