NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2021

by | Aug 2, 2021 | Rumors | 32 comments

Check out the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko and an update on the Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.


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.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images)

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.


TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens still have some areas to address this offseason. They could use a puck-moving defenseman and an experienced center.

Vince Dunn could address that need on the blueline but the Seattle Kraken probably won’t part with him. Tyler Bozak could be an interesting free-agent option at center.

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.


  1. Report yesterday had Rangers,isles, and Sevils battling for Tarasenko. I find it odd that NYR just traded Buch to St Louis and Tarasenko wasn’t in that trade. And the guy we did get chose jersey #91 It’s also been mentioned many times that Buffalo prefers trading Eichel out west. Not sure why Montreal, a division rival, would even be mentioned. Rangers have more cap space, need, and assets. Montreal would need to seriously overpay.

    • Slick

      I’m not as familiar with “east coast hockey”—do you have any idea what a reasonable return for Tarasenko would be from NJ, Rangers, and Isles??

      As thin as the Blues are in the minors, even top prospects would have to be considered.

      • There’s a lot of similarity between the Tarasenko and Eichel situations in that there’s a huge medical ? hanging over both their heads, and no GM with an ounce of brains is going to give up top quality returns for either unless they are absolutely certain that they aren’t inheriting a chronic IR situation. Not in this era of the flat cap.

      • What I found odd regarding Eichel and his medical situation is his doctor that wants to perform the disc replacement surgery stated on 31 thoughts pod cast that no team besides Buffalo has reached out to him. It seems to me that he would be told not to say which team has enquired but he stated none at all. Perhaps that is what he must say but If he is truthful why wouldn’t a team contact him if they were debating on acquiring Eichel.

        From what he said it sounds like the disc replacement surgery would go fine and be the way to go.

      • That interview with his doctor only confirmed that Eichel is unable to play without one risky surgery or another since conventional non invasive procedures haven’t worked.

        He has minus 10 million value till he shows otherwise on the ice.

        A crashed Ferrari that mechanics can’t agree on repairs and the owner wants to pass off or sell at the price of a new one……that’s the Eichel talk.

      • Iowa. Not sure what St Louis needs are, but Rangers have been reportedly shipping Strome. Also have a glut of young left D men. I think biggest

      • where did you see this regarding NYR? It seems they are always involved in every rumor, but it makes no sense for them. Tarasenko has a potential bad shoulder, he has 2yrs left on his contract which would make resigning their current players Zibanejad, Fox, Kappa, Kravtsov (UFA and RFAs at end of this season) even more difficult which is the reason they sent Buchnevich to the Blues. And Tarasenko is a right wing, what they need is a center.

      • JB. Saw some guy on a show. Think it might’ve been nhl tonight? As far as Tarasenko shoulder. “What was found out in the third procedure by a non-club doctor was that the initial damage was not properly corrected.” I havnt seen any reports on his injury since his return. Tarasenko played last 24 games of season plus 4 playoff games. He then played for Russia in World Cup. I’m sure any team worth millions will vet his health before making investment.

  2. I don’t see the Kraken parting with Dunn. And their ask may be too high. But the Habs do need a D-man who can provide offense. I would try to get Sami Vatanen, who could probably be had for a low cost, one year prove-it deal.
    As for center, I sincerely hope that Bergevin doesn’t rely on Evans and Paquette as his #3 & 4 centers, especially since his #2 Center will be a 21 year old who has yet to make his mark. Otherwise, Bergevin will be in for a rude surprise. I agree that Bozak would be a good option. So would Travis Zajac. Another option could be Calle Jarnkrok. He’s on an expiring deal at $2m. Hit for the year, exactly the type of player the Kraken drafted to flip for picks and/or prospects.
    I don’t see the Habs making a serious pitch for Eichel. Between his health issues and the Sabres ask, I don’t see him going anywhere soon. Same with Tarasenko.

    • Kraken are low on centers and Järnkrok is cheap so I dont think they really want to move him

      • The Kraken have Yanni Gourde, Alex Wennberg and Jared McCann at center, slotting ahead of Jarnkrok. They are hardly low on centers. He’s a UFA at seasons end. Worth an inquiry – maybe he can be had for a decent prospect and a 2nd or 3rd.

        I’ve checked Evans stats from this past season. Including playoffs, he had 15 points in 54 games – works out to 23 points per 82. as a rookie playing less than 12 minutes per game. Not bad on faceoffs. He may deserve a shot at #3 center. With the Habs’ strong depth on wing, he’d be playing with better players than he has been till now and will get more ice time. But I’d feel better with him at #3 if Nos. 1&2 had some more experience.

    • Howard,

      The players signed already provide more goals than the ones who left.

      I love Weber but his offensive game was gone in the regular season, he was making poor first passes and only had 6 goals.

      I kind of like the idea of Bozak but see him as a TDL guy if the Habs are in contention.

      I’d take a look at Nick Bjugstad who the Wild don’t need and was signed to a cheap contract.

