Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2021

by | Oct 17, 2021 | Rumors | 46 comments

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, the potential cost for the Rangers to re-sign Adam Fox and the Stars’ contract talks with John Klingberg in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports one of the biggest hurdles to getting a Jack Eichel trade done is the Buffalo Sabres’ unwillingness to retain any portion of his salary. They’re willing to take back some contracts in return but it’s still difficult with the 24-year-old center having four more years with an annual average value of $10 million remaining on his contract.

Friedman believes the Colorado Avalanche made a call to see if they could make it work but the Sabres’ unwillingness to take salary stopped discussions. Jeff Marek said the Vegas Golden Knights were in conversation with the Sabres but were unwilling to part with young center Peyton Krebs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame the Sabres for not wanting to retain salary. They don’t want to carry what would likely be a significant chunk of dead cap space for the next four seasons. Maybe they might budge a bit if this issue becomes the only sticking point but I think owner Terry Pegula wants Eichel completely off his books.

I’m not sure how much salary the Avalanche would want the Sabres to absorb but it would have to be a healthy chunk given their limited cap space. They’re already using LTIR right now and have over $55.7 million invested in 12 players for 2022-23 with the cap expected to rise by just $1 million to $82.5 million.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (NHL Images).

As for the Golden Knights, Eichel would be an ideal fit there but they too don’t have much cap room and would need the Sabres to retain some salary in the deal to make it work. Their unwillingness to move Krebs also seems a deal-breaker.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker believes 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox is inching closer to a massive contract extension with the New York Rangers. The current price-point for talented young defensemen when Cale Makar inked a six-year extension this summer with the Avalanche worth $9 million annually. The Boston Bruins signing Charlie McAvoy last week to an eight-year extension worth an AAV of $9.5 million will also be duly noted by the Fox camp.

After signing Mika Zibanejad to an eight-year deal, Walker believes the Rangers face some salary-cap challenges for next season. While it’s possible Fox could accept a hometown discount to ensure the club can build around him, he would also be within his rights to seek between $9.5 million and $10 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even a hometown discount of, say, $8 million will still take a big bite out of the Rangers cap payroll. I’ll be shocked if he accepted that.

Some readers here speculate he might accept a one-year contract for considerably less but I doubt he’ll go that route considering he’s coming off a season that saw him join Bobby Orr as the only sophomores in NHL history to win the Norris. He may have grown up as a big Rangers fan but they’re still going to have to pay a lot for the privilege of having him on their roster.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek said the Dallas Stars want John Klingberg to stay and the 27-year-old defenseman wants to remain with the Stars. However, his asking price could make it difficult to re-sign him. Marek reports Klingberg seeks an eight-year contract between $62 million and $66 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an annual average value between $7.75 million and $8.25 million. It’s less than what teammate Miro Heiskanen got on his contract ($8.45 million AAV) and well below the $9 million Dougie Hamilton got as a UFA this summer from the New Jersey Devils.

Nevertheless, that could be a difficult number for the Stars to absorb. With Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter already earning a combined $17.9 million annually, Klingberg’s asking price would push that to around $25 million invested in just four defensemen.


  1. Judging by the huge and completely unwarranted salary by the greedy McAvoy and his salivating agent. The rangers will have to cough up some major dough for Fox. Players are bankrupting their teams of talent with these unwarranted contracts. And then later complain about the team not adding more talent.

    • Good Morning Rick!

      • But he’s bang on there Ray. Especially that last sentence.

    • McAvoy is well worth his contract and it will be a huge bargain the back half of his deal
      Good work. Mr Sweeney

    • When was the last player to complain about their team not adding more talent after signing a big deal?

      • The Blackhawks come to mind with a couple of ‘big paid stars’ not liking the idea of a necessary rebuild.

      • I vaguely remember that. Who complained?

      • Mark Stone in Ottawa, Matt Duschene in Ottawa .. what, you want a complete list?

