NHL Rumor Mill – November 16, 2021
COULD TEAMS REGRET NOT PURSUING TARASENKO?
Gretz acknowledged there were some concerns over Tarasenko’s health following three shoulder surgeries in two years. He also had two seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million. However, Tarasenko has regained his high-scoring form with seven goals and 14 points in 14 games with the Blues.
The Seattle Kraken passed on selecting an unprotected Tarasenko in the expansion draft. The winger also submitted a 10-team list of preferred destinations that was believed to include the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Gretz points out several of those clubs (Flyers, Bruins, Rangers) could’ve used Tarasenko.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the general managers of those clubs could be kicking themselves over failing to pursue a Tarasenko trade this summer. Hindsight, as always, is 20/20. The concerns over Tarasenko’s shoulder were realistic while his contract (paying him a whopping $9.5 million in actual salary this season) was difficult for most of those clubs to absorb under a flattened salary cap.
Let’s not overlook the rumored high asking price of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. He wasn’t going to just give Tarasenko away. A first-round pick, a top prospect and an affordable young forward with top-six potential were reportedly part of the sought-after package. Armstrong was also said to be unwilling to absorb any portion of the winger’s annual cap hit.
Tarasenko could still end up getting traded if the Blues should tumble out of playoff contention later in the season. That appears unlikely at this point. Interested clubs will likely have to wait until next summer to take another crack at pursuing Tarasenko, provided the winger hasn’t changed his mind about getting traded by then.
SHOULD THE CANADIENS PURSUE GIRARD?
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie suggested the Montreal Canadiens could use a defenseman to improve their blueline shortcomings this season. Philippe Boucher agreed, proposing they look at acquiring Samuel Girard from the Colorado Avalanche. Girard recently surfaced in trade rumors following a report in The Denver Post suggesting the Avs could shop the 23-year-old rearguard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several factors sparked the Girard speculation. He struggled during the Avalanche’s second-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights last spring. He had a slow start to this season while rookie Bowen Byram emerged as a top-four blueliner.
However, Byram’s recent concussion combined with an improved effort on Girard’s part highlighted the latter’s ongoing value to the Avalanche defense corps. That doesn’t mean he’s untradeable but it shows the Avs probably aren’t in any hurry to move him.
If Avalanche GM Joe Sakic dangles Girard in the trade market he’ll likely seek a top-six forward in return. Given the Canadiens’ offensive woes, there might not be a deal to be had there.