NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2021

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Rumors | 55 comments

An update on Brady Tkachuk’s contract talks with the Senators, the latest on Jack Eichel, and trade speculation about the Canucks’ Travis Hamonic in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported last night on the contract talks of the Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and the Ottawa Senators’ Brady Tkachuk. The trio is training together in Michigan as they await the finalization of their new deals.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

While the Canucks are making progress with Pettersson and Hughes, discussions are grinding on between the Senators and Tkachuk’s representatives. While the relationship remains amicable, Dreger indicates the structure of the deal remains the sticking point.

If Tkachuk accepts a long-term deal, Dreger believes he’ll want bonus money and some no-trade protection. If it’s a bridge deal, he speculates the annual average value could be too much for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports out of Ottawa claim the Senators have tabled an eight-year deal worth an annual average value of $8 million. The length and AAV could be fine with the Tkachuk camp, but they want a portion of his actual salary to come in the form of signing bonuses.

Players with signing bonuses in their contracts get that money upfront in one lump sum at the start of each season. More star players are insisting on that because of the flattened salary cap for the next several years. The Senators, however, don’t include signing bonuses in their contracts.

As per Cap Friendly, Tkachuk isn’t eligible for no-trade protection until he’s played seven NHL seasons because he made his NHL debut at age 19. That means it wouldn’t kick in under his new contract until after the fourth season.

The no-trade protection should be the easiest of those issues to hash out but that depends on whether the Senators will allow for a full no-trade or a partial one. Their position on signing bonuses could be the biggest stumbling block if they’re unwilling to relent.

Turning to the standoff between the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel, Dreger reports the NHL and NHLPA have been speaking to all parties involved and have been for some time. An interesting twist is that teams with trade interest in Eichel are being given medical information as it comes in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s heft contract, the Sabres’ expensive asking price and the ongoing uncertainty over his medical status remain significant impediments toward getting a trade done. Nevertheless, the fact interested clubs are being allowed access to Eichel’s medical records suggests they could allow him to undergo the disc replacement surgery he’s been pushing for. Whether that means we’ll see a deal made soon remains to be seen.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson the Canucks have been shopping defenseman Travis Hamonic ahead of today’s opt-out deadline. It hasn’t been confirmed by Hamonic’s agent if his client would show up to play for an American team if traded or opt-out of this season regardless.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic hasn’t reported to Canucks training camp amid concerns over the league’s COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming season. Players have until today to opt-out of participating.

Hamonic passed on the 2020 playoff bubble because his then-infant daughter was hospitalized with a respiratory ailment. We’ll find out by the end of today whether he’ll be playing this season and if it’ll be with the Canucks.


  1. If a 2 million per year signing bonus is what it takes to get tkachuk signed just do it Melnyk. In the end it s all the same amount of money out of your pocket.

    • Jeff, I didn’t see the $2M number above, perhaps you read it elsewhere.
      My guess is it is more than that they are asking for.

      Also it won’t be the same amount of $ out of Melnyk’s pocket or into Brady’s.
      They earn a return on that money every quarter. And if it is $8M, that return adds up pretty quick.

      Also makes him harder to trade if they choose to before any NTC kicks in.

      • Isn’t there something with the escrow as well with signing bonuses?

      • Don’t know Kevjam, but that would be a big incentive for both sides to harden their position.

  2. He’s a good player. He is NOT indispensable. The team policy – ever since the Heatley fiasco – is no bonus money. If he can’t survive on $8 mil per for 8 years – then send him somewhere else. No one player is bigger than the team as a whole.

    • Trade him to St Louis with his daddy. If you can get Pariyko? sorry about the spelling.Well worth it and less trouble. All three Tkachuks are nothing but trouble

    • Agree George. Most players getting bonus money are usually older and it’s a safety net from losing money when last few years are bought out. Tkachuk doesn’t need to worry about that. He’ll be 29 in last season of an 8 year deal. He’ll get all his money.

