NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2021

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Rumors | 34 comments

Update on the contract impasse between the Senators and Brady Tkachuk plus the latest on Tomas Hertl, Phil Kessel and Aleksander Barkov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators head coach D.J. Smith is making plans to start the upcoming season without Brady Tkachuk. The 21-year-old left winger’s contract talks with management remain at a stalemate.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Garrioch cites St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland reporting Tkachuk wants a three-year contract but the Senators prefer a longer-term. It’s believed they tabled an eight-year deal worth an annual average value of $8 million.

Strickland said Tkachuk loves Ottawa but wants to be cautious and see how the next three seasons unfold. Garrioch said the club has nothing but respect for Tkachuk and doesn’t want these negotiations to get vindicative or personal. However, a bridge deal could adversely affect his chances of being named team captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strickland took to Twitter yesterday reporting a lack of communication from the Senators is a big reason why a deal hasn’t been reached yet, sometimes going several days without reaching out to the winger’s camp. This runs counter to reports out of Ottawa claiming Sens general manager Pierre Dorion is in constant contact with Tkachuk’s representatives. Strickland also points out the Senators have a history of doing this to their best players under owner Eugene Melnyk.

Meanwhile, TSN’s Chris Johnston reports Senators sources said they can reach the salary-cap minimum for this season without Tkachuk under contract. They aren’t feeling pressure to become cap compliant by the league’s 5 pm ET deadline on Monday.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun considers Tomas Hertl an early name to watch for on this season’s trade-bait board. The 27-year-old San Jose Sharks center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. LeBrun believes the Sharks would’ve loved to extend Hertl’s contract this summer but he wasn’t ready to enter that type of conversation. He could be in play by the trade deadline if the Sharks are out of playoff contention by then and he remains unsigned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl also recently hinted at a willingness to accept a hometown discount but winning also remains a priority. The Sharks’ performance this season could determine his future in San Jose.

Darren Dreger believes the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel will also be on this season’s trade-bait list. He’s a UFA next summer and doesn’t appear to fit into the rebuilding Coyotes’ plans. The 34-year-old winger wants a fresh start with a competitive team, if not a contending club. He’s got a big cap hit and some no-trade protection. However, the actual salary is only $1 million. He could be a fit elsewhere later in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel earns $6 million in actual salary but $5 million of it was as a signing bonus which the Coyotes already paid. He could draw interest by the trade deadline from playoff contenders looking for scoring depth.

LeBrun believes Aleksander Barkov will be staying with the Florida Panthers for the rest of his career. There’s been a lot of talks between the 26-year-old center and the Panthers about a long-term contract extension. He doubts Barkov will hit next summer’s free-agent market, suggesting a deal could be struck within the next several weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers are a rising force in the Eastern Conference. Barkov plays a critical role as their captain, first-line center and top two-way forward. I’ll be very surprised if they don’t get a long-term extension done.


  1. Good player, but North of 8m$ for a 45 point player good? Hockey is once again going to be ruined by stupid contracts…..

    • Yup. And I would bet that this Strickland character is a buddy of Papa Tkachuk.

      “Strickland also points out the Senators have a history of doing this to their best players under owner Eugene Melnyk.” Maybe you could reach out to him, Lyle, and ask for some names. You know, something more than vague assertions.

      • The whole TKACHUCK family are good hockey players, but they are nothing but a pain in the ass.

    • It’s not fair to call Tkachuk a 45 point player. During his ELC, he averaged 25G 52P per 82 games. He just turned 22 years old. He will only get better. Plus he contributes physicality. Some people may be concerned that his style of play might lead his body to break down earlier than it would for a non-physical player but given that an 8 year deal would leave him short of 30 at the end, I think that 8 years at $8-8.5m. AAV would be very fair for the Sens.

      • He’s had 2 years since his ELC year and if you average out his stats over 82 games it’s remained exactly at 52 pts. Yes, he brings “grit” to the game – but is a 52 pt player with grit worth $8 to $8.5 mil a year in your book?

        If so, I’m glad you’re not the GM here.