      • I don’t think either of those players signed in Ottawa for big money then complained? I don’t think they signed in Ottawa at all did they?

        I’m open to be proved wrong but I believe the amount of players who sign big deals em that then complain their teams can’t afford more good players is essentially negligible.

        The fans on the other hand complain about it constantly…

      • Chrisms, player complaints about their teams are going to be subtle. We have all heard of players who have stated part of re-signing with their current teams is influenced by wanting to play for a competitive team. It also influences where some UFAs sign. “I want a chance to win” is usually said.

        Yes, I recognize the contradiction at times – if they want to play for a competitive team, sign for less. A few do. Most don’t.

      • Drew Doughty complaining over the summer that the Kings are wasting the senior players careers. Even though he signed for $11 mil a few years prior.

      • And that’s the key LJ, most don’t.
        The issue I have when folks say players should do this or that is it isn’t based in reality.
        So what should the GM do?
        Say McAvoy, players of his caliber are getting that, I dare say some not as good. So if he doesn’t accept a million less what should Sweeney do? Sign 1 year deals until he hits UFA and he gets it somewhere else? Then what? Pay more for a UFA, or just be a worse team? Or pay even more to McAvoy when that time comes?
        What I think we will see is older players get less as the data is pretty clear, their performance declines. Middle of the road players get squeezed. Could be wrong, but we’ll see.
        I also think the cap goes up big when the pandemic payback is done. Again, we’ll see.

        I would like to hear what folks say on what the GM should do in that situation opposed to doing what they have been with their best guys coming out of ELC. Seems obvious to me the Sens wanted Brady locked up long term, just the details needed to get done. IMO there is a good reason for that.

        Sorry but I haven’t seen the detailed solution to what the GM’s should do yet. Easy to complain though.

      • For and and Flying V. Not bad examples but in both cases did the respective teams spend to the cap?

      • I’d like to think lj that players signing for big money would have expectations that they would inherently make the team more competitive by bringing skills worth that much money

      • Ray, we have been seeing players at both ends being squeezed for the past several years. I recall prior to the last collective agreement renewal predictions that younger, rising stars’ big pay days were squeezing both older, established players and new ones and that that would lead to conflict within the NHLPA.

        I don’t have a solution either. Either pay or risk a key player either leaving via free agency, or risk losing one via an offer sheet. How would you like your poison, sir? Chalice or injection?

      • Drew Doughty

      • Ya, why they get the big bucks LJ. Can’t say I blame the players either. Not like they wouldn’t get cut loose in heartbeat if they had an injury that hurt performance long term.
        You make it while you can for not just yourself, but your whole family.
        We know what no cap would do, so no easy solution other than sign the right guys long term, trade the ones you don’t believe in. Kinda of like what WPG did. Seems they believed in Connor, not in Laine. Like to keep both but what are you gonna do?

    • Good signing by Boston. That contract will be well worth it.

    • What about all of those greedy Amazon employees who are accepting a $15 per hour minimum? Do you know what that does to the stock price?

      Whether it’s the NHL or Amazon, how can ANYONE in the world criticize another for wanting to be paid the correct amount for their wages???

    • But you want the Bruins to acquire Eichel who is making 10 million? Are you for real? McAvoy’s contract is going to be a huge bargain within the next two-three years. If Sweeney waited until the end of this season there would have been a couple million per year added to that deal. Great signing for both player and team.

      I agree about the hypocrisy of a player signing a high dollar deal and then complaining about lack of talent coming in later. Those players should not be so outspoken with such fat wallets. I also see some hypocrisy complaining about a player signing a huge deal but wanting another player who makes even more.

