Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 6, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 6, 2021

Will the Blues trade Vladimir Tarasenko or Vince Dunn this summer? What could the Flames get for Sean Monahan? Check out the latest speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

WILL TARASENKO OR DUNN HIT THIS SUMMER’S TRADE BLOCK?

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford was asked if St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will consider trading Vladimir Tarasenko during a mailbag segment last week.

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

He believes Armstrong will gauge Tarasenko’s trade value this summer. The 29-year-old winger has two years remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $7.5 million and they need more production from him.

Tarasenko could improve with more playing time following his third shoulder surgery. However, if the Blues opt for a more hardworking, blue-collar lineup, they might feel it’s time to go in a different direction. Tarasenko might feel the same way.

If Armstrong feels Tarasenko cannot help the Blues, he’ll have to find a “hockey trade” because the Blues would benefit from a player or players at the equivalent of $7.5 million who can play within their system. Rutherford points out Tarasenko’s no-trade clause gives him some control here.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon believes Tarasenko’s salary, shoulder surgeries and declining production will have limited appeal in this summer’s trade market. “Only a moron would pay a premium for him while assuming his injury risk and cap hit,” said Gordon. He did, however, acknowledge Armstrong got the Philadelphia Flyers to take “The Ghost of Jori Lehtera” for Brayden Schenn.

Armstrong’s more realistic trade chips include Vince Dunn, Zach Sanford, Ivan Barbashev, Robert Thomas, Jake Walman, Scott Perunovich and Klim Kostin. Gordon also speculates the Blues GM could be willing to part with premium draft picks while trying to get his talented nucleus back into the Stanley Cup chase.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Vince Dunn is drawing trade interest around the league. There was a time earlier in the year when the Blues were thinking about moving him and were asking for a first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out a Tarasenko trade but I wouldn’t anticipate it for the reasons cited by Gordon. He could be exposed in the expansion draft but those aforementioned factors could scare off the Seattle Kraken.

Dunn, on the other hand, seems the more likely trade candidate. The Blues were looking into moving him back in January but nothing came of it, perhaps because teams weren’t willing to part with a first-round pick.

At the time, I suggested the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets as potential destinations for Dunn. Maybe those clubs will be among the suitors.

If that move happens it’ll likely be near the July 23-24 NHL draft weekend. I daresay we’ll hear his name come up more frequently in the rumor mill over the next several weeks.

WHAT COULD THE FLAMES GET IN RETURN FOR MONAHAN?

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian was asked by a reader last week what kind of player the Calgary Flames could get in a one-for-one trade of Sean Monahan.

She isn’t certain what the return would be at this point, suggesting his value falls between what he was in 2018-19 and what we’ve seen in the last two years. The 26-year-old center’s recovery from recent hip surgery could be a factor. However, it’s not a big red flag because he’s expected to be ready in time for training camp.

The decline in his production over the last two seasons would have an effect on his trade value. His contract ($6.375 million AAV through 2022-23, modified no-trade clause) could also be a sticking point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Monahan also leaves a void at center that the Flames could struggle to fill. There’s also the risk of trading him this summer only to see him bounce back with another club while the Flames get a pittance in return.

Trading Monahan could be among the Flames’ options as management considers shaking things up following the disappointments of the last three seasons. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t surprise me if they stick with him for one more season and see where things stand after that.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2021

Will the Blue Jackets trade Seth Jones this summer? Could the Blues leave Vladimir Tarasenko unprotected in the expansion draft? Will the Canucks consider shopping Nate Schmidt? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

JACKETS COULD TRADE JONES BY NHL DRAFT

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports sources said the Columbus Blue Jackets are likely to trade Seth Jones this summer, perhaps by the NHL Draft in late July. The 26-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Jones informed the Jackets he intends to test the market.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

Portzline reports John Davidson, the Jackets president of hockey operations, declined to confirm Friedman’s report. However, Davidson indicated the club won’t take the same approach with Jones as they did two years ago with winger Artemi Panarin.

Panarin was due to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-19 season. The Jackets, however, opted to keep him throughout the season. Davidson said the club felt at that time felt they had a chance to make a run for the Stanley Cup. That’s not the case this time around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Jones changes his mind, it’s clear he feels his future isn’t with the Blue Jackets. That leaves them little option but to move him this summer, rather than have his free-agent status hover over the club throughout next season.