  3. a couple of options for the Senators , cave in to Tkachuk’s demands for bonus laden contract , not a bad idea if the caliber of the player warrants it . Or trade him. The trade option is not ideal because they will not get full value at this time.
    I do not have sense that this relationship will be long term. Too bad because I like the player but if he comes with an interfering entourage it will be an ongoing distraction and not worth the aggravation.

    • Exactly Fergy. As I say, he’s a good player … maybe even a very good one. But he’s not in the class of top goal scorers and with his churning skating style he probably won’t ever be. I like what he can bring to the table as an entire package … but as you say, they don’t need a distraction like Calgary has with his brother. Unless they can find a trade partner, or think he’s worth the $9 mil qualifying offer they’ll at least have to offer him next season, they’re going to lose him for nothing.

      Brady does have some good trade value to a team prepared to sign him either to that bonus-laden 8-year deal, or a shorter bridge deal, so a deal is still possible.

    • Pengy

      I’m not sure if Marino can handle top 4. Some fear he may not get back to the promise he showed in his rookie year. Vax issues aside, would you take a chance on Hamonic? He’s not the player he once was but he always battled hard against the Pens while with the Islanders.

      • Hi sjf928

        I’m hoping that Marino just had the “sophomore flu” and that he’s fully recovered

        Re Hamonic…. If he’s moved … Metro makes most sense(least games in Canada)

        Pens already going to start out tough with Gino out 2 months; Sid at least 6 games

        Would I gamble on Hamonic …. Possibly …. $3M is a tough gamble Capwse ; but with Gino out 2 months…. They have the LTIR to cover it

        What is scary is reports that Sully is going to go with Ruhweedel instead of Friedman at 3RD

        With that in mind…. Hamonic in; Ruhweedel down…. Difference is $2.25 M on Cap; Pens will have 1/3rd of year Gino LTIR…. So that’s $3M available…, so doable

        If Pens must trade for Hamonic (outside of say a 7th rounder)…. They should not do it;

        If waived and acquired OR if ‘Nucks retain 1/3rd in trade… which I doubt they would…. Then OK

        Better solution….. don’t take gamble; Friedman 3RD; Ruweedel down to WBS

        A trade move should be for a C

    • With some clever persuasion, maybe the Sens could get full value in a trade. After the Senators agree to pay Tkachuk $8 million, Melnik should call the Blue Jackets GM and say, “Jarmo, I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. I’m going to give you an eight-million-dollar wing for your wing that’s worth only seven and a half million. You make out half a million in the deal.”

  4. This is pure old style non statistical hockey intution. I would not make a decision based on it.

    That intuition is that Brady’s upside is not as high as some think. He brought a lot to the party as a young player and is very good but to a considerable extent IMO you have seen what you get.

    • Can’t disagree with that view Old Blue Dog. The sad part is, if the team does move him there is a large element among the fan base who can never see beyond the $200 named jersey on their back and who will be screaming to the rafters about “cheap Melnyk” and vowing never to go to another game.

    • OBD,

      I happen to agree with you on this, more intuition than any proof.

      He got off to a quick start but seems to have plateaued quickly..

      I don’t see a high ceiling but I do see a heart and soul type player who raises the game of those who surround him.

      While this contract negotiation makes him appear to be a selfish troublemaker, his play on the ice says otherwise.

      I think a bridge makes most sense for the Senators as I don’t see him living up to it.

    • Agree OBD


      No matter what transpires… There shall be dissenters and detractors

      Transparency…. I’m not a huge fan of Melnyk;

      That said; if your stance as an owner is no SBs; and has been consistent for years; don’t change it for one player

      There is an easy fix….

