Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 31, 2021
SPORTSNET: On Friday, Rory Boylen reported Vladimir Tarasenko still wants a trade despite a hot start to this season by himself and the club. He cited The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford telling Jeff Marek that the 29-year-old winger’s desire remains the same, though he understands it could take time for a deal to take place.
“He realizes this may not happen soon,” Rutherford told Marek. “It may not happen this year, it could happen next offseason, or maybe (Blues general manager) Doug Armstrong never finds the right deal for Vladimir Tarasenko and he plays out the last two years of his contract.”
Boylen observes that the contract is a sticking point. Tarasenko carries an annual average value of $7.5 million, which would be difficult to move right now. There’s also concern over Tarasenko’s recent shoulder surgeries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were teams linked to Tarasenko during the offseason that could be monitoring his performance this season. Whether they’ll revisit their rumored interest remains to be seen.
The better Tarasenko plays the more his value in the trade market rises. However, Armstrong won’t trade him if the Blues are in playoff contention this season unless he gets an offer too good to refuse. He’ll entertain offers if his club is out of the postseason chase by the March 21 trade deadline.
Tarasenko’s contract remains a significant issue. His annual cap hit is $7.5 million but he’s earning $9.5 million this season in actual salary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tarasenko traded next summer when his actual salary for 2022-23 drops to $5.5 million.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane cast doubt on recent speculation linking the Flames to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He points out the club’s addition last season of head coach Darryl Sutter indicates rebuilding is not their plan. That suggests they’re not about to give up players in a trade that would significantly hurt their chances of competing this season while they await Eichel’s recovery from disc replacement surgery.
Macfarlane also points to the Flames’ salary-cap constraints plus the Sabres’ high asking price as other key stumbling blocks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Flames GM Brad Treliving looked into acquiring Eichel. Perhaps he still has a serious interest in the Sabres center.
As Macfarlane noted, however, they’re not going to gut the team if they still hope to be a playoff contender this season. They’re off to a good start thus far (6-1-1) which takes the pressure off Treliving to shake things up. Making the cap dollars fit would also be difficult.
Recent rumors have the Golden Knights and Sabres trying to work out a deal. I don’t think the Flames are in the running here.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Senators GM Pierre Dorion is still looking around for help at forward. He has assets with 11 picks in next year’s draft if he wants to do something. Last Sunday, Dorion acquired center Dylan Gambrell from the San Jose Sharks.