NHL Rumor Mill – September 3, 2021

by | Sep 3, 2021 | Rumors | 49 comments

Will Tomas Hertl re-sign with the Sharks? Could the Capitals trade Evgeny Kuznetsov? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Alex Didion cites an interview Tomas Hertl gave to a Czech media outlet in which the 27-year-old forward appears uncertain over his future with the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

I wonder if San Jose will want to re-sign me, and if I’ll want to stay there,” Hertl said, indicating he’ll see how things unfold during this season. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz recently pointed out two variables that could determine whether this season becomes Hertl’s last in San Jose.

Money will be the first as Hertl could seek between $7 million and $8 million annually on his next contract. The Sharks only have $14 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 14 players under contract. The other is whether he wants to stay. A recent report indicated he was believed among the players unhappy with teammate Evander Kane flouting team rules last season.

Gretz also wondered if Hertl will be keen to spend the remainder of his playing prime with a team that is probably years away from becoming a contender again.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren took note of the recent speculation over Hertl’s future. He believes the Senators could acquire the versatile forward with the right offer, drawing in part upon their well-stocked cupboard of prospects. He also notes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion and Sharks GM Doug Wilson have a trade history, pointing to the 2018 Erik Karlsson trade.

USA TODAY‘S Vincent Z. Mercogliano believes Hertl would be a sensible trade target for the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators and Rangers have sufficient salary-cap space and depth in draft picks and prospects to make competitive bids for Hertl this season. That’s assuming, of course, the Sharks decide to shop him.

That move, however, probably doesn’t occur until later this season, likely near the trade deadline if the Sharks are out of playoff contention by that point. Hertl also has a three-team trade list, significantly narrowing potential destinations. He could agree to broaden that list depending on where Wilson would want to move him.

Hertl’s UFA status is also a point of concern. He’d have to be considered a playoff rental player this season. If the Senators and/or Rangers aren’t in contention it doesn’t make any sense for them to pursue a player who could depart next summer as a free agent.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Tarik El-Bashir was asked whether the Washington Capitals will trade Evgeny Kuznetsov. One reader claimed hearing talk of the 28-year-old center becoming a New York Ranger at the start of the season.

El-Bashir believes if Kuznetsov were to be traded it would’ve happened by now. His $7.8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25, 15-team no-trade clause, and the Capitals need to get a suitable replacement in return are key reasons working against it.

He does wonder if a team interested in Jack Eichel could shift their attention to Kuznetsov if and when the Buffalo Sabres captain is traded. Kuznetsov’s attitude and mindset during training camp could also be worth watching.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Too many factors work against a Kuznetsov trade. His off-ice baggage also hurts his trade value. If he returns in the right frame of mind and plays well it will improve his stock but it could also entice the Capitals to retain him.


  1. Hertl is a nice Center man. Only real knock is his ability to stay healthy . If in fact available should be a top target for Montreal among some others

    • I beat this horse… of Hertl to the Rangers. Makes them stronger down the middle… he wins draws, he plays every situation and maybe he rubs off on Chytil

      The Rangers have no lack of grade A prospects

    • It seems that every player available for trade is heading to the Rangers. Pretty soon, the NHL will be a one team league because every player will be playing for the Rangers.

      The Sharks will do their damndest to re-sign Hertl. If he is traded, it’ll likely be near the deadline and only if extension talks have irreversibly broken down.

      • Not every Ranger fan sees it that way. I certainly don’t. I’ve said no thanks to Hertl, Eichel , Tarasenko etc.

        I’d prefer they keep Strome. At least until they can get Chytil or someone else ready or another cheaper alternative.

        But let’s not pretend there aren’t a LOT of other fans bases as bad or worse than the NY Rangers fan base.

        NY is fine as is, they don’t need to chase every shiny object out there.

