NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2022

by | Nov 9, 2022 | Rumors | 39 comments

A look at the biggest concerns facing the Blues, Senators, Bruins and Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Limited scoring and defensive lapses are threatening to sink the St. Louis Blues’ season. If things don’t improve soon, GM Doug Armstrong could face deciding whether to attempt a season-saving trade or commence a rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jeremy Rutherford followed up by exploring Armstrong’s options. He could replace head coach Craig Berube, trade pending UFAs Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, or start a rebuild.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

Rutherford believes Tarasenko and O’Reilly would draw plenty of interest in the trade market. However, it’s probably too early in the season to move them. If Armstrong decides to shop one or both, it’ll like be near the March 3 trade deadline.

A lack of consistency among the Ottawa Senators’ defensemen remains an issue. The recent injury to Artem Zub magnified the problem. They’ll have to do something soon lest it threatens to derail their season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have some cap space (less than $4 million) plus plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait. They could also dangle unsigned winger Alex Formenton if they can’t get him under contract before the Dec. 1 deadline.

They’ve been linked to Jakob Chychrun but the Arizona Coyotes defenseman remains week-to-week and won’t provide any immediate help. The Coyotes also set a high asking price that no one currently wants to pay.

This is supposed to be the season the Senators finally turn things around. With just four wins in their first 12 games, however, they’re at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and in danger of falling too far behind the pack to catch up. I suspect a trade could be coming sooner rather than later.

The Boston Bruins must clear salary-cap space when sidelined defenseman Charlie McAvoy returns to action. With Mike Reilly and Nick Foligno having cleared waivers, they’ll have to include some assets if they hope to part with either guy. Winger Craig Smith is an unrestricted free agent next summer but he’s been injured and his playing time has been reduced.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly seems like the odd man out. He hasn’t requested a trade but already spent a bit of time in the minors to make room for the return of Brad Marchand.

The Montreal Canadiens hoped to flip forwards Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin and to a lesser extent Mike Hoffman for assets at the trade deadline. So far, however, their poor performances thus far haven’t done much to improve their value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported Dadonov’s been held pointless thus far and hasn’t seen much time on the power play this season. That’s because head coach Martin St. Louis is going with the guys he trusts (Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach) to produce.

LeBrun indicated teams he’s spoken with about Dadonov said they want to see how he plays in the coming weeks to see if the Canadiens can create a trade market for him. He got back into the lineup for last night’s win against the Detroit Red Wings but did little to improve his trade value. Perhaps Dadonov will get more chances for playing time as the season goes on.


  1. Boston won’t be trading Foligno. Reilly is the odd man out.

    Based on what GeorgeO posted about Formenton at present he may not be tradeable.

  2. I didn’t even realize Chychrun was on injured reserve. Lmao. I guess his iron man streak is over?

    No injury history to see here folks. Move along. And absolutely sign me up for that ridiculous return! I’m positive a “change of scenery “ will make him less injury prone.

    • Oft injured, hasn’t really done anything yet. Why would a team give up more then a 1st

  3. After watching my flyers play both the sens and blues here’s my observation.

    Sens, have all the tools they need to win but they are not hard to play against. BT is the only forward with grit, and NZ needs to be sent down He constantly hangs his d partner out

    Solution, find 3rd liner winger with grit and promote docker and demote NZ.

    Blues, after watching the game last night it amazed me that the flyers out shot them. plain and simple we suck and our record wont hold up. The defense has too many small players, forwards go into the boards looking for a hit. So then the forward have to help out and more shots happen.

    Solution, mix up the defense, current pairings are not working. See if the change helps out if not bring up a player. Maybe check trade market for a deal.

  4. Sens need to fire their coach first before making a foolish trade. No structure in the D Zone, no in game adjustments, no passion, no urgency.

    Then they can worry about replacing Zaitsev and Brannstrom on the backend.

  5. Brannstrom hasn’t played enough to determine if he’s expendable, paired with the right partner he could take off. Need to make changes on the back end for sure and no Chyc is not the solution. Talk to LA about walker or roy, both would fit in nicely with sens core.

