NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2021

by | Oct 12, 2021 | Rumors | 42 comments

Some more Jack Eichel speculation plus the latest on the Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported Jack Eichel remains adamant about undergoing artificial disc replacement. While the procedure has never been done on an NHL player, some teams are warming to the idea if they can acquire him from the Buffalo Sabres.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Those interested clubs, however, are insisting on having a conditional aspect tied to any trade based on Eichel’s recovery and health. He’d be sidelined for four months with no guarantee he’ll be fully fixed up. The Sabres will thus have to alter their trade demands. General manager Kevyn Adams acknowledged an Eichel deal would have to come with conditions likely tied to games played, etc.

LeBrun believes the Minnesota Wild are out of the Eichel market because it would take moving a lot of cap space to absorb the center’s $10 million annual average value. He doesn’t see the Philadelphia Flyers getting involved based on their offseason moves. The Los Angeles Kings also don’t seem to be that involved.

The Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks did their due diligence and LeBrun believes they’re still in it to some degree. The Ducks make the most sense as they’re rebuilding with youth but he wondered how much it would cost them to acquire Eichel. He also believes there are other suitors yet to be identified.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also didn’t see the New York Rangers pursuing Eichel. He made that assessment before the Blueshirts re-signed Mika Zibanejad, a move that should take them out of the market for the Sabres center.

It appears the teams with the best chance of acquiring Eichel are those with plenty of salary cap space, as well as promising trade bait such as extra draft picks and/or prospects and young NHL players.

The Ducks would fall into that category and would make the most sense. However, the asking price could be Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale and I don’t see them parting with either guy.

The Ottawa Senators would be a prime candidate but who knows if cantankerous Senators owner Eugene Melnyk would sign off on this. The Columbus Blue Jackets have lacked a true first-line center for years and also possess the assets to swing a deal. The same goes for the Arizona Coyotes but they might not be keen to take on that big salary.

I’m skeptical that the Flames can land Eichel. Cap Friendly shows them with just $300K in projected cap space entering this season so they’ll have to dump a lot of salary to take on his contract. Some will suggest offering Johnny Gaudreau given his UFA status next summer or Sean Monahan with a year left on his contract. However, their respective no-trade clauses could prevent a trade with the Sabres. Let’s not forget the Sabres would want assurances of signing either guy which they likely won’t get.

NEW YORK POST: Mark W. Sanchez reports Rangers general manager Chris Drury is attempting to trade defenseman Libor Hajek. They’re carrying him on the roster for now rather than risk another club plucking him off waivers. The chance of moving him within the next couple of days appears minimal.


  1. What gets me about pundits like LeBrun and Dreger and Brooks constantly speculating about where Eichel could wind up is that, while they dwell on things like salary cap space and who it might cost to land him, they never seem to focus on the underlying factor – is it within the realms of possibility that, whatever surgery he pursues, there is a chance he may never play again or, if he did, could it affect his game?

    I’m sure the GMs of Anaheim, Calgary, Ottawa, NYR – or whichever team pops into their fluid minds on any given day – have absolutely NO intention of taking on that cap hit – or any portion thereof – never mind relinquishing valuable assets, on a ? of that magnitude.

    Even a “cantankerous” owner didn’t get to be a multi-millionaire by being dumb to the bone.

    • George, Those pundits have consistently mentioned the potential effect of whatever procedure Eichel undergoes upon his playing career. LeBrun duly noted that when writing about the interested clubs wanting a conditional aspect in any trade for him based on Eichel’s health.

      • The big issue in thus that people have ignored is the contract insurance. Buffalo provably has no issue in ADR if Eichel makes the contract non guaranteed. The contract insurer is not paying hus salary if he can’t pkay again because an unapproved surgery was done. Health i surancepolicy in the USA operates that way. They might not cover certain procedures that are experimental vs covering more proven ones.

        Because if thus stalemate if a trade can’t be done by mid December expect buffalo to suspend Eichel so he can’t accrue a season and NMC kicks in.

