NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2021

by | Oct 7, 2021 | Rumors | 59 comments

Are the Buffalo Sabres finally closing in on a Jack Eichel trade? What’s the latest on Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, Nick Suzuki and Morgan Rielly? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports there could finally be some progress on the Jack Eichel front. Sources told him ongoing discussions between Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and clubs interested in acquiring the 24-year-old center have become more serious in recent days.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Much of that is due to those teams having access to Eichel’s medical records specific to the impasse between the center and the Sabres regarding treatment for a herniated disc in his neck. Speculation suggests one of the interested clubs is a West Coast team like the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks though sources from those teams are downplaying their interest. Turning to Eastern clubs, New York Rangers sources say they’re not among them.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported in his latest “32 Thoughts” column there’s a real push to reach a solution because Eichel’s displaced disc can’t be allowed to just sit on the nerve. It’s difficult to determine if he’ll be traded first or gets surgery, returns to health and plays some games for the Sabres to regain his trade value. There’s a growing belief there are clubs willing to allow Eichel to undergo disc replacement surgery but they have to be able to make a trade first.

Appearing Monday on the Jeff Marek Show, Friedman said the Calgary Flames were among the teams that “really tried” to acquire Eichel this summer. He also indicated not once did anyone say to him that Eichel wouldn’t go to Calgary. He also didn’t think the Sabres could swing a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights because the latter didn’t want to part with promising center Peyton Krebs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The biggest sticking point could be whether those teams interested in Eichel want to acquire him first and then allow him to have the disc replacement procedure done. The other will be the Sabres’ asking price. If it remains high, teams will be reluctant to take that chance.


Regarding the investigation into whether Evander Kane used a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, Friedman isn’t sure where this is going to go. However, he isn’t under the impression that transgression could jeopardize the winger’s contract with the San Jose Sharks if proven true.

Speaking of the Sharks, Friedman feels Tomas Hertl could fetch the best return if they decide to bring in new blood.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how things play out for Kane if that investigation into his COVID card (or the one into allegations of spousal abuse) turns out to be true. For now, the club is reportedly planning to start the season without him while the investigations continue.

As for Hertl, his future in San Jose depends on the Sharks’ performance this season. He’s hinted at a willingness to entertain a hometown discount but he also wants to play for a winner. If the Sharks are out of contention by the March trade deadline, Hertl could be playing elsewhere by then.

Friedman predicts the Montreal Canadiens could attempt to sign center Nick Suzuki to a contract extension sooner rather than later to avoid any more offer-sheet shenanigans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That depends on whether Suzuki and his agent are willing to sign a new contract before next summer. He’ll be coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. The possibility of an offer sheet would give Suzuki some leverage he otherwise wouldn’t have.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could let the season play out before making a decision on Morgan Rielly. It’s not just about how much it’ll cost to sign him but what else they need to do cap-wise if they sign him. His performance, and theirs, could determine the outcome here. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Leafs and Rielly play well, re-signing him is still going to force them to shed some salary. Cap Friendly shows them with $67.7 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23.

Assuming Rielly accepts a modest raise in his annual average value to $6 million to stay in Toronto, the Leafs won’t have sufficient space to re-sign fellow UFA Jack Campbell, RFA defenseman Rasmus Sandin and still fill out the rest of the roster with quality talent.


  1. The number of “true” (actually willing to trade) interested parties in Eichel (Handsome Jack… HJ) right now must be very small… they’d be giving up assets; and won’t have HJ playing (at best) likely until half way through the season

    That’s a weakened team for probably 1/2 a season, hoping for the future value of HJ’s performance to be worth it….to me … teams with serious playoff hopes this year, are likely “out” of the true interest window…. Leaving the transition/re-building clubs…..

    Sens…. Can’t see interest , ditto Wings

    To me …. IF a trade happens… likely destinations are limited to maybe…

    Kings; Ducks; Yotes; Jackets; Devils (have assets but why do it); Rangers (longer shot … would almost need conclusion that they would rather have HJ than *Zib next year)

    *I still say that if Rangers are a go on him; AND if they’ve concluded long term plans are HJ in Zib out…. That there is a 3 way trade that makes sense….

