NHL Rumor Mill – December 22, 2021

by | Dec 22, 2021 | Rumors | 28 comments

The latest on the Penguins and Stars plus an update on Jakub Chychrun in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski observes the solid performance of Evan Rodrigues this season could force Penguins coach Mike Sullivan to rethink his lineup when everyone is fully healthy. The versatile 28-year-old forward has 10 goals and 23 points in 30 games as he’s thriving with the extra ice time while filling in for sidelined teammates.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (NHL Images).

Kingerski wondered if Rodrigue’s play could make Jason Zucker expendable. The 29-year-old left winger has 11 points in 30 games. He also noted contract talks between the Penguins and pending free agent Bryan Rust have been shelved for the time being.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker’s been a disappointment for the Penguins since his acquisition from the Minnesota Wild midway through the 2019-20 campaign. A leg injury hampered his performance last season but even when healthy he’s had difficulty finding the back of the net.

Moving Zucker, however, won’t be easy. He’s signed through 2022-23 with a $5.5 million annual cap hit and a 10-team no-trade clause plus he’s earning $6.25 million in actual salary this season. His declining production won’t help his trade value.

As for Rust, I don’t see the Penguins shopping him while they’re in the playoff hunt. They’ll keep him as an “own rental” and risk his departure via free agency next summer. Rodrigues is also a UFA but he’d be a more affordable re-signing for the Penguins and could become Rust’s permanent replacement after this season.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman observed Tyler Seguin’s relief when he scored in the Dallas Stars 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday. “The stress is on in Dallas,” said Friedman. “Change is coming if the Stars don’t surge over the second half of the season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What form could those changes take? The obvious would be shopping pending unrestricted free agents such as John Klingberg, Alexander Radulov, Joe Pavelski and Braden Holtby at the trade deadline.

Maybe restricted free agent winger Denis Gurianov also hits the trade block. Perhaps they try to shed the hefty contracts of Seguin and Jamie Benn in the offseason. Maybe they give head coach Rick Bowness his walking papers.

One thing I don’t see them doing is parting with younger talent such as Miro Heiskanen, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Jake Oettinger. Those four will likely form the nucleus of a new core in Dallas.

Friedman also said he thought Edmonton would make perfect sense as a destination for Jakob Chychrun. However, sources said it’s very unlikely the 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman will be heading to the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said the same thing earlier this week on his “32 Thoughts” podcast. He didn’t elaborate as to why but I suspect the Oilers’ limited cap space and the talk of the Coyotes setting a “massive” asking price for Chychrun are the reasons.


  1. Jacob welcome to Boston

    • Eichel and OEL will happily accept him as a teammate in Boston.

  2. Lyle,

    You KNOW what you’re doing when you include Jason Zucker in your rumor mill—you are “poking the bear”!

    Good Morning Pengy!!!

    • LOL iowa prince! Blame Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now for that…;)

  3. Bruins in desperate need to make a splash.Get Mcavoy a partner for the next 10 years.Answer Chychun for Carlo,Debrusk,Studnicka.Getting a 2nd line center is more difficult because there are not many out there.

    • Bruins won’t trade Carlo. Maybe. Rielly or griz. But no way they move the big man

      • Yotes won t take that package,w/out someone like Carlo.you have to give something to get something.Besides Chycun had 18 goals last year.More than any 2nd line center the B S could get including Krecji.

    • Exactly, get what you can. LD is now available! But giving up a RD is not an option. Bruins have to give salary back too, and all their LD may be too “old” for the Yotes! But they can try to move Grzelcyk, DeBrusk, a 2023 1st and 2nd for Chycrun and NYI 2nd

  4. “ Moving Zucker, however, won’t be easy. He’s signed through 2022-23 with a $5.5 million annual cap hit and a 10-team no-trade clause plus he’s earning $6.25 million in actual salary this season. His declining production won’t help his trade value.”

    Oh boy, we’re about to see 20 proposals to show how easy it is to move Zucker. And of course Pittsburgh will be on the winning end of every one of them.

    • LMFAO.

    • ZUCKER FOR EVANDER KANE (50% salary retained)


      Go ahead captain obvious. Thoughts maybe the only way we move Zucker..

      • I believe Pengy has floated this trade before. Someone else has.

        I think you get one or the other. I don’t think SJ retains 50% and takes Zucker.

        All his baggage aside, I believe they can do better than essentially having Zucker at an 8.5 cap hit this year and next.