        Buffalo trading him in the season ( assuming no other transactions) need to take back around $8M in salary in a season trade of Eichel.

        A trade with Vegas likely would be something like Smith, Tuch, a couple conditional 1st tied to Eichel playing 2 regular season games or 1 playoff game.

        With a team like Anaheim they need to take cap back like Henrique and another $3.5M+ player, along with that probably a prospect and a couple of 1sts.

      • Well, in a sense, that is exactly what I was trying to get at – i.e., if they’re aware of the potential effect of surgery then why do they constantly bring his name up? Being a lot closer to the hockey scene than any of us they must also know that no GM in his right mind is going to give up quality assets for someone who, almost assuredly, won’t play any appreciable games this season – if any – if surgery is done right away, and, if not, be prepared to let him play at the start thereby risking aggravation. Nor is Buffalo about to withhold $8 mil just to get rid of him, regardless of the return. Why not just say what most seem to agree on – he has to show he can play – either now without the operation or, following the procedure.

        Otherwise, constantly bringing his name up is viewed as nothing more than column-filler.

      • Hi Dan, the insurance issue was discussed on here quite a bit early on in this saga, but seems to have been dismissed as there has been no reporting on that as being an issue.
        If it was, than my guess is we would know it.

  2. Eichel in the Bruins box last night at the Sox game 🤷‍♂️
    I think we all know where he wants to go.

      • Maybe he can be a DH. It’s not like that requires much movement

      • Lyle. Good one. Lol
        Speaking of hockey/baseball players, former Little league WS MVP Chris Drury has been pretty tight lipped on all business. There was no news leaked prior to Zib signing. If Rangers where interested in Eichel, there’s nothing coming out of front office. As far as the disk replacement surgery, I recall podcast with the neurosurgeon who does the procedure saying he should be on ice 8 weeks after surgery? Where are you getting 4 months.

      • This was from interview
        “the disc replacement procedure would have Eichel back on the ice in six weeks and perhaps competing in practice in as few as eight weeks”

      • And if that “perhaps” isn’t an alarm bell – only in the sense of what you would have had to give up to acquire him – then any GM who ventures down that road is a complete moron.

        Colin White is deemed out for the season following shoulder surgery … but a procedure involving an element that controls your very ability to MOVE can be deemed ready to go in about 8 weeks. Perhaps.

    • They were playing Tampa and he will be on ltir for a while. Hmmmmmm?

      Kucherov already has an “over the cap” t-shirt picked out for him.

  3. Oh no….another Eichel trade story ? Must be a slow news day.

    • As far as Hajek. If there was any interest, I’m guessing he would’ve been dealt already. Fans pretty upset about not waving him and instead sending Kravtsov down. Maybe NY isn’t interested in Eichel, but I still feel they’re going to do something. Maybe Hajek part of a deal? Team has been consistently saying they expect to be in playoffs. That’s the goal. I asked yesterday, why give Zib an 8 year deal just to lower AAV unless you need extra space. Why trade Buchnevich for what most thought wasn’t a very good return. Except more cap space.

      • The Rangers will soon be in Cap hell. Fox will come in at 9mill per soon along with deals for KK and Laf, who looked really good in camp. Strome will have to resigned for 6mil per or replaced. Then in 2 years, Miller and Nils will need new contracts. Cap space will be disappearing soon enough.

      • Well, now being reported that Kravtsov has been given permission to seek a trade.
        Also, Frank. Don’t get to renegotiate deals in hockey.

      • Frank,

        While I am 100% in agreement that NY can’t really afford Eichel, the cap hell part not so much.

        Kakko hasn’t earned anything more than a bridge deal so far. Unless he has an outstanding season he won’t be a short term issue.

        Having a boatload of up and coming talent ( they currently have 4 capable right d-men. Trouba, Fox, Jones, Lunqvist in the system and Schneider on the way. Lindgren, Miller, Nemmeth, Robertson on the way.)

