NHL Rumor Mill – November 8, 2021

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Rumors | 49 comments

Could the Avalanche shop a defenseman for a scorer? What the latest on the Senators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes the strong performance by rookie defenseman Bowen Byram might explain why the Colorado Avalanche were among the suitors for Jack Eichel before the Buffalo Sabres traded the 25-year-old center to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard (NHL Images).

Chambers took note of Eichel telling Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman following his trade that at one point he thought he might be going to the Avalanche. He also speculated the Avs likely would’ve offered up defenseman Samuel Girard plus a top prospect or two and draft picks for Eichel but the Sabres likely would’ve wanted more.

Girard, 23, carries a $5 million annual salary-cap hit through 2026-27. Byram’s early-season play plus Devon Toews’ return from offseason shoulder surgery could’ve made it possible to dangle Girard in a package deal for Eichel. Chambers believes he’s still expendable if the Avs seek an elite forward or goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard also surfaced in the rumor mill earlier this year, Chambers and a couple of his Denver Post sportswriting colleagues suggested he could become an offseason trade candidate following the Avalanche’s disappointing second-round exit from the 2021 playoffs.

Despite trading away Ryan Graves last summer, the Avalanche still possesses a deep defense corps. If Byram continues to blossom, general manager Joe Sakic could consider using Girard as a trade chip to add a second-line scorer before the March 21 trade deadline. He lacks no-trade protection and could interest teams in need of a skillful young puck-moving blueliner.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Ian Mendes was asked why the Ottawa Senators sent promising defenseman Erik Brannstrom to their AHL affiliate to start the season. He felt it was done because he was waiver-exempt and they needed to move a body.

Mendes believes Brannstrom is frustrated and that could be why he changed agents. His sense of the situation is the young blueliner hasn’t requested a trade and he doesn’t think the Senators are shopping him. His guess is Brannstrom will either be playing with the Senators following the trade deadline or he’ll be dealt away. This is his last season with waiver-exempt status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mendes felt the Senators need to know what they’ve got in Brannstrom or risk losing him to waivers next fall. He believes they want to give him a legitimate shot on their roster. Still, it could be worth monitoring Brannstrom’s situation.


  1. If Colorado is wiling to trade Girard for secondary scoring help, the Habs should get in on it. They have Hoffman, Drouin or Toffoli to offer, a puck-moving, strong skating D-man is their top need right now.

    • I can see a Drouin for Girard deal.
      Pretty fair swap to be honest.

      • Nobody is taking Droning. Toffoli is the only player that Colorado might take. Buyer beware in him as last year was probably his career year so back to normal for him is likely.

      • I meant Drouin. Freaking auto correct.

      • Meh. He’s had three better seasons than last year, so hardly a career year actually.

        Drouin would likely be a good fit in Colorados top six. Who knows how he’d preform surrounded by top end players at his current age? I know it’s been a spell, but he used to have undeniable chemistry with MacKinnon. Maybe they could rekindle that magic.

      • I looked at all his season totals and Toffolis best year was last year. Remember it was a shortened season. Last year was by far his best goals per game and points per game average or are you actually only basing it on points even if he played almost 30 less games which would be funny. Last year his points per game average was .85 his next best year was .71. He scored 28 goals in 52 games last year his best was 31 in 82 games. Last year was by far his career year. He’s a second line winger at best. Like I said buyer beware. This year he’s closer to his average which is .59 points per game. Same as Drouin by the way.

      • I would target Toffoli over Drouin as well. Signed for less, for longer. Pretty reasonable deal.
        Girard is a solid puck mover, struggles defending against the big guys in tough areas as the physics are not on his side. But as mentioned by Howard, his type is something they lack.

        MTL need to add a 2nd or something?

      • Actually Shoerepark I bet Drouin’s numbers drop on Colorado. You think their going to remover Rantanen or Landeskog off of McKinnon line and put Drouin there. He also gets top power play minutes in Montreal. Who does he take Power play time from in Colorado? McKinnon, Rantanen, Landeskog, Kadri, I don’t think so. He’s on the top line in Montreal and would be lucky to be on the second line in Colorado is he moving J.T. Compher or burokovski? Maybe I guess but definitely not going on the 1st line.

      • PPG, for sure it’s his best year, but he’s had more total points in 3 other seasons. Last years numbers projected over 82 is better, but who’s to say he’d surpass his high number mark? Projections are a skewed number, because there isn’t an absolute guarantee. I maintain my counter to your argument.
        If I was Colorado I’d take him over Drouin as well, but does anyone honestly believe Montreal would move TT before JD?
        I don’t know where Drouin would slot in. Somewhere in the top six? Maybe 2nd pp unit? Again, I don’t know.

