NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2021

by | Dec 6, 2021 | Rumors | 45 comments

A look at several potential trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Columbus Blue Jackets backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko topped Frank Seravalli’s list of 15 trade targets that are in play or will be in the months leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Korpisalo could welcome an opportunity to play elsewhere. Teams have contacted the Jackets about him within the last couple of weeks. DeBrusk made a trade request over a week ago but his attention to detail and effort level had his trade value seemingly at an all-time low. Tarasenko still hopes the Blues will honor the trade request he made this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Jackets could try to move him now that Elvis Merzlikins is their starter and Danill Tarasov showing promise as his potential backup.

As many as a dozen teams were reportedly interested in DeBrusk. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Bruins won’t move him until they find a defenseman or forward of equal value in return. Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit through 2022-23 ($9.5 million in actual salary this season) will likely ensure he remains in St. Louis this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl is fourth on Seravalli’s list as the Leafs will need to shed some salary when sidelined goalie Petr Mrazek is ready to return to the lineup. New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov is fifth on the list. Seravalli observed the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens were among the interested parties. With former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton now in control with the Canadiens, he wondered if Gorton might make a pitch for Kravtsov, who he drafted in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holl’s been on the trade block for over a month but the Leafs didn’t seem in a rush to move him. Perhaps we’ll see some movement here once Mrazek is ready to return. Kravtsov is currently on load to KHL club Chelyabinsk and cannot return to the NHL until the KHL season is over. Interested clubs can still acquire his rights.

Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller, Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome, Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust check in at numbers six through 10 on Seravalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hornqvist has slipped down to the Panthers’ fourth line but I think they’ll still want his experience and gritty style for the playoffs. With the Canucks firing general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green, I don’t think they’re going to make any sweeping roster changes for the time being.

Strome’s been on the trade block for some time but there hasn’t been much interest in the 24-year-old forward. I agree with Seravalli that Smith seems the most likely to become a cost-cutting trade candidate when Jack Eichel is ready to join the Golden Knights in February. I also concur with his take that the Penguins could shop a pending UFA like Rust if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Chicago Blackhawks forward Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane fill spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is the only one in this group that seems certain to be dealt before the trade deadline. He’s keen to move on to a playoff contender to earn himself a new contract after this season and the Coyotes are said to be trying to find a new home for him. Given Kessel’s $6.8 million cap hit, interested clubs could wait until closer to the trade deadline.

Rakell is also a pending UFA but there’s less certainty he’ll be traded given the Ducks’ improvement this season and their recent management change. Hertl is willing to talk contract with Sharks management. As Seravalli pointed out, they’ve got an aging, expensive core and Hertl is in line for a significant raise on his next deal. This could go either way.

Borgstrom was a promising young forward who didn’t reach expectations with the Florida Panthers and is seeing third-line minutes with the Blackhawks. There might not be many takers if he’s available.

Kane is now with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate after serving a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. His other off-ice troubles have also been well-documented. The Sharks are trying to trade him and there were rumors of an Eastern Conference club having an interest in him. His $7 million annual cap hit, however, could also make moving him a difficult task.


  1. A VERY limited supply of d’men are identified by Servelli. I know the Blues could use some help on the backend, and other teams too–none available!?!

  2. I know Rusty is having a down year…. But Pens trading him before Zucker!!!! Not a good move

    Iowa Prince… what extra do you need for Vlad (20% retained) for Zucker?

    Chi fans… what is the extra needed for Strome/Zucker flip

    Would never happen (as both battling for last WC spot)…. But what would Pens need to add to Zucker to get DeBrusk?

    How much extra needed added to DeSmith to get Holtby from Stars?

    • Zucker with 1.5. – 2mil retained. For Debrusk. Or zucker for debrusk and Moore works for me not sure for Sweeney

      • Mr B4…. First deal at $1.5 M retained; accepted with thanks 👍🙏

        No thanks re Moore

    • @ Pengy…..It is time to move Rust, Zucker and Marcus Peterson !!!

      Brian Rust is 29, still in his prime, but injury prone, and will want in excess of $ 5 million in the off season as a free agent.

      Deal one. Brian Rust & Marcus Peterson plus a second round pick to Vancouver for center 26 year old center Bo Horvat..

