Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 24, 2021

by | Oct 24, 2021 | Rumors | 40 comments

​Check out the latest on Jack Eichel and Vitali Kravtsov plus updates on the Coyotes in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jack Eichel could consider filing a grievance through the NHL Players Association to force a resolution to his standoff with the Buffalo Sabres. He speculates that could happen within the next couple of weeks if he’s not traded before then.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Eichel’s been sidelined since March with a herniated disc in his neck. He wants to undergo artificial disc replacement surgery but Sabres doctors prefer neck fusion. The NHL CBA gives the team the final say on medical treatment. The 24-year-old center requested a trade but this stalemate has complicated efforts to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The subject of a grievance was raised by Friedman and others last week. Most observers doubt that move will go Eichel’s way because the CBA gives the Sabres’ the last word on his medical treatment.

Jeff Marek reports New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury seeks a top prospect in exchange for unhappy winger Vitali Kravtsov, who recently returned home to Russia awaiting a trade. Marek said Drury isn’t budging from that asking price right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Rangers off to a terrific start, Drury can set that price because he’s under no pressure to move Kravtsov right now. That might change if injuries start depleting the Rangers’ depth. Ryan Strome (COVID protocol) and Kaapo Kakko (upper-body injury) are currently out of the lineup but that hasn’t adversely affected the club’s performance.

Drury could also set that price knowing no one will pay it. That could force Kravtsov to have a change of heart and return to the Rangers.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently took note of the Arizona Coyotes using Phil Kessel on their top power-play unit instead of defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They could be showcasing the 34-year-old winger for a trade but could also be trying to get him up to speed after missing all of training camp and preseason play with an injured foot. Morgan also observed 15 scouts who attended the Coyotes’ recent game against the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel will be moved at some point before the March 21 trade deadline. A free agent next July, he doesn’t fit into their long-term plans and he wants a change of scenery. Trading him early in the season, however, will be difficult.

The Coyotes carry $6.8 million of his $8 million cap hit. Even with $5 million of his actual $6 million salary for this season paid out in a signing bonus, few clubs have sufficient room to add his cap hit at this point in the season.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Coyotes center Barrett Hayton also came up in trade speculation this week. The fifth-overall selection in the 2018 draft, Hayton is currently playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in Tucson.

Hayton’s agent Pat Morris shot down rumors his client asked for a trade. Marek said it looks like he’ll be staying with the Coyotes as head coach Andre Tourigny thinks highly of him. Tourigny made Hayton the captain of Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors.


  1. Eichel talking grievance is just PR posturing…. What’s to grieve? Sabres are invoking their rights per CBA…. It would be crazy for a grievance ruling to contravene the CBA

    Kessel move at TDL (if he has a fair year) … likely 50% retained by ‘Yotes and 50% (of remaining) held by a middle team… team getting him at TDL for about $570 K cap hit and only about $55 K (after escrow) actual Sal left to pay

    If he has a fair year…. 2nd to ‘Yotes, 5th to middle team with space (buying a 5th rounder for 55 K)

    Just think of it … Phil will be getting paid by 4 teams at the end of the year (including Leafs)

    • They won’t need a middle team as they should have enough space to retain it all thru end of year in AZ. Regardless it all hinges on him having a decent year for sure

      • Hi AZnut

        No challenge re Yotes space

        The to-through would be needed by the final team that would likely not have the annualized $3.4M in space …. Contenders likely right up against cap

    • Since when does a union member need a “valid” reason to grieve?

      • When does a boss need a “valid” reason to bitch. In any event, depending on how the applicable state law is written in NY, the grievance may a building block in a suit against the Sabres at some point in the future.

      • Hi George and It’s raining

        Anybody and everybody can grieve

        My contention is that it will fail

        It’s raining … you may be right re long game (lawsuit)…. But at best years away… and IMHO success chance low to nil

  2. Eichel should have filed a grievance in the summer to try and expedite any possible trade … it’s his body and he and his team have the right to decide what’s best for him … Tim Murray, Jason Botterill and now Kevyn Adams have set this franchise back 10 years …

    • They don’t have the right Ed , the team does , the cba covers that . And this is the problem , he feels he should have a say because it’s his body and life , the sabres feel they should make the final decisions because that’s what the cba dictates, he said as much in press conference when reporters pressed him on why he didn’t just get the surgery . They need to get on the same page , the only way seems to be finding a trade partner willing to let him have his surgery and conditions attached to trade . Nothing but the remaining 50 million on eichels deal is really stopping Eichel from his surgery , he could book it tomorrow if he’s willing to take the risk , the sabres aren’t truly stopping him , he just understands he’s risking the $ by going against the cba.

    • But it is 10 million dollars of sabers money

      • Hi Garry

        Insurance company as at now are paying his Sal, not Sabres

  3. Tavares, Matthews, Marner and Nylander = 40 million.
    Entire Penguins roster last night = 40 million.

    Hows that Shanaplan thing coming along?

