NHL Rumors; Rangers, Sabres, Flyers, Canadiens, Blackhawks, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, are the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres working on a deal that would send Mika Zibanejad out and bring Jack Eichel into the Rangers organization? Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers re-signed Carter Hart to a three-year extension. What was their thinking after Hart had such a lousy season in 2020-21? Will Jonathan Drouin be back for the Montreal Canadiens and is Stan Bowman going to be removed from any involvement with USA Hockey after allegedly covering up sexual assault allegations in 2009?

Zibanejad Out, Eichel in for Rangers?

According to Rick Carpiniello, a reporter with The Athletic who covers the New York Rangers, the Sabres and Rangers might be working on a blockbuster trade involving Eichel and Zibanejad. He doesn’t say that the players will be swapped one-for-one and he doesn’t even suggest Zibanejad winds up a Sabre, only that Zibanejad could be moved as part of a trade.

Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers
Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Carpiniello tweeted: “Just tossing this out there as I head for some vacation time … DO NOT be surprised if Mika Zibanejad is in the deal that ultimately brings Jack Eichel to #NYR.”

Fans were quick to respond to the tweet noting that Zibanejad has a full no-move clause as part of his current contract and would have to waive it to facilitate a trade to the Sabres. That said, if a third team like the Vegas Golden Knights get in on the action, perhaps the player would be willing to make a move.

If there is any truth to this, it’s perhaps the biggest development in the Eichel trade talks that have occurred in some time. Things had gone relatively quiet for weeks.

Hart Gets New Three-Year Deal

As announced by the Philadelphia Flyers organization, goaltender Carter Hart signed a three-year extension on Monday. He landed a $3.979 million deal on the heels of his worst season in the NHL as a netminder. The financials are a nod to his jersey number.

Despite posting some of his worst career totals this past season — a 9-11-5 record to go along with a 3.67 goals-against average and .877 save percentage in 27 games — the Flyers are confident an improved blue line will make all the difference and that Hart is more the goalie that played for this team up until this past year. In fact, they’re banking on that being the case.

The Flyers now have their tandem set after signing goaltender Martin Jones from the San Jose Sharks in free agency this offseason.

Related: Golden Knights Will Lean on Forward Depth to Replace Tuch

Bergevin Expects Drouin to Start Next Season

Jonathan Drouin is back on the ice and skating at the Bell Complex in Brossard for the Canadiens. GM Marc Bergevin confirmed that he expects the forward to be back and ready to go on the first day of training camp. Drouin put up 23 points in 44 games this season before stepping away to take care of some personal matters. That he is starting to train again is a step in the right direction for the team and the player.

Bergevin’s comments seem to put to rest any potential news of a trade or possible retirement. Let’s hope Drouin is able to recover fully from whatever was ailing him and is able to contribute to a Canadiens roster that added pieces like David Savard , Mike Hoffman, Cédric Paquette and Mathieu Perreault , but lost Phillip Danault and Shea Weber.

Lawyer Asks That Bowman Be Investigated

As per a report by TSN, “a lawyer for a former Chicago Blackhawks player has asked the U.S. Center for SafeSport — the organization created by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2012 — to investigate Blackhawks and U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team general manager Stan Bowman for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of two former Blackhawks players.”

Chicago Blackhawks Stan Bowman
Chicago Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

Claiming that Bowman covered up the sexual assaults, lawyer Susan Loggans contends that the fact Bowman is an NHL team official who also holds a position of major influence with USA Hockey is troubling.

Bowman is being connected to all of this because former Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent said during an interview that in May 2010, the two Chicago players who were allegedly assaulted by former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich asked Vincent to request the team fire Aldrich and report the incident to police. Vincent said he made the request during a meeting with Bowman, team president John McDonough, vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac and team sports psychologist James Gary. That request was denied.