NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2021

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Rumors | 51 comments

Analysis of TSN’s first Trade Bait Board of 2021-22 in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot tops Chris Johnston’s first NHL trade bait board of 2021-22.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A pending unrestricted free agent, Chiarot has frequently surfaced in trade speculation while the Canadiens flounder in the standings. Some observers believe the 30-year-old blueliner could fetch a first-round pick. The Habs aren’t believed to be shopping him but that could happen closer to the March 21 trade deadline.

Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin sits second while Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk is third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ben Bishop inching closer to returning to action, Khudobin is seen as the odd man out in the Stars’ crowded crease. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported last Saturday the Stars talked to the Buffalo Sabres about the 35-year-old netminder. However, their recent acquisition of Malcolm Subban and call-up of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen probably take them out of the trade market for now.

DeBrusk recently requested a trade from the Bruins. Marek’s colleague Elliotte Friedman indicated they’re seeking a defenseman or forward of equal value in return. He also said they’re not in a hurry to move him right now.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl check in at numbers four and five respectively.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Chiarot, Giordano and Hertl are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July. Naming Giordano their captain suggests the Kraken hope to keep him beyond this season. Hertl’s future with the Sharks remains uncertain given how many expensive veterans are already on their roster. Nevertheless, they’re unlikely to part with him this season as long as they remain in playoff contention.

Detroit Red Wings blueliner Nick Leddy and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov are seventh and eighth on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leddy is also due to become a UFA next summer. The Wings, however, are off to a good start and are jockeying for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. They could retain Leddy for the rest of the season if they remain in playoff contention.

Kravtsov refused to accept a demotion to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate and returned to Russia in October to await a trade. He is on loan to KHL team Chelyabinsk and cannot return to the NHL this season until the KHL season is completed.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane round out the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala, 25, is on a one-year, $5.1 million contract for this season. He becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. A gifted but streaky scorer, he popped up recently in trade speculation linking the Wild to the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently dismissed the notion of Wild general manager Bill Guerin shopping Fiala just because he’s in a scoring slump, especially while his club is leading their division. That seems even less likely with the Wild now atop the Western Conference.

Reports out of Arizona earlier this season indicated Kessel would prefer a trade and the Coyotes would like to move him. Finding a suitable trade destination, however, will take time. While he’s earning $1 million this season in actual salary, his $6.8 million cap hit is difficult to move at this point in the season.

Kane’s turbulent year has been well-documented. There was a recent report claiming an Eastern Conference club was interested in the 30-year-old winger while the Sharks are believed trying to trade him. Still, his off-ice issues and $7 million cap hit through 2024-25 are significant stumbling blocks that could prove too big to overcome during the regular season.


  1. I don’t see why Kessel’s cap hit would be an impediment to trading him. The Coyotes would just retain at least half of the hit. It’s only for the rest of this season and it’s not as if the Yotes lack the cap space to do so.

    • Howard, add to that his actual money owed this year is less than a million. Figuring they’d want picks or prospects, so they’d probably still be gaining cap space while only retains less than 500k in $

    • Easier said than done at this stage of the season, Howard. 21 NHL teams currently have cap hits in excess of $79 million. Even if the Coyotes agreed to pick up half his cap hit, those other clubs will still be looking at dollar-in, dollar-out to make it work.

      • Since its no money, just cap, a team like Ottawa should be able to get a 2/3 pick to pick up half the cap

      • Since it is dollar in and dollar out, wouldn’t the Stars be able to add Kessel ($3.4M retained) for Kuby? If the Stars want more offence, the yotes need the experienced goalie. This is very good trade, I would think.

  2. DeBrusk wants out ….way to put your talents on display

  3. Sweeney should just find an even trade. Matching change of scenery type deal.
    Strome from hawks
    Kappy. From pens
    Kane 1/2 retained from sharks
    All have something to prove and need new starts. Risk reward for all envolved

    • As awful as kappy as been, and honestly his and debrusks value are pretty much on par, I’d put my money on kappy improving before debrusk.

      • Hi Chrisms

        I believe that DeBrusk will do much better with a change of scenery

        I have in no way given up on Kappy

        Had great chemistry with Gino

        Do NOT trade Kappy … he’ll come around

        DeBrusk for Zucker (1/3 rd retained) would work

        Per a few other sites… Kappy likelyup with Sid and ERod on top line tomorrow night (ERod flipping wings)

        We shall see how Pens do…. Odds way against them tomorrow

        I’d just like them to come out without any injuries (head hunters Wilson, Hathaway, Ovi)…. score , in reality , irrelevant

        If they get to OT and leave without injury 👍👍👍👍

        A win and uninjured (I can dream 😀)….. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

      • Bruins need a puck-moving defenseman to set up plays more than they need another 3rd or 4th line wing.

    • agree…

  4. TDL is still over 3 months away so except for the Kane and DeBrusk situations, not sure who’s buying and selling. Kravtsov season could be done by TDL. Not sure what Drury does with him. Won’t give him away. The more I try and think maybe NY keeps Strome, he puts up a -4 against Av’s. Maybe he makes this list in coming months.

