The 2021-22 NHL season is underway, and there's already plenty of trade and free-agent speculation. A rumor mill that had slowed throughout the month of August is returning to life following several weeks of training camp and preseason play through September into early October.
Some of the conjecture focused on the ongoing standoff between the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel over which medical procedure the 24-year-old center should undergo for a herniated disk in his neck. Meanwhile, the future of players slated for unrestricted free-agent status next summer, such as San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, became a hot-button topic.
Does any of this media chatter mean we should expect some big moves in the near future? That's what we'll attempt to sort out as we determine which rumors are worth buying or selling. Feel free to drop a line into the comments section below if you have an opinion about this subject matter.
Will the Chicago Blackhawks Trade Dylan Strome?
On Tuesday, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported there are several teams "kicking tires" on Dylan Strome. He believes there's a good chance the Chicago Blackhawks will trade the 24-year-old center "over the next week or two."
The Blackhawks acquired Strome in November 2018 in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes. He wasted little time making a positive impression, tallying 51 points in 58 games in Chicago to finish with a career-high 57 points, including his Coyotes stats. Strome appeared to have a bright future in the Windy City.
Inconsistent play, plus a concussion and a right ankle injury, limited Strome to 38 points in 58 games in 2019-20. His production dropped last season to 17 points in 40 games in part because another concussion took him out of the lineup for 11 games. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton was talking about using Strome on the fourth line to start this season.
The return of Jonathan Toews, the offseason addition of Tyler Johnson and the improvement of promising Kirby Dach pushed Strome down the Blackhawks depth chart. While moving players under a flattened salary cap could be difficult early in the season, Strome carries an affordable $3 million salary-cap hit. He's proved in the past he can thrive when surrounded by talented wingers and could benefit from a change of scenery.