NHL Rumor Mill – September 24, 2021

by | Sep 24, 2021 | Rumors | 26 comments

The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Ilya Mikheyev, Logan Brown and Sami Niku in today’s NHL rumor mill.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports Vladimir Tarasenko said little about his tumultuous offseason in which he requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues during an interview yesterday. Asked if he was disappointed he hadn’t been moved, the 29-year-old right winger said it’s behind him now.

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

I don’t see any reason to discuss it now,” said Tarasenko. “Camp starts. I don’t want to be a distraction in the room. I’m here to work. I’m healthy, I’m happy to play hockey again.” He also added he and his family love living in St. Louis and are grateful to the fans for their support.

Tarasenko had been taking part in informal skates with his Blues teammates in St. Louis prior to training camp opening this week.

Ben Frederickson believes Tarasenko’s actions will speak louder than his few words. He pointed out sources speaking on the winger’s behalf during the summer critiqued the Blues’ handling of his shoulder injuries, to management’s handling of his trade request, to the club picking Ryan O’Reilly as team captain over him.

Frederickson said team owner Tom Stillman and general manager Doug Armstrong weren’t going to be strong-armed into making a trade. He also indicated Tarasenko’s market wasn’t what the winger thought it was due to his shoulder injuries, declining production and hefty contract.

Nevertheless, Frederickson believes the Blues have a potential problem on their hands bringing back a player who has made it clear he wants to go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko’s presence shouldn’t be an issue as long as he’s getting along with his teammates and the coaching staff. If he stays healthy and his production improves it’ll help his trade value. However, it’s unlikely the Blues will move him if they’re in playoff contention this season.

They could wait until next summer to move Tarasenko when he’ll only have one year remaining on his contract. His cap hit ($7.5 million) is expensive enough but he’s also earning $9.5 million in actual salary this season. He’ll earn a more palatable $5.5 million next season. He also has a full no-trade clause which will limit where the Blues can ship him.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas shot down trade speculation about Ilya Mikheyev on Wednesday. Asked about Mikheyev’s trade request, Dubas said the 26-year-old winger was going to be on the team “and is going to be a big part of the team.” He referred questions about the trade request to Mikheyev’s agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikheyev seemed to back away from the question about his trade request when asked about it yesterday. His agent, Daniel Milstein, declined to comment. It’s believed that request was based on his limited playing time last season. By the sound of things, he’ll be getting a bigger role with the Leafs.

TSN’s Shawn Simpson recently speculated Logan Brown could be plucked off waivers by the Arizona Coyotes if things don’t work out for him with the Ottawa Senators. He spent the summer in Arizona and is close with Coyotes stars Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun.

NESN: The Boston Bruins could be interested in Sami Niku following the recent termination of the 24-year-old defenseman’s contract with the Winnipeg Jets.


  1. Didn’t realize Tarasenko was due that much actual cash . He ain’t moving this year
    Mikheyev could have a breakout year. Big and fast . A little concern on his finish ability.

    • Mikheyev couldn’t put the puck in the ocean from the beach. He is what he is.

      • It would probably depend on the lie in the sand Pete.
        Not much bounce in a CCM I wouldn’t think.

      • Pete, one thing is very evident – he’s no Hyman in any way shape or form.

      • Well George, I don’t know since they score at the same rate when the games matter.

        I wonder if Brown will be the latest of a list of players that escape Ottawa only to become really good players suddenly.

      • Like Duchene and Karlsson?

      • Give me some names of those that “escaped from Ottawa only to become good players elsewhere” – and don’t include trades.

        Re Mikheyev, scoring at the same rate as Hyman is one thing – bringing the grit element is quite something else.

      • Oh, and you mean like Steen, Gunnarsson and Bozak who “escaped” Toronto to not only win a playoff round somewhere else, but also a cup. And thanks for Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitzev by the way. What did you get ? – oh yeah, Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 3rd round pick who’ll likely never see the NHL .