    Sabres retain 20% of HJ; and 50% of Zib on to-through

    Rangers get HJ at 80%

    Knights get Zib at 50%

    Sabres get Smith; and two guaranteed firsts (1 each from Rangers and Knights) ; a couple of prospects ; and conditional mid round picks that can become 1sts (if Zib re-ups in Vegas; and if HJ plays a certain number of games this year [45?])

    Add to that…. Are “bidding” clubs willing to cede to HJ’s demands of his desired surgery?

    Let’s not forget…. Successful surgery or not…. Still no guarantee that he returns to performance form (of a 1C worth $10 M /year)

    Adam’s has less and less bargaining power as time goes on

    Lower the price; make the deal; move on

    • Pengy. Forget about an Eichel in, Zib out. It’s not happening. Zib will get an extension. I’m guessing 8 years between 8-9m per

      • Hi Slick

        I’m with you re the most likely scenario; which has is also most logical

        That said; IF Rangers are in on Eichel; they may not want the Leaf formulae of nearing $20 M (I believe Zib is worth $9M) on top 2Cs

        And if that’s the case…. Big IF… then to me that 3 way deal works for all 3 teams

        Low odds that Rangers bite on Eichel; and therefore lower odds re a 3 way deal to make it happen

      • Yeah, Vegas gets a #1 center at 2.65 for a year? Buffalo gets prospects #1 picks and NY gets a 8 million LTIR contract for the foreseeable future?

        Excellent! Where does Drury sign up for that deal?

  2. Sandin is not worth much cap wise. Less than $2m for sure. On the other hand I Don’t see how Reilly takes less than $7m. Figure it out later DUMbASS

    E.Kane is on the ropes. Trouble his entire pro career. Sharks will have to do something .Would he clear wavers ?
    Top 3 rookie candidates has to include sleeper pick Eklund with the Sharks

    • Possibly SS

      I would not be surprised if the award goes to a certain goalie who now resides a short drive from Miami

      If Bobo falters…. He’ll be required to play a load of games… can a “back-up” 20 year old get the award???

      If he gets in say 30 games and goes high 920’s in save percentage…. Methinks it’s a possibility

      • Cole Caufield was asked who the most underrated player in the NHL from his US team and in a heartbeat he said…..certain goalie who now resides a short drive from Miami.
        He also predicted Zegras would get 70 pts.

    • Sweet!!! The constant cry of “I can’t see…” argument we enjoyed the past 4-5 years now. Yes you do have a good point.

  3. Eichel’s going to the b’s. He’s not interested in playing elsewhere.

    • Interested or not Eichel has no choice on where he is traded to. He doesn’t have a NTC of any kind.

      • And it’s been reported he doesn’t care where he goes, just wants out of Buffalo. Now

    • Wow yet another unfounded “Eichel to B’s”. It is getting tiresome these claims without any support. I’d love to get some reasoning, otherwise just give it up. The only basis I can figure to support this is that you’re forgetting to add “when his current contract expires in 5 years”. Otherwise, how does the GM you consider the worst in the NHL pull off this deal?

  4. Yesterday. when discussing the assertion that Tkachuk might want a short-term deal to see “which way the club is headed” at the end of it, there were posts suggesting players want to leave “due to the lack of playoff success,” To which I pointed out that, since the turn of the millennium, Ottawa has won 9 playoff rounds, including a trip to the finals once and just missing another by the grace of a double-OT loss to the Penguins – the eventual Cup winners – while a “storied franchise” has won 5 playoff rounds in the same span.

