NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2021
LATEST ON THE BLUES
Despite rumors suggesting Tarasenko’s had a change of heart, Rutherford cited a source close to the situation saying the winger is standing by his trade request. Regarding Tarasenko’s return to form (16 points in 19 games) improving his trade value, Rutherford said it’s not enough to convince Blues general manager Doug Armstrong to move him before the March trade deadline “or even next summer”.
Rutherford also observed Tarasenko continues to blend well with his teammates. His situation hasn’t become a distraction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps that changes if the Blues fall out of playoff contention before the trade deadline. For now, there’s little reason for Armstrong to trade him until he gets a worthwhile offer.
Tarasenko’s contract is also a sticking point. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $7.5 million but earns $9.5 million in actual salary this season and $5.5 million next season. That’s why I think a Tarasenko trade is more likely to take place next summer, as interested clubs would prefer taking on that lesser actual salary.
Rutherford was also asked about what the Blues might do with Marco Scandella. He knows they’re “pretty disappointed” the defenseman hasn’t become the player they thought they were signing. He believes they’ll try to trade Scandella but the remaining two years on his contract ($3.75 million annual cap hit) won’t be easy to move.
EXCERPTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman commented on the latest trade speculation swirling around the Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala. He doesn’t believe GM Bill Guerin will trade the 25-year-old winger just because he’s in a slump. With the Wild on top of the Central Division, Friedman feels Guerin would trade Fiala only for a return that improves his club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala was mentioned as a possible trade chip for the Wild to pry versatile forward J.T. Miller away from the free-falling Vancouver Canucks. Time will tell if anything comes of that. Fiala could get peddled elsewhere or Guerin would remain patient with the winger in the hope he’ll regain his scoring form.
Friedman indicated Evander Kane has been skating in San Jose for the past two weeks. The Sharks are keeping mum on the 30-year-old winger’s status as the end of his 21-game suspension approaches. Friedman theorizes they could send him to the AHL for a few games. He also said the club is willing to retain some of Kane’s salary in a trade but doesn’t see much of a market for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s any market for Kane given his personal baggage and reputation as a dressing room cancer.
Friedman believes the Buffalo Sabres have to be looking for a goaltender with Aaron Dell and Dustin Tokarski struggling and sidelined Craig Anderson’s return date still uncertain. With so many teams still in the playoff picture, he wonders how many of them would make any goalies available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could be keeping an eye on the Dallas Stars. They could be forced to shop a goaltender whenever Ben Bishop is finally ready to return to action. That, however, remains up in the air.
With Jake Oettinger playing well, they could also try to move Anton Khudobin or Braden Holtby. Khudobin, however, has a four-team no-trade list and the Sabres could be on it. Holtby lacks no-trade protection but he’s also played better than Khudobin.