      • I am even more in Brady’s corner if the bridge deal thing is true. But he should be asking for less money. He has every right to ask for 8 plus mil if he is selling ufa years. Those should be bought for young players at a massive premium. But if he is gambling on himself he should ask for less. I’d say in the six range? Backloaded so the qualifying offer is higher? And give the kid the signing bonus for Pete’s sake. It’s not that big a deal.

      • George,
        A 52 point player with grit is not worth $8m. – if he’s a veteran in his mid to late 20s and beyond and has hit his peak. Tkachuk is 22. He’ll continue to get better. He’ll be worth the money over the course of the contract.

      • But I would expect to see at least an increase, however slight, each year over a 3-year span when based on an 82-game average. But he’s remained stagnant at 52 pts per. How long do you wait to see some sort of progress before you start to wonder if $8 mil is too much?

        Do you have a crystal ball you can share with GMs?

  2. Re Tkachuck and “ loves Ottawa but wants to be cautious and see how the next three seasons unfold.”

    Sens fans…. Do you want to name a captain that is cautious about your future?

    I realize that this is a reporter paraphrasing and possibly “embellishing” the gist… but if this in general has some merit…. He would not be my choice as Captain

    This is becoming too much distraction for Sens….. trade may be the better long term option

    • Many here will agree Pengy. I truly believe that Brady – if left to his own devices – would sign that 8-year deal and be here … but that, in the Tkachuk family, daddy is a control freak and the boys toe the line.

      • Maybe dad is driving this a bit, but who could blame him for wanting Brady to only sign for 3 years. What has Ottawa done in the last decade+ to suggest they are an organization that prioritizes winning and values retaining talent? Signing with them for 8 years could be a jail sentence for a 22 year old kid.

      • Well, in that span you’ve mentioned they have won more playoff rounds than a certain “storied franchise” and, in recent years, came within a double-OT goal against the eventual cup champions to reach the finals.

      • Just to be specific, since the turn of the millennium that “storied franchise” has won 5 playoff rounds while Ottawa has won 9, including a trip to the Cup finals and, in recent years, came close again.

      • George only in your mind bud.

      • Show me where the facts are wrong, Ron.

  3. Kessel moved at TDL…. unless he falls off the planet in production…. Yep

    And a to-through trade more than likely….

    Arz retains 50% and middle team retains 50% (of the remaining 50%)…. Note…. Leafs already retaining 15%

    At TDL (about 1/3rd year left) after Arz already retains 50%…

    Middle team retaining (as well as final team receiving him for) about $570 K in Cap space and only about $85 K cash

    Last year PK…. 82 game pace of 29-34-63….. if he drops to 1/2 of that pace at say 15-17-32… with his playoff abilities and 2 Cups…. Retention above… maybe 2nd or low 3rd to Arz, 5th to middle team

    If somehow he maintains close to a 30 goal (82 game) pace…. With retentions above…. 1st and 4th to Arz; Arz pays the middle team the 5th

  4. I am Interested in the Barkov contract. If there ever was one he is worth $10m Will he come in a little less ?

    6 days and counting…
    The Panthers are my preseason pick. Flyers will be much better and I think Seattle will hang around and may even grab a spot (if the stars align )

    I predict B.Tkachuk misses several games before this gets cleared .

    • Looks like it’s trending that way SilverSeven. And if history means anything, players who miss all of training camp and some early season games usually wind up spinning their wheels throughout the rest of the season.

  5. I would also wager a groin injury is in the cards for anyone missing camp

  6. Here’s my trade proposal:

    To Toronto:

    Brady Tkachuk projected cap hit 8-9 mil
    Thomas Chabot ((8.0 mil)

    To Ottawa:

    – William Nylander (6.9 mil)
    – Morgan Reilly (5.0 mil) with projected 8-9 mil on next contact
    – Alexander Kerfoot (3.5 mil)
    – Pierre Engvall (1.25 mil)
    – Tommy Liljegren (0.8 mil)


    • Can’t wait for George to come respond to this one.
      Great for Leafs, absolutely nothing there for the sens

    • Not – a – chance. Tkachuk for Nylander even up – yes. But Chabot isn’t in play.

      Nylander and Rielly are very good players – two of the other 3 are a dime a dozen, while Liljegren is a career AHLer who would be about 8th on the Sens D depth.

