NHL Rumor Mill – September 29, 2021

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Rumors | 65 comments

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, Vladimir Tarasenko and Travis Hamonic in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes it could take some time, perhaps until the March trade deadline, for the Buffalo Sabres to move Jack Eichel and the St. Louis Blues to deal away Vladimir Tarasenko.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

One reason is roughly half the teams in the league have less than $1 million in cap space. Most of those clubs are projected to be playoff contenders and thus would have the most interest in acquiring Tarasenko, who’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $7.5 million. He thinks the likelihood of the Blues winger waiving his no-trade clause for a rebuilding team is slim.

Given Eichel’s hefty contract ($10 million AAV for five seasons), the market is likely to include non-contenders with the cap space and depth in prospects and draft picks to meet the Sabres’ expensive asking price.

With term remaining on Eichel’s and Tarasenko’s respective contracts, the Sabres and Blues aren’t facing pressure to move them before this season’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best opportunity to move either player was prior to the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. After that round was completed on July 23, the chances of trading one or both declined as teams no longer had the first-round pick the Sabres wanted as part of the return.

Any realistic chance of moving them during the offseason all but vanished after the free-agent market opened on July 28. Many of the interested clubs no longer had sufficient cap space to take on those expensive cap hits.

Health was also a factor. Eichel’s situation was well-documented. Tarasenko, meanwhile, was coming off his third shoulder surgery in two years. It’s believed some teams with interest in Tarasenko want to see how he performs this season. The same holds true for Eichel depending on which procedure he eventually gets and the length of recovery.

SPORTSNET: During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman speculates it could take the NHL stepping in to resolve the impasse between the Sabres and Eichel over which medical procedure he’ll undergo to repair a herniated disc in his neck.

Friedman understands the NHL wants to protect the rules of the CBA, which gives teams control over the medical and health procedures of their players. Nevertheless, he feels this isn’t a good look for the league to have one of its star players being held back from playing because they can’t agree on a surgery.

He also suggested every team should see Eichel’s medical records if he agrees to it. It’s difficult to trade a player carrying a $10 million per season contract but it’s almost impossible to do so given the lack of information over his current condition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Back in August, Friedman reported the league met with the Sabres, Eichel and his representatives, and the NHLPA in an attempt to help all sides reach an agreement but nothing was resolved. That could be the extent of the league’s involvement in this situation.

It’ll be interesting to see if the NHLPA pushes for players to have more control regarding the treatment of hockey-related injuries in the next round of collective bargaining.




  1. Travis “Flip Flop” Hamonic … pathetic

    • At least you don’t flip flop. You keep your trolling steady and on point.

      While I remain steady in my support of the vaccination I won’t bash the guy for putting family first when deciding what is the best thing for him and his family.

      • Im fine with his decision but he shouldnt expect to play.

    • I’m glad Spector didn’t totally embarrass himself again like he did with the Sportsnet article shaming people for not being vaccinated. He lost many supporters that day.

      • Are you referring to me or Mark Spector?

      • Imagine a world with more than one person named Spector.

      • Hamonic does have the right to choose to not get vaccinated. But does he have the right – moral or legal – to then subject new team mates he seeks to a higher degree of being infected due to not being vaccinated?

        Few now argue that people have the right to expose others to health risk via second hand smoke in public places. Yet the anti-vaccers insist on the right to both not be vaccinated and the “right” to do just that. Their rights trump others rights.


      • Hypocricy at its extreme LJ.

      • Not me Mike, I was with Spector 100% on that one.
        In fact I respect him for having the nuts to say it.
        Just like he did when the Oilers were in the decade of brutal. He called it like he saw it, went back in to face the guys he criticized the next day. He even got pulled from a telecast where he was a commentator at the teams request. Never backed down and is back doing it.

        I disagree with his takes some of the time, but respect what he does.

      • Ray Bark, you and I have a big difference of opinions on Mark Spector. I have never like his reporting style from day one. The SportsNet NHL broadcasts are still low quality, but they did improve when removing Mark Spector from them. If you want to read truly unbiased articles on the Oilers, Jason Gregor is they guy to search for, for good unbiased Oilers articles. IMO Mark Spector just looks at what the NHL panel guys are talking about and runs with those ideas without actually watching the games, or he has these big fluff articles that are about nothing. Gregor actually has his own thoughts on the Oilers and supports them with his high hockey knowledge. He doesn’t care if it’s what the Oilers fans want to hear or not, he just lays it out for what it is. He has had a bunch of articles criticizing the Oilers organisation during the last bunch of years without holding anything back. It’s all about delivery.

