NHL Rumor Mill – September 6, 2021

by | Sep 6, 2021 | Rumors | 24 comments

A look at which players the Canadiens may have pursued before acquiring Christian Dvorak, plus the latest on Elias Pettersson, P.K. Subban and what the Leafs and Kraken must still address in the Labor Day edition of the NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In their latest “31 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed the aftermath of the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer-sheet saga. Friedman believes Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin may have called around asking about San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Calgary’s Sean Monahan. Bergevin acquired Christian Dvorak from the Arizona Coyotes almost immediately after declining to match the Kotkaniemi offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak seemed to be at or near the top of Bergevin’s list during his search last week for a replacement for Kotkaniemi. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels mentioned him as a trade target soon after the offer sheet was signed. I don’t doubt the Habs GM shopped around to see what other options were available but I don’t think he just settled for Dvorak.

Friedman also reported the Kotkaniemi offer sheet had the Vancouver Canucks’ front office nervous about another club doing the same with Elias Pettersson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Contract talks are ongoing between Pettersson and the Canucks. The 22-year-old center would be a tempting target despite the Canucks’ public stance that they’d match any offer.

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images).

However, the high cost of signing away Pettersson ($9 million or more per season) plus the compensation owed to the Canucks for a successful signing (at least two first-round picks, a second, and a third-round pick) make an offer sheet unlikely in this case.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports multiple sources confirmed the Bruins, on more than one occasion, explored what it would take to acquire P.K. Subban from the New Jersey Devils. At the same time, they hope to convince the Devils to pick up half of his $9 million cap hit for this season. Murphy also said the Toronto Maple Leafs had “more than lukewarm interest” in Subban.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would take a substantial offer to convince Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald to eat half of Subban’s cap hit. He can afford it but why do another club a favor for a less than worthwhile return?

Fitzgerald also isn’t under any pressure to move Subban. He’s only on their books for this season after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Devils also aren’t facing any cap crunch this season.

If Fitzgerald decides to trade Subban it could be close to the March trade deadline provided the Devils are out of playoff contention by then. Most of the 32-year-old blueliner’s salary will be paid out by then, making him more enticing to other clubs.

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger wondered who will join Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander among the Toronto Maple Leafs top-six this season. The Leafs are top-heavy and will need more secondary scoring from their supporting cast.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be Nick Ritchie, Alex Kerfoot, and/or Ilya Mikheyev skating among the top six. Perhaps Michael Bunting gets a shot at left wing if Ritchie or Kerfoot don’t work out in those roles.

Nicholas J. Cotsonika believes the Seattle Kraken still needs more firepower up front. He wonders if they have enough depth at center with Yanni Gourde sidelined for at least the opening month of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken GM Ron Francis could attempt to address that issue depending on how things go during the club’s first training camp and preseason games.


  1. I’ve been reading a lot of bruins fans liking the ideal of PK in Boston; following the nice tribute to Jimmy Hayes.

    PK is not a $9m per player, I agree with Lyle PK is a better trade deadline deal, where more teams will have the cap space as his hit will be much lower at that time.

    Boston cannot afford him at 50% retained and need a LD not a RD

  2. Morning folks,

    I keep hearing & reading that the Canes 1st rd pick is going to be a late round pick, but how many times have we seen teams like the Flyers, the Stars, the Nucks, the Flames, the Oilers, the Habs & the Canes themselves have a damn good season & then be projected to take another step the following season only to poop the bed & miss the playoffs that following season????

    The Canes back was given a huge shake up this off season completely revamping their goaltending, as well letting their quarterback D-man to walk away. Does a stable team actually completely revamp their goaltending after a huge step forward in the standings???

    IMHO, it is not unconceivable to believe that both 1st rders that the Habs now hold be top 15 picks in the 2022 draft.

    Another question I have is, if KK takes that step forward & scores 20 goals with a 50 point season, will his camp not expect a raise next summer???

    Plus now armed with KK contract, what will Martin Necas’s expectation be on his next contract if he continues to mature???

    I we have have witnessed in this situation, every action has an equal & opposite reaction.

  3. There is one team perfectly placed to Offer Sheet Elias Pettersson, and that’s Arizona.

    They have a boatload of picks, the cap space and Pettersson is only 22 y/o, perfect to build a team around which is what Armstrong plans to do anyways.

    Vancouver has no way to sign both Pettersson and Hughes long term contracts.

    • Pettersson has to accept the offer as well. Why would he want to play in Arizona of all places when he stated he wants to be on a contender.

    • Your very right there…. the only problem is the Yotes just have another 99 problems, and the cap isn’t one of them.

