NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2021

by | Aug 30, 2021 | Rumors | 25 comments

An update on the trade status of Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and the effect of the Kotkaniemi offer sheet on the Canadiens and Hurricanes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford provided an update on the trade status of St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He believes the Carolina Hurricanes remain interested as they need scoring help, especially on the power play. The New York Rangers could also be among the suitors.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Asked if the New York Islanders are still in the mix, Rutherford believes they are, though you never know with general manager Lou Lamoriello. Some around the league believe he’s signed a few free agents this summer such as Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri, However, he hasn’t announced those deals so no one knows how much cap space he actually has for the coming season.

The odds are 50-50 that Tarasenko returns with the Blues this season but Rutherford feels he’ll be moved. He believes the relationship between Tarasenko and the club isn’t reparable and feels comfortable guaranteeing the winger will be traded.

Rutherford also didn’t dismiss the possibility of shipping Tarasenko in a package deal to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. He believes the Blues expressed interest in the Sabres center but it never became serious.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford published his mailbag before news broke of the Hurricanes signing Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet. If the Montreal Canadiens don’t match it, the Canes will be out of the Tarasenko sweepstakes. And no, they won’t flip Kotkaniemi to St. Louis in a package deal for Tarasenko. By signing that offer sheet, Kotkaniemi cannot be traded this season.

The Rangers could acquire Tarasenko as short-term depth until young right wingers Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov are better prepared to become full-time top-six forwards. However, they don’t appear in any hurry to make that move.

Given concerns about the Blues defense corps, they could seek a defenseman as part of the return. Rutherford heard the Islanders’ Scott Mayfield mentioned in recent speculation but that doesn’t mean the Isles will part with him. Lamoriello also has to sign Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin. If he’s already signed UFAs like Parise and Palmieri, he probably won’t have enough room to acquire Tarasenko and have enough for Beauvillier and Sorokin.

Tarasenko to Buffalo for Eichel would be a blockbuster deal but I don’t see it happening. The 29-year-old Tarasenko has just two years left on his contract and would probably hit the open market in 2023. The Sabres will want a return that best fits into their long-term plans.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski suggests the Carolina Hurricanes’ signing Jesperi Kotkaniemi could affect the Jack Eichel trade market. If the Montreal Canadiens don’t match it, they’ll receive the Hurricanes’ first-round pick and their third-round pick in next year’s NHL Draft.

With the Canadiens potentially having two firsts and two third-rounders next year, Kingerski wonders if offering up two firsts and a prospect could land them Eichel. He also took note of Eichel hiring Pat Brisson last week as his new agent, pointing out he and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin are close.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I observed in today’s morning coffee headlines, the Canadiens’ salary-cap constraints means they’ll likely have to part with a salaried player as part of a deal for Eichel even if they placed Shea Weber and Paul Byron on long-term injury reserve this season.

Weber is expected to miss the entire season but Byron is expected to return to the lineup in January. Unless the Sabres retain part of Eichel’s $10 million cap hit (and I doubt they will), I don’t see how the Habs can fit his contract into their payroll without shedding additional salary.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock acknowledged the salary-cap issues facing the Hurricanes if they successfully sign away Kotkaniemi from the Canadiens. He speculates one way to address it is by placing defenseman Jake Gardiner and his $4.050 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve.

However, the Hurricanes would have to be over the cap by $4 million to take full advantage of it. That would require another move or signing, and Gardiner would have to fail his training-camp physical or be willing, essentially, to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly provides complete details of how LTIR works and PuckPedia has a shorter version.

Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet pushed the Canes over the $81.5 million cap by $1.523 million. The Hurricanes could attempt to trade Gardiner to shed his full salary if he doesn’t fail his medical, place him on waivers or demote him to clear some cap room. Demotion, however, won’t clear his full cap hit from their books.

How the Hurricanes clear cap space remains hypothetical until the Canadiens reach their decision whether to match the offer within the seven-day window. GM Don Waddell could already have something else up his sleeve to address that issue. Stay tuned.


  1. I don’t see the Rangers picking up Tarasenko. They are better served giving their young wingers playing time to allow them to prove themselves.

