NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2021
Some proposed trade destinations for Vladimir Tarasenko and some recent Devils speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHERE COULD TARASENKO GO?
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz looked at several teams that he believes should pursue a trade for Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old St. Louis Blues winger has requested a trade, reportedly in part because of his unhappiness over the club’s treatment of an ongoing shoulder injury.
Gretz suggests the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Seattle Kraken and Nashville Predators should be calling. He believes the Rangers have the cap space and could be a good fit alongside Artemi Panarin on their top line. The Oilers should avoid pursuing aging defenseman Duncan Keith in favor of adding another impact player to provide more scoring depth.
The Devils have cap space and they need a scoring winger. The Kraken also have plenty of cap dollars and Tarasenko could quickly help them become competitive. The Predators need scoring though Gretz acknowledged the cap hit could get tricky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The complication for the Rangers is how Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual average value for the next two seasons would affect their efforts to re-sign first-line center Mika Zibanejad or find a suitable replacement. The Oilers have a greater need to improve their blueline and their goaltending so I don’t see them getting into the bidding for Tarasenko.
The Devils could be a good fit provided they’re on Tarasenko’s list of preferred trade destinations. If he wants to go to a contender he won’t be interested in joining an expansion club because there’s no certainty the Kraken will emulate the Vegas Golden Knights’ success. I don’t think the Predators can afford to add Tarasenko without shedding Matt Duchene’s contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko can’t help the Jackets’ need for a first-line center. I agree with Gretz that the Bruins won’t be able to add another scorer if they’re focused on re-signing Taylor Hall, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci. He also pointed out the Islanders would need to make several moves to fit Tarasenko under their salary cap.
DEVILS SHOPPING DEFENSEMEN?
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported New Jersey Devils general manager is working on reshaping his defense corps. Multiple sources claim they’re gauging interest in P.K. Subban and are listening on Will Butcher.
Subban and Butcher are a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Blueliners Matt Tennyson, Ryan Murray and Connor Carrick become UFAs on July 28. Murphy wonders if Fitzgerald will try to sign away Adam Pelech from the New York Islanders with an offer sheet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban isn’t the offensive star he once was but has remade himself into a more defensively responsible blueliner. The Devils will have to absorb part of his $9 million annual salary-cap hit or take back another hefty contract to facilitate a trade. Butcher has good puck-moving skills but his stats have declined since his promising 44-point debut in 2017-18.
The Devils have over $35 million in projected cap space for 2021-22. Fitzgerald has the room to sign Pelech or another club’s restricted free agent defenseman to an offer sheet. However, that doesn’t mean anyone he targets will sign. Offer sheets rarely occur and the last player successfully signed away was Dustin Penner in 2007.