NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2021

by | Nov 15, 2021 | Rumors | 50 comments

A look at the top potential trade targets now that Jack Eichel’s off the market in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy and Matt Larkin examined several possible trade targets now that Jack Eichel is finally off the trade market.

Kennedy kicked things off by suggesting Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel as the most obvious choice. He also wondered what the market would be for defenseman Kris Letang if the Pittsburgh Penguins decide the postseason isn’t in the cards for them this season. Despite his injury history and age, the 34-year-old remains a solid offensive blueliner who could fetch a decent return should the Penguins decide to rebuild.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is going to be traded at some point between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer who doesn’t fit into the rebuilding Coyotes’ plans and he wants a chance to earn a new contract by playing with a playoff contender this season. He’s being paid only $1 million in actual salary but his $6.8 million cap hit likely means cap-strapped suitors could wait until closer to the trade deadline.

Like Kessel, Letang is a UFA next summer. While his name briefly surfaced in trade speculation over the past couple of years, he has indicated his desire to finish his career with the Penguins. He won’t be going anywhere if management feels the same way.

Kennedy noted that Letang has a modified no-trade clause allowing him to be moved to 18 teams. He’s also earning $7.25 million in cap hit and actual salary, meaning he would be a more likely trade candidate near the deadline if he and the Penguins decide it’s time to move on.

Larkin suggests center Tomas Hertl as a trade candidate if the San Jose Sharks slide out of playoff contention. Another one could be Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano, prompting Larkin to wonder if the Calgary Flames might attempt to reacquire their former captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl could be the most desirable trade target depending on what the market looks like after the calendar flips to 2022. The 28-year-old center hopes to soon discuss a new contract with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson but there’s no certainty they’ll reach an agreement on an extension before the trade deadline.

The Kraken making Giordano their captain suggests they’re confident of signing the 38-year-old defenseman to a contract extension. If that doesn’t work out, they could consider moving him before deadline day. Maybe the Flames would try to bring him back as a rental but that will depend on what their needs are as the trade deadline approaches.

Returning to the Penguins, Larkin noted Evgeni Malkin is also in the final year of his contract. The 35-year-old center is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Once he returns to the lineup the club will have a better idea of how the standings might shake out. Malkin could be a player they could get a lot for in the trade market if they decide it’s time to move on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin’s in the same boat as Letang. He’s also hinted that he’d like to finish his career in Pittsburgh. He has a full no-movement clause and is earning $9.5 million in cap hit and actual salary. He would generate plenty of interest if the Penguins shop him but moving that contract won’t be easy.

Larkin also mentioned Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury as a trade candidate. He suggested the Edmonton Oilers as a club that might want to kick tires on Fleury or current free agent Tuukka Rask.

Staying with the Blackhawks, Larkin raised the possibility of Patrick Kane as a trade chip, noting he’s got a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million cap hit. He acknowledged that would make it difficult to move the 32-year-old winger but he would be appealing as a two-year rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has popped up in recent weeks as a potential trade chip for the Blackhawks later in the season. His $7 million cap hit ($6 million in actual salary) and 10-team no-trade clause would make it difficult for a team with little or no cap space (like the Oilers) to acquire him.

As for Kane, I don’t see the Blackhawks having that conversation with him until the offseason unless he asks to be moved before the deadline. The Hawks need a long-overdue rebuild. Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews could be shopped if they don’t want to be part of it. They both carry identical contracts with full no-movement clauses, which is why I believe any attempt by the Blackhawks to move either guy will have to wait until next summer.


  1. This “Larkin” guy should get his own rumor website. He pretty much just threw around a bunch of ideas that every one else has already thrown around.

    While they’re mostly reasonable thoughts, it’s not exactly news.

  2. Liked most of Steens game yesterday Debrusk and him brought some speed also need Studnicka playing. Swayman I believe is playing better than Linus might as well play the kid. As Marchand goes so to do the the Bruins he is their engine and it’s burning nitro right now.

