NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2021

by | Nov 5, 2021 | Rumors | 48 comments

The Golden Knights face a potential salary-cap crunch after acquiring Jack Eichel plus speculation on the Flames’ next move after losing the Eichel sweepstakes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ben Gotz examines the salary-cap crunch facing the Golden Knights following their acquisition yesterday of Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres. The move gives them the NHL’s second-most expensive quartet in Eichel ($10 million annual cap hit), Mark Stone ($9.5 million), Alex Pietrangelo ($8.8 million) and Max Pacioretty ($7 million).

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

Eichel, Stone and Pacioretty are on long-term injury reserve, giving the Golden Knights some flexibility for now. However, they’ll have to shed about $10 million in cap space when the trio returns to action later in the season. With $78.395 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23, more cost-cutting moves could take place in the offseason.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson believes the Golden Knights can shed around $3 million by “moving off” Jonas Rondbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Michael Amadio and Ben Hutton. A $5 million winger such as Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov could become a cost-cutting casualty. Smith seems the likely candidate as he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. They could also attempt to shop a defenseman like Brayden McNabb ($2.5 million), who’s also a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players Emerson suggested the Golden Knights “move off” each make under $1.125 million and thus their full salaries can be buried in the minors. The rest, however, will involve a salary-dumping deal. The Golden Knights will likely want only draft picks, prospects, or a player earning less than $1 million in return.

Smith and McNabb could draw interest from playoff contenders as the trade deadline draws closer. We can expect to hear more Golden Knights trade speculation at some point between January and the March 21 trade deadline as those sidelined stars start returning to the lineup.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams denied rumors the Calgary Flames offered up winger Matthew Tkachuk as part of their offer for Jack Eichel. However, he said the Flames came very close to landing Eichel as one of the few clubs willing to acquire him presurgery.

LeBrun said the Carolina Hurricanes kept tabs on the Eichel trade talk but the Sabres wanted promising forward Seth Jarvis or forward Martin Necas as part of a package return. The Arizona Coyotes were also interested in being a third-party broker to absorb part of Eichel’s cap hit in exchange for a draft pick but the Golden Knights were able to do it on their own.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian heard from sources that, at the time of ESPN’s report listing the Flames and Golden Knights as finalists for Eichel, the question wasn’t which team would get him but when he’d go to Vegas. That didn’t stop the Flames from trying to swing a deal including draft picks, prospects and a roster player but they didn’t offer up anyone comparable to Peyton Krebs, the prospect the Sabres eventually received from the Golden Knights.

Salvian also cited multiple sources saying the report about Tkachuk being offered didn’t come from the Flames camp. It appears Flames GM Brad Treliving spoke with Tkachuk on Wednesday regarding the rumor. The winger said he wasn’t concerned about it. Smoothing the situation was important so as not to have it affect contract negotiations next summer when Tkachuk becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Salvian believes the Flames’ interest in Eichel confirms they’re in the market for a center. She wondered if they might turn their focus toward San Jose’ Tomas Hertl. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer and wouldn’t cost as much to acquire as Eichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made the right decision to speak with Tkachuk and clarify the situation. However, I wonder if he did the same for Sean Monahan, who also popped up in the Eichel trade chatter. Monahan is signed through 2022-23 and carries a 10-team no-trade list. Perhaps the latter made it unnecessary for Treliving to have a similar discussion with him.

The Flames will have to wait a while if they do turn their sights to Hertl. He’s hopeful of opening contract extension talks with Sharks GM Doug Wilson at some point in the season. The 27-year-old center could become available by the March 21 trade deadline if those contract discussions fail to materialize or an agreement on an extension cannot be reached before then.


  1. 3 months of Eichel speculation finally comes to a close in Buffalo. Now we’ll spend the next 3 months trying to figure out how Vegas fits Eichel into their salary cap once he’s ready to return!

    • As I mentioned earlier, that won’t come up until later in the season when those players are due to return to the lineup. In other words, that speculation won’t start in earnest until sometime in the New Year.

    • I’m thinking they’re looking at pulling a Tampa-Kucherov stunt.

