NHL Rumor Mill – September 28, 2021

by | Sep 28, 2021 | Rumors | 25 comments

An update on the Senators’ contract talks with Brady Tkachuk plus the latest on the Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators remain in contract talks with Brady Tkachuk’s representatives as training camp continues without the 22-year-old restricted free agent winger.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

General manager Pierre Dorion has been in daily contact with Tkachuk’s agents Craig Oster and Don Meehan. It’s believed the Senators tabled an eight-year, $64 million contract. While the two sides aren’t far apart regarding the dollars, the structure of the deal remains a sticking point.

The issue is Tkachuk’s agents seek bonus money for their client and the Senators don’t want to go that route. TSN’s Darren Dreger wonders if a short-term deal could be the middle ground. While the Senators have plenty of salary-cap space, Garrioch believes they don’t want to sink 60 percent of their cap payroll into four or five players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Missing training camp will affect Tkachuk’s performance when he finally returns to the lineup. That could become a potential setback for the Senators’ hopes of playoff contention this season. There’s no indication how much longer this impasse could drag on though one phone call from either camp could quickly bring this to a resolution.

I’ve seen some fans musing over the internet over whether the Senators could trade Tkachuk if this standoff carries over into the regular season. I doubt they’ll go to that extreme. He remains a valuable member of their core. Garrioch also noted the deadline for clubs to get their RFAs under contract is Dec. 1. I’ll be surprised they reach that point without a resolution.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning addressed the ongoing absence of defenseman Travis Hamonic from training camp. He expressed confidence last week that the 31-year-old would report after missing medicals and the start of training camp.

It’s believed Hamonic’s absence is related to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players for the upcoming season. The deadline to opt-out of this season is Oct. 1. Hamonic took that option in the 2020 playoff after his infant daughter was hospitalized with a serious respiratory infection.

Benning said Hamonic is dealing with a personal issue and wants everyone to give the blueliner the space he needs to deal with it. He added he’s in constant contact with Hamonic’s agent. Kuzma said the Canucks GM didn’t want to dwell on the cause of the blueliner’s absence, the opt-out deadline, or what maneuvering he might have to do to reallocate Hamonic’s $3 million salary this season to add a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are also dealing with the ongoing absences of restricted free agents Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. If Hamonic opts out of this season, perhaps some of that $3 million he was supposed to earn will go toward new contracts for Pettersson and Hughes.


  1. Hi Lyle

    I was listening on radio and a caller said that Army (Blues) had reached out to Dorion re acquiring Tkachuck ….. now this was just a caller…. Have you heard anything along those lines or was it just a caller “guessing”, “surmising”, “hoping”

    Note, this was yesterday…. So after the acquisition of Sanford

    • File that under “Wishful Thinking” – if it comes down to Dorion getting fed up with the “Tkachuk way” of negotiating, he will be dealt – but in NO way by way of a favour to the Blues. I would bet – in that extreme – to San Jose.

      • Hi George

        I’m skeptical that a deal can’t be reached anyway; but if it can’t…. Take the best trade offer out there…. And maybe that trade offer is from Blues???

        If I’m a Sens fan; and a trade “has” to be made…. then I’d love….

        Comtois & McTavish for Tkachuk or

        Byfield & Clarke for Tkachuk

        If it were St L…. Their Cap so a big piece (or 2) off the roster; plus buckets of prospects/picks

        For space ata minimum…That would mean Vlad (who has trade protection…
        So might need 3 team deal for him to waive)

        or Parayko (no trade protection )…. and you know my stance on him…. Can you imagine Sens with Chabot/Parayko top pairing (along with Sens good goalie prospects) for the next 7 years…. That should be a nice thought for Sens fans

        As I said…. a deal (with Sens) more likely; but a trade certainly NOT out of the question

  2. Most Blues fans seem to believe there is some grand scheme by Pappa Keith to have both of his boys playing at home in St.Looo.

    While not a completely quacky theory….it’s right up there with Austin Mathews going to Arizona. It could happen….

    • Hi Dark G

      Odds of a Tkachuck Bro reunion in Bluesville is a very very slim chance

      AM in the desert to start first game of 24/25 season….. waaaaaaay more likely to happpen than both Tkachuks as Blues

    • Well if the Blues think Matthew is worth $9 mil per they can probably get him next season when he will need to be qualified at that amount.