    Purely from a Canadian aspect, I went over the results again to see how all 7 teams fared in terms of playoff rounds won:

    Montreal – 12 including a Cup final
    Vancouver – 9 including a Cup final
    Ottawa – 9 including a Cup final
    Calgary – 5 including a Cup final
    Toronto – 5 – none since 2004
    Edmonton – 4
    Winnipeg – 3

    • You can add “including a Cup final” (2005/06) by Edmonton as well. 😉

      • Thanks KevJam – had it jotted down while going through the results but forgot it in the post

    • George since the 2007 cup finals appearance by Ottawa:

      missed playoffs 8 times
      4 playoffs seasons with 0 round won
      1 playoffs with 1 round won
      1 playoffs with 2 rounds won

      after winning 2 rounds in 2017 they had a lot of turnover and have not been back to the playoffs.

      With all that said they do look like a team on the rise and some very good young talent.

      • Caper, that’s still better than 0 playoff rounds won in 14 years!

      • No offence to Leaf fans, but they shouldn’t be the bar for measuring success.

        George, Brady for Jack?
        Pain in the neck for pain in the ass.

        If Jack is healthy, big win for Sens IMO.

      • Hoo boy, Ray. That would be tempting IF, as they, his complete medical records have been made known to interested teams and they show his preferred surgery would have a positive effect on enhancing his career.

        But I like the way you phrased it!

    • Interesting, George. Had I to guess I would not have gotten the order correct.

      I am not sure any fans of the top 4 on this list view their teams record here as successful. Yet, had one of them won a Cup six years ago but then floundered, they would. Says much about the perception of what a winning team is.

      • Sure does LJ. Again, just looking at the 7 Canadian teams, here are the spans gone without a Cup:

        Toronto – 54 years
        Vancouver – 51 years – no cup yet
        Calgary – 32 years
        Edmonton – 31 years
        Montreal – 28 years
        Ottawa (current incarnation) – 28 years – no cup yet
        Atl/Wpg – 21 years – no cup yet

        Not much about which to brag for fans, sad to say, or for teams to point to as a reason for players to hang around because of “playoff success.”

      • George: freudian slip? No notation next to the Leafs that says “no Cup yet.”


      • LOL. No, LJ, the “no cup yet” only refers to a win in the existence of the franchise. If you go all the way back to the first time the Cup was awarded I think you’ll find that the City of Ottawa still ranks 3rd or 4th all time.

    • Completely irrelevant George. All that matters is the cup. Finishing second is still a lost season. The last Canadian team to win the cup is Montreal so they’re at the top till the next Canadian team wins the cup. Could easily be Ottawa who knows, it’s the hardest trophy is sports to win.

      • Hardly “irrelevant” as a cold hard fact if, as everyone says, the goal at the start of every season is to win.

        And I think the Chicago Cubs, along with a few other MLB franchises, would disagree about Stanley being the hardest trophy to win.

      • Interesting how the owner of the Wild, Leipold, viewed success, vs how we the fan does, in the headline section when discussing Suter and Parise.
        From low gate revenue to 5-6 seasons of sold out. Success for him is tied to profitability and making the playoffs.
        Did he want a cup, I’m sure, but still successful. I agree.

        Everybody wants the cup, but also winning consistently and making the playoffs consistently should be considered a success in a league with 32 teams.

        Cue the losing attitude comments.

      • Yes George the goal at the beginning of the season is to win the cup not just a playoff round. In fact a case can be made that if you don’t win the cup you’re better finishing last so that you can get a higher draft pick. At least you win something that way. Losing in the finals is the worst outcome possible. You get nothing for finishing second. Just because 1 team in baseball had a long drought doesn’t mean it’s the hardest trophy to win. In baseball you can literally buy a championship see the Yankees who have done it multiple times and frankly the way basketball is now with Superteams it’s a joke. Other than fan perception and so called experience you’re better to finish last than second There’s only 1 way to get your name on the cup and it’s not by just making it to the finals.

      • But your reference to the Yankees underscores what I meant. Yes, franchises like that in baseball – and there are only a few that cap spend like that – make it very difficult if not damned near impossible for those franchises that can’t spend to that degree to win the World Series. Same with the NBA.

        Without the cap we know what teams would start to spend like drunken sailors in order to try and win – and they are in the minority when you look at the league as a whole. So at least every one of the 32 teams operate within the same parameters.

      • Every NY team that wins a championship “buys it” all the other teams just do it through free agency.

