NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2021

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Rumors | 45 comments

The latest on Jack Eichel (yes, again!), updates on the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg, and the latest on the Canadiens and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there are some NHL teams interested in Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel who are willing to let him undergo disc replacement surgery, others not so much.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Those teams are also telling the Sabres they want a conditional component to any trade because we don’t know what Eichel will be like when he returns from surgery, which could involve four months of recovery. LeBrun said the Sabres are willing to have a conditional part to a potential trade. It doesn’t mean a deal is imminent but another step in the process.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun said, a conditional component is a big deal as that could help to facilitate a trade. What that could look like is anyone’s guess. It could involve additional draft picks or prospects, perhaps some money retained by the Sabres, or something else. What’s also important is there are clubs willing to let Eichel get the surgery he wants. Whether those clubs can work out a suitable swap with the Sabres remains to be seen.


LeBrun reports Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and his agent have told general manager David Poile that they would like to shelve contract talks for the season if a deal cannot be reached when the season opens next week. Talks are expected to continue before next week.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reports Filip Forsberg’s agent told him contract talks with Predators management have not started.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg didn’t sound like he was in a rush to start contract discussions during a recent interview. Ekholm, on the other hand, appeared keen last week to get a deal done as soon as possible.

The issue here is whether either player fits into the Predators’ long-term plans. Ekholm is 31 and signing him to a long-term deal might not be the wisest course of action for a club in the midst of what Poile deemed “a competitive rebuild”.

Forsberg, 27, will command much more on the open market, perhaps $8 million per season. That’s a lot of money to invest in a player during a time when the club is undergoing a transition. Besides, Forsberg might not be keen to stick around with a rebuilding club as he enters his playing prime.


TSN: LeBrun believes the Montreal Canadiens announcement that the future of general manager Marc Bergevin wouldn’t be addressed until after this season suggests he could be a lame-duck GM. He points to the fact Bergevin and team president Geoff Molson spoke about his future in January and an offer was made in July that didn’t produce an agreement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bergevin is a lame-duck one wonders how long it will take for Molson to find a suitable replacement. It could depend upon the club’s performance this season.

The possibility of Bergevin’s departure will get a mixed reaction from Canadiens fans. Some have long wanted him gone, even after the club reached the Cup Final last season. Others have fully supported most of his moves and decisions. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the long-term absence of center Colin White to shoulder surgery could have the Senators seeking a short-term replacement via the waiver wire or trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s confirmed White could be out four to six months. Don’t be surprised if the Senators make a move via waivers or trade in the coming days.


  1. Eichel to NYR. 15% retained

  2. If the surgery will have him out at least 4 months; not much time to see performance this year so extra picks via performance/games played etc may also have to be dependent on 22/23 games/production

    Still trying to determine if his insurance policy has a codicil of certain surgeries not being covered; or the insurers right to approve any surgery

    IF that codicil exists; AND receiving club willing to go forward with surgery…. Is Eichel then not covered; and new team on hook for full salary regardless ?

    I had heard that other teams had (after viewing his medical records and consulting their own experts) “warmed” to possibly getting the surgery but I had not heard that any team actually confirmed 100% that they would allow it

    Glad to see that Adam’s is lowering his ask (now to include conditions)

    Still…. Due to cap space; and having to give up current roster players… that team much weaker for at least 4 months (Eichel return)…. So unlikely to be a team that was counting on playoffs this year…. So the true suitors list is small….

    I don’t think Dorion or Stevie Y are likely to make an offer…. So ….

    Perhaps Kings; Ducks; Yotes; Jackets; Devils; with a lesser probability … Rangers (decision on Zib?)

    • Eichel wants the disk replacement surgery. Any team trading for him has got to be willing to let him have his preferred surgery. Otherwise you’re right back to square 1. The disk replacement surgery does not require 4 months of recovery time. 6-8 weeks he could be skating with team. Playing games will depend on conditioning.

      • Hi Slick

        Agree …. Almost certain that a team trading for him would be agreeing to surgery (thus narrowing the number of suitors further as not all teams are behind the disc replacement surgery)…. Unless, as one radio guy said…. The new team can convince Eichel on the traditional surgery (we chuckle to ourselves)

        Re recovery time… I’ve no idea re when he could start skating; but every article that I’ve read has at a minimum, 3 months from day of surgery to return to NHL games.

        With that in mind; if somehow he is traded in next few days; and he miraculously gets surgery the day after the trade… he’ll be missing at least 35 games.

        On top of that; even if surgery is a complete success ; with no training camp, no pre-season, new line-mates, new teammates, new system, new coaches, and first game back so long removed from last game played….

        I would think it will be at least 10 games to “get up to speed”/“get up to production”….

