NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2021

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Rumors | 9 comments

Check out the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Jakob Chychrun in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTE: The NHL’s holiday roster freeze begins at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, Dec. 19 and lifts at 12:01 am EST on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Scott Powers said it’s too early to tell if goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will be interested in returning with the Chicago Blackhawks after this season. The club’s performance over the rest of the season will be a determining factor. He also indicated there haven’t been any contract talks with Fleury’s backup Kevin Lankinen.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Powers expects Blackhawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson won’t have any restrictions if the club becomes a seller by the March 21 trade deadline. Fleury, Calvin de Haan, Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik could become trade candidates.

Based on his play, Fleury would be their best trade chip but his 10-team no-trade clause could affect what they get in return. Powers suggests it could be a second- or a third-round pick depending on the team and whether they re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury’s value could be higher than that if he maintains his current level of play. Never underestimate the willingness of NHL general managers to succumb to auction fever leading up to the trade deadline.

It’ll be interesting to see how his situation shakes out over the remainder of this season. The 37-year-old netminder is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $7 million annual average value on his current deal.

It’s hard to imagine Fleury sticking with the Blackhawks if they’re still in rebuild mode. He could want one more shot at winning a Stanley Cup and he won’t get that opportunity in Chicago.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox is curious over why Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun has surfaced in recent trade speculation. The club is reportedly gauging interest in the 23-year-old big-minute blueliner who also carries a cap-friendly $4.6 million annual average value through 2024-25.

With the rental market thin on top-four defensemen, Fox believes Chychrun would jump to the top of the trade class. Nevertheless, he’s puzzled that the Coyotes aren’t trying to build around the blueliner. He wondered if it’s because of concern over his injury history or unhappiness with his play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong envisions Chychrun will depart via free agency by the time the club is ready to emerge from their rebuild and wants to move him while his value remains high. Maybe Armstrong’s received some calls and he’s seeing if there’s a club willing to pay what is reportedly said to be a massive asking price. Whatever the reason, Chychrun’s name will likely remain a fixture in the rumor mill for the remainder of the season.


  1. A second for maf seems right. Not sure how many rental goalies garnered a first in the past? Did lehner?

    • he’s worth way more than a 2nd …

      • Nope

    • I can see a flip to Edmonton for Koskinen and a 1st (upgraded pick to take contract).

    • Agree Chrisms, 2nd seems about right.
      MAF has had a great career, and has been good of late, but I don’t think he’s a tender that steals a playoff round for you anymore.
      Skinner’s #’s have slightly been better in EDM than MAF, plus their #1 guy hasn’t played since 2nd game of the year. So no rush.

      I might take a run at Holtby before MAF if it was me so you don’t have to pay more to move contracts or have a team eat $.

      I’m curious what the Oil do when Smith comes back? Skinner is waiver exempt so sending him down seems like the logical move, but he has been better than Koskinen and so far has proven to be a capable backup in the NHL, so you want him to keep getting NHL minutes.

      Pretty sure Koskinen clears waiver, so that is my guess what they do.

    • I think a 2nds about right. The main issue is how many contending teams will be looking for a starter? Most teams may take a chance on him as insurance, but very few will be looking for a starter barring injury.

      As far as “way more”, two goaltenders have had that type of return over the past 15 years or so. Lehner to Buffalo, and Schneider to the devils. (That I remember, am I missing something?)

      I don’t believe Maf will be an exception to the normal return.

      • @Captain I can see a team like Colorado who could use an experienced Stanley cup champion Goalie like MAF. I agree that a second sounds about right because Chicago will probably have to retain salary, and the acquiring team may need to trade with a 3rd team, for more salary retention. I also think that Chicago will try to do right by MAF and only send him where he wants to go.

  2. Chicky goes to Chicago for Connelly (for Cap’s sake), Stillman, Lucas Reichel and VGK 3rd

  3. And 2nd or 3rd might be all he’s worth in our eyes. But if it comes down to a bidding war for his services. It may end up being 2 seconds or a late first that gets it done.