      Deal two Jason Zucker a pick to get Brian Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens

      Deal three Kaspari Kapanen to San Jose for Evander Kane (50 % retained)

      You get Bo Horvat a 26 year old skilled power center a 4 time 20 goal scorer and will give us insurance in case we lose Malkin and Carter in the off season

      You get Gallagher who is a griner, skilled, a net front presence and is perfect for Sid and Guenzel. He will go get the puck and create more rom for Crosby and Guentzel..

      Kane is a beast with the leadership the Penguins have Sullivan and Crosby and Carter…if he straightens up wow. 30 goal scorer with toughness.. You sit him in a room with Sid, Mario, Coach Sullivan and Carter and lay down the law..

      my fear is he goes to the Caps with Wilson, Oshie, Ovechkin and that group..

      Gallagher goes with Sidney and Jake

      Kane goes with Malkin

      Horvat centers the third line with Carter now on wing.

      we save money too in these deals…….

      The offseason there could be as much as $31.3 million off the cap especially if Malkin and Letang don’t stay..

      We add theses three and all three are available Penguins can contend for a cup…we will need another defenseman Rudwhedel and Letang were awful in Calgary

      Letang look like a black Friday sale so many give a ways

      • Hi BNG

        Zucker must be the first moved…. MUST. He completely drains Gino production, can’t play with Sid; starting to drain Carter

        I like Gallagher I do… but he is small and I think it’s not the right move as he has years to go on contract

        Horvatt yes… but no way ‘ Nucks make that deal

        Pettersson playing very well, Pens would lose in a trade if moving him I believe. Pettersson should stay

        Kane…. IF HexBurkie gets to speak to him and is convinced his woes are behind him…. 👍👍👍

        Kappy needs to pick it up; I wouldn’t move him though

        Kane (50%) for Zucker
        De Smith and O’Connor for Holtby
        Pens need big improvement at 3RD…. Lafferty, Ruhweedel; 3rd to Buff for Miller and Psyk (who can play BOTH RW & RD)

        When healthy

        Sid Guentz E-Rod
        Gino Rusty Kane
        Carter Kappy Heinen
        Blueger ZAR McGinn
        *Psyk and one of Zoho, Boyle, Poulin, Legere



      • Kudo’s BNG for laying out actual details, and now we get to pick at it.
        Horvat is one guy VCR has to keep, likely need to up that part of the offer.
        Laying down the law hasn’t mattered to Kane in the past, not sure why it would now. Like no other team has tried that? So far he doesn’t seem to care if it is Buff, Wheeler, Burns, Couture or anybody else, why would it for Sid? If it was for 1 year I would be fine with Kane, as you know he will be on his best behavior this season, I worry about the 3 after that.

        The Pens and the B’s look to be in similar positions. Core getting old, picks and prospects traded to try and win now, drafting late. At a crossroads.
        If I am either of them I am waiting to see how the rest of the team does leading up to TDL, because if they can’t get in a solid playoff position by then, adding a couple pieces at the deadline isn’t going to get you over the finish line.

        Or perhaps, big changes like you suggest are in order. I dunno, we’ll see.

      • Hi BNG

        My “all in “ / “ships ‘n giggles” moves….

        O’Connor to Wings for Gagner and a 4th
        Kane (50%) for Rusty and Det 4th above; and Pens 4th
        Zucker; Pettersson ; De Smith; Ruhweedel to Devils for Graves; Bernier; PK (@50%)
        Lafferty to Buff for Psyk (who can play BOTH RW & RD)

        When healthy

        Sid Guentz E-Rod
        Gino Kane Kappy
        Carter *Gagner Heinen
        Blueger ZAR McGinn
        **Psyk and one of Zoho, Boyle, Poulin, Legere



        *Can play bottom 6 wing AND C
        **Excellent hybrid…. Can play bottom 6 RW and/or 3RD

        Above strengthened 2nd and 3rd lines; 2nd and 3rd pairing; massively improved back up; close to Cap neutral…. At a future cost of O’Connor; 4th; Lafferty; 2 years of Pettersson (Graves in this year and next)

        Waaaaay too complicated to ever happen


        DeSmith + O’Connor for Holtby


        Ruhweedel + 4th for Psyk


        Zucker for Kane (50%)

      • NO WAY you get Gallagher for Zucker. Be serious! Have you been watching hockey long?