    • Has the desperation gotten so bad now NY fans are going to pick apart one game of Stromes, since using the last 3 years doesn’t work?

      Fox was -3 maybe they should trade him too?

      Panarin -3 , Panarin , Kravstov, Shesterkin and 4-1st’s for Debrusk?

      The sky is falling!!!! 7 game streak ended! 1st nhl game for Huska!!! Trade everybody!!!!

      • @capt…yes my fellow Ranger fans gloating over the record before Avs game and now jumping off the GW bridge…;-0

        gonna get some flames for this…
        So I am not concerned with Laf’s slow production start to his career….but how many seasons is he 3LW behind Panarin and Kreider two guys in prime…. so if Drury feels Rangers can win now….do you trade Laf……and or is his stock low….

      • @DS – no way are the Rangers trading Laf, the league gifted them and they cannot spit on that.

      • ds. Gloating? Jumping off GWB? They have a good team obviously, and it’s their early good fortune makes it probable that they’re in playoffs. Last night was a good test. Granted they had a rookie goalie making his 1st start. My early praise of team was for the “they’re not 1 or 2 players from being contenders” crowd. I still think they are. Panarin looked like he was out there by himself in that 2nd line. Drury has tough decision on Strome. I don’t see him getting deal he might be asking for at seasons end.

      • @slick
        some of my social media Ranger fan friends were ready to claim the Cup 2 days ago and now the same guys think huge changes needed…what ya gonna do… i wasnt speaking of ppl on here

        Strome is a not easy decision. right now no choice but to resign..Chytil does not look like a 2C and there is no one else in the system

      • ds. Agree with you on some points. Recently, I’ve tried to be open minded on Strome. I still can’t stand watching him. Fortunately, most of teams that have had biggest wins vs NY are all in west. Totally agree with you on Laf. I think he’s key to aquiring a top young center. Not giving up Kravtsov or Laf for playoff rentals.

      • @slick
        problem is who you trading Laf for? especially if he turns into McKinnon….

        Strome plays a small 6’1″ but if the Bread wants his Strome he will be resigned.

      • Rangers tried to punk out McKinnon with a big brutal and pissed off the Avs and got crushed 7-3..

      • What are you talking about? The score was 4-2 at the time of the hit, NY was on a back to back game with a AHL goaltender playing his first nhl game in net.

        Stick to the penguins.

    • It wasn’t Strome’s fault that Trouba knocked MacKinnon out for the 2nd period. This year, the Avs are harder to play against when MacKinnon is out of the lineup.

  5. Re Kessel … posting here again ….

    At TDL…. He is still owed (after accounting for escrow) only about $270; and remaining Cap ~ $2.3 M

    Yotes are retaining 50% … pretty much guaranteed

    A middle team likely to take 50% (of that 50%)…. About $65 K – $70 K in cash

    Seeing as recent years teams have retained as much as $250 K (and more) in cash to get a 4th…. there should be a few teams easily willing to pay $65-$70 K to get a 4th

    Final team gets Phil for a Cap hit total of about $570 K (1/3rd year left, @25% … of $6.8 M) and only $65 K to $70 K cash

    If Phil picks up his socks and produces anywhere near his capabilities…

    Arz gives up Phil (50% retained) and a 6th… gets a 2nd

    Middle team converts a 6th into a 4th for $65-$70 K

    Final team gets Phil at remaining Cap hit of ~ $570 K; $65-$70 K cash, and gets a 6th…. and gives a up 2nd and 4th

  6. Again… if HexBurkie get an opportunity to speak with Kane… and get some comfort level…

    Kane (50%) for Zucker ….👍👍👍

    Can’t see a Bruins/Pens deal (vying for same WC spot)…

    But… Zucker (1/3 retained) for DeBrusk is a net neutral cap flip for a change of scenery move for both…. Could be a win / win

    Same re change of scenery …. Zucker (1/3 retained) for Strome

    Not sure the cost of Hertl … but Hertl at 2C for Bruins certainly would be a boost

    • since the Bruins probably wont upgrade the #2 center position unless #46 comes back…..

      a Coyle in between Hall & Zucker………Coyle and Zucker were very good friends in the Wild days so it could work go tell sleepy Sweeney

      • Joe
        That would be a hockey trade And could very well work out for both teams or could end up not helping either If that is all Sweeney can do. He should do it

      • Hi Joe and MrB4

        Sounds like ur good to go re Zucker (1/3 retained) for DeBrusk…. Pens fans (including this one) accept….. Sweeney and HexBurkie…..gedddderrrrrdone !

      • Pengy….. I’ll send Sweeney a text

      • Hold 50% of Zuckers salary and its a deal.

      • Not me pengy. I want no part of more dead money. Especially for a downgrade.

