Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 12, 2021
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.
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.