NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2021

by | Aug 13, 2021 | Rumors | 21 comments

A look at why some of this summer’s notable trade candidates haven’t been moved yet in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski looked at this summer’s top-five trade candidates who haven’t been moved yet and why.

Topping his list, of course, is Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. The stalemate between Eichel and the club’s medical staff over a medical procedure to repair a herniated disc in his neck is the main factor. So is the Sabres’ asking price of four assets. Kingerski notes the Minnesota Wild had kicked tires, but like others, pulled out of the bidding.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An Eichel trade remains possible at some point in August. Based on recent reports, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The earliest I see it is before the start of training camp in September.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is next. Reports from this spring claimed the club was out of patience with his inconsistent play and off-ice antics. However, general manager Brian MacLellan appears to have walked that back after finding the trade market soft for the 28-year-old center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million annual salary cap hit through 2024-25 and his 15-team no-trade list also factored into dampening his trade value.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ limited cap space saw winger Jason Zucker’s name surface in the rumor mill. His low production last season, caused in part by a lower-body injury, and his $5.5 million annual average value should ensure Zucker remains a Penguin this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker’s name did pop up in trade rumors but I don’t recall seeing anything substantive suggesting the Penguins were actively shopping him. Most of it almost seemed like media spitballing a way for the Pens to free up cap space to pursue an upgrade in goaltending.

Winger Vladimir Tarasenko wants to be traded and the St. Louis Blues are trying to move him but no one wants to take on his full $7.5 million cap hit through 2022-23. The 29-year-old’s age and thrice-repaired shoulder make him a question mark. Tarasenko’s been linked to the New York Islanders but there’s no indication general manager Lou Lamoriello wants him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Kingerski observed, the secretive Lamoriello never tips his hand as to his intentions. No one knows if he’s really interested in Tarasenko or if that’s just media speculation. If he is looking at acquiring the winger, the Blues will have to pick up part of that cap hit or take on another salaried player in return.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk surfaced in rumors with reports linking him to Toronto and his hometown of St. Louis. Flames GM Brad Treliving, however, shot down that speculation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk’s not going anywhere…this season. He’s a restricted free agent next summer and it will cost the Flames $9 million to qualify his rights. That could make things interesting next summer.


  1. Hextall couldn’t give Zucker away …

    • Ed, Silver, Pengy

      Do you think a Zucker for Tarasenko would solve a couple problems??

      I think Pitts would have to add a conditional pick or prospect, and I think the Blues would have to retain a few $$$s.

      • iowa prince and others, what’s with the fascination of acquiring dead cap space to facilitate a trade? By doing so, your basically trading away a good player that contributes to your team for a player (usually lesser quality) PLUS a player who does nothing but take up space, so holding onto $1, 2 or whatever million is like taking a player who cap is that and cant be traded for the duration of that players contract… usually multiple years…. so, for a few years you won’t be able to add a player at, say the deadline for a million or two because of that dead cap space. Its sort of cutting off your nose….

      • Ron,

        I understand—I’ve just never been a fan of a disgruntled employee. I’m afraid the whole “organization” suffers!

      • There is a deal to be had there..

        Whether it is adding a pick with Zucker and Blues retain so.e salary.

        Or zucker and a pick to st.louis Tarasenko to Pittsburgh.. then we move Marcus Peterson and his salary to make it work..

        Look zu let is 29 amd a 6 time 20 goal scorer can play just not with Malkin.

        You add zucker to RyaN O’Reilly David Perron pavel buchevich not a bad forward group.

        Tarasenko is a risk high salary bally shoulder might mesh well with fellow Russian Malkin.

        We will see

  2. Tkachuk is not moving anytime soon Everybody gets $9m it would appear. Certainly if Nurse and Hamilton are worth that then so is Tkachuk.
    Eichel wants to be traded Zucker can’t be traded and Tarasenko will be traded.
    Wonder how many times Kuznetsov will get Covid this year. I believe he can’t play in Beijing which will give him more time to focus on his bad habit

    • Tkachuk has done very little so far to suggest he’ll be worth qualifying for north of $9m per. That scorpion style contract is coming back to sting now.

