In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the push for Jack Eichel is down to apparently two teams. Meanwhile, Tomas Hertl had a huge night for the San Jose Sharks who are on a roll. How is this affecting his value in a contract year and before the NHL trade deadline? Is an Ilya Mikheyev return to the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of schedule? Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins are potentially the next team in legal trouble when it comes to allegations of sexual abuse.
Flames and Golden Knights Last Two Teams in on Eichel
According to Emily Kaplan, multiple sources tell ESPN it’s down to the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights sa the last two teams in the Eichel trade hunt. Kaplan notes that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams is working hard to get it done and trade is at the one-yard line but neither team has met his asks yet. The surgery is not part of the holdup.
Both the Flames and Golden Knights have agreed to let Eichel get the artificial disc replacement surgery which has a shorter timeline for Eichel to be out. That said, even if he’s traded soon, he wouldn’t be back until just after the All-Star Break. Regardless of when he gets the surgery done and which surgery he gets, he would likely miss the timeline to participate in the Olympics.
Hertl Raising His Stock Ahead of Free Agency
Tomas Hertl spoke after the recent win by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday and said “for sure” this is the most fun he’s had with the organization in a couple of years. He noted, “The room is all together. Everybody is just excited to play. Nobody cares who scores.”
While he probably does feel that way, it will matter to Hertl if he scores as performances like the one he put on Tuesday evening are only going to raise his value ahead of this year’s trade deadline. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent and he’s paused talks with the Sharks about a possible extension. That has opened up speculation he could be on the move.
Interestingly, these comments about how much he’s enjoying the team right now also come with Evander Kane still serving a 21-game suspension for a COVID protocol violation. It will be interesting to see if the Sharks put Kane back into the lineup should the team keep playing well. The Sharks are now 6-3-0 and it took them 24 games to reach wins last season. The organization might not want to risk disrupting team chemistry or frustrating Hertl who they’ll likely want to convince to stick around.
Ilya Mikheyev Skating Already
The Maple Leafs got positive news on Tuesday as Ilya Mikheyev was on the ice for some solo practice. Head coach Sheldon Keefe seemed pleased but also told reporters including David Alter of The Hockey News that there is no update on the injured forward.
Mikheyev was expected to be out eight weeks after he underwent surgery last month on a broken thumb. It’s been just under three weeks and he’s skating which is good news. He’s still a ways away from joining the rest of the team in any sort of regular practice.
Penguins Being Sued Over 2018 Sexual Abuse Incident
According to Rick Westhead, the same reporter who broke many of the details surrounding the Kyle Beach and Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse story from 2010, he’s reporting details about a separate sexual abuse lawsuit that is headed towards the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
Westhead writes in a recent TSN article, “The allegations against the Penguins first came to public attention after Jarrod Skalde filed a lawsuit on Nov. 3, 2020, in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania alleging that [Clark] Donatelli, the former head coach of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, had assaulted his wife, Erin, when the three of them were in a car together during a team road trip in Providence, R.I.”
Westhead goes on to write that when the incident was brought to the attention of former Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin, (who was the Penguins’ assistant general manager at the time), they were told him to keep quiet about the alleged assault.
Westhead notes that Jarrod claims he was fired for talking about the incident but SafeSport investigators have not yet interviewed the alleged victim about her complaint. Guerin could face a temporary or permanent suspension from working with the U.S. Olympic program if he is found to have violated the centre’s code of conduct.
Guerin is currently the GM for the Minnesota Wild.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”