  2. Eichel stated just yesterday that he is aiming to play in the Olympics. My guess is that Stone or Patches will sit out until the playoffs begin.
    Hanging out in Vegas while still making bank sounds like a tough gig.
    One, the other, or both might take the time to consult with Kuch, to see how he managed to get by last season.

  3. Maybe they’ll pull a Tampa Bay KoochyRoo and sneak into the playoffs with suddenly healthy players.

    • I still don’t think there was anything shady going on with TBay and Kuch. Took advantage of an opportunity to add and go for it put together one of the most dominant teams in recent memory.

      Vegas, same thing. If these guys weren’t injured, this deal would have been way tougher to pull off. But as fate would have it, an opportunity came up and they took advantage of it. Plus they had the assets to make it work.

      Now, with all these high end guys out, they need to stay close enough to make the playoffs. Not a sure thing.

      • I am with you on this one, Ray, I love a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone but I don’t think this is one of them.

  4. Aside from the NHL protocol of checking on the status of the LTIR players, Pacioretty is notorious for his healing powers, full recovery from the ugly Chara hit, played with a broken foot.
    The guy always recovers ahead of time and is known for his character.

    Mark Stone is also known for playing through pain and quick recovery.

  5. Adams should’ve fired the team doctor and found one that agreed with Eichel choice of surgery.

    • Ya Caper, if he comes back healthy and kills it, this will be a really bad look for the Sabres.
      I think it already isn’t great as a PR matter regardless of what happens with the surgery.

      If Krebs turns out to be meh? More of the same.

      I don’t know what the current success rate is on this surgery, but would sure like to.

      • Ray–My guess is that the current success rate would not be determined by the number of athletes who have fully recovered after having a disc in their neck replaced. I suspect it’s more likely determined by the number of office workers regaining full functionality after the procedure, which should vary greatly from the number of hockey players who have survived whiplash from an unexpected hit from behind after having the surgery.

      • Not sure they could quantify in that detail either Francis. Would be waiting an awful long time for that sort of data which would have too many variables anyway.

        Agree that it will simply be how close are you in functionality to where you were before no matter what you do. Sounds like the replacement has the best chance of that, but not large sample size.
        You get whiplash, with or without either surgery, would be a problem IMO.

        Hoping it works out for him, until they play the Oil or Bruins.

      • They were speaking on it yesterday Ray on the Jeff Marek show. He had a UHN Dr. That specializes in that type of surgery.
        She said there is a 2% risk rate for that procedure. Mind you, this is one Dr’s opinion.

        If that’s the case, don’t you think Buffalo should have maybe given it another look?

      • FD, yep.

      • I read a few articles on this and dont remember the answer to your question, however I do remember that the procedure that JE wants isnt as popular anymore as its not a good long term solution. If I remember correctly the number of operations are down 83% from when it was most popular. It was never as popular in Europe but there are less of the operation done ther now as well. So based on this I understand the position of the Buffalo doctors

    • Caper-Maybe, that could be said of a lot of team doctors if Eichel returns and plays well. If such a doctor were easy to find in the NHL, wouldn’t the Sabres have gotten a better return than they did?

      • Eichel wanted out before injury. IMO Buffalo used surgery disagreement as leverage. It’s not like they were in a rush to have him back. Krebs was hurt right before his draft and could’ve easily been a top 10 pick. Tuch has developed nicely and grew up a Sabres fan. Both those guys and depending on picks, this trade could work out well for them. I think Buffalo is happy to move on and have Eichel out west.

  6. Glad Eichel didn’t go to the b’s. Comparing Eichel at one time to Mcdavid is sort of like comparing George’s posts to Steven Brunt’s. Yuck!

    • There ya go Dubya – or should we call you Johnny One-Note?

    • What is Brunt’s handle?

  7. Hertl going nowhere as long as Kane doesn’t come back…

  8. Habfan30 read your trade proposal for Matthews

    This trade doesn’t work.

    First a contract extension would have to be in place for Matthews

    JT become the only C Toronto has and he will now grab all the attention

    The time your players fully develop JT would be moving down the ladder; Muzzin a couple years older and slower.