    • Sammy Blais, who Rangers gave up Buchnevich for, left game with injury. Another “inadvertent” slew foot from PK. He was playing on top line with Zib and Kreider. With cry baby Kravtsov in Russia, Rangers should be calling about both Kessel and Kane.Of course there’d have to be serious salary retention on both I’d be interested in Tarasenko as well.

      • I can’t believe marine the Rangers trading for any one of them at this stage.

        Do they really seem like contenders at this point? To me, they’re luck to have a winning record. Grossly outplayed most nights. Toronto, Seattle, Florida, etc. escaped with wins. Hanging Sheterkin out to dry bait every game and hoping to sustain that doesn’t seem realistic.

        This team is young and promising. But I don’t think Kessel as a rental makes any sense. Nor do I believe they’re woes go away adding a right winger.

      • It was supposed to say “ I can’t imagine the Rangers”

        iPhone went rogue on me.

      • And their woes, not they’re woes. Jeez, I need to go back to bed.

      • With Canucks struggling, id also call about Boeser. I don’t care how Rangers got to 6th overall in league, they’ve shown that they’ll probably be a playoff team. Have they looked perfect? No. Do they have new coaches and players? Yes. Young guys will continue to get better. They’ve also got a bunch of vets that aren’t getting any younger. Bottom 6 is vastly improved and biggest need right now is a scoring RW. Kind of tired of whole “not ready to win” mentality. There’s no trophies for having best prospect pool. There does come a time when you’re overloaded with prospects and not enough spots. Like Kravtsov. Regardless of that latest statement, probably scripted by Drury and Krav’s agent, I don’t see him playing in NY again.

      • I’d disagree. They’ll never sustain a winning record winning games like they have.

        I can think of at least (conservatively) 4-5 games this team should not only have lost, but should have been a complete blowout losses.

        Who is going the other way for a Kane or Tarasenko? More importantly, where does the cap space come from beyond this year?

        They also don’t hand out trophies for rebuilding a team, only to confuse the rebuild with more aging / expensive forwards.

        They have 71 million committed to 7 forwards, 7 d-men and 1 goaltender.

        Where does Tarasenkos 7.5 or Kane’s 10.5 fit in?

        A few weeks back, Eichel was the biggest priority, now it’s a scoring RW? I hope that scoring right wing is pretty defensive minded!!!!

        Because someone needs to shelter Sheterkin a little more than he’s used to seeing. Or these wins will quickly start turning into losses.

        Unsustainable in a regular season, playoff getting out played like this ? Gone in 4-5 games.

        But luckily, they’ll have an even bigger core of aging players to trade away again.

      • The Rangers won games yes they did not deserve too. and without their top players clicking. Rangers can push this season imho IF they can get consistent.

        Long term I still do not see Chytil as a 2C and what do they do with Strome this summer?
        Trade Kratsov for Kessel and Hayton…. I still like Hertl but looks like he wants to stay in cali

      • Rangers wins.

        Montreal outshot 32-28 Sheterkin 1st star.

        Toronto outshot 41-23 Sheterkin 1st star.

        Ottawa outshot 28-26 Georgiev 3rd star.

        Seattle outshot 32-17 Sheterkin 1st star.

        Florida outshot 42-18 Sheterkin 1st star.

        Both games against Columbus NY managed to outshoot them. Sheterkin 1st star one game (shutout)

        NJ last night they were not outshot.

        How many late 3rd period blowups so far resulting in losses? Vancouver, Edmonton ?

        This team isn’t a right winger away imo. Nemeth is a problem, Tinordi when playing a bigger problem. Miller looks out of place which is forcing Trouba out of place which seems to be constantly is a problem.

        Time and patience. Trading away prospects doesn’t win trophies either , didn’t we see that in the 90s early 2000s? Kovelov, Zubov, Savard, Amonte, numerous 1st round picks? No thanks on aging star hunting at the expense of the future.