        So… absolute best case scenario, perfect conditions, receiving team gets Eichel at top of his game , for about 35 games at last part of season… hence my guess that it will likely be a team that is not counting on playoffs next spring

      • Pengy. Not sure where you’re seeing these articles but check this out:

        “Dr. Chad Prusmack told the “31 Thoughts” podcast that Eichel, who wants to undergo disc replacement surgery, could play six to 12 weeks after having the procedure” If not for Zibs crappy start last year due to covid and Panarin personal issues, NY probably could’ve been a playoff team last season. I think they can still be a bubble team without Eichel. So, if they’re giving up prospects and picks, they could get by for first couple months. I just don’t think they make trade without retention.

    • Pengy, I understand why you keep listing Columbus as a potential destination for Eichel, but you may be wrong. Besides Kuraly, Rosolovic and Domi (when healthy) as fixtures at center, Alexandre Texier and Liam Foudy have been getting work at center. Cole Sillinger seems to have won a middle six slot, this preseason and Ken Johnson of Michigan will be aiming for a slot either late this season or next preseason. Then there’s the fact that Boone Jenner often plays center. All of which means that the Jackets have a lot of options who, except Jenner, are younger than Eichel and all of whom are healthier.
      While all of that doesn’t mean the Jackets won’t go after Eichel, Jarmo’s and JD’s history of preferring to build from within strongly suggests that they won’t.

      • Paul; Roslovic, Domi and Kuraly if bundle together would not bring Eichel back in a trade.

        My point is Eichel would be far and away the #1 C if healthy.

        Still a big gamble to take to trade for Eichel.

      • Hi Paul

        I certainly don’t think Jackets are top of the list but agree with Caper; a healthy Eichel would be a far better 1C than any of the others currently wearing a Jackets uniform; and at least one of them needing to go the other way

        It will be interesting re who does (if any) end up with Eichel

      • Caper, Pengy,
        No currently on the Jackets is a true #1C, but both Sillinger and Johnson project as a #1C. With the Jackets in full rebuild mode, I think they’re more likely to wait on them to fully develop (Johnson, Sillinger, Rosolovic and Texier down the middle looks pretty good.)
        Of course, I’m just a Jackets fan with an opinion.

      • You’re gonna love Sillinger. That boy has all the tools, a good head and a heart to match.

    • Forsberg is going to look great in a Kings jersey

  3. i’d think that any draft pick in the deal would have to be conditional, based on how many games Eichel plays with him. Sabres will have to retain some salary, and the players in the package might be lesser.

    otherwise there is too much risk taking on a player with an injury that can impact his career

    nevermind the baggage that Eichel has had with him during his time in Buffalo

    i’d think that cap issues wouldn’t be considered, as any surgery might sideline him for most of this season, which means that teams acquiring him can stash him on LTIR

  4. I have trouble believing there’s any movement at all on Eichel as nothing has really changed that we know of.

    No announcement of which team(s) have seen his medical records or what they show.

    No announcement has been made on any team allowing him his surgery of choice.

    Compensation is mentioned, but not by Buffalo.

    Pundits are altering their expectations which never made sense in the first place.

    One of these days the pundits need to address how the Sabres intend to reach the Cap Floor without Eichel’s $10 million on IR.

    Prospects, picks and conditions don’t get them there.

    As of now Sabres are at the floor while saving $10 million in cash.

    The insurance is footing the bill so its very likely or possible that they are the ones deciding on the course of action and not Adams or Brisson.

    • “One of these days the pundits need to address how the Sabres intend to reach the Cap Floor without Eichel’s $10 million on IR.”

      HabsFan, It’s the teams choice to place him on LTIR. They do not have to.
      And they won’t.

      The elephant in the room is that come July, Jack’s NTC kicks in. Then Adams looses all of his leverage.
      Once that happens, it’s all up to Eichel, not Buffalo.

  5. Eichel’s only going one place b’s

    • Yawn

      • LOL George…well played

        I see your yawn and raise you a YAWN (all caps)

        Good stuff sir!

    • So he’ll be joining with their other big trade prize OEL! Can’t wait!

    • Alright Rick

      Just for this morning I’ll bite

      What are the Bruins offering in trade to make this “going to one pace b’s “ happen?

      • He’s been asked that repeatedly, Pengy. He posts that repetitive crap just to get a rise. He has no intention of providing any such information because he knows it has NO possibility of coming to fruition.

    • The latest rumor was to the Bruins for 1st round picks in each of the next 10 years.

      • Good one Wally 😂

    • LOL Rick, made me smile. We all know Eichel’s going to the B’s.

    • Rick, by B’s you mean Broadway Blues?

    • Thanks SwamDragon


      Smartest GM does a great re-up signing

      Under no circumstance could they let him walk next July

      • As fellow fan, I echo Paul’s skepticism on if CBJ are really a serious player for Eichel. To be clear Pengy, I also completely agree that Eichel far exceeds the quality of any C CBJ currently have and he definitely meets that dire need for a true 1C. However, I am skeptical because: a) it doesn’t appear CBJ have the assets to outbid other teams apparently in the hunt; b) they also appear to have committed to the rebuild/retool and may not be willing to part w/ the key assets they do have (Sillinger, Johnson and/or 1st RD picks in 2022) to be able to seal the deal.