    • The best thing I’ve seen yet, is when the Sens were on a four game winning streak and Bone Head decides to put Zaitsev in the line up to “get him some ice time”. Whoops. Brannstrom had finally…FINALLY started to get confident playing with a Methot Light version in Holden. NOPE lets f**k that up royally and go on a six game losing streak—and keep Zaitsev in the line up!!!! Heck he was killing penalties for crying out loud. Now a team that was playing reasonably well has zero confidence.

  6. I predict Berube is the first coaching casualty The second maybe DJ Smith ?

    Calgary -6 in a row Edmonton sputtering and loses Kane last night .
    Vegas a runaway in the west . Never seen any of that coming.

    Calgary and Blues maybe Toronto the first to make a trade

    • I see what you did there…just like all the insiders you have to throw in Toronto to make it sound legit! LOL

      But seriously, this American thanksgiving might not leave many coaches to have anything thankful for.

      • Haven’t been reading this much in a couple weeks but nice to see that Dubas and Keefe aren’t getting fired anymore. Maybe they’ll trade Matthews to AZ, I heard he’s excited now that the coyotes are playing in a high school cafeteria.

    • The Blues really have sunk to a new low….I don’t see how they get out of it…..they would need a waived NTC/NMC to make a significant trade. I guess firing Berube is the easy out.
      “Calgary and Blues maybe Toronto the first to make a trade” Don’t forget Vegas with Brossoit and the Sens needing defense. I wonder if any of the Blues defenders wanna go to Ottawa??? 😁

      • I also just realized that O’Rielly has no trade protection. Could they trade him now for someone that would help them now?

      • Johnny Z, I see – in their infinite wisdom – the Blues gave (or inherited?) – NTC for each of Faulk, Parayko, Krug and Leddy so, barring their waivers of the clause, they aren’t going anywhere they don’t wish to go.

      • As for blues. This would be the season to stink. Land bedard. Sell at deadline all ufa s. Back to the contender stage in one season

  7. John, when it comes to Brannstrom, I liken Dorion’s stubborn position on this smurf D-man to Bettman’s stubborn insistence on keeping the Coyotes in Arizona.

    Both are pounding square pegs into round holes with Bettman determined to prove that Arizona is a viable hockey market, while Dorion doesn’t want to admit that he lost – badly – the Mark Stone deal with Vegas.

    Dorion’s theory on Brannstrom is that his offensive talents will make up for his defensive shortcomings – well, let the record show that, while he has played in all 12 games to date, his “offense” has been 0g 2a 2pts to go along with a -4.

    On the +/- end, the only one worse is Chabot, whose alleged strength is also his offense, which in 12gp is 2g 3a 5pts to go along with a -5. In his case, however, I believe his so far mediocre play stems from simply being over-used by a clueless coach. Losing partner Artyem Zub didn’t help (7gp 1g 2a 3pts and a +2) and hopefully he’ll be back soon.

    Zaitsev, meanwhile, has only appeared in 7 games with 0g 1a 1 pts and a -3. He adds nothing to the mix. Any coach with an ounce of brains would bring up the best of either Bernard-Docker or Thompson (according to Mann in Belleville) and PLAY him (I see Bernard-Docker was called up for last night’s game.

    So far, the only other D-men on the + side of the ledger are rookie Jake Sanderson (12gp 0g 6a 6pts +5), Travis Hamonic (12gp 1g 1a 2pts +5), and Nick Holden (9gp 1g 1a 2pts +2).

    Dorion MUST acquire a top 4 D soon rather than later – that won’t come cheap but he has to act soon to avoid digging an even deeper hole (NOT Chychrun – not now not ever!).

    At the most, Smith should get no more than 2 games to get back on track.

      • Well, that’s Step 1. No one will claim him, of course so, who knows, maybe he goes to Belleville and, somewhere along the line, straightens out some kinks in his game.