      • I’ve never wanted Eichel or Tarasenko coming to MSG but
        a 200ft center like Hertl yes.
        My concern is always how thin Rangers are down the middle and I do not know if Chytil can be a legit #2C or not. he shows flashes of it and like a lost puppy other shifts. Also Strome is not hard enough to play against… add in Zib’s concussion history…

        Rangers should have at least traded some D prospects for a center prospect which they have not

      • Chytil looked better playing on the kid line. Time, patience. Most players don’t pop out of the gate like Mcdavid.

        Chytil, like Kakko and Laffrienere haven’t really been pushed into bigger roles.

        Imagine if NY the added away a prospect named Fox a year ago?

        It’s a rebuild. Don’t trade away these young pieces before their talent comes to realization.

        I like Hertl, but not at the cost of a Lunqkist, Schneider, Roberton. And certainly not for one year.

        Playing devils advocate. Ny trades Lunqkvist plus for Hertl. Hertyl re-signs. Where does the money come from for Fox, Zibanejad, Laffreinere, Kakko, etc?

        It’s a short sighted deal that would make a lot of sense if Nys window was closing. Nys window hasn’t even opened yet.

      • Captain Obvious,
        I was NOT criticizing the Rangers or their fan base in any way. Nor was I saying that the Rangers need any of these high-priced, injury-prone players who may not prove worth the costs of the return or the salary. I was just pointing out, in a sarcastic manner, that every time some high priced player is reported to be available, some wag out there talks about how he’s all but assured to go to the Rangers. And I’ve never heard of Vincent Z. Mercogliano, the wag in question this time.

      • Looking in from the outside, I dont see the Rangers needing Eichel, Hertl or any of these names if their young players can take the next step.

        That’s a big “remains to be seen” for me.
        I’m not sold on Kakko, LAF, Chytil or most of the new Ranger kids. So far, they have been fair to middling. The trend appears to be upward, but this season will tell the tale.

        The real bright spot was Fox. But for me, he has to do it again. I saw a lot of multi point games from Fox when the score was lopsided. Thank you, Flyers!! Yes he put up points but how did he fare when the Ranger season was on the line?
        Is Fox the real thing or did he just have one magic season? I don’t know, yet.

        Drury is hard to figure out. He traded away skill for sluggers. Is that an upgrade?

        I guess time will tell.

      • Neversip,

        I don’t think Laffrienere, Kakko or Chytil have been given much of an opportunity to showcase their game just yet. They actually looked good together at the end of the season but we’re not given top PP time or too 6 time of any significance.

        Honestly, outside of Laffrienere, I was most impressed with Kravstov. Numbers don’t exactly jump out at you, but looks good on both sides of the ice.

        Fox looks like the real deal. He also put up 42 points his rookie year. But his overall game is MUCH more than the numbers he produced. I don’t think he’ll be a stranger on the Norris candidate list anytime soon.

        As far as trading talent for toughness. The only piece moved out was Buchnevich. And that writing was on the wall long before Wilson rag-dolled Panarin toward the end of the season.

        It was a two birds with one stone move. They need to provide these younger wingers with more ice time and opportunity. And they also didn’t want to have to lock him down at 6per.

        Love Buchnevich, but it was absolutely the right move.

        This team is still very young. I like what they’re building. I don’t think I’ll take the day off for a cup parade just yet. But I think they will be a solid contender in 2-3 years.

      • I was thinking the same thing! Is there anyone on the market that is not a fit for the Rangers?

      • Capt Obvious, I agree with you for the most part. But I’m waiting to see how things shake out once this roster is set.
        All of the high draft picks are turning out to be OK. But not exceptional.
        I don’t see LAF as a game changer. He strikes me as a player who was just more mature than his Junior competition.
        I see him as perhaps a 20 goal scorer depending on which line he plays with.

        The thing with the Rangers is that all of their players are always overhyped and it’s hard to live up to that billing. Many of these young players will be serviceable NHL’ers. Just not the superstars the NY Media makes them out to be.

        I did notice that you avoided the Fox question about his play when the Rangers had a shot to make the playoffs.

