Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 12, 2021

by | Sep 12, 2021 | Rumors | 21 comments

What could the Sabres do if Jack Eichel isn’t traded? What’s the latest on the Blues and Vladimir Tarasenko? What kind of contract could Kailer Yamamoto get from the Oilers? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl examined what the Buffalo Sabres might do if Jack Eichel isn’t traded before the start of the season.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Asked by a reader if Eichel would be placed on long-term injury reserve, Vogl points out the Sabres aren’t near the upper limit of the salary cap. Eichel would simply go on injured reserve and his $10 million annual average value would still count against their cap payroll.

Vogl projects they’re at $48.1 million (including Cody Hodgson’s buyout) without Eichel and restricted free agent defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in the lineup. That puts them $12.1 million under the cap’s lower limit.

If Eichel isn’t traded and goes on IR, his cap hit puts the Sabres within $2.1 million of the lower limit. A new contract for Dahlin would make them cap-compliant.

Vogl speculates the Sabres could put Eichel on IR and send him home to await a trade. He also points out the Sabres would have to take on salary to reach the cap floor if Eichel gets traded. If he refuses to report, he’d forfeit over $36K of his salary for each day he would be absent without permission.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As always, the clubs with an interest in acquiring Eichel are reluctant to do so while he’s still sidelined by a herniated disc in his neck. His hefty contract and the Sabres’ expensive asking price also obstruct a potential trade. Things could get very interesting if Eichel remains with the Sabres when training camp opens later this month.

If Eichel gets traded the Sabres will have to take on some salary from whichever club they send him to. Even that might not be enough, forcing them into the trade and free-agent markets to address that need.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas was recently asked by a reader if Vladimir Tarasenko could return with the Blues rather than be traded before the start of this season. He admits it’s becoming more of a possibility as the start of the season gets close but feels the 29-year-old winger’s presence could be a distraction.

Thomas was asked about the rumors linking Tarasenko to the New York Islanders but doesn’t think a trade is possible. The Islanders are over the salary cap now and would have to clear some salary even if the Blues retained part of Tarasenko’s annual average value.

Tarasenko’s $7.5 million AAV also complicates the Blues’ salary-cap payroll. They have limited room and still have to sign restricted free agent Robert Thomas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas indicated the Blues could get some cap relief by placing forward Oskar Sundqvist on LTIR but he wouldn’t be there for long. Something’s got to give to free up sufficient space for Thomas, be it Tarasenko or somebody else.

Thomas’ mailbag piece came out before the Islanders announced Zach Parise’s one-year deal. They’ll get cap relief with all-but-retired Johnny Boychuk and his $6 million AAV on LTIR, but not enough to take on Tarasenko even if a significant chunk of his cap hit is retained by the Blues. Maybe if a third team became involved to further reduce what the Isles would take on but even that would be a tight squeeze.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the bridge-deal negotiations between the Oilers and RFA winger Kailer Yamamoto have as much to do with the club’s limited cap space as the uncertainty over where Yamamoto fits within the roster. “Is the restricted free agent a top-six winger or a third liner?”, asked Matheson.

He doesn’t see the Oilers signing Yamamoto to a deal comparable to the six-year deals in the $30 million range recently signed by Philadelphia’s Joel Farabee or Ottawa’s Drake Batherson. Instead, it could be something similar to Colorado forward Tyson Jost’s two-year, $4 million deal.


  1. Future besteseller: How Not To Handle A Superstar by Kevyn Adams … Foreword by Kim Pegula …

    • LOL! Spot on!

    • Now THAT is classic!

    • In all fairness, Adams is in a weird position. He might get equivalent to 4 1sts if Eichel was healthy. He’s not, and might not be able to play this season.

      I think Adams wants Eichel to be someone elses headache. No one really knows. I think Vegas has the goods if there’s a hunger to bring him to the desert.