    • Blues are not retaining any salary with Tarasenko. They have made that very clear.
      Zucker does nothing for the Blues.

      • Hi Brian


        …. And Zucker does less than nothing (negative on Gino ) for Pens

        Was hoping tho

    • Pengy,

      You won’t like my answer, but it is Pettersson.

      The Blues would probably add in Walman to get the dollars to work.

      • I was afraid you would say that

        Zucker must be moved

        Alas we can’t come to an arrangement

        Vlad with Gino would look real good IMHO

    • Pengy..I do like Colin Miller but Holtby sucks always has…no upgrade at all with him..

      Pengy..Rust needs to go…..Zucker goes first but Rust needs to move on as well along with Petersson and Kapenan.

      – Rust is a UFA and will want more north of $5 million next year

      – Zucker has been better than Rust 5 goals to 2 but he must move on

      – Kapanen has been in Sully’s dog house he clearly does not fit but he is young and may thrive elsewhere.

      If we want a Ben Chiarot or a Sammy Girard Peterson needs to go too…

      Wedgewood is a much better back up goalie option than Holtby !!

      I do like Colin Miller he can ply 3rd defense pair but will run a power play better than Letang has at 12%

      1. J.t. Miller,
      2. Brock Boeser
      3. Bo Horvat are all available. in that order but with them cleaning house yesterday who knows..

      • Hi BNG

        Not against moving Rusty…. But a must is that it is after Zucker is gone; if they do move Rusty

        Re Pettersson…. He’s an LD… Pens big need/issue is with 3RD

        Pettersson has played well this year. Very well IMHO

        Chariot shoots left but can/has played RD…. He is for sure stronger and overall better than Pettersson; but is UFA and 5 years older. He is better as I said; but leaps and bounds better; no.

        Pens would be giving up 3 more years of Pettersson for 4 months (and hopefully playoffs) for Chairot…. And that’s if Sully has confidence in (and will play him at) Chairot at RD

        Futures given up and Pens may not make playoffs

        The 3RD fix is easy with a Ruhweedel out Psyk in

        Miller in ; Ruhweedel out….. even much much better

        Kappy has been in Sully’s doghouse no question…. But he does play well with Gino

        Pens can always move him at TDL if the chemistry is not there when Gino returns

        As you know; I’m a businessman…. So the big moves are with a long term big picture lens for me

        New owners bring deep pockets

        With that in mind I would absolutely love to see a Kane(50%) for Zucker flip

        First of course—— HexBurkie have to talk to Kane and get a good sense that his off ice crap is behind him…. He has everything to prove

        Kane at 50% for Zucker… again assumes Kane off ice crap in rear view mirror….massive swing in speed; size; grit; production…. Lower Cap hit

        IF he fails (unlikely) or off ice issues return…. He’s buried and then bought out in summer…. cash no problem… and buyout Cap hit only at 50% of actual buyout Cap hit… Buyout to Pens in Cap… $1.8; $1.3; $2.3 then 3 years of $0.8 M

        Absolutely worth the risk

        Gino-Kane-Rusty or Kappy if Rusty traded
        Carter-Heinen – Kappy (if Rusty not traded) or McGinn

        That’s 3 good scoring lines

        Re Holtby…. Here I disagree with you…. Faaaaar superior to DeSmith

        HexBurkie could sign Duby …. And that’s an upgrade over DeSmith

        Holtby costs 750 K more (annually) than DeSmith… Holtby this year is .927; DeSmith…is seriously struggling… .867

  3. Ben Chariot. John. Moore Colin Miller Nick Leddy Anton stralman Mark Giordano Zedno Chara Justin Braun. . RASMUS RISTOLAINEN. Kieth Yandle Calvin DeHaan. Eric Gustafson Brad Hunt All could be had with the proper offer in my opinion

    • With a little luck one of Tinordi and/or Nemeth will be added to that list…….

      • Tinirdi play his role well for his time in Boston. Good depth player

    • MrB,

      In your opinion, which of the players listed would really be an upgrade to a top 4 group of d’men?? I’m not that familiar, but I believe that most are past their prime?

      • For top 4. You have 2. Giordano and Risto. Both will cost min 1st rd pick

    • add to that list the entire Ottawa D corps except for Chabot, Zub and Thomson. All can be had cheap.