  2. As I said before, while SJ and Ottawa do have a trade “history” it isn’t anything Wilson wishes to be reminded about, so I doubt he even wants to talk to Dorion.

  3. Sharks would be crazy to trade Hertl. Fan favorite, their best offensive player when healthy, great off the ice as well, Hertl is a cornerstone piece to build around.
    That said, Sharks are in such a bad situation, it almost makes sense to move him while he’s still in his prime.
    Not easy being a Sharks fan these days.

    • dpf, they need to dump Wilson and his minions and get a whole new slate on the ground floor of any re-build … and let’s face it, they are in dire need of an overhaul. The owner’s reluctance to do so is puzzling in the extreme.

      • I like Bob but letting Kane get away with breaking team rules seems to have made this a team with Kane above all the others and how do you fix that now?

        I know Boughner admitted this was a mistake at the end of the season but one has to wonder if it really was his decision or maybe the gm/owner put their fingers in the pudding and that is why a coaching change isn’t a possible fix for the disgruntled players.

      • Good point and plausible TheFlyingV … but if Wilson is ever dumped tradition says that any new GM is going to want his own choice for coach in place. If not immediately, then soon after.

  4. “One reader claimed hearing talk of the 28-year-old center becoming a New York Ranger at the start of the season.”

    Boy, columnists printing rumours their readers hear. There’s a new low in journalistic standards.

    • “One reader claimed…” Did we just find Larry Brooks source?

  5. Sharks should at least retool for a couple of years so anyone close to or over 30 they can trade for assets should be gone. That includes Hertl and the 3 cap anchors on the blue line

  6. I’d like to see MTL acquire Dylan Strome if Kotkaniemi is on his way out. So just to recap, going into year 10 of Marc Bergvins 5 year plan, he missed a 2nd time at 3rd ova on MTL’s centre of the future. Name me another GM with as poor a draft record who hasn’t lost their job by now.

    • I’m with you on Strome. Probably not my first choice, but would be a good pickup. Who knows what the future holds, but so far more accomplished than Kotkaniemi. Might not cost a first rounder either.

    • Or name two other GMs who went all the way to the SCF last year.

      I think what MB lacks in drafting he seems to make up for in trading. Of course I’m a little biased.

    • He didn’t miss on Galchenyuk. 2nd most points in his draft… which netted J.Anderson…

      Bergy is not perfect, but not as bad as you claim.

  7. Re Hertl

    Just throwing it out there that it has been reported several times this summer that Knights have been seeking a Centre…. Smith obviously would gave to go the other way

    IF (big IF) this flip happens; what is the extra required?

    Also … I obviously would LOVE to see Hertl/Zucker flip

    What would that extra be; assuming of course (1) HexBurkie finally wake up and do something; and (2) HexBurkie can get Wilson plastered enough to make the trade

    • Pengy, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Sharks aren’t trading Hertl to the Knights.

      • Hi Howard

        Agree highly highly unlikely…. But “never”…. IDK…. there id always a possibility (however remote or small it may be) that s deal gets done

        All it takes is an offer (or counter-offer) that is accepted

        I put it at the same odds as the Tkachuk bros playing on the same team next year

        Highly unlikely…. But a sliver of probability

        BTW…. if that rarity happens ; and again we’re talking micro probability … I’d think the bro moving would be Westbound with Monahan + flying East

        .0001 % chance ???—-LOL

    • Pengy / Tomas Hertl for Brian Rust? Thoughts ?

      Both are going to be free agents and will command more money. Both can score, both can skate, Tomas Hertl brings a little more grit to his game.

      Tomas Hertl 27 years old / @ $5.6 will want probably $ 7 million next year.

      Career best 35 goals 2018-19

      Last 4 season Hertl’s goal totals 22, 35,16,19 = 92

      Brian Rust, 29 @ $ 3.5 million will want at least $ 5 million maybe $ 6 million..