      • I like both of them KevJam. Both opiniated and both knowledgeable with regards to the Oil.
        Listen to 1260 regularly and adding Strudwick to Gregor’s show made it even better. Brass Bonanza on Friday PM’s is a nice touch.

        Spector and Gregor are friends as well, and while they disagree I think respect each other as Gregor has spoke about on air.

    • Spot on Ed. First he wants to be traded to be close to home, now, he wants to come back to the US?

      • For family reasons first and again later for…wait for it…family reasons. Of course had you read the article instead of jumping on the bandwagon you would have seen where he said what his reasons were unless of course you are not a family person and don’t value those who are.

    • Ooh man (Ed), just shut up. What do you know of the guy’s reasons ?

    • Travis Hamonic is one of the finest human being on the planet. Try taking you head out of your rear and watch the documentary “Honor Thy Father” on ESPN.
      Travis lost his father at a young age. As a result, he sets aside time, in every city he plays in, to meet with children who have lost a parent. He spend “alone” time with them and the surviving parent.
      He also give the child his phone number with instructions to call him anytime they need to talk.

      I’m an Isles STH and have seen this for myself at STH functions held to raise money for his Foundation.

      Travis also has a very sick family member which is why he doesn’t want the vaccine. I believe that his doctors have advised against it.
      He requested a trade from the Island to be near his family member during a difficult time.

      Try doing some background next time.
      I dare you to watch the docu and come back with that same opinion.

      • Having a sick family member is one of the strongest reasons to be vaccinated – to decrease the risk of exposing them to the virus.

  2. How much money will Buffalo pay Eichel to not play? Wouldn’t it help their cause to just retain salary and get a better package? 20% over 5 years is 10m. = to 1 years salary. If you retain 15%, you’re saving. After watching 2 preseason games, the NYR have a bunch of talented kids that won’t be on opening night roster. Not sure how a lot of them ever do. Maybe they’d play in Buffalo?

    • Hi Slick

      No direct pay Sabres to Eichel while he is out

      Sabres pay Zero for Eichel to sit on the sidelines

      LTIR …. Insurance company pays him

      Sabres pay their portion of the insurance premium; whatever that may be

      That’s direct costs

      Indirectly, HRR id lower when your star player is out for the season

      I still say best move is to lower the ask; trade him; shift the risk to another team; move on

      And I agree…. Lowering ask would include retention

      To me…. A deal needs to have s minimum of 20% retained

      If he’s traded; has surgery ; surgery is a success; and somehow he gets in 1/2 season in 21/22…. Sabres on hook for $1M this year (20% of 1/2 year sal, ind pays the rest) ; $8M in out years

      If he’s traded; has surgery; and surgery fails, thus ending hid career (unlikely but possible)….then Sabres retention is zero…. They’d owe a max of 20% of insurance premiums (not even sure if the retention rules have “selling” teams retaining same % of insurance premiums?

      So retain 20%…. Max hit is $9M (spread over 5 years)…..and Sabres get players and/or prospects and/or picks….. something better than nothing

      I have also posted that some of the return (pucks) must have conditions… e.g. better return if Eichel plays 40 games this year vs. say 10

  3. Looks like a major oversight by the NHLPA to give the team control over medical and health issues. I can’t think of another industry other than sports where the owner/team controls what surgical treatment is best for you. Who among us would agree to do a medical procedure that we felt was insufficient, incorrect or unnecessary?

    • In the US the president recently made it so that all companies with over 100 employees require vaccinations or can terminate employment…. So technically there are a lot of companies and industries now dictating employees medical care…. Not turning this into a vaccine debate (pro or con) just pointing out the irony

    • Well, a herniated disc isn’t ​contagious and a threat to fellow workers so not really proper use of ironic, Ironic.

      What is ironic, Ironic, is you incorrectly using the term ironic while calling yourself Ironic.

      • Ray: 5 stars!!!

      • Ray your on fire.

      • Fun fact:

        The song “isn’t it ironic “ has not one actual reference to anything ironic. More like bad luck or mere coincidences.

        You’re welcome.

      • Thanks captain obvious

  4. I’m still wondering if there is an insurance angle in this Eichel thing that we aren’t being let in on.

    What I mean is, that procedure A –that the Sabres want that is proven successful and if not IS covered by some insurance company…so the contract is covered.

    Procedure B–that the player wants, is not proven to be successful in the eyes of the insurance industry and thus if it fails the contract is not insured.

    Maybe Lyle knows.

    • I haven’t heard of any insurance angle with this, Dark G. Probably because of the disagreement over which procedure Eichel will undergo. If anything further on that comes to light I will of course post it to the site. Cheers!