      • They will miss Danaults defensive game and, more importantly, his veteran presence.
        The problem is, they have only one center on the roster now who has provided consistent offense, and he’s only 22 years old. Kotkaniemi’s totals this past season would work out to 30 points per 82 games. That’s with under 15 minutes per game. Some extra minutes and better linemates may very well get that into the 45-50 range, but nothing is certain. If that were to happen, I would be more comfortable with Evans at #3, and contributing 30-35 points.
        The problem is that there is not enough experience and too many question marks down the middle. That’s why a veteran like Bozak playing the third line would be very helpful, especially to the younger centers.
        As for Bjugstad, I once really wanted the Habs to get him. I don’t anymore. The past three seasons, he has not produced and has been hurt a lot.

  3. You will get nothing out of the Island. Lou uses burner phones and all business discussion is held outdoors to avoid bugging.
    They have lots to land either player if they want . Lou got Kovalchuk in his prime

    • And he conducts all discussion in Klingon to prevent ease dropping.

      • Lou is a Klingon….

    • Cannot argue with his success, but his methods, IMO, are over the top. His secrecy and poker face, a bit much.

      • I’ll raise my hand to argue his success.

        What has Lou done since 2003? He drove NJ into the ground before departing to which they are still feeling to this day.

        He inherited most of what he has in NY.


      • https://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/lou-lamoriello-s-10-best-moves-as-a-hockey-executive-1.18677204


        On May 22, 2018, Lamoriello was hired by the New York Islanders as their president of hockey operations. On June 5, 2018, Lamoriello fired head coach Doug Weight and general manager Garth Snow and named himself general manager. On June 21, Lamoriello would go on to sign Barry Trotz as head coach fresh off a Stanley Cup victory, and a subsequent resignation from the Washington Capitals.

      • On the first list, most of those were his glory days. But plenty of Gms shed terrible contracts. Phaneuf I’m not putting down as earth shattering.

        NJ is still paying for Kovalchuk. That signing also cost NJ a 1st draft pick. Conclusion? Lose.

        Pageu, Martin are depth moves. He also traded a younger Martin away once upon a time.

        Hiring Trotz was a no brainer. Imo, he’s the current best coach in the game. So while I’ll say that was a good move, it hasn’t resulted in much so far.

        He tried and failed to keep and sign Tavares. I’m not going to give him props for not signing him. He tried.

        I just don’t see the magic others seem to, unless we’re talking early 2000’s? 2003 is nearly 20 years ago.

        Ditto on the love for Gorton. Don’t see it. I actually see the opposite.

    • Who’s that goalie the Islanders had that got injured and then they had to pay him forever? Oh yes, Dipietro! Looks like the situation Buffalo is in with Eichel and maybe St. Louis with Tarasenko. At least the Blues got a Cup out of their guy!

    • As an Islander fan I must say it is somewhat frustrating with NO info getting out. However, LL has proven time & time again that he gets the job done! Wouldn’t be surprised if flu comes away with more than anybody anticipated. UFA’s an RFA’s locked up, players moved for more salary cap relief. He’s a magician!

  4. While the bruins are waiting for Eichel to don a B’s jersey they have to, I mean have to grab a GOOD rushing d. Other gm’s are laughing at Sweeney for his feeble attempt at trying to sign free agents not his forte.

    • After signing Forbort for 3 years at 3 per (what?!?!) it looks like Sweeney is set on his D for a few years, probably keeping Zboril out of the picture too..

      Gryzelcyk – McAvoy
      Reilly – Carlo
      Forbort – Clifton

      Not sure if he’s losing a step or not, but maybe they could trade Gryzelcyk and a prospect or pick to Anaheim for Cam Fowler?

      • The team they have right now will do nothing. I’m doubtful they’ll even make the playoffs. Terrible terrible adds. With the exception of Ullmark the rest are retreads.

      • They are a legit top 4 Dman short … Gryzelcyk isn’t a top 4 on any other team he’s a PP guy who gets hit constantly and wears down

    • If I may … where are the Bruins getting the cap space to pay him

    • Despite the departure of Krejci, the Bruins will be fine, thank you. Sweeney’s free agency moves (especially the additions of Haula, Nosek, Forbort) will make the team much more difficult to play against. And, if Foligno stays healthy, he’ll also add toughness. Also, look for Debrusk to have a bounce back year. Rask is history. He’ll not return to the Bruins. The combination of Ullmark and Swayman give them excellent young goal tending going forward.

  5. It has the looks that the Bruins are going to go into this coming season with #3 & #4 centers trying to fill a #2 center spot … good luck with that … they are a Dman short & no Rask , so how is this team going to be better ? It isn’t and they have no cap $$$ left . If Sweeney knew Krejci wasn’t coming back and he had to why didn’t he just sign Two Dmen and get a legit #2 center … fill in the bottom 4 forwards with bargain price players who ca skate and thump …. Sweeney played this all wrong and I’m not surprised

    • Hm… I’m smelling a deal with Winnipeg involving Coyle with pick(s) and/or prospect(s) for Dubois…

      • Could I believe has a NTC

    • Regarding no Rask… might not be so bad Joe.. if Ullmark can stop 91% of shots while Swayman challenges for crease time as a tandem goalie, that wouldn’t be the worst case would it?!


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