      Lets say Tkachuck camp is looking (asking) for a total of $20 M in SBs (spread out over 8 years)…. figure out what the clawback loss is (SW over SB…. This year it’s 20% I think, with successive year declines in percentage

      If $20 M in Sal after Calcs for the withholding portion actually turns out to be say $17 M …. Loss of $3M….. then make his contract $67 M or even $68 M instead of $64 M for 8 years; and structure the Sal so that he gets higher Sal in lower clawback years

      The NTC is negotiable; and should not be a sticking point…. Give him a nix on 23 teams…. He provides a list (annually) of 8 teams he CAN be traded to

      Good player; not a player; IMHO; that you have to change your overall contract stance (for everybody) on

      If he won’t bite…. Trade him

      Blues obviously would take him and would give SBs

      Space would be needed

      Parayko a must; but they need to do more to accommodate (Cap wise)

      Parayko/Vlad (he’d have to agree)



      Vlad moved at TDL

      Parayko/Chabot top pairing for next 7 years; and up and coming talent in goal….. that is certainly building from the back end out

      Vlad certainly should not deliver like Tkachuk; but the diff should not be massive; and addition of Parayko (only $5.5 M this year; and extended at $6.5 M) is certainly , IMVHO, worth it

      Ducks…. With key coming over being Comtois 👍👍

      Kings… Byfield ++ (I know Canadian King already says no to the deal, but it would be what I’d insist on)

      • Hi all…..first time poster here…..I’ve been reading for a long time! Big blues fan like Iowa…..I’m in the St. louis area

        I don’t believe Parayko is going anywhere. The extension he signed was really team friendly and even getting Tkachuck back…even though it would be great to have him……..what we would lose on the back end would be too great right now.

      • Bleeder,

        Welcome aboard! I agree with you that Parayko is not a trade option–in fact, I think the Blues could still use some additional help on the blue line.

        I do think that a package to Ottawa that includes Tarasenko, Kyrou, Walman, and a mid-prospect/pick would be considered.


    • Many players coming out of elc deals have been traded because the team didn’t see the value in the player at the price. Some teams were right others wrong.

      The Flames were initially criticized for giving Dougie Hamilton $5.75 million aav for 6 years when Boston didn’t want to, same as Elias Lindholm at $4.85 for 6 years based on what he had done to that point in his career with the Canes. In those two cases it worked well for the team willing to bet on their potential.

      Some others may not have worked out that well. You pays you money you take your chances.

  5. Tkachuk is a heck of a player, and I understand that he would normally ask for bonus money. However, the Senators – a team without the financial might of larger market teams – may not always be able to afford that signing bonus. Furthermore, if they relent to his demands, they’ll open themselves up to precedent; “if you did it for him, you can do it for me.” I am not saying what’s right or wrong, but I can totally see both sides to this. It’s not as simple as “just give him what he wants.”

  6. eichel with $1m held to OTT for Brady

    then Buff trades assets to CGY for Matty to unite the brothers

    then have Cozens center them both. Hansen brothers 2021 edition

    • Don’t want to go from a negotiating headache to a medical ? Forget bloody Eichel.

  7. I’m not sure who is in the wrong here. The player who wants the bonus or the owner who wants the tradition. But I’m leaning in favor of the player here. It’s not as if he is inventing this concept. His peers are already getting this treatment.

    I get the no one player thing but if this falls apart melnyk deserves every bit of criticism for maybe not being cheap… but being a dinosaur compared to his peers.

    • That’s your stance Chrisms. Many will disagree, I am one of them.

      Sign the effing contract and be content with doing something that it is bringing you millions of dollars for the next 8 years .. and if you need a nudge, just look at – and consider – the millions of people whose jobs have gone thanks to the pandemic or are in jobs where they put their lives on the line every day by being required to mingle with morons. At FAR less money than that.

      • In your career George dud you ever accept less money or benefits than your peers who were as good or even less skilled than you and justified it to yourself as “well I may not be being treated fairly in my field but at least I’m not as bad off as my neighbor?”

      • In accepting an 8-year $8 mil deal just who, exactly, would those peers be who aren’t as good/less skilled and are receiving more? And exactly what would he be basing that opinion on?

      • Anyway, in my “field” which was as a federal Canadian Immigration Enforcement Officer, there were levels of salary structure in which you moved up through competition. Did I ever enter a competition and not get the nod even though I thought I “deserved” it? Sure. But I wasn’t making the decision.

