NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2021

The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, another Bruin requests a trade, and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTE: The NHL’s annual holiday trade freeze is in effect until 12:01 am on Dec. 28, 2021.

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna wonders if Vladimir Tarasenko still wants to be traded from the St. Louis Blues. If so, he wonders why.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

McKenna points out Blues fans still love Tarasenko despite his offseason trade request. He’s also playing well on a line with fellow Russians Ivan Barbashev and Pavel Buchnevich while the Blues are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.

He notes, however, Tarasenko’s unhappiness over how the club handled his multiple shoulder surgeries dating back to 2018. He wondered if the relationship between the winger and the club can be repaired and also point out a trade might not work out well for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent speculation suggested Taranseko still wants to be traded. Maybe playing through this season with Barbashev and Buchnevich and the ongoing support from Blues fans will give him reason to reconsider.

Tarasenko is signed through next season so the Blues aren’t in any hurry to trade him, especially with him playing well right now. A healthy and motivated Tarasenko is better for their playoff hopes.

His annual salary-cap hit, however, is also a factor that may have prevented the Blues from moving him last summer. He’s got a $7.5 million annual average value but is earning $9.5 million in actual salary for this season. That drops to $5.5 million for next season, which will be more palatable for interested teams carrying limited cap space.

I don’t see the Blues trading Tarasenko as long as they remain in playoff contention leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. If he still wants out that move takes place next summer. Despite his improved play and lower actual salary for 2022-23, the Blues asking price could also complicate things.

In other words, expect Tarasenko to pop up frequently in the 2022 rumor mill.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins former first-round pick Zach Senyshyn has requested a trade. The 24-year-old winger was chosen 15th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Bruins. He’s spent most of his pro career with their AHL affiliate in Providence, seeing only 14 games with the Bruins since 2018-19.

Senyshyn said he wants to play in the NHL and feels he hasn’t been given that opportunity by the Bruins. However, he was unclaimed after being placed on waivers following training camp last fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senyshyn is the second Bruins to request a trade. Jake DeBrusk, who was also a Bruins’ first-round selection in 2015, asked to be moved in late November. Maybe the Bruins will try shopping both in a package deal before the March trade deadline.

Haggerty points out Senyshyn’s play has improved in the AHL this season but doubts he’ll fetch much of a return for the Bruins in the trade market. He’s currently on a one-year, two-way contract and becomes a restricted free agent next summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the Edmonton Oilers will have to part with a promising young player if they attempt to pursue someone like Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun or Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury in the trade market.

That player is Philip Broberg, who Mitchell considers NHL-ready and destined to play “a feature role” in the big league. Chosen eighth overall by the Oilers in 2019, the 20-year-old Broberg is a smooth-skating two-way defenseman currently playing for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mitchell points out “the pressure of spent picks and no cap room” means the Oilers would have to part with Broberg if they hope to acquire real talent before the March trade deadline. Whatever transpires over the next couple of months could determine if they’re prepared to sacrifice a promising peace of their future for immediate help.

Pandemic impacting NHL Training Camp for Prized Prospects

Pandemic impacting NHL Training Camp for Prized Prospects