      • I don’t know enough of all these players to make a good educated decision on this topic.
        But things to consider is Drouin is a left winger, would he be an upgrade on Burakovsky? Toffoli shoots right but is listed as a RW or a LW on Cap Friendly. Would he be an upgrade on either Burakovsky or O’Connor?
        It wouldn’t be hard to think that either player would have more offensive success playing on Colorado’s second line than playing in Montreal. With the top line of Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen they would be getting less attention from the opponents best defenders which can open things up for them offensively.

      • According to your logic, SOP, Drouins stats for the last 2 seasons were worse than the three previous so why would Colorado make that trade? He is in decline just like you said Toffoli is…

      • I didn’t say Toffoli was in decline.
        I don’t know why Colorado would make that or any trade.

        But just so we’re clear here…..if Leon didn’t play anymore games this season, would this year be considered his career year, based on projections over an 82 game schedule? He’s sitting on 23 points in only 10 games played, currently.
        I wouldn’t think so.

      • Still using flawed logic, sorry.

      • Please explain my flawed logic?

      • I’ll try sop. You are comparing stats from only 10 games that are not matching even close to the overall season I.E. Draisaitl. The comparison with Toffoli is 52 games and not only are his point totals close to his 82 game season there’s only a 3 goal difference so you can certainly use Toffoli at 52 games where as using Draisaitl and only 10 games is ludicrous. I still don’t think that you’ll understand and I’m sure I’m typing this for nothing but I figured I’d try. Please respond with more silliness.

      • I given this more thought and I’ve concluded that yes indeed, last season would have been Toffoli’s best/ career season given that he played in a shortend season as mandated by the league. Regardless of total points scored, it was a better season than his previous seasons.
        I was in error. You two were correct.
        I just have trouble getting behind prorated and projected stats because no one really knows how it will really shake out in the end. Leon is on pace for an incredible amount of points this year, but I don’t think he’ll achieve those numbers. He’ll most likely break 100,but not hit 180 – 200 pts.
        Anyway, thanks for making me think a bit differently.

      • Nice to see someone say they reconsidered their opinion SOP.
        Stick tap.

      • Thank you, Ray. I appreciate the kind words.

      • Drouin was once traded for a young top 4 d-man. I’m not sure anyone is making that mistake again.

      • I’ll add a stick tap to Ray’s, SOP. Fantastic response.

    • I guess improving one part of the Habs problems is at least a place to start, Howard.

      But the season is finished for the Habs. They have zero chance to make the playoffs so trading Hoffman or Toffoli is trading away solid players who are not part of the problem.

      Edmundson will be back this season and should stablize the D to the extent that it needs to be, given the situation. Guhle and perhaps Nordstrom will be ready next year.

      The issues to be addressed are at center, and possibly in net. The Habs do not have bottom 6 centers with any offensive flair, negating their strength at wing. If there is a trade this year, that’s the place to start, IMO.

      As for net, not sure what the solution is as Price will make no difference this year and I have to sadly conclude he will have diminished performance going forward. One bad signing by Berg.

      Things are so bad in Habland my Leaf buddy feels sorry for me. Ouch!

  2. Without a doubt Girard uses the shortest stick in the league. Almost a mini stick

    • Shorter than Gerbe or Caufield?

      • I would bet yes. Take notice next time he plays . Unbelievable actually.
        Are Caufield and Gerbe in the league ?

      • Probably not. I’ll pay closer attention next Aves game I watch. How about Rocco Grimaldi?

  3. Bruins need another good d and second line centre, without em they won’t make the playoffs.

    • Don’t worry Eichel is going there

      • I thought Eichel was going to Boston from postings on this site…..

    • Who do they have for trade bait?

  4. The Avs are not trading Girard for Drouin. Sammy has proven himself as a top 4 puck moving Dman and Drouin has had a very disappointing career in Montreal. This trade is not happening

    • May not be for Drouin Alex G, agree on that, but I get why they would look at trading him.
      Can’t have all offensive guys back there, and they have Byram and Makar who are both better than him at what his skill set is. So will play ahead of him when getting O zone starts and PP time. As they should.

      So unless you want to pay your 3rd pair D $5M to get majority D zone starts when he weighs a buck 70, it isn’t a bad idea to move him for a good return and play Murray at 3rd pair LD in the same role for $2M.

      Good problem to have IMO.

