NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2021

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Rumors | 49 comments

The Jack Eichel rumor mill churns on with the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights as the remaining bidders. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ESPN: Emily Kaplan reports sources claim the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights are the sole finalists in the bidding for Jack Eichel. Both clubs are okay with the 25-year-old Buffalo Sabres center undergoing disc replacement surgery to repair the herniated disc in his neck.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Kaplan said she was told a trade could be close (“on the one-yard line”) but details are still being worked out. Sabres general manager Kevin Adams has been working hard to get this done but he’s standing firm on his asking price. The Flames and Golden Knights have yet to meet his full demands.

The timetable for Eichel’s return would see him return to the ice within six weeks of surgery but it could be up to three months before he’s ready for game play. That would take him out of joining Team USA for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Still, the recovery period is two months shorter than it would be if he underwent neck fusion.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarland noted the Sabres asking price was set months ago consisting of at least four assets not including those that would have to go the other way for salary-cap purposes. He believes the Flames would have to part with a first-round pick, a top prospect and two young roster players, preferably a forward and defenseman under 25.

Macfarland doesn’t see the Sabres being interested in Juuso Valimaki given his struggles this season. The Flames are short on wingers so they’re unlikely to part with Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Blake Coleman or Andrew Mangiapane.

Center Sean Monahan and his $6.375 million annual cap hit would have to go the other way to help offset the addition of Eichel’s $10 million cap hit. McFarland doubts the Flames will acquire Eichel unless general manager Brad Treliving feels he won’t be able to re-sign Gaudreau or if Tkachuk is biding his time as a restricted free agent.

CALGARY SUN: Kristen Anderson also weighed in on the cost for the Flames to acquire Eichel. She pointed out the Flames have just over $1 million in cap space, meaning they must shed salary in addition to perhaps parting with younger players like Valimaki, speedy winger Dillon Dube and promising prospect Jakob Pelletier as part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, the salary cap is an issue for the cap-strapped Flames and Golden Knights. The Sabres have made it clear they’re not retaining any portion of Eichel’s cap hit.

Vegas has Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch on long-term injury reserve and can use that flexibility in the short term to add Eichel. However, they must shed salary later in the season when those players return to the lineup.

The Flames, meanwhile, would have to ship out salary immediately to make the dollars fit. That will involve either a direct deal with the Sabres, a separate cost-cutting trade with another club, or a trade involving a third team acting as a third-party broker.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Boston Bruins likely won’t be involved in any Eichel trade. He cites a well-placed source saying the Bruins are trying to improve their roster but haven’t been involved in the Eichel trade sweepstakes for a while.

Murphy believes the Bruins lack depth in tradeable assets to tempt the Sabres. His source said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has been looking for a defenseman, specifically a top-four rearguard who can produce offense from the blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Bruins are out of the bidding for Eichel given the Sabres’ expensive asking price. Most observers have said for months the Bruins lack the assets to make a competitive pitch for Eichel.


  1. If overthinking the Eichel situation burned calories most in here would be dead.

    • Nope, not me. I have plenty of padding. LOL
      Although I’d probably by half myself. 😀

      • If that’s all it takes, I would be doing that mental exercise everyday! The Eichel Sweepstakes is getting quite long in the tooth and I imagine many people will be analysing the trade for years after its completion. That being said, everyone needs a hobby. One of mine is following the NHL intently. There are worse ‘time wasters’ in life. 🙂

  2. Re the above blurb on the Bruins by Jimmy Murphy … that loud POP was Dubya’s balloon exploding.

  3. Boston doesn’t have the assets, well they do but they don’t want to give up them assets.

    Buffalo wants equivalent of 4 1st round draft picks.

    Boston has three that they thought were 1st round worthy in 2015, can have them and for cap reasons i’ll throw in Pastrnak.

  4. Boston you had a top 4 D with offence Tory Krug
    Monahan the other way is a must in an Eichel deal. Valamaki was 16th overall
    Two boxes checked

    • One box checked…can’t see the Sabres being interested in Valimaki, they have an abundance of LD in the system that should be ready next year.
      The second box to be checked is Calgary’s 1st round draft pick.

