NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2020

by | Dec 5, 2020 | Rumors | 8 comments

Questions about Vladimir Tarasenko’s future with the St. Louis Blues and possible moves by the New Jersey Devils in today’s NHL rumor mill.

STLTODAY.COM: In his weekly live chat with Blues fans, Jim Thomas was asked if the St. Louis Blues might expose high-salaried veterans like Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron in next year’s expansion draft or risk losing younger, cheaper players. Thomas doesn’t see that happening. He pointed out Perron is playing better in terms of production than he ever has, plus they’d hate to make the wrong decision with Tarasenko and see him regain his form with the Kraken.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

 THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford was asked if the Blues might try to trade the injury-prone Tarasenko. Given the winger’s three shoulder surgeries, Rutherford doubted the Blues would get a good return. He felt there’s a better chance of Tarasenko helping the club upon his return from his latest surgery than a team offering a player or players who can contribute.

Rutherford was also asked if the Blues might make any more moves. While general manager Doug Armstrong hasn’t ruled out another signing, Rutherford would be surprised if it happened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko’s recent shoulder injuries seem to have some Blues fans concerned about his performance over the remaining three years of his contract. Cap Friendly indicates signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $7.5 million, which could prove costly for the Blues if he cannot regain his 30-goal form.

Trading Taranseko won’t be easy if the Blues decide one day to part with him. In addition to his injury history and annual cap hit, the 28-year-old winger also has a full no-trade clause. That wouldn’t prevent him from being exposed in next year’s expansion draft but I’ll be shocked if Armstrong left him unprotected.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if the New Jersey Devils might attempt to acquire players from cap-strapped clubs, or pursue free agent Mike Hoffman on a one-year contract, or if they’d go the offer-sheet route.

Masisak noted the Devils have over $17 million in salary-cap space, though new contracts for restricted free agents Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt could whittle that down to around $10 million. He feels Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn could be a good fit but isn’t sure if Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald will want to tie up too much future cap space given the current economic uncertainty.

Signing a UFA like Hoffman, Mikael Granlund or Anthony Duclair to a short-term deal is possible. However, those players could be reluctant to join a team that isn’t a clear contender and risk getting moved at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald could make a move to further boost his roster before the season begins (next month?). I don’t expect a blockbuster move but perhaps he can get into the bidding for one of those UFA forwards on a cost-effective deal. Those players could be reluctant to join a non-contender on a short-term deal. With so few teams carrying sufficient cap space, however, they might not have much choice if Fitzgerald shows interest in one of them.


  1. So what Masisak is saying is he has no idea what Fitz is going to do. If anything it would be nice if Fitz got some help for his young centers, and if he has to trade them at the deadline he could get some nice future assets. Don’t rush the talent down in the AHL, let them develop properly.

    • The Devils do have a few assets in the AHL that might make the jump. Also waiting on a few others they maybe have an AHL career only. Fitz is in a good position (cap wise) & has the ability to pull the trigger on anything presented to him. I agree he needs one or two wingers for Hughes/Nico. Unless they move Zacha to wing (5 on 5) I wish McCleod could fill a void.

  2. Save money for a rainy day…

    More than a few NHL careers were ended with shoulder issues. I hope that is not the case for Tarasenko. A very good player

    The fight is on and this entire season could be at risk due to dollars . Current players are deciding the future of the league right now and not covid.
    TSN reported that at the end of a 7 year CBA the escrow could be 30%-40%. Not sure of that math and to lazy to figure it out but 100’s of millions. If the players give more AGAIN ,for how long until they get paid ? 4-5 years ? Interest.

  3. I don’t see Duclair in a position to be picky. Since his ELC he signed with Rangers expired, he has signed 3 straight 1 year deals. He was traded by 2 of the 3 teams he signed those deals with. A 2 year deal with Devils would make sense, allowing NJ to have a forward they can expose in draft, while also adding depth at wing. Shouldn’t cost much.

  4. Talk about swallowing one’s pride – Duclair had the best offer he was going to get and when he resisted, believing his “agent” (himself, apparently) that he could do better on the open market, even when all the signs dictated otherwise given the pandemic, Dorion said fine, good luck and refused to extend an RFA qualifying offer


    Now he has to prove himself all over again. A genius he isn’t.

    • duclair is a joke. not liked in the dressing room and wants a huge amount to play? ego is way too big

      • Wherever he goes, I think it’s safe to assume that he’s burned all bridges to Ottawa, Columbus and Arizona at least.

  5. I think it would be a risky move to leave Tarasenko exposed but one worth taking for both involved. Expose or protect, pass or pick up?