  4. With a little luck one or both of Nemeth/Tinordi will be added to that list

  5. No to tinordi he’s slower than my grandma in her walker going up a high incline. Sweeney’s got to swing for the fences on this one. His job depends on it. The choices he’s made have been dreadful. He’s actually the laughing stock of the nhl.

  6. How about Debrusk for Oliver Walstrom and Chara?

    • Not crazy SOP, but I would prefer something involving Kassian in EDM perhaps?
      Speed, physical and a side of snap?
      Him and a 2nd or a decent D prospect? Oil have a few, picking up a guy like Samorukov on the deal would be good, getting close to ready to play some NHL games and could turn into a decent NHL Dman that won’t cost too much.

      • Ray Bark..I do agree with most all of what you said in your response.

        1. Boston and Pittsburgh are in very similar positions.

        2. Nothing has worked with Kane so far but those other guys you mentioned are good players but they aren’t Sidney Crosby and Coach Sullivan is tough they will make it work and Sully is a no B s.. Guy

        3. I think Kane was bad but he was ok when Thorton was there and the minute Thorton left he went off more.

        The Penguins have been heavy on Brendan Gallagher. He would add something we are missing a net front presence, a grinders mentality and someone who will go get the puck and create room.

        Kane is a gamble for sure but San Jose is practically giving him away. I believe if he sits in a room with Crosby, Sullivan, Mario Lemieux Hextall and Burke they will spell it out for him

        Horvat is available but they would rather move Boeser 24 at $7.4 million pending UFA or J.T. Miller Pittsburgh native at $6.0 million until 2023…
        I like Horvat because he gives us insurance in case we lose Malkin and Carter in the off season and he is only 26 will be a tough ask though agreed

        What is Boston going to do?

    • I was travelling last week, but haven’t heard of Horvat being available. But if he is, there will be plenty of suiters, including BOS, or CLB or, OTT or any # of teams . I said the same when JT Miller came up in the rumor section.
      Not sure why VCR would trade their Captain unless he wanted out. Where did you see he was available?
      If he is available I don’t think the Pens or B’s have what VCR wants, because if they are trading him, this is a blowup/full rebuild thing in VCR. Rust etc ain’t gonna help that. Neither is DeBrusk plus some other stuff they don’t need. I am not sure that is VCR’s long term plan, not yet anyway.

      We disagree on Kane, I also disagree that Thornton was the reason for keeping him in line, and how do we know he was being “in line” before the story broke in the press. Perhaps they just kept in the room. I really like Thornton, but he ain’t known for being that kind of guy. Kane is 30, he is the only one responsible for his behavior. If he finally is waking up to that, great, all the best for him, but I wouldn’t trade for him until I knew it, and how do you know it until he proves it for more than 1/2 a season.

      If I am BOS I need to see more of this team before committing future assets for a fix now. Which might be the case in the new year, but not yet. Deal DeBrusk as he wants out, but wait until you get something decent in return, or simply keep him until the draft.

      Call Krecji, sign Rask for cheap. One last go for the old guys.

      • Ray Bark ……
        – T.J. Miller, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat all available but in that order and Horvat would be a difficult get…they prefer to move Miller or Boeser.

        That may all change with them cleaning house and Boudreau coming in he may want to take a closer look..

        I agree Kane is a gamble and a crap shoot but I believe the Penguins have the leadership to make him play…You may be right about Thorton because Kane has been a mess for a while…

        Kane needs to wake up and judging from his interview after being assigned to the minors jt looks like he has been humbled a bit we will see….

        Is Rask still hurt ???

      • Rask is rehabbing in BOS after off season hip surgery. He has stated publicly he will paly for cheap (whatever that means) if in BOS. I think timeline is in the New Year.
        We’ll have to see how he progresses, but here’s hoping.

        One would think VCR would want the new GM to take stock of what he has before selling 2 of your best forwards, but I don’t know that.

        As Lou is credited with saying: if you have the time, take it.

        Both are signed for next year and being able to talk contract would be beneficial for the team trading for them. Neither the B’s or Pens have a potential 1C or 2C in their system, just not sure what it would cost to get either of those guys other than a lot.

