Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 5, 2021

by | Sep 5, 2021 | Rumors | 32 comments

Could the Rangers pursue Jack Eichel? What roster needs do the Golden Knights and Jets still have to address? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Rick Carpiniello was asked several questions by his readers about the possibility of the New York Rangers acquiring Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

If the Rangers intend to acquire Eichel, Carpiniello believes they’ll have to trade center Mika Zibanejad now or at the March trade deadline. Zibanejad is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and will be ready to cash in on a big payday. Asked if the Rangers could re-sign Zibanejad for $8 million annually, Carpiniello felt that would be a great discount considering what comparable players are earning.

Carpiniello doesn’t believe the Rangers should include promising winger Kaapo Kakko in any deal for Eichel. One of their young defensemen and perhaps center Filip Chytil would have to be part of the return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carpiniello doesn’t seem to hold much hope for the Rangers landing Eichel, calling it a “fantasy” at one point.

Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $7.9 million in projected cap space for the coming season. They could afford to take on Eichel’s $10 million annual average value if they shipped one or two salaried players to the Sabres as part of the deal. That’s assuming the Sabres would be willing to ship him to a nearby rival. And no, I don’t see them picking up any chunk of his cap hit to help the Blueshirts.

The Rangers have considerable depth in promising prospects and young NHL talent to dangle as trade bait for Eichel. The Sabres will want some decent talent in return, and that could include a couple of players like Kakko, Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller or Vitaly Kravtsov.

Remember, the Sabres’ supposed asking price is said to be four assets comparable to first-round draft picks. That means a first-round pick in 2022, one or two top prospects and one or two promising young NHL players.

As for Zibanejad, they could afford to carry him and Eichel this season. However, it could be a tight squeeze cap-wise depending on which players they send to Buffalo in return or shed in other cost-cutting moves.

It could cost between $9 million and $10 million annually for the Rangers to re-sign Zibanejad. They can’t afford to carry him and Eichel plus the hefty raise Adam Fox will command next summer as a restricted free agent. That won’t leave enough cap room to ice a playoff contender in 2022-23. As Carpiniello suggests, Zibanejad would have to be moved soon after acquiring Eichel or at this season’s trade deadline to avoid losing him for nothing next summer.

NHL.COM: Nicholas J. Cotsonika believes the Vegas Golden Knights still need a first-line center. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said they’re happy with their depth at that position after acquiring Nolan Patrick and Brett Howden during the offseason. Promising Peyton Krebs could also crack their lineup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Patrick and Kreb have promise but they’re not ready to fill that first-line center position. That was a significant weakness for the Golden Knights over the last two seasons and could haunt them in 2021-22. They were linked to Eichel but their limited cap space likely takes them out of the bidding unless the Sabres are willing to absorb a healthy chunk of his annual cap hit.

Tim Campbell believes the Jets still need a veteran backup goaltender for starter Connor Hellebuyck. So far it appears they’ll go with Eric Comrie filling that role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to go the trade route to address that issue if it becomes a pressing need during this season. The free-agent market has been picked clean, with aging Devan Dubnyk and Curtis McElhinney still remaining. Tuukka Rask is also unsigned but everyone knows he’ll be returning to the Boston Bruins once he’s fully recovered from hip surgery in January.


  1. Eichel will be a bruin

    • Your dreaming. That will never happen.I don’t care what the Briuns could offer. The Sabres will never send him there.

      • No one should want Eichel. Lots of chatter about his work ethic etc. At 10 mil and what you would have to give up, that’s too risky. Plus how heathy is he. Does he show up in big games

  2. Again there are posts of Eichel (HJ) as a Ranger and eventually needing to move Zib on the same day as Posts of Knights needing a 1C

    I post again… solution is a 3 way… Sabres retaining on HJ and on Zib in the to-through

    HJ….20% retained by Sabres….to Ranger’s
    Zib 50% retained by Sabres….to Knights
    Smith to Sabres

    Both Knights and Rangers give up lottery protected 1sts in ‘22
    Rangers add a *conditional 1st (‘24 if they win ‘22 lottery, ‘23 otherwise)
    Knights add a **conditional 1st (‘24 if they win ‘22 lottery, ‘23 otherwise)
    Knights add Dugan OR Lechyshyn
    Rangers add B prospect