        Up front , Panarin, Kakko, Kreider, Laffrienere, Kravstov etc.

        IF every one of these prospects turns out (not likely) it gives them flexibility.

        They don’t need Jones, Trouba, Fox and Lunqkist.

        They don’t need Kreider, Panarin, Laffrienere, Kakko and Kravstov.

        Some of these players are easily expendable for cheaper assets.

        Granted, more than likely Panarin and Trouba are difficult to move at full hit, But moving Kravstov, Kakko, etc won’t be an issue.

  4. To me, the three main questions concerning a potential Eichel trade are:
    1) Who has the assets Buffalo will accept that they’re willing to give up?
    2) Who has the cap space for the next 5 years, without having to trade away a core player during those years to remain compliant, to take Eichel?
    3) And the one everyone seems to overlook, who’s willing to risk “getting burned” should Eichel not return to full ability?
    Answer those three questions and you’ve identified the most likely suitors.

    • Please add # 4:

      What targets for post surgery play are included in the deal and what assets are they tied to?

      Which isn’t my idea; George is amplifying this point made elsewhere and makes total sense. The key to the deal.

    • Hi Paul

      Answer to 1&2…. “Very few teams”

      Answer to 3…. “Very very few teams”

      I’d be surprised if there are 3 teams that are in all of your 1,2,3

      So… Adams, lower ask, retain, accept conditional picks, move on

  5. Breaking news from Habsland! Suzuki signs big money, long term extension. 8 years, 7.875AAV. Thankfully, Bergevin realized what had to be done. They’re betting big on Suzuki and I think it’ll pay off.
    New bettors pool for us Habs fans. Pick the exact date when it’ll be near universally accepted that this deal is a bargain for the Habs. I say April 10, 2023.

    • Yep that should be the date the Habs are officially out of the playoffs and they realize they don’t have a number 1 center

      • So you are saying the Habs make the playoffs this year.

      • Nope I’m saying they give him a pass as the Habs have already started there excuses as to why they’re not making the playoffs. Price out, Weber out, no more Danault. At least that’s the excuse my friends use. Next year though in April 2023 like Howard states they will get tired of him and realize they need a number 1 center. Galchenyuk was actually better at the same age and we know what happened there. I would have bridged Suzuki before paying him number 1 center money just to see if he can be an 80 point guy and be a plus player. He’s done nothing to show that he’s anything more than a good number 2 center. Not saying he won’t be more but I’d rather see a hint of it before I pay him those kinds of dollars for that kind of term.

      • What The Heck, you seem to have misunderstood me. I think it’s a solid deal for the Habs and, before too long, everyone will see what a bargain it is for the team. And NO WAY was Galchenyuk better than Suzuki as an all around center at that age or any age.

      • What do you mean by all around center Howard. He’s a minus 20 as a Hab so far. Galchenyuk was producing at the exact same pace at the same age. Not saying Suzuki won’t be better but for that contract they could have bridged him to make sure. A 65 point player who’s been a minus player every year for 8 years at almost 8 million yikes. Not to mention He’s small and plays small.

    • Howard, I totally agree. If you look at his average production projected over 82 games for his two NHL seasons you see 15g 32a 47 pts in year one, followed by 22g 47a 69 pts in year 2. AND he’s a C. So he’s content with an 8-year deal at $7.875 AAV.

      Meanwhile, Ottawa’s malcontent – a winger – has average 52 pts per over 3 years and somehow he, his agents, and daddy think that’s worth north of 8.4 mil per over 8 years, but in fact would rather sign a short-term deal like his brother so they can hold out for an even bigger return in 3 years.

      You’re damned right the Habs got a great deal there.

  6. Just bought an 11-foot pole for the Jackets just in case they did reach Jack Eichel with the 10-foot pole
    Jackets could certainly use a healthy Jack Eichel but he is not and the price is way too high. They have a #1 center coming soon from Michigan.

  7. I think it’s too much money for any young kid who only has a few years to show and two or three years of growth deserves a bridge to keep growing into a big payday.

