NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2021

by | Sep 23, 2021 | Rumors | 21 comments

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, Morgan Rielly, Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Brady Tkachuk and Eric Staal in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports it’s difficult to pinpoint a timeline when the Buffalo Sabres could trade Jack Eichel. His new agent, Pat Brisson is on good terms with Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and there are ongoing discussions between the two.

Eichel and the Sabres remain at an impasse over which medical procedure he’ll undergo to repair the herniated disc in his neck. It’s possible Eichel gets traded to a club willing to allow him to undergo the disc replacement surgery he favors but there’s no guarantee and no sign a trade is close.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As they say in the Army: “SITREP: no change.” This will probably drag on for months and perhaps cost Eichel the entire season until a suitable trade partner is found. Even then, his $10 million annual cap hit over the next five seasons plus the Sabres’ expensive asking price could make any interested club leery of taking that gamble.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly (NHL Images)

Pierre LeBrun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs and Morgan Rielly’s camp quietly engaged in preliminary contract discussions over the summer. LeBrun doubts anything will be settled quickly. A lot of it has to do with what next summer’s market will be for unrestricted free-agent defensemen after Dougie Hamilton, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski and Darnell Nurse all got deals this summer worth $9 million-plus per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun speculates Rielly negotiations could drag on into next June. They could eventually reach a point where they decide to shelf those talks until the offseason. I think Rielly and his representatives saw those hefty offseason signings and believe they can get the same.

Some Leafs fans are still calling for Rielly to get traded if he doesn’t re-sign this season. I don’t see that happening unless the Leafs are out of playoff contention by the March trade deadline.

Dreger believes it’s all about the term and less about money in the Vancouver Canucks’ negotiations with restricted free agent defenseman Quinn Hughes. With training camp underway and Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin and Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov under contract, Hughes and teammate Elias Pettersson are hoping to find common ground soon with Canucks management.

Negotiations are also ongoing between the Ottawa Senators and Brady Tkachuk. Dreger feels the main hurdles here are structure and protection. He wonders if a shorter-term deal might become an option if talks drag closer to the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No real change here from reports earlier in the week. Nevertheless, they could be signed at any time. We began this week with six notable RFAs and are now down to those three.

LeBrun reports unrestricted free agent center Eric Staal is committed to playing another NHL season but has yet to find a new club. His preference is to find a good fit with an American club.


  1. Brady tkachuck for Mitch Marner.

    • Overpaid Crappy deal for what will likely be a crappy deal, wing for center? Nope

    • No-o-o-o … don’t think that’ll wash ,,, agree with AZHockeyNut

    • Tkachuck, is 22yrs old, he be signing a short term deal or an 8yr deal; either way Ottawa has more control, then the 4yrs Marner has lefton his contract.

      Then add Tkachuk contract will be less then Marner and Tkachuk style of play and Brady maybe named captain of the team.

    • Hi Jeff

      Setting aside my personal feelings….. No thanks (Leafs don’t need another negotiation headache)…. I can’t fathom Melnyk allowing that deal…. Higher $’s and loaded with SB

      Kings would have the pieces… I know Canadian King said yesterday that he dislikes (and wouldn’t do) a deal that included Tkachuck and Byfield as the main pieces…. But… I think Blake could be persuaded; and that deal makes sense IMHO ; long term for Sens (Byfield and Stutzle … hello )

      Blues would love him… but no space…. and it would have to be Vlad minimum coming over just to make the Cap close to working; then a load more in player;prospect;pick value… likely need a 3 team trade…. Vlad on Pens; Zucker on Sens; Tkachuck on Blues…. Plus plus plus to Sens… complicated deal and a longshot (one I’d love BTW)

      Ducks might also have pieces…. But Comtois a must in the deal… would Murray do it?

      Houston Coyotes (LOL) certainly have picks galore…. But Sens are past (rebuild wise) the need of picks (that would be required)

      Other teams willing to balance the negotiation headaches and what they’d give up to get the young; rugged winger???

