NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2022
COULD THE BLUES SHOP O’REILLY AND TARASENKO BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE?
STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon suggests a retooling of the Blues roster could come sooner than later if they continue to flounder in the standings. With Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou are the new foundations of the franchise, general manager Doug Armstrong could consider parting with center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Vladimir Tarasenko for draft picks and prospects. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.
Gordon feels Tarasenko seems more likely to test the market given the past signals from his camp. Armstrong could ask him to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade.
O’Reilly would be tougher to part with given his leadership value and his positive effect on the roster since his arrival. However, he turns 32 this season and appears to be slowing down. Nevertheless, he’d attract interest from postseason contenders.
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford also believes there will be interest in Tarasenko and O’Reilly if they hit the trade block. However, it will likely be greater closer to the March 3 trade deadline than in November, when it’s difficult for contending teams to fit in players carrying $7.5 million cap hits.
Rutherford speculates Armstrong could be looking at smaller deals for more immediate help. He might be able to pull one off in the coming weeks.
SPORTSNET: Regarding a possible trade of O’Reilly, Ken Wiebe pointed out that Armstrong isn’t afraid of making difficult decisions when it comes to team captains on expiring contracts. He let Alex Pietrangelo walk in 2020 and did the same with David Backes four years earlier.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun suggested O’Reilly would look good centering the Colorado Avalanche’s second line. He also suggested Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews as other candidates for that role with the Avs if they become available in the trade market.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater mused about a possible reunion of O’Reilly and the Avalanche. He began his career in Colorado in 2009-10 and spent six seasons there before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two, Tarasenko is the most likely to be traded by the Blues before March 3. He requested a trade in July 2021 over his unhappiness with the team doctors’ treatment of his injured shoulder. While he’s still with the Blues, there was a report this summer claiming he never rescinded that request.
I would’ve considered trading O’Reilly to be unlikely entering this season. Now, I’m not so sure. His struggles this season are one reason behind the Blues’ difficulties. That could dissuade Armstrong from signing him to an extension.
Unlike Tarasenko, O’Reilly lacks no-trade protection so the Blues GM can ship him anywhere, though I daresay if it comes to that he’ll ask his captain where he’d prefer to go. Maybe O’Reilly would welcome a return to the Avalanche. Then again, he could favor another destination.
HOW WILL THE OILERS REPLACE EVANDER KANE?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Oilers will use Evander Kane’s cap hit to add another top-six forward with Kane returning just before the playoffs. The 31-year-old winger is on long-term injury reserve for the next three-to-four months recovering from wrist surgery.
“Yes, those are the rules, “ writes Staples. “Tampa Bay did it. It may well develop in that direction for the Oilers.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, it could. Kane’s average annual value is $5.125 million. According to Cap Friendly, the Oilers have $4.76 million in projected trade deadline cap space. However, they just ensure they can become cap compliant whenever Kane returns to action.