  7. Well, Frank, my first reaction is about Chabot for Reilly. If the Leafs can’t afford Reilly at a projected cost of over 8 million, why can they afford Chabot? And why would the Sens trade a good signed player for one who could walk after this season?

    You must see Tkachuk as better than Nylander as you include three extra players. I don’t see any of the extras as being of particular value to a Sens club deep with prospects.

    • And, not to pile on Frank, but Tkachuk would cost the Leafs more than Nylander’s 6.9 miillion, and for a longer term. Which further exacerbates the Leafs’ cap problems.

    • I see Nylander as more skilled than Brady but Tkachuk brings the physical edge Nylander doesn’t have. Send woukd get skill and lock in a top 6 player at a reasonable cap hit, as well as avoid the bridge deal Tkachuk wants. Toronto can table a longer deal he might take.

      Reilly is a good player but has a muffin shot on the point and is not very physical. Not worth 8-9 but Chabot is already making 8 and Ott can afford an 8 or more cap hit for Reilly.

      I think Kerfoot would fit in better with Ottawa and Engvall brings some versatility, but I was just looking at extras to make dollars work for Toronto.

      Toronto’s bottom 6 are the real problem right now. Nick Kypreos on his podcast said it best that you need bottom six to be difficult to play against. They need to get greasy and I don’t see much there.

      Bunting needs to bring that edge to third line. Simmonds can barely keep up. He fights on eve every 15-20 games and doesn’t do much in terms of checking, hitting or anything else. Mikheyev has the skill and moves but no finish. Kerfoot thinks he’s a top 6 player but that would be fine if he’s playing on Anaheim but a contending team, he’s useless for top 6 or bottom 6, and although he can be positionally sound, he doesn’t really want to be a third or fourth line player or take on that role by preference.

      Engvall has to be pushed every 3-6 hours. Tall and moments of brilliance but no consistent testosterone to his game. He’s like a gazelle on figure skates. Not much upside IMO.

      Anyway, I’ll amend the trade to Nylander and Kerfoot for Thachuk to try and make the numbers work. Toronto would get the better deal on this. Can always throw in more….

      • As much as I like Tkachuk, I’d say No to this deal.
        Kerfoot and Nylander were the top scorers for the team in the playoffs.
        Kerfoot is a versatile forward who plays in all situations and is the best #3C option, the others like Kampf and Brooks are not locks to be effective in that position.
        Leafs already have it bad enough with money in top 4 forwards we can’t make it worse.
        Now if Steeves somehow completely transforms himself and is NHL ready in a year then maybe they can move Kerfoot, but at this time, no, Kerfoot isn’t moving.

        I also do not think the Leafs need to add a player of Kerfoot caliber into this deal, a straight trade (nylander/Tkachuk) isn’t crazy and at best someone like Engvall is added to make the $$ work.

  8. Kerfoot and Nylander for Tkachuk?
    In a heartbeat for the Sens.
    Not on your life for TML.

    Kerfoot surprised me in the playoffs, I hadn’t realized how high his hockey IQ was.
    Nylander is the whipping boy but I saw a player who was in the slot and crease.

    Sens get a centre that they need (injuries) and a steady offensive weapon.

    TML gets a Hyman upgrade who won’t replace Nylander’s points and a further overload of their top 4 cap hits.

    • I would take Nylander on my team any day HF30 and agree he gets a bad rap in TO. His deal looks reasonable now too.
      He played C with the Marlies and delivered, hasn’t had the chance with the Leafs as they didn’t have the need.

      Would be curious to see how he would do in that role if given the opportunity. Has the skill set and isn’t small.

      If the Leafs do break up the Fab 4 after this season, the B’s should take a look.

      • Ray, if he doesn’t break up the Fab 4, at some point Dubas will be screaming Help! And when he can no longer be able to assure LeafsNation that We Can Work It Out, he’ll become the Nowhere Man with fans fed up with The Long And Winding Road, leading to Revolution.

      • Dubas could always get a job as a Paperback Writer.

      • Good one. Missed that. And if that doesn’t work … well, there’s always Something.

  9. Dubas would have to work Eight Days a Week to fix his cap problems.

    • LOL. Another good one!

  10. Ullmark just blew his chance at the starting job that is Swayman’s job to lose. I’m not convinced after his play in three games he’s even a good backup. Ullmark stinks!