    Now if you could move MM for Seider i be all over that.

    • Agree on the Leafs would do that Caper. I’m not sure DET would.
      Marner more of a sure thing to produce offence, but Seider seems like a lock for 2nd pair minimum with a good chance at to top pair, and even a true #1 guy.

      You don’t trade that for a winger unless his name was Ovie and he was still 22.

    • It’s just one one viable option in which TML can use its biggest asset to improve dramatically as opposed to complaining about the “Shanaplan” and laughing at how stuck the TML are.

      I don’t think there’s a clear winner or loser but an opportunity for both teams to improve.

  9. One thing we certainly won’t talk about is the youngest player in the NHL

  10. Wait, I thought Eichel to the Bruins was a done deal according to Rick Murray???? wha happen?

    Not getting Hague back made this an average return for Buffalo, maybe they can flip Tuch …

    • Tuch is a good player with size. And the stats he’s put up in Vegas have been mostly 3rd line usage. Put him in the top 6 in Buffalo and I think they instantly have a 25+ goal scorer on the wing who could really go 30+ if he plays a full season.

    • Vegas is flipping him to the Bruins

      • Ha!

    • Ed-Tuch is feisty and his approach is spirited–just like you. He may be the best part of the Sabres’ return. His type wins when it’s tough going. Othera follow them. The Sabres will benefit from that if his shoulder doesn’t turn him into Tarasenko.

  11. As McCrimmon said, who knows if they’ll ever be completely healthy. Someone else could get hurt along the way. Last year was a shortened season so Kucherov situation was different. Both Stone and Patches will be back soon enough. Karlsson out 6 weeks now with broken foot. Don’t expect any trades until Eichel return is clearer. Vegas can’t give up anyone right now and still compete.

  12. I wonder which big 4 I would take over the other…. It’s a tough call.

    • Chrisms–Would you say that a tougher call is whether investing Leafs-size cap space in a big 4 is the way to a cup?

      • Hasn’t worked much yet though my pens were fairly close with crosby Malkin letang mafs

      • Actually kessel would be a better part of that example over maf.

  13. Can Vegas bury Michael Amadio’s salary in the minors? Having been claimed off waivers, doesn’t he nave to be kept on their roster for the season even if his salary is below a setpoint?

    • Francis S

      He can be put on waivers, since he was claimed less than 30 days ago TML have first claim, then the others who wanted him the first time.

      Same situation as when TBL claimed Alex Barre-Boulet back when Kraken tried to waive him.

      • Habfan30— Spector notes (above) that his salary can be buried in the minors. Is Soector suggesting that is something that can be done without putting him on waivers?

      • Spencer S
        Having picked him up off waivers his full salary remains on the books for the year, even if he’s waived successfully.

        To my understanding his salary cannot be buried and the only way to go to the minors is being waived.

      • uggh, sorry Francis S

  14. Re “The move gives them the NHL’s second-most expensive quartet “

    Just a tough reminder that this is huge in an of itself, but Leafs at #1 most expensive quartet are 15% MORE expensive (Cap-wise) than 2nd place; AND Leafs spend that on 4 Fwds; while Knights do it on 3 Fwds ; 1D

    Re Eichel return and fitting into the Cap…. Per reports Eichel to get surgery late next week…. Let’s call it 10/11 for Ships ‘n giggles

    MacCrimmon said he thinks Eichel will be back playing “3 to 5 months from date of surgery”…. If his far end (5months) guesstimate comes to fruition…. That leaves less than 3 weeks left in the season ….. Knights had $4.8 M just leave (Tuch)…. The differential ($5.2 M annual Cap … Eichel to Tuch)….. Knights have 10 other players at $5M or more annual Cap…. So just one of those on LTIR or combos of IRs for 2 or more making up that final almost 3 weeks!!!! It is not outlandish to think it could happen…. Certainly not impossible

    Of course this assumes successful surgery (hoping that’s the case for HJ) and he returns 5 months post surgery….. if it’s nearer 3 (I have doubts…. To me I’ll take what most media have said … 4 months for full return); then yes…. A move at TDL ; with one of those $5M or more players exiting; is the likely route