      .Career best 27 goals 2019-20

      Last 4 seasons goal total 13, 18, 27, 22 = 80

      Would you make the deal ?

      • @ Pengy Also Carter will be off the books, as well as possibly Letang, and maybe Malkin as well….

        Wow if those three are off the books that is almost $21.6 million to spend….

      • blackngold, that is a nice chunk of cap – but they also have to deal with UFA Rust ($3.5 mil), RFA Kapanen (coming off $3.2 mil), RFA Heinen (coming off $1.1 mil), UFA Letang ($7,250,000), UFA Ruhwedel ($750,000), RFA Friedman ($725,000) and RFA DeSmith ($1,250,000).

        Some they won’t retain (e.g. Letang if he’s seeking the same or more), but one way or the other either it’s those players or replacements who are as good or better. And what they cost this past season off the cap was a cumulative $17 mil + so that $21 mil will shrink pretty fast.

      • Hi BNG

        I like both Hertl and Rusty

        Getting Hertl (Centre who can play wing) 👍👍👍

        The issue is that Pens are then still left with with the problem child … Zucker

        Well two problem children(Ruhweedel)…. but he’s at league min and I hope and pray that Sully sends him down to WBS…. He shouldn’t play with the big club; and having 750 k on the Cap in the press box for 82 games id a waste

        Not a chance it happens but….

        Rusty, Zucker, DeSmith for

        Hertl and Hill

        Pens net ~ $2.5 M in space

        Then sign a reasonable UFA winger …. Anisimov if he’ll sign for $1.8 M or less; OR Chaisson if he signs for $1M or less; and sign Vats ($1M)

        Hertl 2C until Gino returns; when Gino returns….

        Sid /Guentzel/Hertl

        Gino/Kappy; and one of Anisimov OR Chaisson OR McGinn

        Carter/Poulin; and one of Anisimov OR Chaisson OR McGinn


        13th/14th; Rodrigues/Zoho



        Vats/*Pettersson or PO-J

        7th/8th *Pettersson or PO-J and Freidman


        That team competes and definitely makes playoffs and has a shot at winning Metro

        *Pettersson could be traded for space and a pick OR for a 3rd line winger

  8. They couldn’t get Brassard for Zucker (if he was still attached somewhere), let alone Hertl!

    • Damn, he IS located somewhere – forgot he was signed by Philadelphia. Why?

    • George O

      I agree. Zucker has little to no trade value. He’s got a $5.5M cap hit for two more years.

      George, I know it doesn’t pertain to anything in this article but wondering what your thoughts are on Batherson’s new contract? Seems like a big payment for a guy with limited NHL games (99).

      • Every time I watched a Canuck’s Sens game, Batherson was noticeable, in a good way for the Sens, not so good for the Nucks.

        I think it is a good signing.

      • Daryl, this kid is the real deal – 6′ 3′ 190 lbs, skates well and is one of the better transitional Fs on the Senators in that he plays hard both on offense and in quickly converting to defensive responsibilties as dictated by the flow of the game.

        He, Nurse and Tkachuk will form a formidable line as all 3 approach the game the same way.

        Right now he’s working out at a Montreal location with McDavid and others.

        It’s a great deal to get him locked up for 6 years. Only Tkachuk is left to sign and you can bet that will happen shortly.

      • I should have added that this is also a sign to his critics that Melnyk WILL pay for value. Once Tkachuk is signed, those two contracts will bring the team well past the cap floor. Nor do I think Dorion is done adding to the roster. At least one more big move is coming.

    • I’d certainly have tak

      Something has to be done… status quo is unacceptable.

      Either rebuild now; or make a trade that gives Pens a shot (at least) of making the playoffs (when hopefully Gino and Sid are both healthy)

      As at right now… Carter will be 2C and Blueger 3C with ??? at 4 C for at least 1/6th of the season (Gino… out). Add to that, one lengthy Jarry injury away from disaster (Domingue star-up)ting , DeSmith back up; or De Smith starting, Demingue back up); and Pens still have Zucker; and still have a disproportionate (to value) Cap hit on at least 2 Dmen.

