NHL Rumor Mill – September 27, 2021

by | Sep 27, 2021 | Rumors | 58 comments

Check out the latest on Tomas Hertl and Jake DeBrusk in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka recently reported Tomas Hertl hinted he might be willing to accept a hometown discount to stay with the San Jose Sharks. He pointed out how former teammate Joe Thornton took less money to play with good teams. “I like that idea,” he said. “You can go somewhere else, sign the maximum, even maybe too much, but you’re losing for the next eight years”.

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl also said he loves San Jose but one of his biggest priorities is being able to win on a consistent basis. Pashelka believes the Sharks’ performance this season could determine how things shake out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space will also be an issue. Even if Hertl agrees to a hometown discount a new contract will be expensive. He’s earning an annual average value of $5.625 million on his current deal. A hometown discount in his case is probably close to $7 million as he could get over $8 million annually on the open market.

With the Sharks carrying a projected $66.5 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23, a $7 million per season deal for Hertl will push them to $73.5 million. That leaves little room to improve the roster under a salary cap expected to be $82.5 million next season. General manager Doug Wilson will probably have to make a cost-cutting move if he hopes to keep Hertl in the fold.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Jake DeBrusk is on Nick Goss’ list of five Bruins to watch during the preseason. The 24-year-old winger was the subject of considerable trade speculation during the offseason. However, the Bruins didn’t move him and chose to protect him in the Seattle expansion draft.

Offensive consistency was an issue for DeBrusk. When he’s not scoring, Goss points out he doesn’t give the Bruins much in other areas of the game. He’s in the final season of his contract so this is a perfect opportunity to get his career back on track.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk is slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July. A 20-plus goal season would help him make the case for a raise on a long-term deal. Another inconsistent effort, however, could see his name surface again in trade speculation.


  1. Sick & tired reading about DeBrusk … he’s not nearly good enough to warrant all of this attention …

    • Ed, don’t read it. Rather simple.

    • Both you and Debrusk are not good enough to warrant any attention. Eddie why don’t you go out and walk your pet snake.

      • Hahahaha! Thanks for that!

  2. Coming soon, DeBrusk for Eichel straight up, Sabres retaining 75% 🙂

  3. Sick and tired of reading anything Ed VanImpe posts. He’s not nearly bright enough to warrant the time or energy to read his negative hogwash.

    • I disagree, if it wasn’t for Ed I’d never visit this website.

      • That’s like saying if it wasn’t for the stench or urine I’d never ride the subway.

    • Boy, long time since someone taxed your patience, SOP. Not that I think you’re wrong.

  4. Two seasons of over 40 points, one season of 35 points in a shortened season, one bad season last year. I don’t understand all the negativity towards Jake DeBrusk.
    IMO He’s worth the risk for one more season. He would be by far the first player to bounce back after one bad season. Not sure what the circumstances were last season, maybe he came into the Covid season out of shape?

    • KevJam,
      It could be the same thing as the way a lot of Jackets fans are beginning to see Alexandre Texier. The kid’s still very young, but is starting to be seen as a wasted draft pick because he hasn’t already become an All-Star level #1C despite the fact that, due to injuries and Covid shortened seasons, he’s played all of 85 games. But he made such a brilliant debut that expectations skyrocketed.

    • jake DeBrusk is as famous here as Jason Zucker and whomever the TML whipping boy will be this year.

      The same daily vents no matter what the topic is.

      • If I had to make a wild guess, I’d say one of the two goalies.

        But seriously – and NOT “taking aim” at them in any way – when you look at their roster projection in CapFriendly you do have to wonder how they are going to resolve their cap issues. Right now they’re shown as having a roster of 21 with just $80,000 in space.

        Going down their list of F – and unless there’s a major surprise trade in the offing – these 9 are there for sure: Matthews, Tavares, Marner, Nylander, Kerfoot, Mikheyevm Simmonds, Spezza, Ritchie.

        The remaining 4 shown are Kampf ($1.5 mil), Kase ($1,250,000), Engvall ($1,250,000) and Bunting) ($950,000). Even if one or two of them get bumped by the two PTOs – Ho-Sang and Gusev – it doesn’t free up a whole lot to be able to bring the roster to 23 (unbelievably, they’re STILL losing $1.2 mil off the cap to Kessel). So, do they go with 21?

