NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2021
Could the Blues shop Vladimir Tarasenko? Could Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar receive an offer sheet? Are big moves in store for the Blackhawks or the Coyotes? What’s the latest on Frederik Andersen and Tony DeAngelo? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
BLUES SHOPPING TARASENKO
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the St. Louis Blues are exploring a trade for Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old winger has a full no-trade clause but has informed management of several preferred trade destinations. Tarasenko has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million. He’s been limited to 34 games over the last two seasons due to shoulder surgeries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicates Tarasenko’s recurring shoulder injury has been corrected and he’s healthy. When he’s healthy he’s a consistent 30-goal scorer.
Still, there could be clubs on his trade list leery of acquiring him because of those three surgeries. His cap hit could also prove difficult to move with the salary cap remaining flattened for this season.
COULD MAKAR GET AN OFFER SHEET?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there are different sources around the league who believe Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is the one player who could receive an offer sheet this summer. The Avs have several players (Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, Philipp Grubauer, Brandon Saad) due for new contracts. They must also ensure sufficient cap room to re-sign Nathan MacKinnon to a monster extension next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun indicates Makar wants to remain with the Avalanche and the club is “guarding internally” again a possible offer sheet. He said there are some who believe rival clubs could come calling if the 22-year-old blueliner isn’t signed by July 28.
Offers sheet signings are rare but do happen from time to time. Bear in mind, however, the player has to be receptive to receiving one. Just because other teams would love to sign Makar doesn’t mean he’s interested in going that route.
BIG MOVES COMING FOR THE BLACKHAWKS OR COYOTES?
TSN: Darren Dreger reports media has linked the Chicago Blackhawks to Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel. He finds it hard to imagine they can fit another $10 million player into their lineup with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane already there. He also noted winger Alex DeBrincat will soon become a big-money player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman could be performing due diligence by looking into Eichel’s availability. I don’t see them acquiring him unless the Sabres pick up half of his cap hit, or if Toews is going on permanent long-term injury reserve, or Bowman intends on shedding a significant salary.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Boston Bruins could revisit their interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He also wondered if a potential trade package could involve Coyotes winger and Boston native Conor Garland.
The Bruins were on Ekman-Larsson’s list of preferred destinations last fall but discussions between the two clubs failed to produce a deal. The Coyotes were willing to shave $1.25 million off the blueliner’s $8.25 million annual average value last year. Seravalli wonders if they’ll retain more to facilitate a trade this time.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman recently expressed his belief that Ekman-Larsson and winger Phil Kessel could get traded this summer. He also recommended keeping an eye on Garland and goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Ekman-Larsson’s trade value is unknown right while Kessel as a rental player won’t fetch a lot of young assets. Garland and Kuemper, however, could bring the picks and prospects the Coyotes need.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have expressed a need for a top-four, left-side defenseman. Ekman-Larsson’s declining numbers over the last three seasons are cause for concern but perhaps he’ll bounce back playing on a deeper roster. The Coyotes will have to pick up a bigger chunk of Ekman-Larsson’s cap hit if they hope to move him.
The Bruins could have interest in Garland if unable to re-sign Taylor Hall or if they finally decide to put Jake DeBrusk on the trade block. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent completing a two-year, $1.55 million contract. He’d be more affordable than Hall, perhaps costing as much as DeBrusk’s annual cap hit ($3.675 million) to sign.
Like Kessel, Kuemper will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. With Adin Hill looking like a potential starting goalie, they could peddle Kuemper if they feel he doesn’t fit into their long-range plans.
COULD ANDERSEN REMAIN A MAPLE LEAF?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s a chance Frederik Andersen could remain with the Toronto Maple Leafs. His agent, Claude Lemieux, said he was asked by the club if his client was interested in potentially signing and staying put. Lemieux said yes but LeBrun points out getting a deal done could be difficult within the Leafs’ limited cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen will have to accept less than his $5 million annual average value of his expiring deal. LeBrun said he’s ready to share the Leafs’ goaltending duties with Jack Campbell. So what say you, Leafs fan? Should they bring back Freddy on a reduced cap hit as a backup?
RANGERS TO BUY OUT DEANGELO
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the New York Rangers have finalized plans to buy out the remaining year of defenseman Tony DeAngelo’s contract. It will become official once the first buyout window opens within 24 hours after the Stanley Cup Final concludes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone expected this after the Rangers couldn’t find any takers for DeAngelo via trade or waivers during the regular season. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Seravalli said the annual cap hit to the Rangers is $383K for 2021-22 and $883K for 2022-23. It’ll be interesting to see if other clubs will take a chance on him when he’s no longer carrying a $4.8 million cap hit.