NHL Rumor Mill – December 31, 2018
Are more moves coming for the Oilers? What would a Vladimir Tarasenko trade look like? Are the Flames trying to force out Michael Frolik? Check out the latest in the final NHL rumor mill of 2018.
OILERS NOT DONE DEALING?
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector weighed in on the Edmonton Oilers’ acquisitions of defensemen Alex Petrovic and Brandon Manning yesterday, suggesting the moves were made to boost their injury-depleted blueline. He said he’s been told Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is also in the market for a right winger. Ryan Spooner, acquired earlier this season from the New York Rangers for Ryan Strome, “is being made available by Chiarelli.”
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell called it “one of the weirdest Sundays in recent Oilers history.” He notes the club “began the process with a flawed winger, an older, end-of-the roster defenceman and a third-round pick. They end it with two end-of-the-roster defencemen, with Manning’s cap ($2.25 million) even more than the Petrovic deal ($1.95 million).” Mitchell also believes Chiarelli has more moves up his sleeve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most Oilers followers were dismissive of Chiarelli’s Sunday deals. Time will tell if they have any positive effect upon the blueline. A lack of secondary scoring has been an ongoing problem for the Oilers and threatens to scuttle their season. Spooner won’t be enough of an enticement to attract the type of player necessary to address that issue.
THE COST OF TRADING TARASENKO
THE ATHLETIC: Evan Sporer recently weighted the possibility of the St. Louis Blues trading winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He considers Tarasenko’s contract ($7.5 million annual average value through 2022-23) to be manageable, as well as a steal for a perennial 30-goal scorer.
Looking at the Blues might seek for Tarasenko, Sporer suggests it could be at least a first-round draft pick, “a big-time prospect”, and another piece or two if they’re looking at a long-term return. If the idea is to land a more immediate return, he proposed someone such as Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel, though he’s four years older than the 27-year-old Tarasenko.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of what type of return the Blues could seek, I don’t see a player of Tarasenko’s caliber being moved during the season. That type of blockbuster deal usually occurs in the offseason when teams have more salary-cap money and a willingness to spend it.
FLAMES TRYING TO FORCE OUT FROLIK?
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman reports Allan Walsh, the agent for Calgary Flames winger Michael Frolik, isn’t pleased that his client has become a recent healthy scratch. Walsh tweeted, “Keeping one of the team’s most efficient and versatile forwards in the stands marginalizes and devalues a great team player. Head coach’s attempt to run a good player out of town?”
Frolik’s in his fourth season with the Flames but Wegman noted this is his first under coach Bill Peters. Wegman said the offseason additions of Elias Lindholm and James Neal are partially to blame for Frolik’s diminished role. He also pointed out Frolik’s was trending downward offensively before Peters was hired.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears that Frolik isn’t a fit any longer with the Flames. Cap Friendly indicates he’s signed through 2019-20 with a $4.3 million annual cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list. They could attempt to shop him before the Feb. 25 trade deadline, though he’ll have to get in more playing time to bolster his value.