    With that being said he was a major contributor the last two years in the playoffs and SCF
    I like this kid, I like his demeanor.
    Bergevin and Gagner show how real professionals do business.

    • Habfan. I agree. I keep arguing that NY could wait another year before doing extension for Fox. Even if they don’t wait, I think “cap hell” is more a concern here than for GM’s. Montreal showing 13 players under contract next year and already over cap by 2 mil. They’re currently 10 mil over now but juggling ltir and Prices abs emcee to stay under.

      • I share your concerns over the cap hell that the Habs are entering, Sklick. But the challenge would only get worse if Bergy waited a year or two. The price would then be that much more punitive. Look at the 9 million dollar contracts being handed out to good but not exceptional D right now.

        Heck, look at Zebanejad: two very good seasons and then a “just” a pretty good one last year. He signed for 8.5 million.

        Is it a gamble? Yes. Either way.

      • “ Heck, look at Zebanejad: two very good seasons and then a “just” a pretty good one last year. ”

        His “pretty good year” last year suffering from covid issues is still better than Suzuki’s best season.

        Prior to the last year, Zibanejads totals are still overall better than Suzuki’s (with exception of 16-17 where he missed a good chunk due to injury).

        And he’s shown overall growth over 6-7 years before getting 8.5.

        Over the last 2 years, Zibanejad ranks 12th in the nhl in point totals. Suzuki doesn’t make the top 60. This is an awful comparison.

        Heck, Strome ranks 26th. And I wouldn’t give him 7.85 per tomorrow.

      • Captain Obvious, you neglected to point out the “obvious” reason why it’s an awful comparison. Zibenajid is 28 and has played 9 NHL seasons. Suzuki is only 22 and has played 2. I think Suzuki is at least as good a player now as Zib was 6 years ago, maybe better.

      • That will remain to be seen, what we think and what is reality are 2 different things completely.

        I’ll take a guy who has progressed over the last 6-8 years over a guy with one decent season.

        Maybe he does become the better player, maybe he doesn’t. It is not yet obvious that he will.

        It will be interesting across the board how not playing against the same 7-8 teams 7-8 times translates this year.

  8. Lyle and all

    Quick question re LTIR…

    As at this posting; Malkin still not listed as LTIR

    Already guaranteed he will be off > 24 days and/or 10 games…

    Is there an advantage for NOT having him on LTIR?

    • Malkin was placed on LTIR today.

      • 👍👍 Many thanks Lyle

  9. Good contract (Suzuki)… team and player

    To me (comparing to Tkachuck)…. Certain not as strong, as big, or has as much grit; but is trending (production wise) up; is much faster; has much better hands; one could argue …. A higher hockey IQ; and is a C

    Good one GMMB and Suzuki (and agent)

  10. Jack Eichel gained renown at the 2015 entry draft when some people wondered if he would be picked over McDavid, but he’s managed to become an example of a “be careful of what you wish for” case since then. The Sabres had 81 points his first year and haven’t approached that number thereafter.. He has been a minus player in five of his six seasons, as the Sabres fell to 62 points in 2018, when he was minus-25.. One has to ask himself whether the Sabres have been so bad despite him or because of him before deciding if even a healthy Eichel is worth a $10 million cap hit plus the assets the Sabres are asking for him.

  11. Suzuki: ‘It’s like I was playing NHL ’20 and I could just give myself whatever contract’

    Priceless! Absolutely priceless!

    • From the sound of this statement it seems some really tough negotiations / late nights were put into this contract negotiation.

      MB: “ hey kid, if you were a gm, what would you give you”

      NS: “definitely not a penny less than 8 years and 7.785 per”

      MB: “ you drive a hard bargain kid, done! “

      NS: 👍🤟🤣😀😁😆

    • That’s obviously the way it went down.

      It’s not a bad contract at all IF he continues to improve. I do think (as well as they do) he’s not a 1st line center but a very good 2nd who can handle 1st line duty.