        Offer vetoed.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Dead money only for 1 year; and not a downgrade

        Both are treading water and need to be moved; I truly believe both would improve current production

        So with that assumption; Pens get a bump in production ; won’t carry a player that has to play on 3LW when Gino is back (team just cannot afford Zucker’s drain on Gino of Sid production)…. All at the expse of just $1.8 M in dead cap (next year only; when it is not needed)

        In fact; if DeBrusk re-ups at the exact same he gets now… and with above assumption (that both will do better in new location)…. Then Pens increase production and get younger with ZERO change in Cap this year and next (dead cap AND identical re-up for DeBrusk is same Cap hit as keeping Zucker)

        This should be a win win

        Upstairs de us listed above

        Downside…. No change in DeBrusk; so same production; Pens can move DeBrusk off season or let him walk…. So worst case is no change to production this year; and $3.5 M net space next year to get the production Zucker is giving now (which is worth less than $3.5 M)

        This is a deal that works for both teams

        I still think the best option to explore is HexBurkie talking to Kane; get a “future” off ice feel….

        Zucker for Kane (@50%)

        Cap space increased; size, grit, sppeed , production increases

      • Have to resign or replace letang Malkin rust kapenen carter zar heinen plus assorted depth. Not much help likely from minors. His and jjs cap space would be a major hindrance.

      • Hi Chrisms

        What I was saying is that under the situation I suggested…. DeBrusk re-signs at same Cap hit; then his Cap plus Zucker dead Cap= $5.5M…. So same situation next year as it would have been…. The only change is sweater name and jersey ; with the likelihood if better numbers (than Zucker is currently projecting)

        Again this is on the presumption that both players improve (from current) with change of scenery… I , along with quite a few in the media; believe that

        My pref still is Zucker for Kane (50%)

    • @ Pengy Hertl a 2nd center for the Penguins works too especially if we lose Carter and Malkin in the off season..

      Love to get either Gallagher or Kane or both…

      • Would live Hertl… however …. 1st and more…. Pens can’t afford to part with a 1st

    • Again the main problem for the Bruins is the lack of the ability to move the puck up to the forwards so they need a back liner who can do this. A second line center is also needed but the need for that kind of defenseman should be their first priority.

  7. Hertl had 35 goals (77 games) in 18/19…. On an identical pace this year (12 in 26)

    IF Sharks move him at TDL …. I expect they are then concluding they are “out” of the playoffs this year…. Would then retain 50% in all likelihood

    As at TDL… after escrow… Hertl still owed ~ 960 K…. After Sharks retain 50%…. $480 K… see my post re retention and Phil… last year teams (middle teams in 3 ways) paid as much as $250 K (cash retention) to get a 4th

    So ….. 1st (to Sharks) and 4th (middle team) gets final Team Hertl at about $240 K cash and about $470 K remaining cap ($5.6 M , 1/3rd year remaining ; @ 25%)

    That’s a very good deal…

    Might end up as a 1st and nice prospect to Sharks; while Sharks give the 4th to the middle team

    • Hertl will get the sharks more then just a 1st. If they trade him

      • Hi MrB4

        Agree… as I said… 1st and nice prospect would not surprise me

        Sharks can’t realistically move him until they conclude that playoffs not happening for them this year

    • Pengy for a young second line center like Hertl hell yes we can afford a 1st rounder this guy is solid.

      We will lose Carter for sure and quite possibly Malkin hell yes I move a 1st and whatever for him..

  8. According to Cap friendly Kane is owed a $2m signing bonus this summer….maybe he gets moved after this is paid???

    • Pengy. That might not even be all. Hertl. Could get the sharks Tdl. Is crazy time. For GMs.

      Both. Bruins and. Pens. In same spot. Older rosters. With not quite enough support for the aging core It will be interesting to see how it shakes out

  9. Habs are the perfect middle team to facilitate a cap deal. Should have lots of money below the cap due to injuries and trading their own vets. Combine that they want to also add picks & prospects, being a middle team for others can be a good tool for them.

  10. Uh Oh for ‘Nucks fans

    The nightmare has landed in Vancouver

    • Haha, I came on here to write, “cue Pengy and the Zucker to Canucks talk” 😉

      • Jimbo overpaid big time for him once

        …. And he still loves him…. Can we convince him to flip Zucker for Bo straight up …. LOL

        Jimbo probably already on the phone with Sackic to find out how many 1sts (from ‘Nucks) it will take for the Avs to part with JJ

      • Might need to sweeten the deal a bit .. Zucker and Ruhwedel for Bo and Hughes, Van retains salary. Jimbo just wants to be fair.

    • Maybe Rutherford will deal is Bo Horvat …Merry Christmas.. LOL

  11. Penguins need to blow it up and soon Boston isn’t far behind but Boston does have a few young players to build around. McAvoy Pasta Swayman and few others like Carlo and Coyle and a couple prospects in Fabian and Studnicka.

  12. kane’s off ice problems and salary aren’t his “stumbling blocks,” it’s his attitude AND signal handed destruction of every single locker room he sets foot in.

    Question: Why would any team want to destroy their own locker room?
    Answer: They wouldn’t. That’s why he’s in the minor legues.

  13. Captain Obvious you bumbling bag of chips your boy Trouba got tough with the wrong player it ignited the Avs (yes game was close) then it wasn’t..

    So Obvious maybe you should stick to say well anything but hockey….LOL

    Rangers got skunked 7-3 I do’nt want to hear oh it was close could of’s, should of’s bs they got smoked… after that cheap shot