  2. Good morning Lyle.
    “ Some readers here speculate he might accept a one-year contract for considerably less”
    I guess I’m some readers. To clarify. I only suggest this as a 1 year stop gap plan to fit Eichel. I fully expect Fox to spend his career with Rangers and fully expect him to get paid. He will be a Norris contender for foreseeable future. I can’t see ANY team trading for Eichel without retention. Of course nobody wants to retain salary. Finding a team willing to take on full 10m cap hit just adds to list of conditions already in place (cap space, prospects, willingness to take injured player and allow surgery he wants)
    I think Fox gets minimum same deal as McAvoy, whether it’s next season or year after. People can argue how risky taking a 1 year team friendly deal is. But isn’t Makar taking bigger risk agreeing to 6 year deal now? He’ll be 29 at start of next contract and Is getting 54 million total compared to McAvoys 76m.

    • “To clarify. I only suggest this as a 1 year stop gap plan to fit Eichel.”

      Friedman’s report should blow that dream out of the water. If the Sabres aren’t willing to retain salary, somebody else would have to in a three-team deal, and that’s even more difficult to accomplish under a stagnant cap. The Rangers can’t fit Eichel’s contract within their cap payroll without shedding salary or somebody eating up 40 to 50 percent of his $10 million. Sorry to burst your bubble.

      Fox isn’t taking a one-year deal. The Rangers won’t be offering a bridge contract. Any “team-friendly” deal won’t come in less than $8 million.

      • Agreed Lyle, Fox didn’t go to Harvard to leave money on the table.

    • How in the world does signing a deal worth 54 million more risky than signing a 1 year deal? If maker gets hurt he still gets paid. If Fox gets hurt he is up the crick.

      • Chrisms. Sure there’s a slight chance of career ending injury. I’m assuming Fox would have an insurance policy. As far as Makars risk, it’s in the later years. I’d take him over McAvoy as a player, but not contracts. McAvoy wins there.

      • I don’t think they sell insurance for nhl players for non contract years.

        How do ny disability and Or unemployment benefits compare to star nhl player salaries?

    • Lyle, you’re not bursting my bubble. Lmao. As much as I’d like Eichel (players like him don’t become available often) I just don’t think cap space will be over riding reason. I’d like to know what team is taking full cap hit, and what salaries are going other way to get Sabres to cap floor?

    • Are you watching Fox? Does he strike you if a guy that regresses?

      He is pretty fun guy to watch. Putting up points or not the guy is as good as they come. Arguably the best D-man in the league and he’s 23 years old. Not arguably he is by far, and I mean grossly by far the best Ranger d-man.

      He always seems to do the exact right thing, and rarely makes mistakes on either side of the puck.

      So you see a possibility of him regressing, but you don’t see the possibility of Eichel not being out longer than the 6 weeks you’re suggesting, or ever being the same player as he was before?

      A one year deal is beyond insanity from either side. Imo, he should be getting 10+.. if either side took anything less than 8 years 9-9.5 I’d lose all respect for them.

      Eichel to NY is pretty dead. Even if Fox were to take a bridge and Buffalo held 20%. It’s still an issue moving forward.

      Comparing Kakko and Laffrienere to the Fox deal at this point is reaching. However, if Laffrienere were to go out and hit 60-80 points this year , 70-80 next, I’m sure he won’t be looking for a 1 year team friendly deal.

  3. This is becoming ridiculous. GMs have lost their minds. You would think they would look at Toronto and see the constraints both short and long term of massive contracts to a handful of players. Half of Toronto’s cap is tied to four players. Do they perform? They have a captain making 11 million who ages in between periods. He looks like a middle aged man and is starting to play like one in men’s league. Mitch missed two open empty nets last night. Nylander plays like he has eggs in his pockets.

    Edmonton, Chicago, Colorado, Vancouver and now Boston will soon follow Toronto’s lead.

    How are you going to sign actual star players when their contracts come up when you pay players coming off entry level contracts between 8.5-9.5 mil a year.

    Toronto had to put in a goalie from the University of Toronto who hasn’t played a game in 20 months as they didn’t have enough cap room to call up a backup from the AHL. Next teams will be playing with 1,2 or 3 players in the box to ensure select players get to cash these large cheques.

