NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2021

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Rumors | 33 comments

Check out the latest on Phil Kessel, Dylan Strome and Vitali Kravtsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

GOPHXN.COM: Craig Morgan reports it’s no secret Phil Kessel wants to be traded. He also indicated the Arizona Coyotes are “working feverishly to grant his wish.”

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Kessel missed all of the preseason but was “largely unnoticeable” during the Coyotes’ season-opening loss to Columbus. Head coach Andre Tourigny noted the 34-year-old winger was behind his teammates in that game because of his absence from the preseason with an injured foot. “Phil’s track record speaks for itself,” he said, indicating his staff intends to give him some slack as he adjusts to their new system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once Kessel gets his game up to speed he should have good value in the trade market closer to the March 21 trade deadline. Most teams currently can’t afford to take on the $6.8 million of his $8 million salary-cap hit that the Coyotes carry unless they’re willing to retain a healthy chunk of it to facilitate a trade.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus believes Dylan Strome won’t be with the Chicago Blackhawks for much longer. He’s now their 14th forward and they can’t send him to the minors because they know he won’t clear waivers.

The 24-year-old center can’t seem to crack the lineup with Jonathan Toews and Tyler Johnson in the way. Head coach Jeremy Colliton lacks faith in his defensive game to put him in a bottom-six role.

Blackhawks management is listening to trade offers for Strome, which they’ve been doing since last season’s trade deadline. Lazerus, however, believes they should retain him as insurance in case something happens with Toews or Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot could also depend on the Blackhawks’ performance through the early going. They could hang onto Strome if they continue playing as poorly as they did through their first three games, inserting him into the lineup to shake things up. If they turn things around while he remains a healthy scratch, that could make it easier for management to ship him out.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov has returned to Russia after refusing to report to their AHL affiliate in Hartford last week. It appears the Rangers are seeking a trade for the 21-year-old forward, who was also unhappy over where he’s been playing in the lineup during his brief tenure with the Blueshirts. Head coach Gerard Gallant said general manager Chris Drury is in regular contact with Kravtsov’s agent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had Kravtsov accepted the assignment to Hartford he’d be back in the Rangers’ lineup now because of the recent injury to second-line right wing Kaapo Kakko. Speculation suggests the Rangers could seek a second-round pick for him in the trade market. 


  1. I hope the Rangers play hardball with Kravtsov. About time that these young players learn that they need to earn their spots in the the NHL. They should not trade him for less than he is worth. Let him come back on his knees when he realizes he just lost his chance to play in the best league ion the world.

    • dov, they should play it exactly like Holland did with Puljujarvi.

    • I don’t think this is about making somebody come back on their knees. And IMO, it isn’t about proving a point. It’s about managing an asset. Best case scenario is he works on his game, the part that needs improving, and brings value to the Rangers long term.
      If he wants to play in the KHL instead, let him. To George’s point handle like Puljujarvi was handled. Clear expectations on what he needs to do to help the team win, when he demonstrates that he has, come on back and he will be welcome.
      And no, I wouldn’t trade him for a 2nd unless they believe he can’t improve.

      Not the first 21 year old that needed to mature. I know I did.

      • I think it is about proving a point, Ray. That point being, you as a wet behind the years rookie don’t get to tell your team where you play in the line up. Nor do you get to decide the terms of your contract need to be revised unilaterally by you.

        Surely it is undeniable that part of what needs improving is his attitude. Otherwise, I do agree with part of what you say: stay in Russia.

        Maybe he does mature like Pul. But more likely he gets lost on the never ending escalator carrying fresh prospects every year.

      • LJ, I think the point was made pretty clearly when he got sent down. No need to add anything to it IMO. The kid is letting bruised feelings/pride/ego get in the way of doing what he should; become a better player so he can play in the NHL. I would let that die down over time and hopefully some self awareness takes over. It’s about improving his game, and the team needs to keep it about that is my only point. Everything else just seems like noise.

        If he was good enough I assume he would be on the team. Right now he is borderline and waiver exempt. LAF & Kakko are waiver exempt and still on the team so it ain’t just about that. Couldn’t deal with it I guess. I dunno, but we have seen this act before.

  2. Kessel had a 5m bonus this year that should’ve already been paid out. Not 100% sure of this but I think he’s only owed 1m in actual dollars. Of which Toronto is paying 15%? Arizona is comfortable under cap so could easily retain the allowable max of 50%. About 425k in pay, but a 50-50 cap hit of 3.4M for each team.