      • Upgrading at 2C has been a priority for last 2 seasons. So yeah, when young star players become available like Dubois or Eichel, Rangers should have serious interest. Unfortunately, there’s no upgrades available. As I stated above… Kane or Kessel… with RETENTION. Can talk about cap all you want but facts remain, Vegas got Eichel and their cap is in worse shape. Fortune favors the bold. I’m not talking about giving away the farm. Rebuild. DeAngelo gone for nothing. Lias gone for 2nd round pick. Kravtsov in Russia. Howden in Vegas. Hajek hasn’t played a game this year and can’t go to AHL because he’d have to go through waivers. Zach Jones can’t get on roster because of positional depth but probably could play on half the teams in league. Let’s hope the rest of prospects pan out before Kreider, Trouba, Zib, and Panarin start regressing. Also, as I mentioned, we have a top goaltender. Stealing wins is what you want.

      • Rangers do not need to move Kreider or Trouba(like the player just for 3mil less).

        Once some of the kids finally ‘arrive’ the window with Igor will be here for some runs.

        That said the Vegas team in 3 seasons might look like an old school Vegas show with aging stars…… depends how Eichel recovers and or if they can deliver a Cup in the next 2 seasons

    • Stealing wins is great, but again unattainable. And you certainly can’t steal multiple series in the playoffs, ask Lundqvist how that worked out.

      Zac Jones is exactly the reason you don’t bring in Nemeth and Tinordi.

      Dubois over the last 3 seasons has put up 130 points.

      Strome over the last 3 has put up 143.

      Don’t see how that’s an upgrade?

      How much do you think Chicago is going to retain? Or St.Louis? If St. Louis was willing to retain anything significant, wouldn’t tarasenko already be gone?

      Let’s say Chicago retains 3.5 per. How does NY fit that in? And re-sign or replace 7 forwards and a goaltender?

      NY would need to ship out Kreider (doubtful) or Trouba.

      Would you take Trouba at 8 per and hold 3.5, essentially making Trouba an 11.5 per player for 2 years? I wouldn’t! I don’t think any GM would either.

      And even if by some miracle they do make that deal, now this aging core of players just got even older and a shorter window to work with, because Kane is 33, and Tarasenko is a few month younger than Kreider and both older than Trouba.

      • “ Vegas got Eichel and their cap is in worse shape. Fortune favors the bold.”

        I’d say signing Pietrangelo was bold, how did fortune favor that? With a semi final knock out from Montreal?

        Eichel hasn’t done anything yet, and somehow, someone has to go before taking him off LTIR. Probably more than someone has to go.

        If I’m reading capfriendly correct, they’re at about 80 million with an additional 19 on ltir/it? Best of luck navigating that cap!

      • Only one team wins cup every year. Goal is to get in every year and who knows what happens. Rangers have set themselves up pretty well for that. I’ll agree on Nemeth and Tinordi. Didn’t understand adding those guys. Maybe 1. Team is short on center prospects, but today’s discussion was on 2 RW’s.

    • Why do they dick around with Studnicka?Play the kid as the 3rd line center and leave him alone.Caude Julien did that withKrecji remember him,15 years ago and look how that turned out.Krecji was undersized and not that strong but Julien let him play through his mistakes and gave him an opportunity to grow as a player

  3. Ben Chiarot is another name to look out for as to trade rumors. He’s played decently so far this season. With the Habs going nowhere fast and Chiarot on the last year of his contract, there’s a deal to be had. He could probably fetch a 2nd and a decent young player or prospect.

    • I’d rather we sign him, Howard. His loss will be felt by the Habs for several years going forward.

      • LJ. We need to get rid of everyone on this current roster not named Suzuki or Romanov and go into full blown rebuild mode. If (and that’s a big if) it is successful, Chiarot will be long past his prime.

