NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2021
Check out the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko and an update on the Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON TARASENKO
STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports all’s quiet on the Vladimir Tarasenko trade front. He believes it became “painfully apparent” there was no market for the unhappy 29-year-old winger when the Seattle Kraken passed on him in favor of Vince Dunn in last month’s expansion draft. It was assumed they would select Tarasenko and flip him to another club for assets.
It’s become known around the league that Tarasenko has relaxed his no-trade clause completely. Trade options are shrinking as teams filled their needs when the free-agent market opened last week. His poor performance last season after coming back from his third shoulder surgery in two years has adversely affected his trade value.
Thomas wonders if there’s a Cup contender in need of more offense willing to take a chance on Tarasenko. He pointed out the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes have the cap space to absorb the winger’s $7.5 million annual cap hit through 2022-23.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers believe Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could be working on a trade. They think that’s why the club hasn’t officially announced the signings of free agents such as Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri because Lamoriello doesn’t want other teams to know how much cap space he’s got. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s up to something but I don’t see how he can absorb Tarasenko’s contract with the Blues absorbing part of that $7.5 million cap hit.
There’s talk Lamoriello could offer up Josh Bailey ($5 million AAV through 2023-24) because he was left exposed in the expansion draft. The Blues, however, could ask for a draft pick or prospect as part of that return to make it worthwhile to retain part of Tarasenko’s cap hit.
The Hurricanes have to re-sign Andrei Svechnikov but they would still have sufficient cap room to acquire Tarasenko. Team owner Tom Dundon could be reluctant to add more salary while Tarasenko’s shoulder surgeries could also be a concern for management.
Another possible destination for Tarasenko is the New Jersey Devils. The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford recently pointed out Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald was interested in adding a top-six winger. They have a lot more cap space and depth in promising prospects and young NHL-ready players to dangle as trade bait.
UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS
The Canadiens should also look into acquiring Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. The Canadiens have salary-cap space, good prospects and promising young players such as Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Alexander Romanov to offer up as trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn recently filed for salary arbitration with the Kraken but I don’t see them moving him unless contract negotiations completely break down. Bozak would be an affordable depth signing but the Habs seem content with Jake Evans and Cedric Paquette as their bottom-six centers.
As for Eichel, the Canadiens are already over the cap by nearly $2.3 million, though they’re expected to get some cap relief for 2021-22 by placing Shea Weber on long-term injury reserve. Nevertheless, I don’t see them pursuing Eichel unless they’re moving significant salary and the Sabres are picking up a big chunk of his $10 million annual cap hit.