    • I think San Jose takes Zucker and retains 40 to 50 % of Kane’s contract…

      now may they get a better deal sure possible, but they are desperate to move him.

      we will see/

      I also think the emergence of Evan Rodriques will make Brian Rust expendable… a good trade chip..

  5. Trade proposal for Jakob Chychrun to the Florida Panthers.
    His father would love this. Jeff is a TV analyst for the Panthers. 🙂

    Arizona receives: Frank Vatrano,(F) shoots left. Good for 15-20 goals.
    Owen Tippet,(F) former 1st rounder(10th overall) shoots right.
    And one of either, Olli Juolevi (D) former 1st rounder(5th overall), shoots left.
    Or Marcus Nutivaara (D) shoots left, “stay at home type defender” Originally drafted 2015 by CBJ. Currently on LTIR

    • Peteftlaud; that’s a better package then i can offer and for those reasons I’m out.

    • Pete, would have to be Nutivaara included just to make cap work for Fla. But him and Vatrano are both ufa at seasons end and probably don’t stay in Arizona. Also, next season Chychrun puts them right at cap ceiling and a roster of 13 skaters.

    • Quantity doesn t equal quality.Vatrano is a 3rd line wing.Tippet is at best a 3rd line center,that offer is a list of spare parts.

  6. I don’t see why Arizona would move Chychrun at this point but they’ve made all kinds of questionable moves.

    The pattern was to dump contracts and amass draft picks, a gamble that will show itself in a few years but Chychrun is young, has a good contract and will be a solid presence when the draft picks “arrive”

    Montreal used to have a great reporter, Red Fisher who’s claim to fame was never interviewing rookies, keeping off the record info off the record, yet still giving scoops.

    His stories dealt with the players, how they played, what they did on the ice. He understood the game and wrote about it daily.

    Friedman, Fox,Brooks et al love throwing things at the wall, has anybody ever calculated how often these guys are right?

    • Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to move Chychrun. But when did AZ ever make a whole lotta sense? LOL
      Anyone would like this guy on his team, and since it is rare to see a good, young D with value come to the trade market and Armstrong knows he can get an over abundant return for him. Maybe even LA could pony up a couple centers and a 1st and a 2nd for him? They certainly could use him.

      • The only things that makes sense to me for AZ to be trading him:
        Chychrun has requested a trade and it isn’t public. Maybe that is impacting his play this year.

        Or, they know him better than anybody and don’t think he will get any better and can’t handle a top pair role, playing tougher minutes. He is struggling this year, big time. Trade him before his value slides too much.

        Regardless of which one it is, it should lower the return.

      • The Penguins have played very well 39 points only four back of Washington Carolina Rangers..despite no Malkin all season no Guentzel last 6 No Rust last 7

        Covid issues early letang missed alot of games as did Dumoulin etc..

        A shrewd move or two this team could be a tough out..

        Evan Rodrigues has made Brian Rust expendable Both ufas but rust will want north of $5 million and can b a valuable trade chip..

        Pengy i know you wont like this but Rust zucker and a dman must go.

  7. With Sidney Crosby being 34 years old, Evgeni Malkin 35, Jeff Carter turning 37 on New Year’s Day, and the Penguins playing well, the team’s most weighty decision may be whether or not they can squeeze another Cup out of this group. Unless Rodrigtues can convince his team that he can play without a center, the Penguins shouldn’t be counting on him to replace any future lost pieces. Maybe, the Penguins would be better off looking at Rodrigues’ present market value.

    • Francis..agreed I dont think carter or Malkin will be back next season.

      Sid is playing well like Crosby always plays terrific. He and Bergeron were voted by peers before the season the nost complete 200 ft players in the game…something Matthews McKinnon and Mc David will learn someday..

      I think they can build around Sidney with Malkin carter rust and possibly letang coming off the books thats alit of money to sign good younger players to surround crosby

      With all the ufas possibly and not signing a coupke Rfas the Penguins have $31.3 million coming off the books..and salary cap goez up $1 million next year.
      Should b interesting off season..

      • Will Malkin want to play near whete his wife lives in Florida?

  8. Chychrun is minus 32 less the thoughts

    You have to like the old school names: Red Fisher, Red Kelly, and Red Berenson

    • How about Red Savage!!!! He is a Detroit prospect playing on Team USA. I wish him well.

    • So wouldn t you be with that team!

  9. Francis..You are on to something Malkin has a home in Florida, his wife and kid there, no state tax, and plenty of Russian players there.
    Us they have a good team

    Maybe a two year deal with the Panthers??