NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2021

Check out the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko and Jack Eichel plus updates on the Stars and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE THE HURRICANES, DEVILS, ISLANDERS INTERESTED IN TARASENKO?

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford speculates the St. Louis Blues’ signing left winger Brandon Saad yesterday might spark a trade of Vladimir Tarasenko. The New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes are believed to have an interest in the 29-year-old right winger, and there are signs the New York Islanders could get back into the mix.

Could the St. Louis Blues be closer to trading Vladimir Tarasenko? (NHL Images)

Having signed Saad for less than expected, perhaps Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will be more willing to retain part of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit. That could be enticing for the Islanders, who have $17.6 million in cap space but must also re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin. Beauvillier, 24, has also been mentioned as a trade candidate. The Islanders remain on Tarasenko’s list of preferred destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quiet on the Islanders’ front. As usual, GM Lou Lamoriello has yet to tip his hand as to his plans for his RFAs or for UFAs Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas, though there’s plenty of conjecture suggesting he intends to re-sign them or already has them under contract but hasn’t officially announced them yet. There’s also talk he’s signing Zach Parise.

If the Isles are in the mix for Tarasenko the Blues must retain some salary and/or take back a contract as part of the return. Parting with an RFA like Beauvillier would also work but we don’t know if Armstrong has any interest in him.

The Hurricanes have almost $14 million in cap space but they must re-sign RFA winger Andrei Svechnikov. Owner Tom Dundon could prefer keeping the payroll as far below the $81.5 million cap as possible. With over $22 million in cap room and five more roster spots to fill, the Devils are best positioned to swing a deal for Tarasenko. However, they could be on his no-trade list.

THE LATEST ON EICHEL

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams feels no pressure to trade Jack Eichel. He explained he’ll make that move if he gets an offer that makes sense for his club but won’t ship out the 24-year-old center simply for the sake of doing so.

However, Vogl points out Eichel wants out and his agents’ only discussions with Adams center on trade requests. He feels Eichel can’t show up in training camp as captain as it would damage the fresh start with a young core. The Sabres GM still believes there’s a market for his captain.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if Mika Zibanejad would accept a six-year contract extension from the Rangers worth between $9 million and $9.5 million annually. “Wouldn’t that be enough to put an end to the Jack Eichel narrative as relates to the Rangers?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of course Adams is going to publicly say he feels no pressure to move Eichel. He’s not going to admit that it could get difficult to move the unhappy center with the NHL Draft and the start of free agency behind them.

While Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit for the next five years and the Sabres’ high asking price are sticking points, his neck injury remains the main issue. If he was healthy, he’d probably be with another team (like the Rangers?) by now. But interested parties are understandably reluctant to part with assets for a player who might not be able to participate in a full schedule next season.

Still, it’s not too late for the Sabres to trade Eichel, or the Blues to move Tarasenko. Three years ago, the Ottawa Senators traded Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens shipped Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights just before training camp opened in September. The Eichel and Tarasenko trade situations could be resolved in the same time frame.

COULD THE STARS SHOP A GOALTENDER?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Stars signing Braden Holtby on Wednesday to a one-year contract worth $2 million raised questions about their overcrowded crease that already features Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger.

Stars GM Jim Nill said Bishop’s status for next season remains uncertain as he continues to recover from last fall’s knee surgery. The Stars could send Oettinger back to the AHL as he remains waiver-exempt but that might not be best for potentially the best healthy goalie in the organization. DeFranks speculates they could also shop Khudobin, who’s under contract for two more seasons at $3.33 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill told DeFranks his club would wait to figure out their situation before opting to move one of their surplus goalies. Bishop’s career could be over if his surgically repaired knee isn’t up to the rigors of NHL action.