  5. Elliotte Friedman strikes again with…..speculation.

    He suggests that a league that lists injuries as upper/lower body is all of a sudden going to suggest Eichel’s medical records be given to every team that HE, not the team agrees to….because he’s hard to trade.

    The facts remain the same despite the attempted hype by the Friedmans of the media who keep “thinking” and “speculating” without basis, to make us (the fans) feel like we know something.

    The facts.

    Eichel has an injury.

    The rules of the CBA gives teams control over the medical and health procedures of their players.

    Full stop.

    Eichel and his agent engineered this whole debacle which totally devalued his worth by trying to gain leverage when they have none at all.

    • I disagree with almost everything you just said.

      Teams often share medical files to aid in the due diligence that precedes a trade. This occurs with the players’ approval. Publishing injury reports is a completely separate item. (Are you new to hockey?)

      Your anti-media stance is duly noted.

      Lastly, Eichel and his agent hardly engineered the absolute tire fire that is the Buffalo Sabres under their current owners, Terry & Kim Pegula. From having almost no front office staff to help an inexperienced GM run a professional team, to completely poisoning the well with this player and the team’s loyal fans, Eichel has no doubt seen enough. Health matters are pretty personal, to say the least, and denying him the care he and his doctors want is…truly something else.

      As you said, “full stop”.

    • Well I will disagree with the media statement as well Pete, by the way I agree with what you said about the Sabres and Eichel.

      The generic and I dare say ignorant use of the – paint everyone with the same brush – term “media” annoys me to no end. You can choose any media you want, I suggest choosing better.

      That is like saying all NHL players are the same because they all play hockey.

      Wow an NHL insider is speculating and it is used on a hockey rumor page! Who woulda thunk it?
      It is called “32 thoughts”, not “32 facts”.

      • There is that Ray. And then there is the audacity, absurdity even, of a player and his agent trying to gain leverage in the situation.

        I mean, come on! Who does Brisson think he is? Eichel’s representative? What is the world of player agency coming to?

      • Can’t speak for Eichel and his agent LJ, and not sure what to make of Eichel. On the surface seems like a me first kind of guy, but then you listen to Hall in his presser last year when asked about it, said the opposite.
        Then you look a guys like O’Reilly when they were in BUF and the difference in the guy in STL where he was playoff MVP and now the captain.
        Makes me think it is the organization.

        I would never get one surgery if I thought another one was better if I was a young pro athlete. I have a buddy I played multiple sports with as an adult and he had discs fused in his neck/top of back. He is pain free, but his range of motion has never been the same. Just one case, but also makes sense that it would impact it.

        I think the issue is which surgery does he get, and who gets to make the call. Now they are mad at each other because they disagree. But it is a big deal if it is your body and your career. Also a big deal if your best player isn’t playing. So I get it from that perspective too.

        Pretty significant impasse, not sure how this gets worked out anytime soon. Both sides have plenty to lose.

      • Ray: The issue is exactly Eichel wanting the surgery he chooses. I am dubious about the supposed selfishness that some apply to him. Prior to the injury he was the team captain and lauded as the face of the franchise. If he was as selfish as some say, what is the likelihood of being made captain?

        There was a long article in the Buffalo News about the situation. Apparently the surgery the Sabres want Eichel to have will require 6 months’ recovery. That would take us to the end of March if he had the surgery today – meaning that Eichel’s season won’t exist this year and any return would mean trying to get into shape for the playoffs.

        No wonder neither party has a sense of urgency – although not trading Eichel now does mean a loss of assets right now. And if the Sabres truly want 4 firsts, then there is no urgency this year at all for them.

        What a mess.

      • Will search out that article LJ.
        It a mess, and would only add an adjective: complicated.
        Also interesting, from a legal perspective. Not sure it is a cut a dried as some suggest.
        Not a lawyer, and only contracts I get involved in are B2B supply agreements, and employment and always consult legal.
        I know one thing: when it is an employment contract with regards to severance etc, just because it is signed, doesn’t mean it is enforceable if it contradicts provincial law.

        But these guys aren’t employees and it is a different country. I have no idea, but interesting.

      • Ray, if you are there still, you are correct that a collective agreement can be overwritten by law, and the laws can vary at the state/provincial/federal levels.

        That said, the NHL and the NHLPA are sophisticated and well heeled organizations that have top drawer legal advice available to them. It would be extraordinary if either they have a collective agreement that could be superseded by law, or that there is a provision in their agreement which takes termination out of the arbitration process and allows the courts to decide. That would create a patchwork of different and sometimes conflicting decisions and would create huge uncertainty between teams, players, the league, and the NHLPA.