    *Condition…. HJ plays > 50 games in ‘21/‘’22….if 25 to 49 games…. 2nd in ‘23; < 25 games… 4th in ‘23

    **Condition …. Zib extends with Knights; if he doesn’t …. 4th in ‘23

    So best case scenarios (Healthy HJ, Zib re-signs)…

    Sabres get 4 1sts, 2 prospects; Smith… NOTE: retain $2M * 5 on HJ; AND 50% on Zib (1year)

    Rangers get HJ for $8M per to be 1C for 5 years….costing 2 1sts, B prospect, Zib (had 1 year left under contract and was likely going to get more than $8 M on the extension)

    Knights get very reasonable Cap hit for big improvement on 1C this year; save Cap this year; get Zib signed to a multi-year contract…. for 2 1sts, Smith, Dugan OR Lechyshyn

    Worst case

    Sabres retain $2M *5 on HJ, 50% of 1 year on Zib…. for 2 1sts, 2 4ths; 2 prospects; Smith

    Rangers pay a 1st and 4th; prospect; last year of Zib; for < 25 games of HJ in ‘21/‘22

    Knights pay 1st, 4th, prospect to flip Smith for Zib for 1 year; but SAVE $2.3 M on Cap this year

    The above trade works for the 3 teams and conditions buffer the concerns re HJ and health/operation and viability of Zib to be extended

    • His name is Jack Eichel

      • Hi Caper

        Sorry I didn’t mention his first name

        I started the post with…,

        “ Again there are posts of Eichel (HJ) ”

    • You keep pushing this trade, but I can’t see the value for Vegas.

      They give up a 1st, a 4th, a prospect and Smith for ONE year of Zib.

      Re read that one more time…

      That has to be one of the most lopsided trades I’ve ever heard.

      As a Vegas fan, this certainly does not work for me or the team.

      • Hi The Man_Oss

        Smith going the other way is the Cap move

        Yes with any trade there is a risk (Zib doesn’t resign)

        That said… Knights s wouldn’t enter into a trade for him unless they felt they could get him to re-up

        The 2sts and a B prospect to secure a solid 1C ; and then basically set themselves up for another 3 or 4 years of being contenders…. Very Worth it IMHO

        Yes… overpay if he is only there for one year… that, IMHO ; is extremely unlikely

  3. Re Duby still out there

    He shouldn’t be…. HexBurkie should have signed him instead of Domingue

    That said… I believe Domingue’s was a two-way

    So they can still Sign Duby $1M

    Of course that still doesn’t solve the major issue… Pens much slower and weaker than last year…. still have Zucker

    A trade (Zucker exiting) is a must…. OR …. immediately start the rebuild

    • Hey. For like one week… just for a change of pace you understand, could you focus your attentions on your other team? Find a player on Toronto to unfairly heap past current and future scorn on and beat that horse until it is long past dead. Rip into dubas for not using assets they don’t have to obtain unobtainable fixes. Find borderline nhl players in bit roles and try to include them in deals as valuable assets.

      1 week. Kinda like a vacation.

      • LOL

      • Nice guy, Chrisms. He really only has one team. You’re stuck with him.

      • Hi Chrisms

        I’m just a smidgeon more confident in Leafs (battling for 3rd,4th,5th) than Pens (likely battling for 5th/6th) right now

        Pens also have Gino out 1/6th of the season minimum.. nothing comparable on Leafs

        HexBurkie gave up more in expansion (2 key players) than any other team

        Dubas only lost a 7th (way down the road) and a possible career AHL/ECHL player in the expansion draft

        I know your ticked with the two headed “do nothing” duo like all of s Pens fans; I’m just more vocal about it

        When there is a report of the day that is relatable to the Leafs; I’ll be happy to chime in on that

        Posted in the Blog today was about Jets and goaltenders and it was mentioned that Duby was still out there

        My contention is that he shuld have already been snagged by Pens

        I’m just bitter that HexBurkie has got Pens in the worst place… middle of nowhere… a rebuild would be more appropriate than doing nothing ; ending out of the playoffs ; wasting a year

        I just want to see them Hextall and Burke) wake up and do something

        Signing (to a PTO) a very weak 33 year old Dman who has but 3 NHL games iver the last 3 years; and a soon to be 37 year old depth W/C; is not a positive move