        Happened – and still happens – all the time. So, who’s right and who’s wrong? The one not getting the nod or the ones making the decision?

        If Tkachuk believes he’s being hard done by there’s always another option: stay home or go play in Europe – which could happen if he’s not signed by December 21.

    • agreed. the $ is part of the contract so just front loaded to a SB. toss him a $1m signing bonus as part of the overall value in the name of good faith and if the player rejects a $1m signing bonus then the optics come off the ogranization.

      • Sounds crazy, but hear me out. Brady to SJ. Return: Hertl and EK65 with EK65 salary retention.

    • That’s your stance Chrisms. Many will disagree, I am one of them.

      Sign the contract and be content with doing something that is bringing you millions of dollars for the next 8 years … and if you need a nudge, just look at – and consider – the millions of people whose jobs have gone belly up thanks to the pandemic or are in jobs where they put their lives on the line every day by being required to mingle with morons. At FAR less money than that.

    • Chrisms, who are the peers, meaning young players coming off ELC’s, getting a large signing bonus? That don’t play for the Leafs. Those might be the exception vs the rule.
      Not fair to compare guys that are UFA’s, or about to be in a year.

      Some got some small ones in my quick search.
      IE Svechnikov got $4M in year one of an 8 year deal. IMO he has a bigger upside than either Tkachuk. Kaprisov got no SB, Dahlin a little one in year 1 only.

      Usually the SB dictates a lower AAV. The cost of money, meaning yours to earn with vs theirs, is built into the equation.

      Curious to see who waits out who in this one.

      • Kotkaniemi got a signing bonus. Offer Brady a comparable – $7.

  8. trade brady to leafs for nylander—get some grit for once

    • Yeah, Right. As if the Leafs don’t have enough problem with the cap right now without adding an $8 mil contract which would be just over a million more than Nylander’s.

    • Actually Nylander played with grit and skill in last year’s playoffs. 5 goals in 7 games, Matthews played well but had a wrist injury. Marner was non existent and should be the one among the big 4 to be traded… not Nylander… and believe me I used to be o the trade Nylander band wagon. Not any longer… Marner needs to go! Money for a defenceman and a good forward. Nylander’s contract will only look better as he improves.

  9. Ly l e, do signing bonuses affect escrow?

    • BCLeafFan: No. In fact, last year’s memorandum of understanding regarding the CBA extension indicates signing and player performance bonuses aren’t included when calculating escrow. That’s another reason why players prefer them.

  10. Chrisms,

    What’s the motivation for the player to want a signing bonus instead regular pay?

    I may be wrong but while it is disguised as protection, its really ensuring being paid in a situation when not playing.

    Is Melnyk a dinosaur for refusing to pay for services not rendered or have the other teams become drunken sailors?

    • Signing bonuses are not affected by escrow only your base salary is. This is where you lose money to escrow. That’s why a lot of the young stars want the money upfront as a signing bonus to avoid paying into escrow…think of it as like rich people don’t wanna pay taxes and escrow is like the NHL version of a player tax to insure a 50/50 split.
      Signing bonuses are also given as one large chunk of money. Imagine getting a check for $5 million in one day…that sounds sweet to me. And in order for this to happen the owners have to have deep pockets to absorb that kind of a hit all at once.

      But I can’t understand by the group that comment here is saying over and over $8 million for eight years for him. He put on his comparables that he deserves $8,000,000 over eight years? He hasn’t broken 50 points has he? In the seasons he’s played I think is generally a 45 to 50 point player at best and a player who plays with an edge. I think even $6 million per year would be too much for him. I don’t see the value at $8m ever. I can see a bridge deal around $6 and as mentioned he’s not irreplaceable.

      • I’d never pay a winger 8 million bucks per year.

    • Could be either but it doesn’t change the fact that Brady should feel justified in asking for what his peers have gotten.

      It’s really interesting. Here is a player that is coming into his own. A potential star. The type of player a team rebuilds for and with. Yet the owner doesn’t want to justify giving him what is becoming the established norm in the league. Happier being in perpetual rebuild to save some cash?