Oettinger is their goalie of the future coming off a solid NHL debut (11-8-7, 2.36 GAA, .911 SP) last season. Khudobin could be the odd man out here. There will be teams on the lookout for a goalie during training camp.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could still try to add a center and a winger through a trade. They’re still in the mix for New York Rangers center Ryan Strome. They kicked tires on Jack Eichel but his contract and the asking price make that prohibitive. They could draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait. Victor Mete or Erik Brannstrom could become trade candidates if GM Pierre Dorion decides to go that route.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2021

What does the future hold for trade candidates Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko in the wake of yesterday’s free-agent frenzy? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl provides an update on where things stand with the Buffalo Sabres’ efforts to trade Jack Eichel. The Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers could still be in the mix but the Minnesota Wild have dropped out. The Los Angeles Kings’ free-agent spending spree (Phillip Danault, Alex Edler and Andreas Athanasiou) takes them out of the equation.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Vogl indicates the Sabres feel teams are offering too little for Eichel while the interest parties feel the Sabres are asking too much. Teams with cap space that could benefit from a first-line center like Eichel include the Ducks, Rangers, Seattle Kraken, New York Islanders, Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because most of those teams have the cap space to acquire Eichel’s hefty contract doesn’t mean they will. His neck injury and the Sabres’ high asking price are the big sticking points here.

The Kraken lack suitable assets in draft picks, prospects and young NHL talent to make a suitable bid. The Islanders still have to re-sign Anthony Beauviller, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin.

The Predators are already carrying two expensive centers in Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen and won’t be keen to add a third unless the Sabres agree to take Duchene or Johansen in return. The Devils, meanwhile, are building around young centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.

Vogl’s colleague Michael Russo reports the Wild backed out because they’re fed up with the Sabres’ high asking price for a $10 million star with a neck injury. Meanwhile, Hailey Salvian wonders if the Calgary Flames could be positioning themselves to make a bid for Eichel with $12.9 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild could get back into it if the Sabres reduce their price. However, I think their focus is on re-signing Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala. As for the Flames, GM Brad Treliving probably kicked tires but I don’t think he’s planning a serious bid here. His bold moves were signing Blake Coleman and acquiring Nikita Zadorov.

Eric Stephens observes the Ducks can afford Eichel if general manager Bob Murray can convince Sabres GM Kevyn Adams to take back a salary in return, suggesting Adam Henrique or Rickard Rakell as options. He anticipates the Ducks would also have to part with a promising young center (other than Trevor Zegras) and their 2022 first-round pick as part of the return.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Chris Drury’s first summer as Rangers GM can be distilled by whatever decision he makes regarding Eichel. He speculates the Vegas Golden Knights could be among the Eichel suitors after shipping out Marc-Andre Fleury’s $7 million cap hit to the Chicago Blackhawks. Brooks believes there’s no need for Drury to rush into a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Ducks and Rangers are most interested in Eichel. Nevertheless, I don’t see them pulling the trigger until the Sabres reduce their price and they get assurances Eichel’s health has improved.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon poured cold water on the notion of his club pursuing Eichel. “We’re not likely to be involved in other discussions,” said McCrimmon. He pointed out they’ve spent the money available to them and addressed their needs going forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights made several moves, but none that addressed their obvious need for a true first-line center. The only nod in that direction was signing third-line center Mattias Janmark. As things stand now, they’ll be heading into 2021-22 with Chandler Stephenson and William Karlsson remaining as their top-two centers.

They might not be in on Eichel but that doesn’t mean they don’t make a move for another center before training camp. Maybe they make a move for Mika Zibanejad if the Rangers decide to make a serious pitch for Eichel? Yes, Zibanejad has a no-movement clause but maybe he’d waive it for Vegas. Something to ponder, folks.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports a source believes the St. Louis Blues are diminishing Vladimir Tarasenko’s trade value the longer they hand onto the unhappy winger. The source feels Blues GM Doug Armstrong miscalculated the situation by seeking too much in return. Where once there were four teams interested in Tarasenko there are now still at least two but the options are dwindling following yesterday’s activity in the free-agent market.

Rutherford believes the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils make the most sense as trade destinations. The Devils have plenty of salary cap space and would like to add a top-six forward. The Hurricanes have $15.4 million in cap space and need scoring but they must also re-sign winger Andrei Svechnikov. He also wondered if the Blues might include Tarasenko in a pitch for Jack Eichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong has indicated he wouldn’t have any problem with Tarasenko returning this season but I don’t think that’s in anyone’s best interest right now. The Blue GM could be forced to accept less than his asking price to move him now. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

The Devils could be out if Brandon Saad accepts the contract offer they pitched him yesterday. If that falls through, maybe they’d be willing to pursue a Tarasenko deal if he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 25, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 25, 2021

This year’s draft is history and the start of free agency is days away. Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, Dougie Hamilton and more in today’s Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

WILL EICHEL BE TRADED THIS SUMMER?

