NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2021
Updates on Vladimir Tarasenko and Mike Hoffman, the Senators are shopping for a center and the latest on the Panthers in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE BLUES
BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Adam Strickland took to Twitter yesterday reporting that the Seattle Kraken might not be the only stop for Vladimir Tarasenko if (emphasis on “if”) they select him in tomorrow’s expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The St. Louis Blues have been trying to trade the 29-year-old winger for several weeks but reportedly weren’t happy with the offers they received. They left him exposed in the expansion draft. Should the Kraken take him, they could attempt to flip him to another club, perhaps for a return that stocks up their prospect pipeline.
Strickland also expects the Montreal Canadiens to revisit last offseason’s contract talks with Mike Hoffman. The 31-year-old winger signed a one-year, $4 million contract in January with the Blues despite the Canadiens offering nearly $1 million more. Strickland adds the Blues have expressed interest in bringing Hoffman back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: From 2014-15 to 2019-20, Hoffman was a consistent 20-goal, 48-or-more point producer. However, he struggled at times this season in St. Louis and might be looking at other destinations via free agency.
The Canadiens were in the market for scoring last offseason but the emergence of Cole Caufield could have them considering other options. Much will depend, of course, on whether the Kraken select Carey Price in the expansion draft, how long Shea Weber could be sidelined, and the status of winger Jonathan Drouin.
SENATORS SEEK A CENTER
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are seeking a top-two center and a top-four defenseman to help them make the playoffs next season. Those moves will likely come via the trade market rather than free agency. They have six picks in this year’s draft, including two in the second round, that could be used as trade bait.
Nazem Kadri could’ve been a trade target but the Colorado Avalanche hasn’t shown a lot of interest in moving the 30-year-old center. Adam Henrique had great chemistry with Senators forwards Connor Brown and Nick Paul at this year’s World Championships. However, it’s uncertain if the Anaheim Ducks would pick up part of the 31-year-old center’s $5.825 million cap hit for the next three years. The Ducks exposed Henrique in tomorrow’s NHL expansion draft.
Garrioch noted recent reports linking the Senators to the New York Rangers’ Ryan Strome but questioned if he’d be an upgrade on Josh Norris or Shane Pinto. The Calgary Flames’ Sean Monahan also remains the topic of trade rumors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Henrique could be rejuvenated playing alongside Team Canada linemates Brown and Paul. The Senators have plenty of cap space to absorb his full cap hit but I wouldn’t blame them for asking the Ducks to pick up part of it. Henrique’s 10-team no-trade clause could also be a sticking point but maybe he’d waive it to join a promising club like the Senators.
COULD THE PANTHERS LOSE TWO PLAYERS TO THE KRAKEN?
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Florida Panthers could have a deal in place with the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken would sign goaltender Chris Driedger and the Panthers would send them winger Frank Vatrano for doing so.
If the Kraken sign Driedger as recent reports suggest they’re close to doing, he would count as their expansion-draft selection from the Panthers. Richards believes the Kraken would want enticement to do this rather than wait until July 28 to sign Driedger as an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would be one of those vaunted side deals we’ve heard about for months leading up to the expansion draft. Perhaps the Panthers want the Kraken to pass over an unprotected player such as Markus Nutivaara, Radko Gudas or Alexander Wennberg.
If this the market for Barclay Goodrow, imagine what Blake Coleman is looking at as UFA. His camp hasn’t gotten any indication from @TBLightning that they can or will fit Coleman in. Never say never, but Coleman appears headed for free agency July 28. https://t.co/2hJtSRcGjo
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) July 19, 2021