NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022
WHERE WILL THE FLAMES TRADE MATTHEW TKACHUK?
THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s report regarding Matthew Tkachuk’s decision not to sign a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames, Hailey Salvian and Sean Gentille examined several possible trade destinations. It’s based in part on a list of teams with whom he would agree to sign a contract extension.
The St. Louis Blues are often mentioned as the top destination for Tkachuk because he grew up in St. Louis and his family still lives there. Others include the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salvian and Gentille examined the pros and cons of each club. I’m going to offer up my brief take on each.
Before I begin, I believe the Flames aren’t looking to rebuild. They’ll seek a return that helps them remain a playoff contender in the coming season as well as for several seasons afterward. They’ll want at least one good young NHL player as part of a package deal that could also include a first-round pick and/or a top prospect.
Cap space is also important. Tkachuk will command over $9 million annually on his next contract. Some of the aforementioned teams lack the cap room to pull it off unless they’re sending a couple of salaried players to the Flames or making a cost-cutting move with another club to free up sufficient space to re-sign him.
The Blues are bumping against the $82.5 million cap. It could cost them winger Jordan Kyrou as part of the return. And no, I don’t see the Flames accepting Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s also older (30) and might not waive his no-trade clause.
After re-signing Filip Forsberg, the Predators have three forwards each earning at least $8 million annually on long-term deals. General manager David Poile could be reluctant to add a fourth. I don’t think they have a suitable young player to tempt the Flames. Sophomore Philip Tomasino has potential but he’s yet to fully display it.
The Red Wings have the cap space and plenty of promising youngsters to entice the Flames. However, I don’t see Wings GM Steve Yzerman parting with Lucas Raymond and he’s definitely not giving up Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider. I also don’t consider Jakub Vrana or Tyler Bertuzzi (a UFA next summer) as centerpiece players for the Flames.
Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello needs a scoring winger to skate alongside playmaking center Mathew Barzal. However, the Flames could ask for Barzal in return. NYI Hockey Now’s Stefen Rosner points out the Isles lack prospect depth. He also shot down the notion of the Flames having an interest in forwards such as Anthony Beauvillier or Kieffer Bellows.
The Vegas Golden Knights love to make blockbuster moves. However, they’re over the cap already and I don’t see the Flames having any interest in William Karlsson or Jonathan Marchessault as part of the return. They recently had to move Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov in cost-cutting deals to remain cap compliant.
If the Stars want Tkachuk, they must part with rising star Jason Robertson. They also have $11 million in cap space with restricted free agent goaltender Jake Oettinger to re-sign. They need offense but I think GM Jim Nill will stick with the more affordable Robertson.
I think the Devils are the best fit. Winger Jesper Bratt could be a good return though he recently filed for salary arbitration. If he’s willing to accept a long-term deal from the Flames, there could be a deal there. The Flames would probably have an interest in a prospect such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz as part of the return.
UPDATES ON PATRICK KANE, NAZEM KADRI AND SAMUEL GIRARD
TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted he’s checked into recent trade speculation regarding Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. He said the winger’s camp remains undecided on his future so everything at this point is speculative.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports former Avalanche center Nazem Kadri has offers on the table from several clubs but they’re either teams he doesn’t want to play for due to location, they lack contender status or both. Maybe a team or two that he wouldn’t mind playing for and would like to have him lacks the cap space to sign him.
Dater believes Kadri would love to return with the Avalanche but doesn’t think their offer is what the center hoped for. He puts the odds of Kadri returning to Colorado at 30-70 or maybe 20-80.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard that Kadri was waiting for teams that had an interest in him to clear cap space to sign him. Whatever’s behind the holdup in signing him, it appears he might have to accept less than he hoped to get. He’ll still receive more than the $4.5 million AAV of his previous contract, but it probably won’t be anywhere near the $8 million per season that some observers predicted he’d get.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard and his $5 million AAV came up as a trade option if the Avs wanted to shed salary to make room for Kadri.