  3. All of these except Tkachuk have a reason for the low trade interest. When you also add the fact that the sellers, who wants to sell, at the same time dont see the reason for the low interest but want close to full value, no wonder they arent moving

  4. There is speculation that Carolina is interested in Tarasenko. Carolina has enough skill players they need to replace the energy and physical play that they lost at the forward position. Necas and Svech will continue to gain experience and improve. They both need to be locked up long term. The Waddell/Dundon team has failed to lock up core players to long term contracts. Where would Carolina be if Ron Francis had not locked up Slavin and Pesce early in their careers. Those contracts seemed like a big commitment at the time but they are a real bargain in todays market. If a team has a young player with character, work ethic, skill and a high ceiling it pays to invest in them when they are more affordable.

    • GP

      I had not been aware of the Tarasenko to Carolina interest. Have you heard any possible pieces included??

      Would a Skjei for Vladi be considered? Maybe something like Ian Cole and a draft pick returning to the Blues??

      • I were not any specific Carolina players mentioned. Skjei will not be traded because they lack top 4D depth after losing Hamilton to free agency.

  5. “Insider” Steve Valiquette had Eichel to Rangers last weekend. Had me fooled. Buffalo still not letting him get preferred surgery, and I’m starting to wonder if other teams maybe don’t want him taking that path either? The surgeon he spoke with pretty much said it’s the only way he’d be ready for beginning of season. At this point rumors have died down and all I can say is if he’s traded and it’s not to NY, hopefully it’s out west.

    • I do not think Eichel will be traded until after he has had surgery. Not very appealing for a team to trade away prime assets for a guy that will need surgery and recovery time. Regardless of which surgery he gets, this is the risk teams face. Add the flattened cap and the Eichel’s contract, the risk gets even higher.

  6. Jumbo Joe signed with the Panthers. Still chasing the cup at 42. I think they have a solid team and will be a tough out come playoffs. Right now as good as any and should be considered on of the favourites. Tbay will be hard pressed to 3 -peat losing that entire 3rd line.

    • They do look like a good team Silver7.
      All depends on Bob IMO.
      He was one of the best tenders in the NHL for 2-3 year stretch, hence the contract.
      If he finds his game, they have a great chance.
      That division was already tough, a rejuvenated Bob would make it really, really tough.

      • I’ve watched the Panthers since ’96 and last year was probably the closest they’ve come to having a complete team on the ice come playoff time since ’96-’99, which is a long stretch. Yeah they’ve gone to the big dance a couple times after that but they weren’t anywhere near as good as they were last year.

        I think that GMBZ has some good ideas and has found some fantastic chemistry with the players that were already in the club and the people he’s bringing in. He’s paying fair salaries but not giving away the farm to get what he wants.

        I love GMDT, he made moves and got some picks that put down a solid framework, much like he did in Chicago years ago. I could see this being a repeat situation where someone came in, tweaked his playset and just ran away with the crown. (Once. I don’t know about three times in five years.)

        Bob, they overpaid for Bob. Watching Knight in those two playoff games he started, if we can get him to stop giving up that easy first goal, the kid really does have some ice in those veins. His size and athletic ability make the saves he makes look pedestrian..but they’re saves that Bob couldn’t make.

        They have a SOLID chance at being serious contenders for the Cup. Mind you, even if they get out of the East they’re going to have some stiff competition from the West, as I believe it’s either going to be the Avs or the Knights coming out (With the Blackhawks being a dark horse because you shouldn’t count out a Flower with something to prove)

        It’s shaping up to be an interesting season for sure. I am also eager to see the Kraken take the ice and see how well they do.

  7. Vlad and Zucker both have lower than Cap values…. Hextall…. Phone Army and see what it takes extra to flip these two

    • makes sense to me……….

      see my comment above:

      I think if the Blues retain 2 million AND the Pens add a pick or prospect it gets done!

      • Agreed Iowa Prince.
        Zucker us a second round pick us st Louis retains some salary.

        St..louis gets a 6 time 20 goal scorer and only 2 year commitment and sheds a Injury prone player who doesntwant to b there..disgruntled

      • I would be good with this deal.

  8. Pittsburgh takes a gamble on a balmy shoulder but if healthy maybe so.eone who finally fits with Malkin.