    Best of luck on the surgery

  15. If somehow Knights get Eichel back AND somehow don’t have to jettison anybody off the team; AND Eichel producing during playoffs at levels pre injury…. Ouch (for other teams) for playoffs:



    Stephenson or Nolan- Stephenson or Nolan- Janmark or Dando

    Roy – Kolesar. – Janmark or Dando or Carrier
    Depth: Janmark or Dando or Carrier; Howden; Amodio; Lechyshyn



    Above… and Knights v Panthers not an outlandish prognostication for the SCF

  16. For the Ranger’s here who oft talk about moving Strome….

    Would Drury consider a Strome (50% retained —— balance of year) and a 1st (lotto protected) for Tuch (50% retained .. 4 1/2 more years) …. Negligible cap diff this year but Tuch @ $2.4 M for 4 years after!!!

    If so… Adam’s could then retain 50% more (for balance of year) on Strome and get a 1st from a team seeking a C

    That effectively has the Eichel + 3rd + $10 M cash (more than saved on Eichel going ) for …..

    4 firsts ( as Krebs was a 1st rounder in ‘19) and a 2nd

    • Pengy. 1st off Eichel hopes to be back before Olympics, which is less than 3 months. His timeline is based on his doctor, not “media reports”.
      Rangers talk was mostly to upgrade from Strome, meaning getting a better center. To my knowledge, Tuch is a winger. Not sure why Buffalo would trade guy they wanted. Nor that they’d retain salary after adamantly refusing to for Eichel. Also, If Strome could get a return of a 1st, I’d guess Rangers would’ve dealt him last offseason. With Strome still on team, I’d rather they get a RW for that 2nd line. Move Kakko to Zibanejad line and drop Goodrow to 3rd where he belongs. I’d prefer Dadonov over Smith from Vegas. If fans think Strome has chemistry with Panarin, they should know Dadonov and Bread played together and made up one of the top lines in KHL for a couple years

      • Hi Slick

        Thanks ……I know you are way more knowledgeable about the Rangers than I am so thanks for responding

        I only brought up the suggested trade with strome as so many on here seem eager to get him moved from Rangers

        Yes Tuch is a winger and in my honest opinion a very good winger… big , fast, gritty

        Re retention on HJ… true… Adam’s wanted no part of that

        However many trade scenarios per media had a 3rd team and had Sabres retaining on other players…. They (Sabres) just wanted HJ off the books; retaining $’s not a concern

        Re Strome and a return of a first…. Note my scenario has receiving team paying for Strome at 25% Cap hit…. Which is a big diff…. A centre at $1.1 M annual Cap hit that averaged (82 game pace) 20-50-70 the last two years… to me worth a first

        Re HJ on US Olympic team….No challenge for me in believing that he strongly wants to be on it and probably thinks he can make it there….That said I think it might be a stretch interview enough to return in time to make the Olympic team…. That’s my viewpoint, some share it, some don’t

        Time will tell

        Hoping for HJ’s sake that the surgery is a success. After that… rushing back just to make the Olympics would be great for him in the short term; should be a boost to the team; but to me a risk (weighing his overall career) that I’d personally not take

        We’ll know much more; as Lyle said; in the New Year

  17. Pengy. I’d be fine with Strome for Tuch (when he returns). Not sure either team would be. As far as Eichel, I recall interview surgeon who would do operation gave. Don’t recall any 3-5 month recovery. Personally, if I’m Knights, there’s no way I’m risking him playing in Olympics.

    • True Slick

      But if The NHL has agreed (collectively. ) to going to the Olympics, can one team nix a players desire to go…. I’m not asking rhetorically ; I’m asking literally whether they (Knights ) can stop him from going IF he has fully recovered

      I am personally doubting he will be fully recovered in time; setting that aside ; I’m sure there will be candid conversations … HJ-McCrimmon; HJ-Stone; HJ-Agent; Agent-McCrimmon ; etc etc re path back and also re his desire re Olympics

      Again…. We’ll all know more re future, come the new year

  18. Not real good at this how about a little help here ……Jake DeBrusk for JAKOB CHYCHRUN