        They also show just 6 D – Rielly, Muzzin, Brodie, Holl, Dermott and Sandin – and the two goalies – Mrazek and Campbell. There’s probably one at the minor league level who could become the 7th “swing” D – but there’s no cap space to do so!

        Pengy, Old Blue Dog, Ron Moore – again, seriously, how do you guys see this unfolding?

      • It will be Jason Debrusk for Eichel with 50% retention then flipped to Pittsburgh for Zucker with another 50% retained. Works for all teams and Pittsburgh gets Eichel for 2.5 a season for the next 5 years. Oh I forgot make sure to use all these players nicknames so I can pretend I know what I am talking about .

      • Have to disagree habfan30; Debrusk name only comes up if Lyle mention his name.

        Again we all have options to read or not to read.

        Zucker name comes up frequently even if his name or his team isn’t mention. But i still chose to read.

      • George, the never ending story with the Leafs.

        Ray Bark, yesterday you said that Dubas was unfairly criticized for not anticipating the cap freeze. I don’t think he is criticized for this.

        His problems are self inflicted. He was criticized for the money he gave Nylander, who at the time hadn’t earned that kind of money. It also put the Leafs in a cap crunch the moment the contract was signed.

        Sure, he couldn’t have predicted a cap freeze, but he is now in year two of knowing he has cap problem, and he continues to insist he can win with the allocation of player salary he has. Does anyone really think the Leafs are legit Cup contenders this year? Or will be next year if they continue with the Shanaplan?

        Successful people recognize mistakes and changing circumstances and make adjustments on the fly. Dubas doesn’t, so he isn’t. IMO he deserves the criticism he gets.

      • Took words right out of my mouth caper.

      • caper,

        DeBrusk name comes up any time a Boston fan has a trade to offer, doesn’t matter for who, doesn’t matter if his name is mentioned.

        The player is both useless to keep AND valuable in a trade.

        You, like all of us have options to read and to reply or not.

      • Hey LJ, he may not have been criticized by you for signing the big 4 to big, long term, contracts. But others have, some did at that time. Fair enough.
        Not adjusting after the cap freeze is fair IMO, but I would add they got unlucky as well. I think it was a good assumption that the cap would go up pre-pandemic. Every team does it all the time.
        If one were to criticize Dubas for not moving a Marner or Matthews, I would suggest they may want to see what returns have been offered first, or will be offered were they do take that route and judge it then.

        PC did it with Hall for Larsson. Not that popular in these parts.

        Dubas has decided that the Leafs are better off with the young core they have, then what they would have if they traded one of them.

        If it doesn’t work out and they get punted in the first round again, he will be the one that pays the price with his job.

        Kind of a big year for the Leafs IMO.

      • It’s ironic, LJ, but when you observe that Nylander wasn’t yet worth the kind of money/term he got, my thoughts swing at once to Brady Tkachuk. I LIKE what he has shown – so far – but what, exactly, has he done to suggest he has the right to demure on an 8-year $8 mil per offer – IF that, as speculated, is indeed true. No specifics are coming from either camp – just that they’re “talking.”

        To this observer, he hasn’t yet earned that sort of deal. But he isn’t getting the same kind of deal, either, that his brother got from Calgary – putting Treveling in a real bind next season.

        If the right deal is there for Dorion with a team that would be willing to give him a bridge deal with large bonus money included, then he should do it. And to hell with the hero-worshippers among the fan base.

      • I like Brady, even as a Habs fan George. But yeah I count him as well as a number of other recent signings as money not yet earned. Or at least in Brady’s part, money asked for and not yet earned.

        Dunno what the answer is. A GM has to face stark choices: risk overpaying, risk alienating the player, or hoping that over the term the contract becomes a bargain.

        And while I criticize Dubas, I am not fond of the contract Bergy gave to Price.

        I am comfortable in the chair I am in.

      • Hi George, if Matthew Tkachuk can bounce back to 34 goals and 77 pts while still being a major pain in the butt the 9 million won’t be too hard to swallow.

        The difference I see is Matthew is .8 pts per game and +28 and Brady is .63 pts per game and minus 41.

        From what I have seen in the media, Brady doesn’t want to sign long term until he sees the team committing to be a winner. Sounds like a bridge deal is likely.

        He is a good player but it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    • KevJam, that is what Sweeney hinted at regarding DeBrusk.
      Didn’t do well on his own in the off season or during. Not sure what he meant, but wasn’t at his best.