        You have to feel for the guy in some ways. I mean, he wasn’t a “bad” D when with the Leafs – just that his bloated contract has never matched what he brought to the table. And last season he apparently toughed out a nagging heel injury without complaint or going on IR.

        I hope he goes to the AHL with the right attitude and performs well enough to attract attention from some team needing immediate help on their D. If not, I guess there’s always the KHL – once his contract runs out.

  8. And just to compare, Brannstrom (5′ 10″ 185lbs soaking wet), who was taken 15th overall in 2017 by Vegas, has played in 128 NHL games – all with Ottawa, with 90 AHL games “seasoning” where he was a collective +4.

    Bernard-Docker (6′ 0″ 200 lbs) was taken 26th overall in 2018 by Ottawa and, with 66 AHL games under his belt and a collective +14, has been given all of 14 NHL games – with limited ice-time.

    Thomson (also 6′ 0″ 200 lbs) was taken 19th overall in 2019 and, with 89 AHL games played to date where he is a collective -10, has only 16 NHL games, also with limited ice time.

    Clearly, Bernard-Docker is the better of the two prospects and now that he’s been called up, PLAY him – and not just for 5 or 6 minutes a night.

    • JBD looked good last night. Now just keep playing him. Smith needs to get Zaitsev out of the lineup. Just terrible. Also tell Austin Watson to stop fighting … he always gets his ass kicked.

      Dorion needs to get rid of Smith soon. He just isn’t getting the job done. It is the lack of structure, his loyalty to certain players, and the fact he overuses Chabot where Chabot is making dumb decisions. Also the lack of production from Debrincat is worrisome. But I think that goes to the simplistic dump and chase style that Smith incorporates.

      I also think Pinto might be better suited to the third line. Had more chemistry with Joseph and Motte. Maybe time to call up Sokolov and play him with Giroux (moved back to centre) and Debrincat. Only reason I am saying Sokolov is because he is more offensive and fits better inside top 6. But something needs to be done to ignite that second line. The first line seems to have good chemistry (Batherson and Chucky have always played well on the same line).

      • Peter, I agree – another puzzling decision by Smith – moving Pinto up to the 2nd line C when he, Joseph and Motte were playing so well – and effectively. Keep them together and increase their minutes. Especially since they have an experienced C in Giroux to take over the 2nd line.

        I also like the Sokolov idea – he has 9 points in 10 games with Belleville (although just the one goal), but his size and speed should be OK at LW for now until – and if – Dorion makes another move using his deep resources.

        DeBrincat will start popping goals soon – just watch him play … it’s not as if he isn’t in the game and getting chances. That happens to the best of them … I recall Alfie starting a season with something like 1 or 2 goals in 18 games – you could see he was “there” – and sure enough, when they did start going in he went on a tear.

        Right now their problem isn’t offense (although the pp has looked anaemic recently) – it’s keeping the puck out – Forsberg and/or Talbot need to steal a game here and there.

  9. What happens in Pittsburgh if they keep sputtering? The big three have no trades but would they wave for a shot at a title. I’ve watched few Penguin games not a great team as of now pretty old.

    • Rather than re-signing Malkin, Letang, Rackell etc. they should have been thinking about a tear down 2 years ago.

      It made zero sense to me in the off-season, and is looking worse and worse as time goes by.

      Trading Malkin, Letang etc. to a contender would be pretty difficult if not impossible with everyone scrambling to deal with the cap.

      By some miracle they do find a partner, they’re not winning those trades. Letang at 35 injury prone, 6 years left at over 6 per cap hit? Best of luck winning that trade!

  10. Charlie Mac could be back tomorrow night. See ya later Reilly. Try and throw Nosek in there as well. Clear the track here comes Mac.

    • Where do you trade him to without including too much?
      How long is Muzzin out? If for months, they may have the room and have accrued some already with the other injuries.
      Oilers? Need some space, but Kane may miss a bunch of time.

      There are the rebuilding teams with space, but not sure why they would do it without a decent sweetener.