        What players currently on the roster; could be replaced by either of those two

        Yes, I guess Barto over Chad but Chad should NOT even be on the roster

        I like Doyle a lot; but I think his career is basically over

  4. Buffalo is not nearby NYC, nor are they a rival. I wouldn’t rule out Sabres retaining salary. They might need to in order to reach cap floor. Let’s say Zib could get, at best, 10 mil x 7 year deal. (I don’t think he will) Rangers could do extra year and bring AAV down to 8.75. I can see Zib agreeing to something no more than 8M per over 8 years. So if they can get Eichel at 8 per, that’s a pretty good 1-2 down the middle for a reasonable 16m combined per year.

    • The fact that the Sabres and Rangers play in the same state is enough to have Buffalo look elsewhere. He won’t be a a Ranger or a Bruin. The Bruins are in the same division and are tight to the cap. Obviously, Bergeron is going nowhere. They could possibly include Coyle and Debrusk in any deal, but I’m not sure Buffalo would want them.
      The Rangers need to avoid the mistake the Leafs made with Tavares – going after the shiny object they don’t really need. Especially with Eichel’s health worries. They’re better off re-signing Mika and keeping their young core together.
      Vegas is likely the most sensible landing spot. Don’t forget though, they drafted a pretty good #1 Center a few years ago. His name’s Nick Suzuki and he’s in Montreal now.

      • Howard. Buffalo may be in same state, but as I’ve said before, worlds apart. There’s literally 4 teams geographically closer to Buffalo than NYR. Totally different markets. By contrast, Rangers can bus from MSG through 3 other states and get to Washington Capitals arena in less time. Also, I don’t expect any trade for Eichel unless team is 99.9% confident they’re getting Eichel at full capabilities. Also, Eichel turns 25 in October. Tavares turned 28 when he started playing for Leafs. He’s been right at a point per game in 3 seasons with them, so I’m not sure what your point is.

      • Slick, my point isnt that Tavares isn’t a great player. It’s that the Leafs didn’t need him. And by picking him up and giving him a huge contract they’ve hamstrung their ability to pick up players they really need. Sure, Tavares has been right at a point per game during his seasons with them. The Leafs have also failed to win a playoff series during that time. THAT’S my point.
        The Rangers have a top flight center in Zibanajed who would likely have to go if Eichel comes aboard. Plus some young talent that would be part of the return. As good as a Eichel is, there’s no point in trading away strong players and top prospects for a player they don’t really need and who has injury questions to boot. The fact that Eichel is three years younger is of no matter.

  5. On a separate note, why have the Leafs allowed the Reilly situation to progress to the point whereby they can only (a) trade him at the deadline, (b) Resign him at his preferred rate or (c) let him walk next summer.
    Clearly this is a situation that should have been dealt with very early in the summer but instead they decided to “let the market play out”.
    Well great, it played out and you have painted yourself in a corner.
    Simply put….Morgan now that the season is over, how much do you want to resign. If its too much we will trade you this summer. If its agreeable then we sign you to an agreement asap.

  6. Agree, Jets are gambling if Hellybuyck goes down. Eric Comrie is not NHL caliber. Otherwise, they are set. Chevy will resist any other veteran forwards and force Maurice to play some youth on fourth line.

  7. Vegas looked pretty good the last couple of years and scored a lot of goals with Stephensen and Karlsson. Roy seems to be maturing and had a solid playoffs . If Patrick improves at all, their center position is good enough. I would not gut the organization for Eichel.
    Howden has been a disappointment

  8. Off topic here a bit but I give credit here to Bergevin for ending up with Dvorak. If he ever improves his amateur scouting staff to the point where they draft as well as he deals Montreal could have a hell of a team

    • You’re certainly correct as to how the drafting must improve. And the development. Like I posted previously, the mistake was not in keeping Kotkaniemi with the team his first year. He played pretty well that year. The problem was that he declined over the next two seasons. That was because the coaching staff continued to shelter him and did not provide him with more minutes, better wingers and a consistent role. They did not put him in a position to succeed.
      Waddell is saying that the Canes will use him at LW. The Habs drafted him to be a top center, not a winger. Makes me wonder why the Canes didn’t pursue a natural and experienced scoring winger as a UFA. They could have had one without giving up a 1st and for less money.
      The Kotkaniemi sage was not a great one for Bergevin, for reasons yet to be determined. If he proves in the future to be a solid, top 6 Center (not winger – the Habs drafted him to be a center, there were better wingers available at #3) putting up 60+ points per year and playing an all around game, the mistake will have been in the development and use. If he turns out to be, at best, a third line center putting up no more than 45-50 points, or if he winds up playing wing in the long term, the mistake would have been drafting him at #3 in the first place when there were better players available at other positions.