    Asking for a friend.

    • Careful Ron – don’t want to invoke the wrath – and false claims – of that other Ron.

  4. Eichel can just sit at home and get paid his $10M a year. The Sabres are getting re-imbursed for his salary anyway from the insurance company, so they are only paying the yearly insurance premium. The insurance company gets the money from the hockey teams who pay premiums to cover this type of thing. So the only ones getting screwed are the fans and who cares about us anyway?!?!

  5. Eichel’s team can press the NHLPA to file a grievance and they are obliged to file it whether they want to or not.
    Refusing to file leaves them open to a lawsuit.

    Those of us who have dealt with unions and grievances know that there’s a dance with steps to follow and this type of case has its pattern.

    step 1) – no resolution to the grievance because CBA is clear.

    step 2)- conciliation process. CBA is clear but an attempt is made to get Eichel to realize and let it go or to get the Sabres to relent despite not having to, or agreeing to some sort of compromise.

    step 3) arbitration to settle one way or another and Eichel has nothing to lose hoping for a wild card decision ruling or him despite the CBA.

    • You say you have experience in grievances in dealing with unions HF30?

      And yet you declare the NHLPA are obliged to grievance if Eichel insists otherwise they will face a lawsuit. Really?

      Unless there is a specific clause in labour law covering the NHLPA that states this explicitly, jurisprudence requires unions to exercise due diligence in deciding whether to file a grievance.

      They are not compelled to file any grievance members want. Otherwise the union might face representing grievances against their own interests. This is well established in law, so what is your authority to declare otherwise, Mr. Expert?

      This is not the first time you have posted ridiculous comments re Eichel. You’ve previously stated that none of Eichel’s moves changed the terms of the collective agreement – as if bargaining doesn’t occur outside the collective agreement process. You’ve also posted agents and players who have no runway legally, choose to go public in an attempt to gain leverage don’t miraculously gain new rights.

      This despite clear evidence that both sides are using the court of public opinion to pressure each other, a tactic so common in all types of bargaining we have that very phrase for it. Example here, the situation dragged the NHL into getting involved as it is an embarrassment.

      You’ve also stated Eichel’s worth is zero, and Eichel and his agent engineered this whole debacle which totally devalued his worth by trying to gain leverage when they have none at all. This comment despite the ongoing reporting from NHL insiders noting there have been multiple teams interested in acquiring Eichel throughout this entire saga.

      My personal favourite comment of yours on Eichel is twice stating he could be sued for compensatory and punitive damages in court, and then denying you said it. Remember that? See the comments posted on or about Sept. 29 if you are inclined to deny this.

      So much for your declared experience in the labour relations arena.

      • LJ,

        1-I don’t care to justify myself to you.

        2- I don’t care to point out the errors in each polemic of yours.

        3- I couldn’t care less about opinions of yours on subjects you know nothing about.

        4- I have asked you to ignore my comments because I have no desire to engage with you.

      • LJ, Habsfan30 knows all about everything and there is no room for contrary opinion. But I am sure you knew that. Is there a sarcasm font?

      • What a beauty! “I have no desire to engage with you.’, he says while engaging with you.

      • HF30:

        The only person who gets to say who does and doesn’t post or reply here is Lyle. This site’s purpose is to allow a forum for exchanges. Some are collegial and fun. Others are challenging and direct. That’s the deal.

        If you can’t accept that then as I suggested before either stay off the site or send yourself a series of adoring emails so you won’t have to contend with others here who use the site as intended.

        If you can find an error in my posts, please point it out. I welcome that. It’s part of the deal posting here. Heck, when I have been wrong in the past I’ve pointed it out myself. No one needs my permission to call me out. I’m not fragile.

        When it comes to hockey, all of us here are just fans, not experts. Comments stand or fall on their own merit. Sometimes I disagree on a Friday with my own post from the Monday. Part of the fun; or it should be.

        When it comes to labour law, you clearly know nothing yet you continue to make baseless comments that you can’t back up – to me or anyone else. Yet you don’t have the good grace to acknowledge when you are wrong.

        On the other hand, I suffer with the handicap of being in my third decade working in labour relations. I have studied labour law, have been the lead negotiator in contract negotiations for both unions and employers, and been counsel for my employer at many arbitrations and tribunal hearings.

        So two things are true:

        I know what I am talking about and know far more than you about labour law and negotiations.

        I also know enough to not shoot my mouth off with baseless legal pronouncements. I just don’t want to look like a fool and a blowhard.

        I’d be easier on you with these responses but again, your posts are too often out of concert with the spirit and the purpose of this site. Man up, admit when you are wrong and get with the program. Showing grace would be a bonus, but perhaps I am over reaching.