      • LJ,

        I comment-
        What’s it going to take for you to realize I don’t need or seek your approval?

        To which you respond-

        “I don’t seek your approval, Habfan30, nor have I ever asked for it. Go back and see if you can find a quote from me where I have.”

        lol, Nyah nyah nyah nyah poo-poo??

        Keep on spitballing on how to break the impass (sic)

      • You sure would think so LJ, but there are also things that laws and contracts written by humans didn’t predict and there isn’t a law for every scenario. Some A-hole will give it a go. That has become apparent over the last few years.
        Did they foresee a player wanting a new, somewhat unproven serious procedure that could not only impact his career but his quality of life?
        Maybe? Maybe not?
        Would like to see the language.

        I would have bet $ that this was an insurance issue, so wrong about that one by the looks of it.

    • By the way, Habsfan30, you insist on just the facts, you never did say whether your twice stated comment that the Sabres could sue Eichel in civil court for contract termination was based on a legal fact you know, or just speculation.

      It might seem persistent of me to ask one more time, but your replies were both ungracious and unclear.

      Just the facts, man. Joe Friday like.

      • The only thing persistent about you LJ is the refusal to accept a response you don’t like.
        I’m not going to repeat myself.

        I will however suggest you look at the CBA with regard to health issues, responsiblities, disputes, reconciling those disputes.

        There are guidelines in place for disagreements including lists of accepted third party medical authorities and how to proceed if the Dr. isn’t on that list.

        The guidelines include the team doctors ultimately deciding if the third party report is to be followed or not.

        Go look it up.

        Ultimately YOU are the one suggesting Eichel disregard the collective agreement and beat his own drum claiming the Sabres would then be handcuffed.

        Like I said the other day, go send your brilliant idea to Pat Brisson 🙂

      • Your position today has changed, I see. Previously it was that Eichel could be sued in civil court if he chose to go get the procedure he wants over the objections of the Sabres. And after a third request for you to explain your position, you refuse. I conclude you can’t explain it, won’t retract it, and now are trying to obfuscate.

        You now are at least referring to the collective agreement. Which is the direction I pointed YOU in yesterday. Let’s call that all the progress we can gain on this point.

      • LJ,

        I haven’t changed my position, just not going to repeat it…..again.

        I have added a further reason to explain the shortcoming of your position.

        E-mail Pat Brisson at CAA with your idea.

      • Here, Habfan30 is you regarding Eichel:

        September 25:

        “Eichel’s contract isn’t voided, in fact he’s in breach of contract and the Sabres can sue demanding payment of compensatory and punitive damages.”

        September 26:

        “Breach of contract is a civil matter and any party can file a lawsuit by the laws of the State or Province involved.”

        September 29:

        “I will however suggest you look at the CBA with regard to health issues, responsiblities, disputes, reconciling those disputes.”

        Did you forget what you wrote on the previous days? I suspect not.

        Here is a recent comment you made to Ray Bark, one of the most civil commentators here:

        “You haven’t got a clue …”

        Ray, being a gentleman, replied to you:

        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.”

        How about taking a page from Ray’s book, Habfan30?

      • LJ,

        What’s it going to take for you to realize I don’t need or seek your approval?

        If you have an Eichel solution, state it, defend it, explain why the Eichel team is or isn’t following it.

      • I don’t seek your approval, Habfan30, nor have I ever asked for it. Go back and see if you can find a quote from me where I have.

        I just wanted you to clarify your stated position about the law in Buffalo, or at least to own up that you, to use one of your phrases, don’t have a clue.

        Your quotes are there for all to see.

        First it was civil law, then several days later, it is the collective agreement, that governs. But you never changed your position, you say. They are profoundly different things. I initially thought you knew something the rest of us didn’t but it is painfully clear you don’t, and equally clear you are trying the amazing feat of denying your own posts.

        My initial comment was just a response to Lyle calling for options to break the Eichel/Sabres impass. That being, one way would be for Eichel to take the surgery he wants and risk voiding his contract – financial risks acknowledged. So to be clear for you: this was just spitballing for me.

        Last word to you, if you want to keep digging.

      • When habfan30 is right he is right. And even when he is wrong he is right…facts, speculation, it’s all the same and nothing alike. You get it.

  6. Like it was once said in Buffalo “we are beating this Eichel thing like a rented mule”

    • Some random thoughts on Eichel/Sabres situation:

      – I believe that Eichel should not be traded until whatever procedure he ends up getting is completed, and he proves his health by taking part in games.