        A very small part of me was hoping Montreal won cup, so he could accuse them of buying a cup.

      • No losing attitude comments from me Ray. Seems quite clear that if one doesn’t have enough revenue you can’t afford to have a competitive roster. What fans want is something worth cheering for. Teams that make the playoffs give that, and a shot at the Cup.

        That said, Buffalo rank # 20 in league attendance. No bars or pool halls in Buffalo?

    • Also if Tkachuk signed an 8 year deal he could always demand a trade in year 2 or three if he doesn’t like how things are going. It isn’t like signing long term solidifies him as a Sen for its duration. The bridge deal isn’t about skipping out on the Sens. It’s about creating a position to make as much money as possible. Be it Ottawa or elsewhere.

      • Good point Jeff – especially if, as is being reported, his reason for wanting a bridge deal is to “see where the team is headed in 3 years …”

        You make a public request to be dealt if, in year 4 of your 8 year deal (at $8 Mil+ per year), things are not progressing as you’d like. On the other hand, you’d better be producing by then at a pace better than 52 pts per season if you want some other team to show any interest.

  5. Sportsnet is reporting Price has voluntarily entered the NHL’s Player Assistance Program. Best wishes to him.

    That sound you heard was the Canadiens hitting the bottom of their division. And bouncing.

    • The Canadians made the playoffs last season having Allen playing more games than Price. Price has missed a lot of hockey the past few years.

  6. George O

    You know that we live in a world of what have you done for me lately.

    What has Ottawa done lately other than proving to be unable to retain “star” players (some might say fortunately)

    Habs have had 2 good playoffs but previously was seen as a team who wouldn’t spend to the cap and couldn’t attract players (Duschene and Tavares) on account of language and taxes. Fortunately

    TML and Oilers each have a few of the top players in the league whom most players would love to play with (McDavid and Matthews)

    Winnipeg has traditionally had trouble keeping players and I doubt its the weather.

    When you’re paid $5 million, do you leave for $500,000 more?
    Do you refuse $7.5 million because you want $8 million?

    At the end of the day you want players who want to play for your team for more than just money?

    I think successful GMs know how to put a package of players who are better than the sum of its parts.
    Players who “want to win” have to lead teams to victory or be let go in my opinion.

    • Oh, I know it’s a “what have you done for me lately” world. I’ve said it often enough in here. I merely pointed to the facts that show, since the turn of the century, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver have won more playoff rounds than the other 4, so “playoff success” – or lack thereof – can hardly be trotted out as a reason why some players are attracted – or wish to leave.

      As for Toronto and Edmonton having two of the best players in the world to attract others, there’s no denying that, but with a hard-cap/flat-cap world that attraction is limited severely if your structure then becomes top 4 or 5 heavy.

  7. Bruins have nothing to offer the Sabres

    but call me crazy here….
    Bergeron to Vegas for Karlsson and a 1st.
    Eichel to Boston for Karlsson, Bruins prospect, Vegas 1st and Bruins 1st

    • add to my ….
      Bergeron resigns next spring for a hometown deal after helping Vegas get to the finals.

    • Maybe if Eichel were healthy it would be a very interesting trade although more pieces would have to move for cap reasons. I can’t see Boston losing Bergeron for what could be Months worth of Eichels recovery. Might hurt Boston chances of making the playoffs this year. One of the more interesting trade proposals though

      • Vegas never addressed their center needs and that team is in Win-Now mode.

        I do not think the Bruins or Pens are winning the Cup this season. Same deal for Pens…. send Sid to Vegas to acquire more assets to bring in Eichel. Keep Malkin on IR and salary is not an issue. And again Sid can come home to Pitts after Vegas Cup run.

      • The Knights have zero cap space, so how do they fit that one million in additional cap hit under their cap?