      • I respect all but point 4 habs fan. This forum isn’t designed for point 4. And you just proved it. You can say point 4 but like a car crash you won’t look away if someone replies to your post.

        Either ya gotta good point 4 and move on or you gotta stop posting. I hope it’s the former cause once in awhile you have something worthwhile to read.

      • Oh. And lj. I’ve pointed out several arguments/statements you’ve made that were wrong and you ain’t neva “manned up”. You are in no position to tell others to have some grace.

      • Chrisms,
        Good point, how about I edit what I directed to him.
        4- I have asked you to ignore my comments because I have no desire to engage with you.


        4- You can post anything you want to or at me, just don’t expect a response 🙂

      • Chrisms,

        You post a lot I disagree with but so what?
        I agree sometimes too.
        We have our opinions and are under no obligation to prove anything to each other or lol tell others to “man up”

  6. I know it is early into the season but the Sabres seem to play better as a team without Eichel.
    Some players make their teamates and players around them better, some make them worse. Case in point Duchene, very good player but every team he plays on he makes them worse.
    If the injury doesn’t scare teams away the destruction to team chemistry should be a big red flag as well.

    Eichel is toxic, Stay away !!!

    • That could very well be case Flamefan. I know there were rumoured locker room issues, in addition to the infamous cab ride, during Duchene’s stint in Ottawa. Player ego’s and personalities aren’t always obvious to those that pay to watch.

    • It’s been reported that Eichel has been traveling getting 2nd opinions from multiple doctors. I’m guessing the argument will be that the spirit of the rules are the problem. Sabres team doctors are insisting on fusion surgery and Eichels camp are gathering enough opinions that his preferred surgery is best for him and team. The risks involved with the old school surgery shouldn’t be forced in player. It’s almost as if team is using rules for alternative reasons that don’t include getting player back on ice. There’s been reports of other teams being ok with the disk replacement and that would seem to work against Eichel.

      • Sorry. Should be work against Sabres.

  7. Just tossing it out there…

    Eichel gets traded to a team willing to “let” him have the surgery of his choice.

    The Sabres get a really nice package of assets.

    If Eichel doesn’t play next year, Buffalo has to forfeit next year’s equivalent of a $10,000,000 rfa signing.

  8. Kratsov to N.Y. for Kessel and 2nd?


    Until Strome and Kakko returns

    • I hope that there is no thought in the Rangers top brass of acquiring Kessel. If we are going to let Kravtsov decide whether or not he plays for the Rangers, then we need to get young talent in return, not some washed up older player, even if they have a year or two left in them. The team has enough veterans to lead the younger players. If Kravtsov is smart he apologizes for his actions and returns to the Rangers organization. He will get his chance to shine.

      • Agree. Kravtsov for Hayton would make more sense. I’d say Kessel maybe at deadline, depending on if NY is actually a playoff team and cost to aquire isn’t ridiculous

      • Agreed Dov,

        Why on earth is NY making that trade? Are they contenders now?

        You don’t give up this asset for a guy on his last legs and a 2nd. They are still a rebuilding team. Is Kessel a guy that puts them over the top as a contender? Absolutely not.

        I get that you like to come up with a lot of trade scenarios, but this one is beyond awful, especially from a Ranger fan. Maybe you’re a secret Coyote fan in sheep’s clothing?

        I think it’s time for quality over quantity trade scenarios.

    • Kessel with half retained is worth kratsov without the second. I’d bet kessel gets a second at the deadline and that’s currently kratsovs value.

      Now rangers fans. I’m not saying they should do that. George’s posts about jp on Edmonton are valid. Wait him out and hope he does something to drive up his value. But his value now is a second

      • Maybe, for a team that is looking to add depth for a cup run. But how does It help NY to add (yet another winger) who’s aging and a pending UFA and still a rebuilding team?

        It doesn’t. It would be beyond awful asset management by NY. Why take a cost controlled player and turn it into something you don’t need? An aging , pending UFA that doesn’t help you now or later?

        And agree NY needs to play this out. No way should a 2nd cover a guy picked in the top 9 that was considered to be a Calder candidate this year .

  9. Matthews and Marner request the Leafs dont play any more Saturday night games. Theyre young, stylish and would prefer to go out clubbing on Saturday evenings.

    • Hi Ronald

      The way they played yesterday…. Take the word “Saturday” out of your statement…. Still fits

  10. Chris Drury wants a high end top prospect in return for th disgruntled player? lol but he won’t even give up a C rated prospect for Eichel, ha ha. These GMs have to know that the odds of your so called too prospect has a slim chance of ever being a point per Game Center.

  11. Anyone know when the Leafs will be hoisting their 20/21 North Division Regular Season Champions banner?

    Asking for a friend.

    • I’ve heard from some good sources it’s gonna happen the year after the flyers find a goalie who ain’t a one year wonder.

      • So never?