NHL Rumor Mill – January 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 13, 2021

With the regular season opening today, check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and Keith Yandle in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BLUE JACKETS GETTING CALLS ABOUT DUBOIS

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports several sources claim interested teams are “not screwing around” when it comes to Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 22-year-old center requested a trade despite recently signing a two-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Interest is reportedly growing in Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Friedman said the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets are among the pursuers but there are other clubs in the chase who haven’t received as much attention. Friedman wonders if the Jackets will move quickly to trade Dubois.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s been some speculation linking Dubois to Jets winger Patrik Laine. “That makes a lot of sense, but there’s nothing close there,” said Dreger.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Arpon Basu was asked if the Canadiens would or should make a player for Dubois. He feels it would cost the Habs one of their two promising young centers (Nick Suzuki or Jesperi Kotkaniemi) and there’s no guarantee Dubois will be more successful over the long run than either of those two. If Habs general manager Marc Bergevin could find a way to acquire Dubois without parting with Suzuki or Kotkaniemi it would be a no-brainer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent speculation also has the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers as possible or suggested suitors for Dubois. Whether they’re actually pursuing him is another matter.

Dubois-for-Laine addresses the Jets’ outstanding need for a reliable young second-line center. That proposed swap would help the low-scoring Jackets but creates a big hole at center for them.

If the Canadiens land Dubois without parting with Suzuki or Kotkaniemi they’d be set for years at center, salary cap permitting. Maybe Bergevin bundles pending UFA Philip Danault with a top prospect like Cole Caulfield and a couple of his 11 picks between rounds 2 and 5 of the 2021 NHL draft, though that would require a commitment from Danault to sign a contract extension with the Jackets. However, the Canadiens would have to include another salaried player to create room for Dubois’ $5 million AAV. 

That’s just spitballing on my part. Suzuki or Kotkaniemi would have to be part of the return and I doubt Bergevin wants to give up either guy.

YANDLE OUT OF FAVOR WITH THE PANTHERS?

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Keith Yandle has fallen out of favor with the Florida Panthers. They’ve informed the 34-year-old defensemen he no longer fits into their plans for this season. His no-movement clause (NMC), however, prevents them from demoting him to their taxi squad. It’s believed they plan to make him a healthy scratch for their season-opener, which would end his Ironman streak of 866 games.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Yandle’s NMC gives him ultimate control over this situation. However, it’s difficult to move salary right now. Friedman said he’d heard the Panthers had some talks with the New York Islanders, with the Panthers taking back some salary, but a deal didn’t happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yandle yesterday said he hadn’t been approached by the Panthers about waiving his NMC. Maybe GM Bill Zito is trying to force the rearguard into seeking a trade or accepting a demotion to the taxi squad.

PuckPedia shows Yandle is signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $6.3 million. If he’s willing to accept a trade, the Panthers will have to do a dollar-for-dollar swap or absorb a healthy chunk of his cap hit to make the deal work. Even then, his age and the remaining term on his contract could be sticking points.