    As for Eichel and the Habs, a salaried player would have to be part of the return, but I don’t see that being a problem. The Sabres would need someone to get them over the cap floor and they’d take a player like Byron or Drouin, who only have two years left on their contracts. That would be the easier part. The hard part is putting together an acceptable package. The Habs are rightly adamant about not giving up Suzuki, Caufield and probably Romanov. The question is, would Guhle, a forward prospect like Tuch or Mysak, two firsts and a second or third be enough. If so, I’d do the trade. But the Sabres May want a young player who can step in right away.

    • The two 1sts and drouin make 3 of the 4 1st round assets. Should be doable to figure out the 4th.

      • How about 2 first rounders, Mailloux and Drouin for Eichel to Habs?

      • Add Logan Mailhoux as the 4th. He is a PR headache in Mtl.

      • I’d pitch it to buff if Bergeron hanfan. Couldn’t hurt

      • You can tell when Habs fan discuss a trade. Suddenly Drouin has value and as a 1st at that.

        Let’s get real, if the Habs want Buffalo to take on Drouin they might have to pay extra for that to happen.

      • I’m a Pittsburgh fan. I look at it as buff has backed itself into a pr nightmare with the demand going public. They could successfully argue to some die hard fans that druoin is a top talent needing a new start, former top ten pick etc. they could make that argument to all casual fans. Buff saves face but gets value back for eichel a bit more realistic

      • Perhaps MTL could sign Nail Yakupov, then include him as a “first-round asset” who just needs a “fresh start”.

    • What about Byron & Drouin & pick for Tarasenko & Cifford

      • ihc,

        I’ll take that

      • habfan/Crosby

        The Blues counter:

        Tarasenko and Clifford for Drouin and Emundson

      • Iowa prince,

        I pass 🙂

      • Deal, what time does their flight arrive, I will pick them up at the airport.

  2. Lamoriello is delusional if he thinks by signing Parise and bringing back Palmieri that solves his anemic offense issue …

    • Hey, that guy you’re bad mouthing won GM of the year, twice!!!

      • Ron…..That was then this is now…. Look he has been doing this for like 60 years so winning GM of the year twice eeeehhhhhhhh.

        Not bad mouthing Lou is really good and smart. kind of agree with Ed at least 50% ..LOL

        Yes he is good at what he does but I agree Parise doesn’t help them score…Palmeri yes if they can fit in him under the cap

    • 100% agree.
      The fans. The media. People who ONLY watch soccer wondered what the hell Uncle Leo was doing on the top line besides slowing it down.

      I love these shenanigans between Carolina and Montreal. It’s very entertaining.

      • While Barzal skates around the perimeter all night long and doesn’t shoot at least “Uncle Leo” goes to the net and creates havoc…..All you have to do is watch Montreal’s 4th line during the playoffs: Staal, Perry and Armia, they might be slower but they create more good opportunities for the Habs then their top line? Trouble sometimes with these younger players is that they forget you have to put the puck on net regardless so you generate chances, make the goal tender make a save or force the other team to do something besides just stand there and block your shot from the outside,even if you don’t have the best shot and Barzel obviously has a great shot!!!

    • Rumor has it that the Coyotes have a deal to take on Gardiner’s contract. Wouldn’t surprise me if Kessel is included.

      • WHS,

        That Gardiner to Arizona rumour is from when he was a UFA in 2019 and signed with Carolina.

      • Rumor is that the Coyotes are taking on a LD cap dump from an Eastern team. A day later the offer sheet happened.

  3. I am NOT suggesting that it would be a wise move, BUT it wouldn’t surprise me if Armstrong is working quietly on a “sneak attack”—

    Tarasenko, Thomas, Perunvich, and a 1st for Eichel.

  4. Not keen on a trade with the Blues, but if its Tarasenko, Thomas, Bolduc and a 1st I would say yes. Sabres are loaded with LD prospects and not sure Thomas can play center.

  5. I think the Blues want to move Tarasenko rather than take on Eichel . Stranger things have happened .
    If any merit I would want to keep Thomas and swap out Bolduc with Kostin and add another conditional 2023 first based on Eichel games played after whatever procedure he takes.

  6. Tarasenko has full ntc. Not waiving to go to Nuffalo