    • Slick62 – he’s a RW and since the Senators are looking for scoring help on that side for this season and he’s a UFA next summer. I wouldn’t mind seeing him come in here. They certainly have room under the cap.

      • Dylan Strome is only 24. I recall Ryan taking some extra time to ripen. Still worth one more chance somewhere.

        How are the hot dogs and cheese supply in Ottawa ? Asking for a friend :]

      • LOL. Haven’t lost sight of the potential for girth expansion – just that one year with a guy who can still pot goals (20g 23a 43 pts in 56 gp last season – an 82 game average of 29g 34a 63 pts) might be worth the risk

      • You guys do know that the Kessel thing for hotdogs was sensationalist tripe by a certain Toronto reporter.

      • George. Wouldn’t mind him on Rangers. No Kravtsov. No Kakko. Traded Buchnevich
        Wonder what he’ll fetch.

      • Upper deck has an amazing limited edition Kessel day with the cup hockey card where Phil filled the Stanley cup with hot dogs and took a pic with it. He should have won playoff MVP but when your name is Crosby you have an inside track

      • Or, Sid contributed more to the team than Phil during the Stanley Cup run. But you’re probably right, the inside track thing makes much more sense..

      • As a pens fan… and Sid lover… both his conn smythe were dubious. Phil had an equal or better claim one year and tanger had the same the other.

      • Also a Pens fan. Anyone who thinks Phil or Tanger deserved the conn Smythe over Sid just simply wasn’t watching the games. Sure, both those guys had great playoff runs but Sid was doing it at both ends, winning face offs, setting guys up, and scoring clutch goals. Neither Letang or Kessel could say the same.

    • Hi Slick

      yes re math

      as at now …. Yotes on hook (going forward_) for $6.89 M in Cap; and $850 K in actual dollars

      50% retention and then a middle team retaining another 50% of that… final team gets a cap hit of (as at right now) just under $1.7 M and at a cost of about $210 K or so cash

      from previous deadline trades…. holding about $210K cash…. late 3rd, or low 4th

      Final team really wanting PK … could get him now for a 2nd (to Yotes); and maybe a 4th (middle team).

      Who would want him now; who has the space? What are they willing to pony up

      Reminder; Phill has a limited NTC

      Will be interesting

      As a Pens fan…. I am hoping HexBurkie are not interested… I think Phil is on the downside now

      • That’s not how retained salary works.

        The percentage retained cannot exceed 50 percent of the player’s salary (including all bonuses) and Salary Cap Hit. (Capfriedly)

        So Kessel 8m cap hit can’t go lower than 4m cap hit.

      • By trade deadline it can be much lower.

  3. Kessel to the Oscar Meyer Weiners for a left handed ketchup bottle and a dozen buns…and Oscar Meyer will hold 50% of the mayo?

  4. Does anybody else wonder about this tactic by teams/pundits/fans to knock down players, pointing out flaws and liabilities like character or expensive contracts yet expecting “good” trades?

    In what other business or transaction do you abase your product to make a sale?

    Cody Glass, anybody know why he’s struggling?

    • Cody Glass and a 2nd to NYR for Kratsov?

      • Cody Glass and Ryan Poehling swap one for one?

        Same age, about the same size, both have good pedigree

        Neither seems to live up to expectations and succeed in the NHL

  5. Leafs to relax team dress code …… I can only assume thats so Matthews and Marner can go directly from the rink to the nearest golf course immediately after their annual one and done playoff drive….

    Casual clothes to match their casual play…..

    • The depth of your hockey knowledge and what matters is again on full display! Bravo bud.

      • Mustn’t EVER take a little jab at the Mighty Leafs eh Ron? Come back when they win their first playoff round in 18 years.

      • George the constant troll. Yes another unnecessary comment and yes I needed to shed light on the level of commentators such as yourself.
        Too bad I don’t think arguing how dumb your comment is would bring about good dialogue. Keep doing what you do and yes there’s a joy of not commenting to the (your) daily nonsense.

      • George has never been a troll. Crotchety and obsolete in his views at times? Yes. Every old man has that right. But a troll? Never.

      • Err, thanks Chrisms …. I think. Anyway, it’s clear that, in his world, there is NO room for good-natured jabs at teams you dislike.

        Why do some of us do it? Simply because they made themselves such an easy target providing oodles of ammunition.

      • Yes very troll like. Thanks for defining it. He’s an older one, does it with subtlety much like his cheap shots with anyone who dares to disagree with his views which are always right.

        Not worth another word.

  6. W.Kane suspended for 21.
    Which just happens to be his favourite casino game

    • LOL. Now THAT is the best line of the week.