      But like you said it is about the return. Toffoli plus isn’t that bad IMO, save some valuable cap $ as well and move some wingers around to add skill in the middle 6. Need depth to go deep and plus he has good playoff experience.

      • Ray, if you keep trying to trade Toffoli I will use my direct lines to Boston and Edmonton to trade Bergeron and Draisaitl. For futures.

      • I think Sakic would like a younger forward. Wouldnt be shocked if he goes after Laine in Columbus or maybe Bertuzzi in Detroit. Toffoli isnt completely out of the realm of possibilities, but my hunch is that Joe wants a young forward for Girard

      • Well LJ, highly unlikely Draisaitl comes available, but you never know about Bergeron.

        While from a sentimental standpoint I want Bergy to play every game of his HOF career in a B’s uniform. But in reality, they are in a fight to make it to the playoffs in a tough division. If the injury bug hits key guys for any length of time? We have a problem. Fingers crossed it doesn’t as we don’t have the depth to overcome it anymore.

        Bergeron wants to go for it again in BOS, but from where I am sitting, he seems as competitive as they come. He wants to compete for another one and if sh*t happens in Boston…. ? Who knows.

      • You can sleep soundly, Ray. Sweeney said “Who?” when I called, and then hung up. No way Bergeron gets moved from Boston.

      • Ray–Just moments ago, it did happen in Boston.. ShoreOrrPark read your Bergy comment. Neighboring residents are presently fleeing the effluvium.

      • Lol. Funny as that comment was, Francis. I’m roughly 4,600kms from Boston.
        They could probably still smell me there, if the wind is right.

    • You have to get Drouin away from Montreal to see what he can do. The pressure that is put on home town guys is incredible. I’m a Leaf fan and see the same in TO.

      He did good with the Lightning and playing with McKinnan (??) would be great.

  5. Sam Girard isn’t a player the Habs need to turn the season around.

    Habs D is giving up less shots than 2/3 of the league and its with depleted ranks that will fill out when Edmundson finally starts the season.

    The team is supposed to have more offence this year but have the lowest shot% in the league and that impacts the flow of the game.

    There is no reason to believe it will remain that way and that staying the course isn’t the right move.

    Puck luck, loosening the grip on the sticks and the team should fall into place, nothing a winning streak shouldn’t correct.

    • Thereis no way a Bertuzzi will be on the Avalanche, read your history: Bertuzzi’s dad broke Steve Moore’s neck in a game back in approx 2008-09, a really good young promising player out of Harvard! I don’t think there’s a “snowball’s chance in hell” that that will happen. I have been saying since summer that they should consider moving Girard even before all this Byram talk and Eichel stuff. I wouldn’t mind Toffoli, plays a good game and can score. I wouldn’t mind for DeBrusk either if the Bruins are looking for dmen? At any rate, like Sammy G but he is expendable; whoever, get him would get good offensive upside but he does get pushed around quite a bit. On the other hand some teams need his offensive skills, he’s really good but he makes some lapses in judgement with turnovers. GO AVS!!!!

      • I think the Bruins are full on smallish defensemen. Not a bad option though, all the same.
        Isn’t Todd Bertuzzi Tyler’s uncle?

      • Todd Bertuzzi is Tyler’s uncle, not his dad, and from all I’ve read they aren’t particularly close.

      • Todd Bertuzzi is his uncle, not dad.

      • Whatever, he’s a Bertuzzi. It’s not going to happen!!!

  6. what about Brannstrom & Mete to COL for Girard?

    • I think Sakic is looking for a top six forward, IHC.

    • Whatever, still a Bertuzzi!! Don’t think the AVS would consider him!!!

  7. @ Pengy…… I’m hearing that Ron Hextall has really looked in to acquiring Brendan Gallagher from Montreal. I’m not sure what is was going back although I’m thinking it is Jason Zucker ?

    Age is the same,29,the salaries are close $5.5 for Zucker/$6.4 for Gallagher.

    Penguins could use a character guy like Brendan Gallagher who Montreal wants to move on from (contract etc.) He would be nice fit with Crosby and Guentzel.

    Montreal gets a player in Zucker on a shorter deal, off to a hot start 3 goals 4 assists 7points in 10 games.

    I make this deal do you Pengy?

  8. I think Drouin is a good kid, but has had his share of issues between the ears both in Tampa and Montreal. Not sure his game is ever going to be what I thought it could be. And as Habfan pointed out, A good winning streak with some scoring could help a team more in need up front IMO. Toffoli is a streaky scorer. Last thing Montreal needs is to have him go to Colorado and get on a role much the same way he did when he left Vancouver. Some of the best trades are the ones you don’t make.