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams continues to field calls from teams interested in acquiring Jack Eichel. He also hasn’t ruled out keeping the 24-year-old center if he doesn’t receive a suitable offer that addresses his club’s needs.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello believes the reason Eichel wasn’t traded this weekend was the Sabres’ asking price remains too high. A league source said Sabres owner Terry Pegula wants Eichel traded to a Western Conference team.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers must resolve Mika Zibanejad’s contract situation one way or the other before turning to Jack Eichel. They cannot afford to carry both.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Brooks believes the Rangers prefer re-signing Zibanejad but the price has to be right. Preliminary talks between Zibanejad’s camp and the Rangers have begun with the 28-year-old center reportedly seeking a deal similar to Eichel’s $10 million annual average value for seven or eight years. The Rangers prefer to keep the term to between five and six years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The asking price and Pegula’s supposed desire to ship Eichel to the west could assure he’s still suiting up with the Sabres this fall. At this point, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where a Western Conference club ponies up the equivalent of four first-round picks.

Time isn’t on the Sabres’ side. I’m not doubting Adams’ sincerity when he said he’s fine with Eichel being on the roster next season but his preference is to move him. I don’t blame him for setting a high asking price but he’ll have to lower it if he wants Eichel off the roster before training camp opens in September.

Zibanejad’s a talented center but the Rangers would be crazy to invest $10 million annually on him. He’ll be 29 next April and I don’t think he’d get that much from any club around the league. Maybe they reach an agreement on a five-year deal worth around $8 million. We’ll see. Lots of time for this to play out.

It’s time to start preparing for this to be the summer of Eichel in the rumor mill.

BUSY MARKET FOR GOALIES & DEFENSEMEN?

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen believes the goalie market will be intriguing with many teams seeking help between the pipes. The Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks could be busy addressing that issue via trades or free agency. So could the Colorado Avalanche if Philipp Grubauer departs as a free agent on July 28.

Trade targets could include Robin Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights. Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said Braden Holtby might be available.

Several teams, including the Minnesota Wild, Winnipeg Jets and New Jersey Devils will be shopping for defensemen. Pending free-agent blueliners include Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Suter, Keith Yandle, Alexander Edler, David Savard, Alec Martinez, Tyson Barrie and Zdeno Chara.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The News & Observer’s Chip Alexander reports the Hurricanes are continuing talks with Hamilton’s agent. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said they seemed to be getting closer to an agreement but it would have to be reached before free agency opens on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Larry Brooks reports there could be mutual interest between Hamilton and the New Jersey Devils that could come in the form of a seven-year deal worth around $9 million. That would replace P.K. Subban’s contract when it expires next summer.

The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa reports the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders are among the clubs pursuing Suter, who was recently bought out by the Minnesota Wild. Yandle could also be an option for the Bruins if they don’t land Suter.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

The Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the Devils, the Panthers buy out Keith Yandle, Ben Bishop agrees to waive NMC for the expansion draft, Leafs give Zach Hyman permission to speak to other clubs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST/NORTHJERSEY.COM: The Colorado Avalanche last night traded defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

The Colorado Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche risked losing Graves to the Seattle Kraken for nothing in next week’s expansion draft. They get a promising young forward in Maltsev and replace the second-round pick they shipped to the New York Islanders last fall for Devon Toews. The move also gives the Avs some much-needed salary-cap relief, replacing Graves’ $3.21 million annual average value with Maltsev’s $925K for 2021-22.

Graves, 26, established himself as a quality top-four defenseman during his tenure with the Avalanche. The 6’5”, 220-pounder brings a good mix of size, physical play and a solid defensive game to the Devils’ blueline.

NBC SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have bought out the remaining two years of Keith Yandle’s contract. The 34-year-old defenseman had an annual average value of $6.35 million. The first year of the buyout will count as $2.34 million against the Panthers’ cap for 2021-22, jumping to $5.3 million for 2022-23, and dropping to $1.24 million annually for the final two seasons.