        Jarmo loves to go big game hunting but all public indicators here in CBus have pointed toward a patient approach. If they really do go after Eichel it will be a major departure from the public messaging of late. My 2 cents.

  6. George, trade you straight up: Pinto for Poehling.

    Jets fans: what was Perreault like last year? I have seen nothing from him in exhibition games.

    • Why on Earth would Dorion do that?

      • George. It appears Domi is healthy ahead of schedule and may actually start opening night. Any sense on your end if the buzz earlier this summer that OTT was interested have any validity to it? Domi is an upcoming UFA could be an inexpensive, low risk/high reward acquisition or at least provide a stopgap solution w/ White out long-term.
        Let me also clearly state, like many others have shared, I also question his viability to play C long-term but it could make some sense if no better options come available via waivers

      • George:

        Just having you on, lad. Pinto looked very good last night – along with several other Sens.

        The Habs, even with a lot of regulars in the line up, once again looked out of sorts and disorganized.

      • DeaconFrost, right now the Sens have Norris, Pinto and Tierney at C 1, 2, 3. For the moment, with White out long-term, they’re taking a good look at veteran C Andrew Aggozino in the 4th line role, but with the knowledge that their preferred player there, Clark Bishop, won’t be out long-term. There’s also veteran Tyler Ennis, just signed, who can play 4th line C

        Whatever the case, 4th line minutes is not something on which you want to waste $5.3 mil in cap – especially one who – and I stress – at THAT position, doesn’t measure up to the top 3.

        And nothing against Domi, but even at wing he’d be hard-pressed to beat out the kids there on the top 3 lines – Batherson, Connor Brown, Nick Paul, Tim Stutzle, Alex Formenton and, if and when he signs, Brady Tkachuk.

        LJ, you had me there. It looks like Norris and Pinto are going to be very good Cs – and maybe sooner than many figure. I’m not making any predictions in that direction – I’ve been following the game long enough to know that expectations can go south in a hurry. But the good thing is, they have the perfect kind of coach to make sure they are developed the proper way. There’s no rush.

    • that might be the worst trade proposal I have seen on here in a long while LJ .

      • Was just kidding, Fergy22.

  7. if I had to guess I would think Dorion may revisit Henrique from Anaheim if $ was retained since he is 5.825 @ 3 years.

  8. Whenever I hear disk replacement Surgery I think of the podcast and the mini-series “Dr. Death” and I shudder.

  9. Can we agree Eichel will never play another game for the Sabres? And whoever ultimately gets him will allow him to get the surgery he wants? Then why doesn’t Buffalo just let him get his surgery so he can become tradeable?

    • That is a very reasonable question IWMCB. Only thing I can guess is their Docs truly believe it is too risky. Or the insurance angle. But if that were true, then why are other teams willing to let him do it?
      Going with the Dr angle.

      Hope you never get your curtains back, best handle on here.

    • If the procedure for Eichel isn’t successful (or he doesn’t make it through the procedure), what’s his trade value? Answer: ZERO.
      Now WHY would the Sabres want to let him go ahead with the procedure???

  10. Could be that this is too outrageous to even be considered as an eventual way out of the Eichel enigma, but….

    The Sabres have made concessions, and maybe Eichel wants to be traded enough that he would do the same. Maybe he will have to if he is to play again.

    I’m thinking that, if Eichel is to play again, the NHL may need to take an “eminent domain” sort of arbitrary stance that would permit teams to treat him as though he were an RFA open to signing an offer sheet. Teams then would make contract offers to Eichel, with the understanding that he would be allowed his choice of surgery type after signing a contract. Compensation to the Sabres would be predetermined and based on the accepted contract value. The league would decide on any conditions needed to protect all involved parties if Eichel is unable to play.

    This all would be contingent on the NHL making one-time exceptions to any contractual rules standing in the way of implementation, along with Eichel’s consent and the approval of the players union.

  11. is there something that prevents eichel from getting the surgery at his expense and then telling everyone after the fact. he is already on ltir so that won’t be affected and if and when he is recovered he can be traded wherever.

  12. A question out there to all those more knowledgeable about the NHL regulations on trades and cap evasion: Could Buffalo trade Eichel to a third party team for this season that needs cap room from the LTIR this season, and then when he is fully healthy is moved again to his final destination through another trade. Lining up the assets would seem to be monumentally difficult in that scenario, but would it technically be legal?

    • Yes you can as long as he returns before the trade deadline…but the cost to acquire LTIR contracts are usually late round picks, plus say you still want to do this, how are you or better yet, who else will you trade once Jack is off LTIR? You’re gonna have $10m of players you’d be needing to move out…the reason for getting Jack’s LTIR contract in the first place? Right?

      Fun idea, can’t work unless you keep Jack because he is the prize.

    • Eichel’s NMC kicking in after this season might pose a big problem to the team trying to make the second trade, assuming he is ever healthy enough to play.

  13. If Eichel trade goes into next year than I agree with Rick he will be a Bruin as he will force their hand like Hall did. If I’m Buffalo I move him for best deal I can get soon.