  5. Totally off topic but I’m convinced the leafs window to win is minimal over the next 2 years. I’m suggesting to open that window again the best option is to trade Matthew as he would bring in the most assets to speed up the process.

    If possible I would like to see a trade with Anaheim. Matthews for Zegas, Drysdale, 2022 1st round pick (unprotected) and Henrique as a throw in.

    If Zegras and drysdale develop into the number one centre and defensemen as projected they will be entering their prime while marner and nylander and Reilly are still in their prime. At this point Taveres will be the full time 3rd line centre.

    At this point salary Cap will be increasing and therefore enabling to sign zegras and drysdale to long term contracts or preferably cheaper bridge contracts. You would still have cap flexibility to be build around the this group for the next several years.

    • I don’t like that idea. The Ducks are in the same division as my Oilers and I’d prefer keeping the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner in the east.
      IMO you don’t trade away true top line centres.
      The Leafs have one and right now Zegas isn’t one. He does have the potential to be one, but that is a gamble. The Leafs are stuck between a rock and a hard place with their cap situation. IMO the Leafs can’t afford to trade either Matthews or Marner. Marner is to Matthews as Oates was to Hull and Backstrom is to Ovey. Tavares is untradeable due to his contract, unless a third team gets involved to take cap space. At this point Dubas (and good on him, even though I think it will cost him his job) sounds like is a man of his word and won’t trade Nylander. Once Dubas is replaced and the new GM trades Nylander to get a top pairing d-man, the Leafs will continue to have cap issues.
      Also, how will it look to have an $11 million centre on the third line?

      • I don’t get why everyone is so concerned about the Leafs cap situation. Tampa has more high end contracts and will be way worse next year. Oilers will also be way worse next year too.

      • The Lightening have an Vesna winning Goalie, Noris winning D-man, Stamkos, Point, and Kucherov.

      • Oilers will have to do some minor juggling, nothing too crazy.
        Some young and inexpensive talent coming to back fill as well in Holloway up front, odds are at least one of Broberg or Samarukov will get promoted on the back end.

        One goaltending spot will need to be filled along with whatever raise Puljujarvi gets. That one will be interesting, developed into a good player, but also benefiting from playing with a great one.

    • Mathews is great but unless there are assurances he resigns two and half years of him ain’t worth that haul at all.

      • Agree Chrisms

        AM’s last day as a Leaf, at best, is 30/6/24

    • Makes as much sense as the fans that wanted to trade Matthews when he was drafted for max Domi????????

    • Hi Jeff

      Leafs fan for 5 1/2 decades plus here

      I have almost zero belief that Leafs can get near SCF in ’22 or ’23 without a big change (1/2 Cap on 4 Fwds not cutting it)

      I am at 99.9999999999% certainty that AM walks on 1/7/24

      With that in mind; and the ask of 4 1sts or equivalent for the injured (and no guarantee of surgery success and/or guarantee of returning to form) Jack Eichel……

      Then the healthy reigning Rocket Richard winner ; who is a far better sniper than Eichel even when Eichel healthy and at his best; and is bigger; and is HEALTHY…..doesn’t the logic above then read as his (AM’s) worth is the equivalent of 6 1sts (again comparing what Adams is asking for Eichel)???

      So…. if the conclusion is Leafs are not going to get to the cup in ’22 or ’23 let alone win it all then…. would you trade AM for the equivalent of 6 1sts…. those assets easily buy a solid mid 20’s 2C and solid top pairing D (both with term); and still their combined cap frees up space (less than AM $11.6 M)

      Just a thought

      • Nope. Eichel is signed for twice as long. Value might be equivalent?

      • Hi Chrisms

        Healthy Jack for 4 years (past this year) vs 2 for AM…. no challenge

        But…. there lies the rub…. healthy !!!!

      • “Just a thought”

        Yes another Pengy classic that we’ll have to suffer hearing over and over again until 1/7/24… I’m 99.99999999% certain of that.

        Fairweather fan.

