NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2021
LATEST TARASENKO SPECULATION
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jim Thomas wonders if the Seattle Kraken will take Vladimir Tarasenko in the upcoming expansion draft. The unhappy 29-year-old winger wasn’t on the St. Louis Blues’ list of protected players.
Thomas said league sources claimed Blues general manager Doug Armstrong received multiple offers for Tarasenko before the imposition of the expansion draft roster freeze on Saturday. Those proposals would’ve taken on his full annual salary-cap hit ($7.5 million) for the next two seasons. If the Kraken pass on Tarasenko, the sources said those trade offers still should be on the table.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple wondered if Tarasenko could become a trade target for the New York Islanders after they shipped Andrew Ladd and his $5.5 million annual cap hit on Saturday to the Arizona Coyotes. They have $12.2 million in projected cap space and could get an additional $6 million when permanently sidelined Johnny Boychuk goes on long-term injury reserve at the start of the 2021-22 season. Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could be another option if he’s not selected by the Kraken or re-signs with the Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong reportedly didn’t move Tarasenko before the roster freeze because he didn’t like the offers he was getting. However, the Blues GM could be forced to move the winger for less than he seeks to get that cap hit off the books. He could then use the savings to put toward re-signing pending UFA winger Jaden Schwartz or address his roster needs via trades or free agency.
The Islanders have the cap space to pursue Tarasenko. They’ll get more depending on which player they lose in the expansion draft. However, they still must re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin and perhaps re-sign pending UFA Casey Cizikas. Tarasenko’s cap hit would make it difficult to keep those players.
RECENT SABRES RUMORS
WGR 550: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported the Minnesota Wild are expected to make a trade offer for Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel after buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last week. He also suggested the Colorado Avalanche could be a dark horse suitor for Eichel if Gabriel Landeskog departs via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild could indeed make an offer for Eichel. However, The Athletic’s Michael Russo last week indicated Wild general manager Bill Guerin didn’t want to blow through his cap space or deplete his prospect pool. If so, there’s probably not much chance of them landing Eichel.
I don’t see how Eichel’s a fit for the Avalanche. They already have a No.1 center in Nathan MacKinnon and no room to take on the Sabres’ captain’s big contract when they’re trying to re-sign Cale Makar and Philipp Grubauer.
Ristolainen won’t be going anywhere if Sabres GM Kevyn Adams doesn’t lower the asking price. I don’t blame him for trying to get the best return possible but I’ll be shocked if any club meets that price.
LATEST ON LARSSON AND STROME
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites reports indicating the Oilers’ attempt to re-sign Adam Larsson might not be a sure thing. One source believes there’s a chance the 28-year-old defenseman will hit the open market. There’s also talk they’re in discussions with pending UFA Tyson Barrie, raising the possibility they could sign him as a replacement for Larsson.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 18, 2021