  2. In my own mind, I have created at least EIGHT potential trades for Tarasenko—with Ottawa, Buffalo, Anaheim, New Jersey, Islanders, Arizona, Seattle, Carolina…. You would think that Armstrong and another GM could agree on ONE!?!

    ps. Sorry Pengy—the Pens/Zucker are not on my “short list” 🙂

    • a) a nagging doubt in the backs of the minds of other GMs about the possibility that his shoulder woes might be a chronic issue. In normal circumstances, with an annual rising cap, I’m sure some team would have taken the plunge by now – but with all the uncertainty about revenues, combined with the flat cap, the doubt trumps (not as bad as with Eichel’s situation – but Tarasenko still makes a good chunk of change with two years to go

      b) I understand he has a range of locations in which he’s not interested – if so, how many of those teams you name are on his no-go list?

      c) many of the teams he might like to go to and which, indeed, might be interested in having him, are themselves flush up against – or currently over – the cap. Taking him would mean $$ would need to go back St. Louis’ way – and as I understand it, they need the space themselves.

      You’re closer to the St. Louis scene – does any of the above hold water?

      • George,

        I think your issues/factors are “on-target”:

        Whether their concerns are real (or simply an attempt to get Vladi at a bargain price), the GMs seem to be really cautious regarding his recovery AND the 7.5 million is a “chunk of change” that most teams can’t afford.

        I do think Tarasenko has expended the list of possible trade destinations from when he started. According to J Rutherford, he maybe would accept about any team.

        I do believe that the Blues would need to bring back a pretty healthy contract in return, in the form of an upgrade on defense (ie. Manson, Mayfield, Soucy, Oleksiak…) or a replacement on wing (Bailey, Niederreiter, Zacha,…) . However, you are very correct that they have cap issues—they must create some additional space to sign Robert Thomas to an extension (as a side note, I’m quite surprised that some GM hasn’t given Thomas an offer sheet, since the Blues would be in a pinch to match).

        The one thing that I would include is that I believe at some point in the process of dealing with Tarasenko and other GMs, Armstrong gets a little stubborn. He is real resistive to retain any $$s in a trade, and I think that has stalled the process.

        Thanks for your interest.

    • Hmmm. I’m not sure if Doug Armstrong is reading comments from fans on the internet about potential trade options?

      • N40,

        Good morning

        That’s why I didn’t give him any….


      • LOL – great response

    • I think the issue is at Louis sees taresenko as a player with trade value… partners see him as a cap dump with negative value. No real way to bridge that gap.

    • So Prince– what are your trades for Tarasenko ???

  3. “He (Yerdon) also points out the Sabres would have to take on salary to reach the cap floor if Eichel gets traded. ”

    About time it was stated albeit in a roundabout way that an Eichel trade has to be for salaried players not prospects and draft picks just to reach the cap floor.

    Had they kept Reinhart and Risto, prospects and picks would have been a possibility.

  4. Armchair reasoning of the day:

    Toronto offers William Nylander, Travis Dermott, Alex Kerfoot and 1st in 2022 for Eichel. That frees up about 2 million in change for Toronto.

    Not enough? Lots of traceable assets. Like 95% of the team.

    • Frank, Eichel is a center. Where does he fit with Matthews and Tavares? Even if one became a winger, what is left of the Leafs’ 3/4 lines, thin now?

      While GMs often change their minds Dubas stated at the end of last season they were sticking with their “big 4” forwards. What would cause him – at this point – to come off that position?

    • remove Kerfoot and add Marner… now Buffalo may be interested

    • Hmm. Even more 10 million dollar players. That’s what the Leafs need. A good thing Tavares switch to left wing and yet another problem is solved.

      Toronto Star Spangled Banners

  5. I’ve mentioned a bunch of times Sabres being below lower limit. If Buffalo doesn’t trade Eichel, they’ll pay him 10 mil this season. If they really don’t want to take back salaried players, then why not retain 20% (10mil over 5 years) to get better package of picks and prospects?

    • Good question, Slick62. I also wonder how this saga is viewed by players. I have to think most side with Eichel. Can’t do much for the Sabres when they want to entice players via altering their NMC or as UFAs.

    • Slick62,
      Retaining salary to make a deal for prospects isn’t a realistic possibility.

      They need to replace his entire salary to meet the cap floor, retaining 20% means $8 million of prospects who’ll be on ELCs and picks.

      Sabres demand for picks and prospects was a sign to GMs that Eichel wasn’t available.

      He needs to be moved to a team needing cap help with some bad contracts while putting him on LTIR for the year.

      A team overloaded with wingers or D for example like TBL, Habs,VGN,

  6. I believe he is incorrect in his statement that the NY Islanders are “over the cap”. We still do not know what Parise’s AAV is & once Boychuk’s LTIR Is added in, I believe they still have approx 1-1.5M & if they use, they lose it!