    • Frank, some GMs clearly function under the philosophy that, when all else fails, there’s always delusion.

    • Frank. I’m pretty much on an island here for suggesting Fox gets a bridge deal. It’s amazing how getting Norris changes everything. I’m a Ranger fan so of course I’m a Fox fan. But, he’s played 2 covid shortened seasons. 125 games. What do they do if Kakko and Lafreniere become the stars that fans expect? Do you skip bridge deals with them too?

      • Slick, Cale Makar had 101 career games when he got his six-year deal worth $9 million annually. Quinn Hughes had 129 career games when he got his six-year deal worth $7.85 million. Fox is a better all-around defenseman than they are and has the Norris Trophy to back it up. The Rangers can’t justify a bridge deal for him. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. He’s going to get seven or eight years and the lowest figure is probably $8.5 million if he takes a “hometown discount”.

      • Why is it amazing that being recognized as the best at your position changes things?

        And if laf and Kakko turn into superstars then by just won’t be able to afford them all. Such is the cap world.

      • Its highly unlikely that Fox repeats his performance from last year, imo.

        For him to take a bridge deal and not capitalize on a Norris trophy in a contract year is just bad financial planning. No way his agent or the NHLPA allows that happen.

      • So, it’s a “competitive pro league” – but with conditions?

      • Lyle, once again, ONLY if they where to get Eichel. But yes, I can see him getting paid now.

      • Chrisms, if Fox didn’t win award, would you speak as highly of him? I’m sure many here had other players ahead of him before award came out. I’m not arguing against him being a top player, just stating that boy that title helps!

      • Yes. Yes it does slick.

        Look I’ve said before that I think eichel to ny is possible. Just not by Fox doing them any crazy favors. Either Kakko or laf would have to be part of return do their future contract wouldn’t be a problem. Trouba or Kreider would have to moved before hand. Tough but likely not impossible.

    • Ridiculous comments about Tavares and Nylander, Frank. Give it up, man.

    • It’s so painfully clear some comments made here there is a shortage of common sense that when you have superstar players as well a good star players, they will be paid as such and eventually be a top 10 or 5 team in the league…that won’t come cheap.

      It’s funny because these people believe that the cup is won by teams with cap space and paying good players that only score 40pts like they score 60pts or more and not being a top 10 team and being close to the cap ceiling is so much concerning than a team considered a cup contenders with little space. If you can’t see that, maybe this isn’t for you.

  4. I get the comparisons to Makar, Hughes and whomever, what I don’t get is the MOU to the CBA allows for yearly $1 million increases to the cap to 2025.

    That assumes that escrow payments will equalize losses by then, which is doubtful.

    How are these contracts supposed to age well?

  5. I guess this means McCavoy is going to be the next Bruins captain, because everyone makes less money than the captain.

    Honestly thought this was a team policy.

    So is Bergys next contract for 9.6 mil?

    • Bergeron has already made over $95 million, over the course of his HOF career. I’m sure his portfolio is looking pretty stable.
      My guess is that he signs shorter contracts with performance bonuses to round out his playing days.
      The Bruins have been good to him, and he has been good to the Bruins.
      Marchand will be the next captain. Then McAvoy or Pasta.

  6. Late to the party today ;-
    If Fox takes 9million longterm the Rangers should be happy. Fox could decide to take a bridge though 9×3 etc and wait for the cap to increase….

    Smartest dman around but I do worry about the toll on his body with the minutes and his size. I rate he and Makar close with McAvoy right behind. Hughes has some hands but he still jumps up too often at times when he should not

    • Not sure he would command 9 per on a bridge. A little less. He wouldn’t be selling any ufa years to the rags so I’d think a bridge should come in a bit cheaper

  7. Buffalo dies not retain
    Buffalo will not retain

    They are willing to take salary back short term to stay above the floor.