They also re-signed winger Anthony Duclair to a three-year, $9 million contract and defenseman Gustav Forsling to a three-year, $7.98 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things were coming to a head between Yandle and the Panthers this season. He was nearly a healthy scratch to start the season, which would’ve threatened his Ironman consecutive games streak. He was scratched from three postseason games. This move freed up immediate cap room to address other needs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. That will allow the Stars to protect goalie Anton Khudobin as promising Jake Oettinger is exempt from the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop missed all of this season recovering from a knee injury. His lengthy injury history likely means the Kraken will pass on selecting him in next week’s draft.

THE SCORE: cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing Zach Hyman to speak with other teams. The 29-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance the Leafs could match the best offer but that appears slim. I’ll have more on Hyman in today’s Rumor Mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates Shea Weber’s situation could end in a dispute between the NHL and NHLPA if the league doesn’t allow the Canadiens to put the 35-year-old defenseman on long-term injury reserve. Weber’s career is in jeopardy from the effects of multiple injuries suffered over the past four seasons. He’s reportedly expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone is waiting for clarity on this before deciding what to do next. Weber is reportedly getting a second medical opinion. Dreger indicated the timing of this situation is what’s clouding the issue with the expansion draft coming up.

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins said Matiss Kivlenieks died a hero during the memorial service for his late teammate. Kivlenieks died at age 24 from chest trauma from a fireworks mortar blast. The tube tilted and started firing toward a hot tub. Merzlikins and his pregnant wife were nearby. He said the young goaltender sacrificed his life to protect others

SPECTOR’S NOTE: RIP Matiss, your last save was your biggest.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed winger Brett Ritchie to a one-year, $900K contract.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2021

Some proposed trade destinations for Vladimir Tarasenko and some recent Devils speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE COULD TARASENKO GO?

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz looked at several teams that he believes should pursue a trade for Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old St. Louis Blues winger has requested a trade, reportedly in part because of his unhappiness over the club’s treatment of an ongoing shoulder injury.

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

Gretz suggests the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Seattle Kraken and Nashville Predators should be calling. He believes the Rangers have the cap space and could be a good fit alongside Artemi Panarin on their top line. The Oilers should avoid pursuing aging defenseman Duncan Keith in favor of adding another impact player to provide more scoring depth.

The Devils have cap space and they need a scoring winger. The Kraken also have plenty of cap dollars and Tarasenko could quickly help them become competitive. The Predators need scoring though Gretz acknowledged the cap hit could get tricky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The complication for the Rangers is how Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual average value for the next two seasons would affect their efforts to re-sign first-line center Mika Zibanejad or find a suitable replacement. The Oilers have a greater need to improve their blueline and their goaltending so I don’t see them getting into the bidding for Tarasenko.

The Devils could be a good fit provided they’re on Tarasenko’s list of preferred trade destinations. If he wants to go to a contender he won’t be interested in joining an expansion club because there’s no certainty the Kraken will emulate the Vegas Golden Knights’ success. I don’t think the Predators can afford to add Tarasenko without shedding Matt Duchene’s contract.

Gretz considers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and New York Islanders as long shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko can’t help the Jackets’ need for a first-line center. I agree with Gretz that the Bruins won’t be able to add another scorer if they’re focused on re-signing Taylor Hall, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci. He also pointed out the Islanders would need to make several moves to fit Tarasenko under their salary cap.

DEVILS SHOPPING DEFENSEMEN?

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported New Jersey Devils general manager is working on reshaping his defense corps. Multiple sources claim they’re gauging interest in P.K. Subban and are listening on Will Butcher.

Subban and Butcher are a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Blueliners Matt Tennyson, Ryan Murray and Connor Carrick become UFAs on July 28. Murphy wonders if Fitzgerald will try to sign away Adam Pelech from the New York Islanders with an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban isn’t the offensive star he once was but has remade himself into a more defensively responsible blueliner. The Devils will have to absorb part of his $9 million annual salary-cap hit or take back another hefty contract to facilitate a trade. Butcher has good puck-moving skills but his stats have declined since his promising 44-point debut in 2017-18.

The Devils have over $35 million in projected cap space for 2021-22. Fitzgerald has the room to sign Pelech or another club’s restricted free agent defenseman to an offer sheet. However, that doesn’t mean anyone he targets will sign. Offer sheets rarely occur and the last player successfully signed away was Dustin Penner in 2007.