      – In order to break the stalemate between Eichel/Buffalo, perhaps hire a team of three independent experts with no connection to either party. Maybe both need to hear from medical experts with no connection to anyone. If they agree that Eichel’s preferred procedure is best, Buffalo needs to hear that from someone other than Eichel. And, if the team disagrees with Eichel, he needs to hear that from someone other than Buffalo.

      – Eichel and his previous agent bear some responsibility for the current mess. The strategy of making the public statements and comments they did helped to a achieve the toxic relationship. Doing so via social media and the press was a poor choice.

      – As of today, I hope that, barring some real “new news” we can stop speculating or offering direction to either side on what might, could, or should happen next. I agree that we are beating this to death for no real purpose.

    • Like when Mario would score on hasek?

  7. Trade him for almost whatever you can get right now to improve the team..it is clear he won’t ever play for Sabres again. Letting him sit does not make the team better-Rangers would take him for a first pick and a roster player right now? Is Lafreniere the real deal or expendable?

  8. Calling all Hockey GM’s I have a dynasty league I am part of and one of the board of directors. You control and NHL team and the AHL Minor Squad. We run UFA/RFA/Prospect Drafts and you basically take the team and manage it in every way.

    We need GM’s for Vegas, Carolina & Minnesota – some moves have taken place but cores of the team still intact.

    Provide an email if interested.
    Thank You!

  9. Ho Hum

    Eichel has an injury.

    Who has control over the medical and health procedures for the injury?

    The rules of the CBA gives control to the team .

    Like it or not, Eichel has no legal basis to get what he wants.

    The Sabres reach the salary cap floor of $60.24 million and spending just $54 million thanks to insurance paying Eichel’s IR salary.

    • They have that legal authority to control his health decisions or say he violated that contract. This would give them legal standing to void that contract. This would make eichel an ufa. Now if eichel after getting said procedure said you still owe me my money…. He would be wrong.

      • Chrisms,

        There a number of folks on here like you stating his body/his right, void the contract and become UFA, various versions of going around the CBA and getting the surgery he wants.
        Let us say that you are hypothetically correct, in your pronouncement, why isn’t Eichel doing that?

        Have you and others considered that Eichel and his team know it doesn’t work like that?

      • I have actually thought about that. It’s probably the best argument against what I said. Why is it not done? I don’t know. I’d guess it has to do with the Sabres still own his rights if he does it and they don’t have to terminate meaning they could keep him there. They could refuse to trade him. If his surgery isn’t effective or worse makes him not fit to play then they could term contract. If it works they keep him and he is stuck playing for a team he doesn’t want to play for.

        Or brisson really feels like a deal eventually is brokered and is telling Jack to be pt so they can avoid all the drama?

  10. Steve Yzerman could solve this Eichel thing today by giving the Sabres what they want, four 1sts: Bobby Ryan, Marc Staal, Robbie Fabbri and Sam Gagner. We won’t even ask for salary retained!

    • Massive overpay. Even with you dumping a bunch of smelly Detroit crappola on them.

    • And Stevie Y would be an idiot for doing so.

    • Not sure what Kevin means but I think he means the 4 firsts would be the players listed, who I think were first round picks.

      • Ray, you’ve got it. Every one of them was a first rounder, thus meeting Buffalo’s demands for “four 1st round picks or equivelant.” They didn’t say future first rounders, good first round picks, or even young first round picks. My “crappola” (although Fabbri still has some upside), all former 1st round picks, is about what I’d offer for a guy who may never play again, or worse, my play many years with 4th line skill but a $10m contract.

      • Thought so Kevin since the list followed a :
        Someone paid attention in English class!

  11. hf30- it IS his body and it should be his right but having said that, there are $50 million reasons why he is not terminating his contract. He would be an absolute fool to give up on guaranteed money.

  12. Does anyone know what happens if Eichel just goes ahead with his preferred surgery?

    Is it even possibly for him to just do it and then the ball falls in the court of the sabres to choose if they want to void his contract?

    If I was in the place of him I would be itching to play and have a shot in the Olympics.

    I understand the Sabres want it their way and to me the only thing is they are trying to re-coop assets and I think that ship might have sailed.

  13. As mention the other day Hamonic is from part of Manitoba for religious reason don’t agree with being vaccinated.

    The metropolitan division doesn’t have any Canadian teams; this would allow the least amount of interruption to the schedule.

    It is ironic we wanted to play closer to home and now willing to not go home for a extended period of time.

    Potentially having to stay state side during the Olympic break.

  14. It just hit me-I’d rather read Ed than HF30. Why is that?

    • Harsh bro.