      • Not sure what happened there

        “I’d certainly have tak” should have read “I’d certainly have taken Brassard + for Zucker”


  9. One’s a commodity the other’s a dud.

    Hertl is 1 27 ,Drouin is 26
    Hertl is 1 yr to UFA Drouin is 2 yrs to UFA
    Hertl is .64 ppg Drouin is .59ppg
    Hertl is $5.625 Drouin is $5.5

    Hertl is unhappy and appears ready to leave.
    Drouin is willing to play cenre, appears happy.

    Drouin plus picks for Hertl?

    Eye test say unlikely but who knows

    • Habs do that in a heartbeat.
      Drouin peaked imho

    • Hi HF30

      with ds on this— GMMB would take that in a heartbeat.

      Drouin has potential; the opted non playing for the end of the season (not officially explained, but many have speculated on) will likely throw up some risk flags for Wilson

      Not sure the extra required, but I would assume that Wilson would in fact ask for +’s in the trade

      Not that I want this trade to happen (as it benefits the Leaf’s main foe in Habs; and that trade would also then knock off another trade candidate that I am hoping Pens get) !!!

      We shall see what goes down in the next fee weeks

  10. Is everyone being traded to the Rangers?

    • They’ve taken over from the Leafs as the place where everyone wants to wind up, I guess.

    • It’s no secret NY wants to upgrade at center from Strome. I don’t see Hertl getting dealt until deadline, if at all. Can’t see Tarasenko in NY. If it was going to happen, he would’ve been part of Buchnevich trade. Eichel is 24. Rangers will have interest as long as he’s available. Looks like nothing happens there until after surgery. I don’t see Strome getting extension. The idea that he’s had “good chemistry” with Panarin ? Who hasn’t?

  11. The Sens have extended Drake Batherson on a nice long term deal. Ditto the Flyers with Joel Farabee. Both solid, young players who have had only one decent year but whose teams obviously have high hopes for them.
    This brings to mind Nick Suzuki with the Habs. He had a decent rookie year last year and took a strong step forward this past year, scoring at the rate of 60 points per 82 games. I expect him to step up even more this year, with solid scorers like Hoffman and Caufield added to the lineup.
    Bergevin has usually been a big believer in the short term, bridge deal. The Kotkaniemi incident shows that this may not come without risks. The trend is quickly moving in the direction of locking up good, young players long term coming off their ELCs. I certainly hope Bergevin realizes now that he has to adjust his way of thinking. If by mid-season, Suzuki has continued to improve his game, Bergevin should work on a 6-8 year deal at big money. We don’t want to tempt fate with another young RFA.
    Then you have Casey Middlestadt. Had a better year than KK last year, but far from dominant. He took the 3 year $2.5m. AAV bridge deal. The sort of deal everyone figured Kotkaniemi would get from the Habs. Obviously, KK has not yet earned the long term, big money deal. But the fact that a team was wiling to give him over $6m., with rumors of a longer term deal in the $4m. range abounding, shows that the Habs have to be wis ewith Suzuki.

  12. Bruins could use Hertl but no cap space ….

    • According to capfriendly they have roughly 1.1m in cap space. Maybe some sort of extra league min contract would have to be involved, but.. this proposal would be close in numbers:

      To Boston:
      C Tomas Hertl
      R Kevin Labanc

      To San Jose:
      C Charlie Coyle
      L Jake DeBrusk
      C Jack Studnicka

      • I get that the Bruins might not want to lose two centers, but they are still operating on the premise that the current core of Bergeron and Marchand and Pasta can win another cup together. The lines would look like this, IMO:

        Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
        Hall – Hertl – Labanc
        Foligno – Haula – C. Smith
        Nosek – Frederic – Kuhlman/Wagner

  13. The big difference between Drouin and Hertl is substantial size and goal scoring ability. Big edge Hertl.