      These guys heal too fast!

      • You’re assuming that the Jackets won’t claim him off waivers. I wouldn’t take that bet

      • That works too Paul, considering they may have to give an asset up to move him to a team like CHI or ARI.

  11. The Pens could use some help on D. Maybe they trade Dumoulin in a separate deal in order to bring in Reilly?

  12. Re; This is supposed to be the season the Ottawa Senators finally turn things around. ❓

    1st, They need to get a Good Goaltender not an other Recycled Back up one like fragile M.Murray

    Now 35-36 yr old and Cam Talbot $3.M
    They have 29yr old Anton Forsberg as back up at $2.75M….. going no whaere with these 2😫

    The Sens should have went after a much younger goaltender with potential like NJD pick up who is 5-1 a 26 yr old Vitek Vanecek
    the leafs pick up 25 yr old Ilya Samsonov who is an RFA, maybe they can sign him after the season as the Leafs are always at the Top of there Cap..🤔

    They have young winger Alex Formenton as a Trade chip who could be a very good top 6 winger… if the sign him before December 1st….❓

    • A month ago, people were praising Calgary and Ottawa’s off-season moves. Gm of the year awards being handed out before a single game was played. How’s that working out?

      As a Ranger fan, we had at least 6-7 paper cup champs in the 90’s and early 2000’s. So I learned a long time ago that paper teams don’t mean squat!

      It’s still early, but both teams have struggled out of the gate.

      • Oh so true. I was hopeful – but there’s always that doubt about whether all the newcomers can “gel.” Sometimes – and we’ve seen that for several teams over the years – it does take time to click but when it does they go on a tear (as the Blues did the year they won the cup – coming from dead last on New Year’s Day.

        I’m just not convinced D. J. Smith is the right man for the job as he seems entrenched in his approach with absolutely NO flexibility or willingness to try something new. He follows “the book” – you lose a # 1 C – answer: the other Cs each move up – regardless of how well their lines were functioning before the injury (e.g. Pinto). Never mind that he has an experienced C – and excellent face-off man – currently playing RW in Giroux.

      • Hey George,

        I’m not picking on Ottawa by any means. Don’t see a lot of games so you’d be the one I’d have to defer to when it comes to what’s wrong.

        My point was too many people like to celebrate draft day and ufa signings. As I said above, I learned a long time ago to temper expectations on both.

        Once upon a time NY had Bure, Jagr, Lindros, Kovelov Messier, Leetch and (I think Fleury as well )on the same roster. I could have a couple that I’m crossing over from other paper cup champ years?

        Luckily I didn’t put in for a pto day for the ticker tape parade in advance.

        They failed to make the playoffs.

        I never like to count my chickens!

        I certainly don’t like to hand out awards in the off-season.

    • willie W – NO ONE is taking Formenton until that very large dark cloud hanging over his head is lifted – Hell, even Ottawa’s in no rush to sign him for the very same reason. Right now he’s in limbo with ZERO appeal.

      • And zero options if they qualified him

    • Maybe they take Reilly back for a price:
      Reilly + 2025 2nd for Lassi Thompson or some other asset that does not require waivers.

      • Sometimes players clear waivers not because other teams don’t want to have the player, but (a) because of AAV issues and/or (b) that they see the player as not being worth adding a contract against the 50 contract cap … a trade may well be possible if the BBs take back a contract and/or retain or take on salary.

  13. Ottawa needs defenceman, how come no one’s mentioned Karlsson? Is that only a good Leaf rumour?

    • I think Karlsson looks like vintage Karlsson, today. Tomorrow and beyond? Not so sure.

      Injury history , and 32 with 5 years remaining at 11+ ? Makes him more of a rumor target than a reality target.

      He turned down a deal from Ottawa, not sure either side cares to revisit.

      • if sens could get SJ to eat half his contract(it would cost a lot) but that would be best case scenario.

        He still has some good years left just 11mil per is crazy for he brings.

        Still think Walker or Roy from LA make a lot of sense.