      • I cannot agree, Habman. The team is a mess right now because it started the season minus 2 of its 4 top D, and it’s best goalie, out of the line up. Few teams could absorb that. The Habs also have players playing but struggling with injuries (Petry, Gallagher, who knows who else), and those who are out with injuries. It’s a cluster #*ck of bad luck right now.

        Caulfield and Dvorak have disappointed in the early going but they are keepers in the long term. The playoffs are out of reach, but with all hands on deck this is a playoff team.

  4. I’ve often wondered why we don’t see more trade and resigns in the nhl. Pitt perfect example. If letoand Malkin want to finish their career In pburgh you would assume they would want the team to be as competitive as possible during that time. Renting themselves out for a few months at deadline would improve the pens… thus making the team they sign back with more competitive.

    • In cases like Malkin and Letang, typically the return is prospects and picks. At their ages and stage of careers the returns won’t really be helpful soon enough.

      • Maybe maybe not. You’d likely be looking at three year deals for both to line up with crosby. Could see assets being viable in that time frame.

      • Maybe, use the acquired prospects and picks as tradeable assets for an established asset?

    • It is kind of weird Chrisms, but maybe once they leave they see that the change was good for them.
      Usually they are leaving a team that isn’t having success to one that is.

      Winning is way more fun than losing. If you didn’t make the playoffs you are almost always trading for picks/prospects, and those assets usually don’t start to help the team for a few years and these guys are generally older.

  5. Kessel should be traded at TDL; and best case scenario is with a to-through middle team

    At TDL; with escrow; Kessel then only owed ~ 275 K (~ 40K Leafs, ~ 235 K Yotes)

    Cap is the issue and not actual dollars

    At TDL ….. his remaining Cap hit (to Yotes) …. ~$2.3 M

    Yotes retain 50% ; then middle team 50% of that….

    Final team and middle team get Cap hits ~ $575 K; but outlay <$70 K each

    What is Phil worth to end team for only a Cap hit of $575K….

    Yotes get a 2nd

    Middle team gets a 3rd (but give up a 4th)…. Buying that move up the draft for $70 K

    Final team get Phil and a 4th (from middle team)…. So 2nd and 3rd for Phil (at $575K Cap; $70 K cash) and 4th

    Pens (as at now heading towards missing playoffs)…. If out for sure at TDL…., unload as many UFAs (including trying to talk to Gino …. Panther??) as possible; for as much as possible (retain 50% on every single one)…. start the rebuild….. maybe Wright in ‘22, AND Bedard in ‘23….LOL

    • Peggy do ever look at a trade after it happens and look at all your crazy not even close not even remotely close predictions? Every f ing day

      • No need to swear at Pengy, Swani. His trade ideas never happen, but are never stupid. Let the man have his fun :).

      • No one’s forcing you to read Pengy’s comments, Swany.

      • And they are NOT “predictions,” Swany … they are – for wont of a better word – musings based upon the obvious needs of the teams discussed.

  6. HarryO, from a couple of days ago, you asked me to look at Harrington’s Saturday column re Buffalo. Still interested? Is this what you are drawing my attention to:

    “While the Sabres may have some recruitment trouble with players because of their medical decisions, it’s likely that players on other teams have taken notice of how Adams has taken care of his stars who wanted a new start.”

    The Sabres mantra has been that they want players who want to be there. Clearly a number wanted out. Adams made the trades based on what he could get for players that wanted to move. His own mantra with Eichel was that he was doing what was in the best interests for the Sabres, so Harrington is smoking crack if he thinks that amounts to taking care of his stars for their sake.

    He uses Eric Staal as an example of doing a player a favour by moving him. Staal got moved to Montreal, which at the time was on life support and was in serious danger of missing the playoffs. No one anywhere foresaw the Habs Cup run. Hard to see that as a favour to Staal. Adams got two draft picks for an aging player on an expiring contract who didn’t fit into the Sabres’ plan, who didn’t do much for the Habs, and is currently looking for a team, any team.