      • You’re wearing me out, Pengy, so Montreal last year, St. Louis dead in the water and win the Cup, Washington finally, finally get there, none of these examples work for you?
        Should you not perhaps just move all your loyalty to one team, preferably in the Western Conference?

      • Hi BCLeafFan


        Re “ Pengy, so Montreal last year, St. Louis dead in the water and win the Cup, Washington finally, finally get there, none of these examples work for you?”

        Not sure what you are referring to re Habs last year…. What are you referring to?

        StLouis dead in the water and win the cup??? I never EVER stated that they were dead in the Water…. Not sure where that came from

        Caps??? I’ve never been a Caps fan…. Ever. Can’t see it happening

        You are mixing up posters on this site

        My two fav teams are Leafs and Pens

        I do like what the Knights have accomplished over their short time in the NHL (these early 21-22 games notwithstanding)

        I like all hockey so enjoy games where neither Leafs; Pens, or Knights are playing

        My allegiance to Leafs has not faltered in 51/2 decades; nor has my Pens allegiance for just over 3 decades

        My confidence in them (Leafs) succeeding was highest in the “Dougie” runs; but I am nowhere near as confident in the current squad. It’s just a reality check

        I truly believe that a big move (away from 4 fwds eating up 1/2 the cap) is necessary

        Hope that clarifies my feelings re Leafs and Pens

      • Heard that Matthews isn’t going to Phoenix more interested in Rangers Bruins and Oilers not sure who will be able to handle his contract at the time.

    • Jeff if only I could make you the GM of the Leafs!!!

  6. I’m Trader Jim Cantafford, and my team is in win-now mode. I’m willing to part with a first-round pick, a top prospect and two young roster players for a guy I think will better the chances of my team winning the Cup. One GM has offered me costly Jack Eichel, whose usefulness won’t be known until after he is re-engineered. Considering what I am offering, can any of you other GMs offer me a better way to spend $10 million?

  7. “Kaplan said she was told a trade could be close (“on the one-yard line”) but details are still being worked out.”

    What are those details?
    Are there any details?

    Using a football metaphor in a hockey story is indicative of the journalism involved in the story.

    • My guess it will be the conditions on any draft picks that are included. Likely based on games played etc. The prospects, young players, and or roster players has likely already been determined. Its a matter of those conditional picks.

      • I don’t understand the conditional pick thing. If Buffalo thought it was likely eichel could meet the conditions of those picks then why not let him have the surgery?

      • Hi Chrisms

        The conditions buffer the trade.

        All teams, including Sabres, realize that there is a risk to the surgery. Any surgery has a risk involved

        Even if the surgery is completely succesful (full recovery , full motion, no pain)— Eichel will still be off for a certain amount of time; and outside of surgery; being off that long… no way he returns immediately to the highs of his pre-injury prodution

        New team, new coach, new city, new line-mates, new system…. all after lengthy layoff and surgery and re-hab

        The conditions buffer the trade risk; mitigating that risk (by receiving team) by having part of the risk buffered by Sabres (in conditional picks)

        Receiving team willing to give up more if they know he comes back sooner and plays X number of games this year

        Receiving team will pay very very little if they know at best he “may” return very late this year; and no guarantee he is up to speed and at full production come playoffs

        Sabres (via conditions) take on some risk; receiving team (taking on Eichel and allowing surgery) take on some risk

        To put it another way….

        Eichel having surgery and surgery fails terribly and ends his career (not likely but there is some chance however remote)…. his value is zero…. well negative as assets were given up AND receiving team still paying the insurance premium

        Eichel gets surgery, it’s a success, he starts out well and gets into stride; receiving team wins cup with him this year or next and have a healthy Eichel for 4 plus years… what is that worth …. 5 1sts or equivalent?

        So the goalposts of trade are zero and 5 1sts … the conditional pick trade moves the needle of risk

    • That the journalist was trying to use language that a fan base vastly larger than the nhls would understand?

      Could have said the trade was on the goal line but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

      • How about in the crease?

      • Nah. Then the journalist would just have their game changing article waived off

      • Touche

    • Habfan. ESPN just getting back to hockey. She’s probably confused with NFL trade deadline yesterday. “1 yard line”?