      • I’d tell you where to shove Zucker … but since this is a family site all I’ll say is, it’s where your proctologist does his/her best work. 🙂

      • Zucker played hurt last year didn’t he?
        He wouldn’t be the first guy to struggle due to injury then bounce back.
        Having said that you don’t trade a good player until you see he is healthy and playing at abilities.
        Pens sure need him to.

      • I saw that CDN King didn’t like my proposal, I get what he is saying. Byfield upside too high to move.
        After pondering for a bit, he is likely right.

        Turcotte, Brown plus for Tkachuk?
        Brown $ would need to go, so the plus goes up as he is overpaid.
        LA has one of the best pipelines in the league according to some, must be value in there somewhere that works.

      • “Bounce back” to what Ray? The guy has played 509 games in the NHL and his average seasonal output over that span is 24g 20a 44 pts. His highwater mark came going on 5 years ago when he had 33g 31s 64 pts in 82 gp.

        I don’t see him bouncing back to those levels, he still has 2 years to run at $5.5 mil per and turns 32 before his contract ends – which does not add up to $11 mil in my book.

      • Ray, now your talking. Turcotte is another exciting Cman in the pipeline and Id hate to lose him, but that trade Id make for Velcro head.

    • Yeah right, Marner is not as good, is a winger and paid more

  2. Those D should not have received $9m . Maybe the exception in Seth Jones. Pietrangelo should have been the high water mark and those this summer should have been less .
    Reilly Definitely is in that class but no way the current Leafs structure can handle another $9m contract .

  3. Tkachuk has gone from contract is signed at 8x $8 million and waiting to announce it when training camp opens to make a “splash” and be given the C……to trade the bum.

    We as fans have no real knowledge other than the gleanings from pundits who rarely if ever have first hand knowledge to share.

    One can hope, conject and predict but invariably are just projecting.

    I think he’ll be signed and the fanbase reaction will be fine if he earns it with performance.
    Ottawa has tons of cap room, sitting $4 million below the cap floor till he gets signed.

    This will all be forgotten in January.

    • Well, he is NOT getting oodles of bonus money up front … that has long been team policy and they’re not going to break it for Tkachuk … or anyone else. They didn’t for Chabot and he was happy with the 8-year deal.

      Not all teams are bottomless pits of money and can throw it around as Toronto did with Tavares.

      • Stop your bellyaching Georgie. Your team won’t do didly.

      • Whatever you say Ricky

  4. What is the biggest question about the leafs every year. No grit toughness etc. We need someone in the top 6 who is a difference maker that has those attributes. Not bringing in 4th line players to feel that void. Probably save $2M on cap to go towards signing rielly

    • One has to wonder what this team would look like if they didn’t sign Tavares. Van Riemsdyk and Bozak would be the grit and toughness that the Leafs need. They probably still would have Hyman to replace one of those two in the top 6, which would make the bottom 6 look better. Polak and Hainsey would have been that toughness that the defense has been needing. Komarov would also be a nice depth scorer. Instead all of those players walked as UFAs. A team can only service for a certain amount of time losing players for nothing until they run out of players to replace them with. Gardiner would still look good in that defensive unit. Dubas wouldn’t of had to spend a 1st round pick to trade Marleau for cap releaf. There is another young player that Dubas lost because of the Tavares signing.
      There are some young d-men that the Leafs have brought up. If those young d-men had taken away a job from any of the above mentioned players, then Dubas would have received something in a trade instead of losing players for nothing.
      Without signing Tavares would mean that both Matthews and Marner would probably have signed more friendly contracts, instead of those gigantic ones.
      IMO the Tavares signing has had a huge negative effects to the Leafs roster.

      • Hit it right on the head. Great post. Plus you can add that the Islanders had some room to build their team.

      • This!

  5. Vancouver will go as long as Pettersson and Hughes carry them, that they arent signed yet is a joke