NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2021
The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, the Hurricanes could face a salary-cap crunch next summer, and an update on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.
BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland hosted St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube on his “Cam and Strick” podcast on Sept. 7. Asked about Vladimir Tarasenko’s trade request, Berube doesn’t expect the 29-year-old winger to be moved.
“I expect Vladdy will play for us, and I’m gonna treat him like any other player,” said Berube. He added Tarasenko will continue to fill his role on the team and they’ll deal internally with the trade request.
Strickland followed up on Twitter the next day, suggesting a third team might have to get involved if Tarasenko gets traded. “There’s at least one team willing to retain a portion of Tarasenko’s salary,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take a third team to make a Tarasenko trade happen at this point. We saw those types of moves at last season’s trade deadline (David Savard, Nick Foligno) where three clubs would share portions of a player’s annual cap hit.
Whether it happens before the start of the season is another issue. Tarasenko could end up waiting until the March 21 trade deadline at the earliest for the Blues to honor his trade request.
Strickland didn’t mention which team is willing to pick up part of Taraseko’s $7.5 million cap hit through 2022-23. It could be a rebuilding club with plenty of cap space willing to do so if the Blues or the team receiving Tarasenko kicks in a draft pick. Potential candidates include the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported the Carolina Hurricanes may have put themselves into a bind for the next offseason because of their successful signing of Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet.
Murphy cites an NHL executive suggesting the addition of Kotkaniemi could create difficulty for the Hurricanes to re-sign him and their other key free agents. Kotkaniemi and Martin Necas are restricted free agents while winger Nino Niederreiter and center Vincent Trocheck are unrestricted.
A qualifying offer for Kotkaniemi would be $6.1 million but the two sides could agree to a long-term extension for less money in the New Year, depending on his performance this season. The Hurricanes will have to pay raises to Trocheck ($4.75 million AAV) and Niederreiter ($5.25 million) to keep them out of the UFA market. Bear and DeAngelo won’t be expensive to qualify but they possess arbitration rights.
Necas could be the one to watch here. He’s in the final season of his entry-level contract. If he builds on last season’s promising 41-point performance (in 53 games) he’ll be in line for a lucrative pay raise.
He could become an offer-sheet target depending on what the Hurricanes do with their other free agents and how much cap space they’ll have. Unless, of course, they decide to avoid that hassle and ink him to an extension before next summer.