  7. So many guys here complain to the heavens about players like DeBrusk and Zucker then make trade expectations as if they are valuable.

    Would you give a first pick for either?
    Would you trade for either?

    Two players that are complete disappointments to their respective teams have no value at at all without serious discounts.

    • I think my suggestion was quite reasonable, to be honest.
      If I remember correctly, and I do. Every player who plays for the Habs are super fantastic, until they no longer play for the Habs. Then in your estimation, they are merely hot garbage.
      No offense intended.

    • Habfan 30… I for one like Zucker and he is having a better year with 5 goals. But to get something good you must give up something good in a deal.

      I disagree with you Zucker is only 29, a 5 time 20 goal scorer, and has 5 goals this year so he can help someone.. He is on pace fir an 17/18 goal season..he is useful…

      I haven’t posted anything on Debrusk I’m not a Bruins fan

      • bng,

        “to get something good you must give up something good in a deal.”

        Ask Pengy how good Zucker is and what he’s worth in a trade 🙂

  8. 2422,

    Sorry but the Habs haven’t had a super fantastic player in 35 years aside from Carey Price.

    Take Gallagher, not super fantastic or even fantastic.
    He has heart, grit and scores by will not talent.
    He’s been an over achiever his entire career.
    He’s been great for the Habs and probably wouldn’t have even started elsewhere.

    Your memory is faulty

    • Patrick Roy Better then Price. So you dates are off That is less then 30 yrs ago

      Single handedly stole the cup for Montreal in 93 Hated him for it. But forgave him when he was with AVS. Lol

    • Lol. My memory is super fantastic.

      • With your name of shoreorrpark. It has to be 👍

    • How much less than 30 years ago…..28?
      Close enough to 35 to make the point, but yes I can correct the number of years since the Habs have had a super fantastic player.

      My goalie of choice is Dryden 🙂

    • Habfan30….Pengy gets a little excited and starts throwing crazy ideas out there..his heart is good.

      Zucker is having a good year 5 goals, he has speed, and he has skill. It is true he hasn’t meshed with Sid or Malkin but he is on pace for 18 goals this season..

      Zucker has cored 20 goals 5 different seasons so he isn’t the bum Pengy makes him out to be…LOL

  9. Ray Bark,
    I agree VCR now will take the time since they have changed coaches and cleaned house. This report from hockey night in Canada was before the firings that Miller, Boeser and maybe Horvat were available..

  10. @ Pengy… I didn’t mean De Smith I meant Wedgewood is a better back up than Holtby. He isn’t close to what he was and his cap hit is too much for a back up goalie..

    Wedgewood can come in and play some games and win them unlike DeSmith..

    Holtby is over rated, over paid and we have our starter in Jarry so Wedgewood the better bargain for back up..

    While your New Jersey trade is interesting the Devils will never deal with the Penguins…

    Sorry for the confusion..

  11. Constant bleating about select Penguins players may have produced this blog’s most fecund Penguins critic, and maybe its most fanatical and single minded overall.

    Marcus Pettersson, one of his former favorites for pillory placement, is by far the Penguins plus/minus leader at plus-10. Then there’s flagellation favorite, Jason Zucker, whose only offense is playing no better than his more famous teammates.

    A declining Crosby has missed a good part of the season and is minus-6, Malkin hasn’t played at all, and as any Kings fan knows, Carter has been forced into more minutes than his 36-year-old body can handle. As a consequence, Pens top-line wing Rust has scored only twice, and top scorer Guentzel is minus-3. Zucker’s play has been no more deficient than theirs and is affected by theirs.

    No longer in this critic’s doghouse is Sabres castoff Evan Rodrigues, who is the Penguins best scoring center. His faceoff win percentage is better than Crosby’s, and at plus-2, he’s tied for second among their forwards.

    Mike Sullivan might be doing the finest coaching of his career to have the Penguins in a playoff spot with Rodrgues as his best forward and the often-disparaged Marcus Pettersson being statistically his best defenseman.

    Only a narrow perspective and a self-serving agenda could make a critic so persistently fault Zucker more than any other of his teammates for the Penguins so-so season.

    • I had to google fecund.

      • Were you thinking that I might have slipped one by Spector?

      • Haha, nope he has software for that!
        That is the first time I have seen it, or remember seeing it.