      • Well that is easy enough to fix. Get the kid to train with McDavid in the offseason. He’ll probably have a 60+ point season. 😉

    • Kev you have a point. Two seasons around 40pts and another at 35pts….very similar to a player reported to have an $8m x 8yr offer he’s sitting on….that player is tkchuck in Ottawa.
      Is there really that much between them? I do prefer to hear from someone who doesn’t think giving a player who’s consistently scored 60+pts every season $6.9m an outrageous overpay – it’s obvious.

      • You got it! For the life of me I can’t figure out what the Hell the hold-up is with Tkachuk. A nice multi-faceted player – but if he’s holding out for more he’ll still be skating somewhere in Michigan well into the season. Same if the issue is a large signing bonus. There’ll be a franchise in Hades before Melnyk ever authorizes going that route again after getting jobbed by Heatley.

        And, if the issue revolves around wanting a shorter term at that level – putting him in the same position as brother Matthew in a few short seasons (needing to be qualified next season at $NINE million – colour him gone.

    • Hi KevJam. Debrusk has been playing his off wing the last 2 seasons, where he is less effective. Yet his play has not warranted him a spot on his proper side. Last year, while on Spittin’ Chicklets, McAvoy said Jake has a terrible diet, worst on the team. Which may lead to his inconsistency. Most high level players are obsessive about their intake. Chara is the poster child for this obsession. Compared to his dad who had to work so hard to keep his job, Jake doesn’t seem to have reached that level of maturity yet. The Bruins have been patient.The front office and Coach Cassidy have spoken to him frequently about his commitment, apparently with little effect. We’ll have to wait and see what this season brings.

  5. Hertl is thinking an oxymoron if he intends to give the Sharks a hometown discount to avoid playing eight years for a losing team. The Sharks would surely be a leading candidate for placement in such a category. Maybe, he thinks of his home town as Praha in the Czech Republic, and his home team as Slavia.

    • Hertl to BOS to Coyle plus?

    • Taxes pretty high out there too.

      • Studnicka and DeBrusk for Hertl. Maybe some picks thrown around.
        I think you have to keep Coyle. Thin at Center

        Debrusk’s stick has a hollow carved slot out in the blade. Not sure anyone else in league has the same.

      • SilverSeven–Any idea of its purpose?

      • the stick is a Bauer Nexus ADV.

      • Habfan30–Bauer pushes that stick as though it were an engineering marvel. Some might say that DeBrusk pushes his as though it wete a Mic-Mac.

      • DeBrusk is a fairly immature young man who benefited from playing on DK46’s wing.
        I watched him in Juniors and he was fast, but not entirely effective. Kinda soft to be honest. Those traits followed him to the show, where everything good or bad is soon exposed.
        As for the stick, he quit using it last season because imo, they’re garbage.
        I mean really? Who would willingly play with a stick with an inch and one half slot along the top of the blade?
        Pretty awesome for receiving passes and ripping one timers I’d bet. Dumbest invention since the Fox puck tracker.
        With that said, fear is an incredible motivator. Let’s see how the season plays out for the young feller.

      • The idea behind the stick was to put some flex in the blade.

        Bauer advised taping the stick like you would regularly.

      • Why would one want flex in a blade?
        Aerodynamics, I can understand, but flex? Yeah, I don’t think so.
        Toes and heals chip way to easily and often as it is. This slot would just give another place for the stick to fail.

      • I’m reading you loud and clear, Habsfan.
        I myself believe it’s nothing more than a gimmick created to garner sales.

  6. George. I too see a major potential weakness in goal. To be exageratted by the lack of dominant D oriented D man. Dubas has never IMO had sufficient respect for the importance of goal keeping. That and the length of Matthew’s contract I think will be his undoing.

    I think one of the Big 4 will go shortly after Dubas goes. This one will drive other readers nuts and I will see another comment…..THERE GOES ANOTHER IMPATIENT LEAF FAN. That one makes me smile as the same commentators regal in reminding Leaf fans it has been since 1967, Talk about having patience.

    Taverres won’t be traded as he came here as an UFA. Nylander shouldn’t be as a reasonable cap hit. Marner may go for a dominant D man but his contract length is longer. Matthew’s contract is ridculuosly short and obviously ( to me) He is ready to go back south ASAP.

    So I trade Matthews if it begins to becomo obvious they are not going to have a play off run this year.

    One guys opinion on how it may turn out.

    • OBD, mid season form! Came to camp in shape! Well done!
      How about those Habs, Sabres, Coyotes, Senators?

