NHL Rumor Mill – September 20, 2021

by | Sep 20, 2021 | Rumors | 8 comments

Check out the latest on Tomas Hertl, Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: Tracey Myers recently reported Tomas Hertl isn’t concerned about his future with the San Jose Sharks. He’s an unrestricted free agent next July but claims his focus is on the upcoming season.

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl, 27, said he’ll see if there will be any contract discussions with management once he reports to training camp this week. If not, he said he’s not going to worry about it because he wants to avoid worrying about his contract year.

For me, it doesn’t matter because I think I’ve proven I can be a good player,” said Hertl. “I’ve shown I can be a leader and I just want to do that and not think about my next deal.” He added he wants to play his best hockey and help his teammates, hoping to be as supportive to his younger teammates as former Sharks Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski were to him earlier in his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl might not be thinking about his contract status but others will be, especially if the Sharks are out of playoff contention as the March trade deadline draws near. A healthy and strong performance on his part will generate plenty of conjecture over his future once the calendar flips to 2022.

Hertl’s already become the subject of trade speculation. An internet rumor floating around last month linked him to the Ottawa Senators but they reportedly have had no discussions with the Sharks. Some observers in Boston think Hertl would make a fine replacement for recently departed center David Krejci.

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent mailbag, Tom Timmermann was asked about the status of Robert Thomas. The 22-year-old restricted free agent forward remains unsigned but was skating in development camp sessions, which suggests he expects to join his teammates in training camp this week.

The Blues are pressed against the $81.5 million salary cap. With Oskar Sundqvist expected to go on long-term injury reserve to start the season, they’ll have around $3.5 million to work with as they attempt to sign Thomas. However, they’ll have to free up cap room once Sundqvist is ready to return to action. Timmermann also suggests this gives the Blues a little more time to find a trade partner for Vladimir Tarasenko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were reports earlier in the offseason suggesting Thomas wanted a contract similar to Jordan Kyrou’s two-year, $5.6 million deal. It doesn’t sound like he’s going to get that much, perhaps a one-year deal for at most $2 million. They’ll likely clear cap space on Sundqvist’s return by demoting one or two extra skaters.

Trading Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit would free up cap room for Thomas’ new deal and leave much more room for other moves if necessary over the course of the season. However, general manager Doug Armstrong said he anticipates Tarasenko will be on their opening-day roster next month. Given the winger’s high cap hit, it could take months until a suitable trade partner is found.


  1. I am SHOCKED:

    1. that NO ONE has given an offer sheet to Robert Thomas (yet)

    2. that NO ONE will “take a chance” on Tarasenko

    3. that the Blues have in NO WAY improved their defense

    4. if Thomas signs for less than 2 million AND only 1 year

  2. Someone might’ve pitched Thomas an offer sheet if his performance hadn’t regressed last season. Granted, a broken thumb and a shoulder injury didn’t help, but his chances for an offer sheet (or a more lucrative deal from the Blues) would’ve improved if he’d had a better effort in 2020-21.

    • Agreed—BUT there are some teams heading into the season who have a need at center. I think Thomas would be a pretty good , young, low risk option with the potential for some upside. He would only cost a team a 2nd rounder, and the Blues would be hard pressed to counter the offer sheet. I would HATE to lose him!


      • I’d take a chance on Thomas.
        What would you want for him?
        I’d also like Tank, but you’d have to hold back a substantial amount of $.
        What would it cost player wise to acquire him?

      • Parky,

        I doubt we could make all the dollars work, but I would start with DeBrusk and Frederic, and maybe a 2nd rounder if we’re talking Vladdy and Thomas.

        I don’t expect that you would want to talk about Taylor Hall as an option!?!?


      • Yeah. That wouldn’t work $ wise. You’d have to take Wagner and possibly Moore if I we’re to take Tank at his full ticket price.
        There is a deal there to be made though, so that’s positive……pretty sure Army wouldn’t entertain taking our scraps all the same.

  3. I think Thomas is a guy stuck in the middle six tier. No team really needs that level of player that would send a 2nd round pick away to get him, especially in the upcoming draft. He competes and shows a ton of promise but hasn’t been able to take that next step. An offer sheet for a year at say 2.5 million or 3 years of ELC control to develop someone else? At this moment I know what I would choose.

    Tarasenko would be good for Anaheim I think. Blues would get cap space but not sure who Anaheim would want to send the other way. Just not a good time for Tarasenko to want out obviously. The flat cap and injury history makes him a sell low guy at the moment. He will need to show he is heathy to get moved later in the year. If he gets the scoring touch back someone will come knocking on the Blues’ door.

  4. I think Hertl is a BRuin at some point this season or over the summer