      Then the fans who say sign or get out. This is why you tolerate losing seasons so you can draft a few of these type players and build around them. So what… trade for more futures?

      One thing I have seen in sports which is fascinating is the addiction to losing certain segments of a fan base can develop. I see it in the burgh with the pirates all the time. Expectations and hope and excitement for a championship is replaced by excitement for young players and their potential. These fans lose site of the true goal. This feeds into many owners hands as it keeps costs down.

      I can’t help but feel Brady’s situation fits right into this scenario

      • Your scenario simply highlights the old adage that some owners have more money than brains, and is exactly what is wrong with professional sports.

        Please the fans by doling out far more than the players is worth or needs … and then watch them turn on you like a rabid dog if and when it blows up in your face and the player doesn’t perform up to the value of his contract. Which your team is then stuck with.

      • Not sure this applies to OTT Chrisms, as George has posted multiple times, they offered Karlsson big $, he left. Duchene, same thing. Both were good things in the end for the team. Like I said earlier, I don’t think big signing bonuses are the norm for young guys coming off ELC’s, unless they are superstars.
        Leafs seem to think Matthews is, I would agree. They think Marners is too. I’m not so sure about that one, but very good player.
        Tkachuk, I lean to more of a good to very good, jury is out IMO on the very good.

        If Brady was Matthews good, my guess is Melnyk pays him the SB. But just a guess. They don’t have anyone that good. Most teams don’t.

        Pirates let guys walk because they are 24th in revenue and MLB doesn’t have a hard cap. IE – Yankees in 2019 $745M, Dodgers – $555M. Phillies where Mccutchen went – $396M. Pirates – $249M.

      • S.o.P, what about Pasta, Ovi, or Rantanen? Definitely deserve to get paid imo.

      • The baseball to hockey business model isn’t comparable ray. That’s for sure. But the culture that exists inside the fan base I think is comparable to many other sports when it comes to rebuilding.

        And pirates rarely walk. They get traded for more futures who get good and get traded for more futures. This cause the team, who can pay them, don’t. Cause the owner would rather make a little more profit than win. Their right? Yes! Does the fan base find other ways to cheer! Many do.

      • Pettersson and Hughes just signed extensions and neither has a SB, and for less $ than is being reported for Brady. Similar situations, status and age wise.
        Both are valuable players but different. Are they less valuable than Brady?
        Both play positions of higher value than the wing.
        I don’t think he has earned a bigger salary than either of them, and definitely not with a SB thrown in. If he signs for the full 8, then maybe the higher salary as you buy more UFA years.
        Just my opinion on the player.
        Kind of with SOP on not paying wingers as much as high end D or C’s.

  11. He put on his comparables that he deserves $8,000,000 over eight years?

    Should read; has anyone have any or can show us a comparable player making $8×8 with similar production….you know, points, goals, assists…things that help a team win?

  12. B Tkachuk will be under paid. Everyone’s making $9m aren’t they?

    He better make less than Petersson

  13. What is the difference between a bonus and a boner ? You’re better half doesn’t mind blowing your bonus

    • Snicker.

      I even liked that the joke was modernized to fit the accepted norms of today’s society!

      Well done.

      • Ah ah ah, Silver Seven, sweet.Somehow, you managed to not even make this sound vulgar.

    • Leaves no room for “yeah, buts” – that’s for sure. Excellent article Len. Thanks

    • I couldn’t get pass his first gripe stating how Eichel already made $40 million FAR more than most of us could dream of making… ya so what extraordinary talent that you can say in a world of billions of people, you’re easily top 10 of? Or spent and dedicated your entire (childhood) life to? Oh nothing? Then you don’t deserve a crazy amount of money for something you and a billion other people can do.
      People need to embrace and celebrate people who commit and excel to their craft and be handsomely rewarded not be basically come off looking petty and sounding jealous.

  14. LEN,

    A must read for some of the fantastical dreamers.