    • No way Pettersson signs to play in Arizona. He wants to win, not be stuck on a rebuilding team again.

    • Habs fan. Agree they can’t sign both right now. A lot of teams might’ve already considered offer sheet for Pete. Unlike KK though, Pettersson probably not willing to sign an offer sheet. Hughes not eligible for OS. I think Nucks could shop Boeser or Miller. Maybe try and move Myers.

    • I think the only teams he would sign with that have close to the cap and the team/prospects are LA or NYR

      • You also have to take into account the offering team. As a rebuilding team you dont do OS since your first round picks risks being high end, you could do it as NYR/LA since they hope to make the playoffs or close to it

      • Kent. LA currently has less than 3m in cap space and they’re really deep at center. Kopitar, Danault, Villardi. Plus all other prospects: Byfield, Turcotte, Kupari. As a Ranger fan I’ve seen plenty of blogs suggesting offer sheets for Pete. Don’t see it happening. With all the talk about Eichel injury, if he comes back at 100% he’s better player and much stronger than Pettersson.

      • @slick62

        yes Ranger talk seems to not mention Elias much
        durable needs to be in the equation @msg now.

    • Why on earth would a Pettersson want to go to Arizona?
      After putting Ferland on LTIR, it seems the Canucks have about $14m. In cap space. Probably $2-3m. Less than needed to lock up Hughes and Pettersson long term. I’d guess they Bridge Hughes and long term Pettersson, but not impossible to dump off some salary and long term extend them both.

      As to Subban, neither Boston or Toronto have the space for him even at half retained. Maybe at the deadline.

  4. I still think Kraken made a mess of their expansion draft, even disastrous if Im honest. They had a one shot chance and they blew it big time

    • I dont agree.
      Their backend is probably already 2nd in the division behind Vegas from 1 to 6. Their goaltending is stronger than most in the division as well.
      If their powerplay can click they can win some games in a weak division.

      I do think they should have taken Carey Price injury concern or not. Dunn over Tarasenko was a safer move and they could still acquire Vlad if they were interested.

      • The only thing in retrospect I still can’t understand and see as a fail was the drafting of a couple ufas not signed. It feels planned that they were tossed away picks. But why not draft a player with a little talent that would be attractive to other teams for late round picks?

  5. Dvorak was the best and most realistic option for the Habs. Kuznetsov was not an option, even aside from his baggage. He’s got a huge cap hit – $7.8m. – so the Caps would have had to retain salary, which I doubt they’d want to do. The Caps would also need to acquire a decent center. Finally, with his 15-team no trade list, Kuznetsov could effectively block any trade. Word is he wants to stay in DC.
    I don’t see Hertl traded just yet. He and the Sharks will see how things develop. Good chance he’ll extend there, if not, I don’t see him traded till the deadline. I don’t see Calgary moving Monahan either. Maybe next summer if his numbers don’t pick up this year.
    Dvorak was a good choice. With Suzuki stepping up as #1, he’s the #2 they need.

  6. Whether Pettersson agrees or not is up to him, maybe he likes to build around himself, maybe he likes the air, maybe he wants out of Vancouver, maybe he signs it for leverage.

    As a rebuilding team planned around picks and youth its a perfect opportunity. What are the odds of drafting somebody as good as Pettersson??

    I haven’t said that Arizona will or should do it, just that they are perfectly placed to do it.

  7. Petterson maybe uses a Arizona to set the term he wants like aho. Maybe he doesn’t want to sell his ufa years?

  8. Correct me if I’m wrong, but to swing an offer sheet you need your own picks, and not acquired ones. I don’t think the Coyotes own enough of their own pics to offer sheet Petey.

    • Ray Evans,

      You’re right but for the following exception

      The draft picks must available in the nearest entry draft, unless the compensation requires two or more draft picks in the same round: an extra year can be used to for compensation for these picks (if two 1st round picks are required, the club must have two 1st round picks available in the next three drafts)

      Otherwise offer sheets involving compensation of 2 1sts and 4 1sts wouldn’t exist.

    • also another point is that the Coyotes even with successfully offersheeting him away from Vancouver would potentially be giving up at least 2 lottery firsts(if they found a way to give up picks)

  9. I can’t believe it. I make a simple comment based on fact (Subban) and yet I still can’t get on this site. Yet there are others who talk politics and they still get on? Still others who belittle certain people on this site. Don’t get it. There are some applications on here that are totally unfair.

    • Rick: Your comment didn’t make it because you changed your screenname. Resubmit the comment under your normal screenname and it will publish.

    • You musta posted it as Wendell.