    With respect to Eichel, I took note of Harrington’s comment that there was an undercurrent about him in the dressing room. And then nothing to back that up. So, is Harrington protecting insider contacts, or being fed manure? Without substantiation, who can say?

    I also note the Pegulas were bitter about Eichel asking for a trade. I understand that. But was the refusal to let Eichel get the surgery he wanted, and the ensuing standoff, the Pegulas’ revenge? Whether it was or wasn’t it doesn’t change my opinion that had they traded Eichel in the off season by asking for a more realistic return they might have gotten better players, earlier, by having Eichel available to play earlier.

    So my opinion hasn’t been altered by Harrington’s column. The Sabres’ average attendance is 7,000 a game. So clearly the Buffalo hockey community isn’t enamoured with the Sabres either.

    • I would not want to be a Saber’s fan under the current ownership, that’s for sure.

  7. Spector

    Just in case you’re unaware of it, the main link to your site is stuck on November 13.


    • Hi, Francis, are you using Safari as your browser? I’ve checked on Google, Firefox and IE and everything’s fine on those browsers.

      • I’m using Microsoft Edge. The link I posted opens the page of November 13. If I then click on the main Spector’s Hockey headline or the “Home” title, I’m presented with the introductory paragraphs for the Morning Coffee Headlines and the NHL Rumor Mill, with a start date of November 13. I need to click on either the “News” title or the “Rumors” title to reach the introductory paragraphs for those columns with a November 15 start date..

      • OK, I’ll look into it. Thanks!

      • same thing with me via Firefox

      • To be clear, Lyle, I use Firefox and it was stuck on Nov 13 all day yesterday. Back to normal today, obviously.

      • Could be a caching issue at our end. We’ll look into it. Thanks!

    • It’s only for you. If I click that link it takes me to today.

      This happened to me about a month ago. When using home WiFi it kept bringing me to 9/11/21, when I used cell data it brought me to the proper day.

      Never could figure out why, I thought I was ip blocked, it just fixed itself after a few weeks.

      • Please try to find out how that happened. There must be some way I can fix myself.

    • I actually have the same thing going on today on my PC but it’s working fine on my iPhone. Strange.

  8. Microsoft Edge and stuck for me as well …

    Letang and Malkin for whatever Hextall can fetch in return … same for Zucker … he is useless .. Pettersson & Marino are both overpaid for what they bring, def need an upgrade in goal making Jarry expendable … no toughness whatsoever … I thought Brian Burke would have a say in that … the Pens window closed a long time ago, time to tank …

    • I think Pitt should trade every UFA they got then bring Letang and Malkin back on team friendly deals. Then they sign Fleury and Kessell to have one final run while the prospects they get from the trades mature.

      Personally I want Kessell to go to TO at the TDL.

  9. *solar flares*

  10. to CHI: Zucker, Petterson & DeSmith

    to Pitt: MAF & Strome

    think dollars work out

    • Hi IHC

      I think most Pens fans would absolutely love that deal

      However, Pens would have to pony up more IMHO

      Would love to get DeHaan as well

      At this point however; if decline continues, Pens just might have to accept a rebuild more st start this year

      Pens host Sabres tomorrow; then n to Montreal and Toronto (where I’m personally hoping for an OT game)…. If Pens come out with 3 or less points in those : games…. The hill becomes steeper and steeper

      Trades in-season; not near/at TDL; are much less common…. It may just end up being a massive Pens dump at TDL with a tank mentality (worst situation is ending up just outside of playoffs; picking 15th or 16th)

  11. to ARZ: Girard

    to COL: Kessel (50% retained) & Capobianco

    COL gets scoring

  12. When Rask is ready

    to BOS: Ghost & Hutton

    to ARZ: Ullmark & 2nd rd pick

    • You should check cap friendly before posting, Ullmark has NMC