      • In the CFL you can’t get any closer on a down than the 1 yard line. If a player is brought down inches from the goal line, the next down starts at the 1. Unlike the NFL where you can scrimmage from the 1-inch line.

      • I did not know that

      • Of course, also in the CFL the opposing lines have to line up 1 yard apart, whereas in the NFL they’re literally nose to nose.

      • George

        don’t forget we also only get 3 downs; have a massively bigger field, bigger ball and dang…. lest we not forget the Rouge and we don’t have “fair catch”

        RedBlacks will be back next year George; this is just an adjustment year

      • And an extra man on the field. 12 vs 11
        Go Riders!

      • And a loser point

  8. So who are the salaried players going back for Vegas and then what 4 other pieces? They won’t be able to beat an AHL team with what’s left. The more I watch Strome, the more I think Drury making a huge mistake. Panarin has already been better playing with Zib this year.

  9. This is 4D chess by Vegas. They’re going to keep Eichel, Tuch, Stone and Pacioretty on LTIR until the playoffs start so they can be $30MM over the cap. Anything TB can do, they can do better!

    **Disclaimer: Yes, I’m being facetious.

  10. I’ve posted before and I’ll post again

    Trade for Eichel is risky; so trade has to have a lower return and/or risk mitigation (conditional picks)

    Knights are already short staff key players and would have to give up another roster player in the deal.

    That leaves them additionally short and also without Eichel until at least February… If I were McCrimmon I wouldn’t do it

    Flames— similar w.r.t. losing a roster player or two , until Eichel returns

    Both… IF he gets surgery and IF (big IF) it is successful; what guarantee is there that the player returns to pre-injury production. Note: new system to learn, new coaches, new line-mates, new team mates. The risk/reward for an in-year trade (still asking 4 equiv 1sts )— not worth it IMVHO

    Talk of Monohan to Sabres… NOTE he has a 10 team NTC… what is the likelihood that Sabres are NOT one of those 10??

    For ships and giggles I’m throwing out a 3 team trade…. And with the number of assets and conditions and complications of the trade…. Read this as basically zero chance…. Only there for the humour and read….

    This is prefaced on players waiving and/or having the appropriate team on their trade list and is parlaying on the fact that Pens are once again down players …. big…. and this is basically now their window nearing its end (5 players, INCLUDING Sid, now out with Covid; AND Gino and Rusty still out)

    To cgy: Eichel (no retention)

    To Sabres:
    Cgy ‘22 1st (lotto protected); conditional on games played by Eichel (if he doesn’t reach that condition…. Becomes a 2nd in 2023)
    Pens ’22 1st (lotto protected); conditional on games played by Eichel (if he doesn’t reach that condition…. Becomes a 2nd)


    To Pens:
    Lucic (50% retained by Sabres)
    Pysyk (50% retained by Sabres)
    Miller (50 % retained by Sabres)
    Cgy ’22 2nd
    Buff ‘22 2nd

  11. How about, Dube, Backlund, zary and 2022 first as conditional for Eichel. Since they don’t want Valimaki, Backlund is better and cheaper.

    • Money doesnt work.. Backlund is $5.35, Dube $2.3, Zary league min + 1.1 in cap space does not equal Eichel’s $10 shmil. Would have to be Monahan’s $6.38 paired with Dube, Zary and their cap space and even that only barely works, but assuming there is talks, likely close to what is being discussed (plus the conditional picks). Risky biz as everyone has pointed out.

  12. I just don’t think Any of the names being band-aid around an Eichel trade are or sound sexy enough for the Sabres to bite.
    They really need to get this one right. It has to be a third team getting involved to hold salary in order for Buffalo to accept.

  13. How bout that wild tweet by weekes! Thachuk a first a former 1st and two prospects for Jacky…. Wow!

    • Seems expensive for Jack, but the basis of Tkachuk plus doesn’t sound crazy.
      The “plus” he includes seems a bit much though.
      Sutter not a Tkachuk fan?

  14. Don’t count on Eichel going to the Flames or Vegas

    • Or the Bruins