  7. I also don’t get the DeBrusk hate. My kid is a massive Bruins fan and is ready to trade him for a drink machine.

  8. Sami Vatanen is going to Switzerland.

    Geneve-Servette Hockey Club of the National League announced it has signed him until the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Not one team took him in the NHL, even on a PTO?

    I wonder what it is about him that we all don’t know about.

    • Gotta be something there – considering some of those given PTOs – like Ho-Sang, who was drafted 7 years ago and has all of 53 NHL games in that span.

      • Ho-sang has thus far derailed his own career. It’s always been a maturity issue with him. He has tons of talent and huge potential, if he could only just get it in his head to be a team player.

        His recent comments acknowledge directly that he has been his own worst enemy and that he figured out that he was too immature. He now realizes he needed to grow up and claims that he has.

        I wish him good luck as I remember watching him when he was with the Spitfires and he was an excitingly talented player to watch.

        Could be a good fit in the top six if he takes advantage of this opportunity.

    • Might just be that he is an offensive smaller guy who doesn’t defend that well, and when he isn’t producing offensive doesn’t have much value.

      Plenty of you small “puck moving” D-men available these days. Every team has a few in their system.

      Or maybe just decided he wanted to play in Europe for a while.

      Who knows, but when you claimed off waivers because New Jersey demotes you, not a great sign.

      • I would be interested in knowing the salary he signed for. Playing a 50 game schedule with reasonable travel in Europe was likely appealing , not to mention if he has a good year there may be better NHL offers than PTO’s next year.

    • I believe the concern is that he is injury prone. Last three seasons’ games played: 50; 47; 39.

  9. Ray Bark,
    Lots of good players were put on waivers and many weren’t claimed- he was.

    His quality is what a PTO is for, to assess if he has value as a 5’10 185 lb puck moving D-man, heck the Habs took a flyer on Chris Wideman.

    I don’t know much about the guy, maybe some NJ or Dallas fans know.

    • We probably shouldn’t assume he wasn’t offered a PTO, or even a contract 2-way or 1 way.

      For a guy from Finland, playing in the Swiss league isn’t such a terrible thing. Closer to home and all. He has made over $25M in his career, maybe he just want to to go over their instead of bouncing around again if the payoff isn’t that great. Start the next phase of his life.

      • exactly Ray , he has nothing to prove. Go back closer to home and play out the final years without the grind.

  10. Vatanen is 30 y/o, you guys are portraying him as an old player riding off to his sunset years in the Swiss Hockey League.

    I’m curious if anybody actually knows something about this guy’s apparent fall from grace.

    • HF30, not trying to portray him as anything, just throwing out possible scenarios.

      If anyone is trying to portray him as anything it is you. You are making all kinds of assumptions, like there is no way a guy would rather play in Europe than be a fringe NHL’er.
      Fall from grace? How about he just isn’t that valuable anymore to an NHL team and is looking for a change than bounce from team to team and being waived by a non playoff team.

      You are assuming there is something up with this guy, like he isn’t a decent guy or something with a comment like that.
      I have never heard that about him and neither have you. So unless we do, there likely isn’t.

      • Most likely he just couldn’t find a team he could fit into and get consistent minutes with. Cap casualty. He will play in Europe, show that he can still contribute and hopefully get back on track in the NHL.

        Just my guess and not based on anything other than my conjecture.

      • Ray Bark,

        You haven’t got a clue as to why he went to SHL or why nobody signed him, you have no basis for any of the scenarios your throwing out.

        The other day I agreed with Pengy that some team will get a good deal with Jason Demers and Sami Vatanen…..and said I’d like the Habs to give him (Vatanen ) a PTO.

        I’d like to know why this player i had interest in left the NHL and went to the SHL for one year. Preferably from somebody who has followed the player and knows something about him.

      • That is why I use words like “maybe”, or a phrase “like we shouldn’t assume” HF30.
        Because when I don’t know, I try to say that.

  11. I thought for a sec that this allows vat to play professional get some time in Europe to enjoy himself, sow some wild flurgen gurgen oats, and then pick a team who is a contender to sign with. But I think he’d have to pass through waivers. Maybe he could refuse to play for whatever team claims him if he doesn’t like it?

    • That is plausible Chrisms. Injuries will hit.
      Does he have to pass through waivers if he is already a UFA?
      Sounds odd to me, but really have no idea.