      • All well said.

      • Howard, I doubt Waddell just tossed out a $6.1 mil offer sheet solely on the basis of where he was drafted and his “potential.” He and his coaching staff/top scouts likely scoured hours of film footage, analysing everything from his skating to “puck sense” to ability to get in the clear and take a pass and willingness to go to the dirty areas in puck battles.

        Clearly, in the end, they saw enough to convince themselves that the move was a good one.

  9. “That was because the coaching staff continued to shelter him and did not provide him with more minutes, better wingers and a consistent role. They did not put him in a position to succeed.”

    This is a common refrain regarding KK but is a canard to excuse his lack of development.

    Suzuki played all over the lineup, 4th line minutes as a winger, sheltered O-zone minutes, and he forced the coaching staff to move him through his performance. He’s only one year older.

    There are plenty of #1,2, 3 and 4 picks who never “developed”……on account of coaching?
    Sometimes it takes time and sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

    Sam Bennett, Dylan Strome, Jesse Puljujarvi, Nolan Patrick, Barrett Hayton, are some examples.

    • It is way to easy to blame the coaches and the team when a player doesn’t pan out.
      The flames get criticized for not developing Bennett, in yet they developed Monahan, Backlund, and Gaudreau. I think it is way to easy for fans to use that analogy
      So Habfan I agree with your assessment.

  10. I feel this is the question not being asked. When it comes to Eichel & the Rangers. Why? Is Eichel (when healthy) elite? Absolutely. Point a game player, who can likely score 30+ and is great on the powerplay.

    Is he 3+ assets better than Zib? Not likely. Zib also has shown 30+ goal pace (and actuals) over the past 4 seasons. He is elite on the powerplay and actually has an overall beterr face-off percentage than Eichel (though both are sub 50%).

    Zib is a legit 1st line NHL C. If you are going to have to give up assets for Eichel and you’ll end up losing Zib, why even bother? Eichel (when healthy) moves the needle for your team yes. But not all that much father than Zib does.

  11. Some comments on posts above…

    Toronto needs balance. JT, MM, or WN are excess. MM is the most overpaid. This has hurt them.

    I think Carolina did it’s research on KK. See what king of contract that sign him to after Jan 1. I’d expect a lower cap hit 4-5 yr contract.

    Buffalo could do a one yr pass thru retain on a player like Zib. They will not retain on Eichel.

    Buffalo understands they will need to take salary back to get to the cap floor if they don’t do some sort of trade where they take a high salary or a pass through in another trade.

    Buffalo needs are in return for Eichelare

    1 a center
    2 a RD
    3. Another player ( not cap dump)
    41st and 2/3 spread over the next 2 drafts.

    From the Rangers it be something like Zibs+ Schneider+ Kakko +unprotected 1st in 23.

    Zibs at 50% to vegas for Krebs, 22 1st and Smith. Smith retained 50% to Rangers

  12. I have to laugh about Buffalo and NYC being in the same state. As if that matters!!!

    People in NYC think that Buffalo is in another Solar System. 9 out of 10 could not find Buffalo on a map.

    Born and bred NYC person, so you can take my word for it. It’s probably how people in Toronto look at the Western Canadian Provinces.
    Big City vs Farmland.

    • NYC may not care about Buffalo. But the folks in Buffalo have an inferiority complex about NYC. They won’t trade Eichel to the Rangers if they can avoid it.

    • As a non New Yorker, I always cheer for Buffalo, and never the Rangers. And if I were forced to move to either Buffalo or NYC, I would choose Buffalo every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      • Lago, you’re one of very few. Would be great if you played hockey. Story is about the guy that doesn’t want to be in Buffalo though.