NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2021
The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko plus recent speculation on possible Oilers trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NHL.COM: Amalie Benjamin reports the St. Louis Blues still need to find a trade partner for Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old winger requested a trade through his agent on May 25 but the Blues have yet to find a suitable destination.
Benjamin speculates that could result in Tarasenko playing this season with the Blues. The optimal solution would be finding a new home for the unhappy winger. He has two years remaining on his contract and has had three surgeries on his right shoulder since the end of 2017-18.
STLTODAY.COM: Benjamin Hochman also reported on the ongoing uncertainty over Tarasenko’s status. The Blues have $3.5 million in cap space but they still must re-sign restricted free agent Robert Thomas.
Trading Tarasenko would provide additional cap flexibility but finding teams willing to take on that burden won’t be easy. His shoulder surgeries also raise questions about his performance that could adversely affect his trade value.
Hochman suggests Tarasenko could start this season with the Blues to prove his worth. More clubs could become interested if he’s healthy and can still score.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Hochman pointed out, Tarasenko isn’t happy over how the club handled his first two surgeries. The Blues could attempt to move him before training camp but a deal could be tough to find unless they’re willing to absorb part of his $7.5 million annual average value or include additional enticement in the deal.
It could come down to Tarasenko starting the season with the Blues and hope a strong start improves his value in the trade market. Still, finding a club with sufficient cap space to take on his contract won’t be easy early in the season.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently examined the Edmonton Oilers’ remaining roster needs and possible trade targets to address them. Goaltending depth and a shutdown defenseman are the priorities.
The Dallas Stars could move Anton Khudobin to clear up their logjam in the crease. Jaroslav Halak could be another option if the Vancouver Canucks fall out of the playoff chase. Mitchell suggested they could also pursue defenseman Colton Parayko if the Blues falter this season.
A left-handed defenseman and a right winger could also be on their wish list. Anaheim Ducks blueliner Hampus Lindholm could be a suitable playoff rental. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko’s contract would be difficult to fit into the Oilers’ payroll. Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is also expensive at $6.8 million but he’s in the final year of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The goaltending could become an urgent issue if aging Mike Smith declines and Mikko Koskinen fails to pick up the slack. That could make them very interested in Khudobin if he’s available and if they’re not on his modified no-trade list. The Blues could be keen to re-sign Parayko unless he’s intent on testing the market next season. Even then, the Oilers could be hard-pressed to out-bid clubs carrying more tradeable assets.
Lindholm could be available this season if he doesn’t fit into the Ducks’ long-term plans. However, their asking price could be young assets that the Oilers can’t afford to part with. They’re unlikely to pursue Taransenko or Kessel given their limited cap space.