      • Good one cap. I was thinking yashin but your post is much more recent

      • Except, weren’t Duchene and Karlsson really good players when they were with Ottawa?

      • Who helped them to last place, Slick62. It was becoming evident then that both were on the downward side of the curve … and it showed as soon as they joined their new teams. Besides, both were trades who brought back some pretty good pieces – not players who left without any return.

      • By way of illustration Duchene, after a brief stint in Columbus where he played fairly well into those playoffs before signing as a UFA in Nashville – he jumped from a $6 mil per to $8 mil per cap hit (he had also been offered that $8 mil by Dorion before the trade to Columbus but chose to leave Ottawa because he wanted no part of another re-build (which was his right).

        Karlsson was dealt following the Hoffman episode, but before then had been offered a deal close to what he signed for in SJ – in his case jumping from $6.5 to $11 mil per.

        Needless to say, their decision to not remain in Ottawa turned out to be the best thing for the team since neither has lived up to the new cap hits. Not – even – close.

        The team simply lucked out in both instances because both are virtually untradeable now.

  2. Engvall and Mikheyev both have talent that just doesn’t come full circle on the ice for some reason.

    Is it their usage? roles they are in?

    These are the kind of guys who might blossom.

  3. Sami Niku no longer available, Habs signed him to a two way contract.

    Interesting prospect and project.

    • Definitely worth the minimal risk of a 2 way deal.

    • That’s a good deal for the Habs. Absolutely nothing to lose and lots to gain if he ever finds his mojo again. Different system – different coaches – who knows?

    • I invested a lot of energy over the High Holidays praying for the Habs to sign a Finish RD named Sami for some additional defensive depth. I guess my prayers were answered, but I must have forgotten to specify Sami Vatanen. Oh well. Hopefully, Niku will pay some dividends. Minimal risk on a contract that can be buried in the AHL if he doesn’t work out. But you do have to wonder about a guy who couldn’t be a regular on what was a pretty weak D in Winnipeg.

      • Howard,
        Sami Niku is a young guy (24y/o)shoots L but plays RD and will probably play in Laval….he needs to be reprogrammed to what he was before the Jets ruined him.

        From Jack Han:


      • “Before the Jets ruined him”

        Im far from a Jets fan but live on the prairies, ergo get forced fed Jets games. Please tell me how the Jets ruined a 7th round draft pick?

      • Canadian King,

        The kid won the Eddie Shore Award (AHL best D-man) in his rookie year, pretty good for a 7th round pick.

        Go to the link I provided and Jack Han will explain it to you 🙂

      • Basically what Han said is they didn’t utilize Niku’s skillset and tried to make him something he isn’t. Offensive guy I take it?

        I would counter they didn’t need what his skillset was as they had other guys who were better at it. IE Pionk.

        If you are an offensive guy you better bring it. If you don’t, you best learn how to defend. Sounds like he didn’t.

      • Ive watched him play. I dont need to Jack Hans explanation.

        Like most guys of his ilk, if you cant play D, and your offense isnt top notch, good luck sticking in the nhl.

        Instead of pointing your finger at Winnipeg, maybe you should worry about Montreals recent history of ruining young players.

  4. Logan Brown to the AZ Coyotes, but not for draft picks, for John Farinacci and Connor Timmins.

    • Hope it works out for him there. Farinacci is a 6′ 185lb C right shot taken in the 34rd round 76th overall in 2019 – with Muskegon of the USHL.

      Timmins is a 6′ 2″ 185lb RD taken 32 overall in the 2nd round in 2017 – has a sprinkling of NHL games under his belt (33 games).

      • WAIT A MINUTE – LOL – that was a trade proposal by you and not a done deal … you had me there for a sec

  5. Niku… great low risk move by Habs

    Niku loses maybe $150 K in take home to get a new chance new start

    Habs downside…. If he totally fails in Laval (unlikely)…. Is one overpaid player in the minors…. Maybe a net risk of $300 K (over another AHL player)..,. But a chance for a player (at NHL) at League min 👍👍👍