      No one player is bigger than the team and I’m growing tired of this hero-worshipping fan element who latch onto a player like he’s the Second Coming and vow never to go to another game if and when that player is moved. It was definitely that way here in Ottawa with Karlsson … but if you confront any of them now (and I know a few) and ask if they’d take him back at his current cap hit, what you’ll likely get is a drawn out “wellllll ……”

      Two Canadian-based teams have, arguably, the best pure goal-scorers in the game … and yet both consistently come up short when it really counts.

  3. On SportsNet 960 out of Calgary, they were talking to a Vancouver SportsNet radio guy (didn’t catch his name). He said that Hamonic’s issue is family related, not vaccine related. Probably the same issue why he asked for a trade out of NY and took him to Calgary.

  4. You don’t make a cake with all eggs or all flour . It takes the right mix. NHL teams no different.
    Season starts in two weeks . I really doubt Brady T and the Canuck twins will be missing any regular season games

  5. Ottawa needs to be careful. Look at the mess the leafs are in with half their cap committed to 4 guys, leaving 40.5M for the remaining 19 to split?

    You don’t build depth that way, and without depth, you don’t build a winner. Vancouver and Ottawa have some nice pieces, but you simply can’t overpay and still build a winner.

    • Or you follow the TB plan – LTIR till the playoffs.

    • Totally agree, Pete.

      • I’ll qualify that by saying those teams whose cap is top-loaded (i.e., upwards of 50% taken up by 4 or 5 players) will find – and indeed are now finding – that, once their really good depth players reach free agency, they simply cannot afford to retain them with the way the cap is structured in the NHL. And not just due to the current cap freeze. Even the previous modest annual increase was insufficient to please and keep some of the best depth types.

        Say what you want about Hyman, but the guy is a top-notch depth player. Ottawa has one like that in Nick Paul and is probably part of the team philosophy not to put all their eggs in 4 or 5 baskets … and then hope that the 18 or 19 “other” players are good enough to get you into one cup final before some of them, too, start looking for bigger paydays.

        The Leafs have another in Morgan Rielly. No, he’s not among the top echelon of all-round D-men – but he is damned good at what he does bring to the table. Looking ahead, there is no way they’ll be able to retain him short of moving one of the Top 4.

        To be a successful GM in the NHL you have to be really good at musical chairs.

  6. Ottawa can match any offer sheet for Brady and I dont see any teams with cap space being a place he wants to go

    Sens gonna be loaded and good sooner than later. With or without him

    • Well, the only places he can refuse to go to would be those trying the offer-sheet route. Otherwise, being an RFA, if they traded his rights or even signed him to that rumored short-term option and THEN dealt him, he’d have to go to the location that offered Ottawa the best deal – whether he liked it or not.

  7. I can’t be the only one here thinking that the players, backed of course by their agents, are creating the problems their teams are facing. Did Darnell Nurse NEED to get paid 9+ million per season? Does Kaprizov deserve the 9 he is getting? Will Zibanejad deserve the 9-10 he will seek?

    HELL no. Yet, here they are, demanding they be paid “fairly and according to market value” while at the same time hamstringing their own teams and preventing them from building deep.

    Then they seem to have a habit of saying that they only want to play for a winner… well then put your money where your mouth is, take a little less money so your team can acquire better assets.

    Like economic growth in general, people are just assuming that the natural thing to happen will be a consistently rising cap … get back to reality folks!!

    • Props to Miro Heiskanen, who could easily have asked for 9.5-10m per year for his talent, who accepted less than 9 per, and correct me if I’m wrong, in a state that abhors high taxes… I’d take Heiskanen at 11m over Doughty at 11m every day of the week, let alone Heiskanen at 8.45

  8. I don’t think he’s of superior character and valor, so unless size really is the quality of foremost importance, I can’t understand how the Sens could value Brady Tkachuk enough to pay him more than 3 million per year plus whatever bonuses he wants more than they seem to have been willing to pay J.G. Pageau, who now works for $5 millon per year with no bonus other than his $2 million signing bonus.

    As a LW, Tkachuk plays the most easily fillable position on a team. He puts up points. but is short of adequate defensively, being minus-41 in his 198-game NHL career.
    Pageau, on the other hand, plays a position of greater intrinsic worth, and is only 28 years old..He had 24 goals and 16 assists in 60 games his last season with the Sens.

    The Sens selected the now-suspended Ridly Greig with the first-round pick they received from the Islanders for Pageau. I hear he’s a frequent fouler. At any rate, he doesn’t sound like fair value for Pageau. Tkachuk might be if he would play for the same amount as Pageau.