      • @KevJam
        Agree there but removing Karlsson 5.9 to add Bergeron 6.8 is not far off.
        Adding Sid’s 8.7 is not as easy

        I understand teams wanting their stars to retire with the same team but as a Ranger fan I would of been fine if Brian Leetch didnt waste some prime years are terrible terrible teams. By the team he left he was not elite

      • Sid isn’t a pending ufa. Malkin though…

    • The bruins will get Eichel they don’t really have choice in the matter. Cooking for myself tonight … matter of fact as write this the invigorating aroma of Burgers on Barby fills the air. as soon as I dress up those delicious morsels of ground round with some Cheddar cheese, Onions, tomato lettuce and are you ready for this?!? wait for it……………………..my secret sauce, I’ll follow that up with a Cold bud light and wash it all down with a humongous helping of Pumpkin Pie.

      • Pony pee.

  8. Good thing the Habs have Allen and to a lesser extent Primeau.

    Eichel to Anaheim. He can play on a line with Huey and Dewey
    Tons of options coming back that don’t include Zegras.

    • They also have Montembeault, plucked off waivers from Florida. I guess it’ll now come down to him or Primeau to see who does well enough in the eyes of the coaching staff to back Allen until and when Price gets back.

      • The Habs without Price are doomed. Read that as all caps.

        Allen is good as a back up, or at most in a shared role. He is not a starter. Montembeault was the Panthers’ third goalie. I would be shocked if he is good enough to share the load until Price comes back. Primeau, sadly, is not ready for any meaningful stretch of NHL play.

        Dark days for Habs fans. And I just ponied up for NHL Center Ice – no refunds.

      • I’m guessing Montembeault has the inside track as backup and Primeau will get lots of work in Laval instead of sitting on the bench.

      • Makes sense. If something happens to Allen, better to have a goalie who has seen lots of action at the AHL level than someone playing 2 out of 10.

    • Price hasn’t been that good in the regular season anyways. You need him healthy and ready to go for the playoffs if they make it which, I don’t think they we’re going to with or without him. Let’s hope Price takes the time he needs to deal with this issue and that the media lays off of him for a a while. All the best to Price and hope for a full recovery.

  9. All the best to Price and his family;
    and, George, most fans of a certain “storied franchise” don’t need any prompting to know exactly how long it’s been and exactly how much pain there has been since 1967. You’re singing to the choir.
    The Sens’ fans just need to put in a few more years and they’ll learn how it feels.

    • Heh. Well, in Ottawa’s case BCLeafFan, it’ll be 26 years before they reach Toronto’s current stretch – which could still be added to over the foreseeable future. One thing is for sure, I won’t be around to see Ottawa reach 54! 🙂

    • Yes but our pain is friggin’ 5 1/2 decades old now…. I’m just now in my 60’s…. I don’t want to have to wait until I’m in my 70’s

      Thank the Lord we have the Argos, Blue Jays, Raptors and TFC

      A much smaller tropical city (that loves see the tossing of championship trophies from boat to boat while inebriated )… has the possibility of 3 championships in basically the span of 9 months…. Are they getting an NBA team soon?


      • Pengy, when you look at in black and white perspective, what is sobering is that, any fan who was 40+ when they last won is now likely dead, while any later fans born that year, are nearing retirement age. Hell, a 12-year old fan who saw them win their last playoff round is now 26, maybe with kids of his/her own.

        Same with Ottawa. They came into the league 28 years ago, so a 12-year-old fan at that time is friggin’ 40!

        Ya gotta be devoted!

      • Or, you hedge your bets and cheer for 3 teams.🤓

  10. Gee, more about Jack E. who’d of thunk?
    Bad neck 10 Mil a year want surgery that has not been done on a player before. Plus everything else the sabers want. I still pass on him. Great player when healthy problem is he ain’t healthy.

    • Heh. I hear ya Fred. Unfortunately, the only “hard stories” circulating at the moment involve Eichel, Brady Tkachuk, Evander Kane or Carey Price and, to a much lesser degree, and only in terms of speculation, Morgan Rielly and Thomas Hertl.

      Maybe towards the end of training camp there will be some more interesting names pop up as it relates to teams needing to clear cap space and no LTIR candidates to help – perhaps even trades involving the acquisition of a potential LTIR from teams that don’t need to use it. We can only hope.