    • I agree that Pageau is under appreciated and like him as a player.
      But don’t think it’s fair to compare a 28 yr old player to a 21 year old player. (Tkachuk outscored him last year)
      Example when Pageau was 21 he wasn’t even in the NHL full time (Tkachuk is in yr 3).
      He played 28 games, he had 2G and 0A.
      Teams make bets on young guys all the time as they forecast out the normal growth which usually comes if the kid has the work ethic, desire and talent.
      They make a bet and live with it. Or they don’t and live with that.
      Sometimes the player will bet on themselves, like Nurse, and that pays off when they approach UFA.

      Some are gonna look smart, some not so much.

      Having said that I think Brady will be a very good player. $9M good? Not for a couple years and seems like too much for a guy coming off ELC. But the Sens didn’t set the market, so taking a hard stance is getting tougher these days. Best hope the cap goes up.

      Do they burn the bridge with a bridge? Don’t know.

      • So well said Ray.. nothing to add. Just had to say nicely done.

      • Yes, Ray, my friend with the famous pate, I guess my innate apathy for players who produce points at the cost of giving up points causes me to forget that Brady is still a pup, but even with that in mind, I’d feel queasy when contemplating the prognosis of a guy who’s asking me for $8 million for eight years while I see his total points decreasing and the points scored by the opposition while he’s on the ice increasing.

        I could stomach paying a plus-10 center with 14 goals and 14 assists in 54 games in the Ilanders’ system $5 million much easier than I could paying $8 million to a minus-17 wing with 17 goals and 19 assists in 56 games and trending downward.

        What would your guy Bergeron be worth today if Brady is worth what he’s asking? (Not Tom Brady.)

      • Hi Francis, sorry to intercede, I mean no disrespect or to interrupt your conversation with Ray… however lol… to me, the difference is Pageau has a known ceiling, you know exactly what you will get from him for the rest of his career… with Tkachuk, the ceiling is still a few years off, and as Ray said, you bet on the player.. that he will reach that potential.. and as a team, you tell the player you are committed to him by signing that contract…

        As I have already stated today, I think the players have too much power and influence and make too much money given the cap situation, but alas that is the nature of the relationships between players and teams.

      • If Bergy was 21 or 22? Good question, but more than Brady, for sure if CBA was the same.
        Looks like he signed a 5 year deal
        He started young and was good early too.
        Can’t remember what the CBA was at then for guy coming out of ELC or when they even became UFA’s.

  9. All Elc’s with star potential talent should be bridged.
    I can’t believe the dollars paid out. If you asked me May 2020 I would not even been close. I didn’t think Pietrangelo would have got his deal that was similar to Heiskanen. When that happened then those would be the high water mark during flat cap Covid . ‘ Peterson you get $9m and Quinn you get $9m and Tkachuk you get $9m the other Tkachuk and you get $9m ‘ The league has turned into the Oprah show.

    • Fair enough S7, but if the player says no and holds out what do you do? Takes 2 to tango.
      The choice for a GM is then to play hardball and let him sit. So then the player agrees, because what choice does he have. Signs a 2 year or 1 year deal.
      Then he goes to arbitration and gets that anyway or close to it if he performs.
      Then he won’t sign a long term extension and opts to get to UFA as soon as possible.
      Now you pay even more, if again, he performs. Like Trouba did.
      Is that better? Sometimes yes sometimes no.

      That’s why I used the term bet.

      If you think the player is the real deal, then you make the bet and have him for as long as you can and the most prime performance years. Before he turns 30 for the vast majority. 8 years on Tkachuk takes him to 29.
      All depends how they value the player and what you think the cap will do. Historically it goes up pretty consistently.
      I am guessing OTT believes in Tkachuk, so you try and work it out.

  10. The “game” isn’t to sign the player, it isn’t to get a fair contract its about the ability to win the big prize.

    The only one player worth overpaying for to win the big prize is the goaltender and that doesn’t have a long term window.

    There are no players worth long term crippling contracts, none who can bring the big prize throughout the term.

    Every team has its own nucleus that is sold to their fanbase and brings in the revenue.

    I’d rather have Chariot, Edmundson and Savard as a trio than Makar or Nurse or Pietrangelo, or Hamilton for the same money.

    Same goes for the forwards, Matthews, Marner, McDavid, Draisaitl, Stone, Aho, all good players of course….and in this discussion, Tkachuk who isn’t close to being in their league.

    The Stanley Cup is won by well balanced teams that have a 3rd line and goalie on fire.
    The star forwards get checked into oblivion and their goals tend to drop.

    The star D get ground into the boards with designed forecheck that cuts down their abilities.

    You don’t need the “best” centre, defenceman or winger to win the big prize, you need the best overall package and a hot goalie.