Jones will draw plenty of interest in this summer’s trade market. Portzline expects the return will be loaded with draft picks and prospects. Rather than a reload for next season, he feels the Jackets could be heading for a rebuild.

The Jackets have witnessed a steady departure of talent over the past three years. Fairly or not, it’s given the team and the city of Columbus a reputation as a place players want to avoid. It’s up to Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to change that culture.

WILL THE BLUES EXPOSE TARASENKO IN THE EXPANSION DRAFT?

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas recently wondered what the St. Louis Blues will do with Vladimir Tarasenko in this summer’s expansion draft. Injuries hampered the 29-year-old winger over the last two seasons, hurting his offensive production. He has two years left on his contract worth an annual average value of $7.5 million.

Tarasenko’s recent injury history and offensive struggles generated speculation outside the organization over whether they’ll expose him in the expansion draft. If the Seattle Kraken claims him, the Blues could use the salary cap savings on re-signing other key players. However, there’s the risk would regain his high-scoring form in Seattle. If he’s exposed and not claimed, it could create a rift between the winger and Blues management.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leaving Tarasenko unprotected in the expansion draft would be a bold move. According to Thomas, however, GM Doug Armstrong’s comments on the subject suggest he’s not considering that tactic.

The preference is for Tarasenko to rest and prepare for next season. If he’s healthy in 2021-22 he should return to this 30-goal form.

Blues management still believes their championship window remains open. They stand a better chance of winning the Cup with a healthy Tarasenko in the lineup.

COULD THE CANUCKS TRADE SCHMIDT?

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston suggested Nate Schmidt could become a trade candidate this summer. The 29-year-old defenseman struggled in his first season with the Vancouver Canucks. He noted there’s been trade speculation about Schmidt of late.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmidt’s contract could make him difficult to move this summer. He has four years remaining with an annual cap hit of $5.95 million, plus a 10-team no-trade list.

However, the Golden Knights were able to trade Schmidt to the Canucks last fall in a cost-cutting move. Perhaps another club would be interested in him. While his production was down this season with the Canucks, he had three straight 30-plus point seasons in Vegas.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2021

The Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues face serious offseason decisions following their first-round exits Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CAPITALS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan believes re-signing Alex Ovechkin is the offseason priority for the Washington Capitals. Their 35-year-old captain and franchise player is eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 28.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Kaplan wonders how much it would cost the Capitals and for how long to keep Ovechkin in the fold. Sources said he initially sought $12.5 million per season before the pandemic struck. With the salary cap flattened at $81.5 million for the foreseeable future, the Capitals might have budgeted for less. Nevertheless, Kaplan believes Ovechkin will be staying in Washington.

After a coaching change last year failed to improve their playoff fortunes, management could shake up the roster. There’s speculation the club could be growing impatient with center Evgeny Kuznetsov. He carries a $7.8 million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25 as well as a 15-team no-trade list.

Kaplan noted the Capitals are among the NHL’s oldest teams. They could start retooling on the fly by bringing in some younger talent like top prospect Connor McMichael.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir also weighed in on the Capitals’ offseason needs, including Ovechkin’s contract and Kuznetsov’s status.

El-Bashir feels whatever general manager Brian MacLellan does with Ovechkin’s new deal will affect the rest of this summer’s decision. Moving Kuznetsov’s big contract won’t be easy but there could be a team with interest in the 29-year-old center. He wonders how this year’s disappointing finish will affect the Capitals’ expansion draft protection list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if Ovechkin and the Capitals part ways this summer. Kaplan pointed out Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has indicated his intent to ensure his captain stays put.

Because of the flattened cap, Ovechkin might have to accept something between $9 million and $10 million on perhaps a three-year deal. Despite his age, he’s shown little sign of slowing down, with 24 goals and 42 points in 45 games.

A roster shakeup was likely to happen for cap purposes even if the Capitals hadn’t bowed out in the first round. Cap Friendly shows them with just over $72 million invested in 18 players for 2021-22, with Ovechkin as the only core player due for a new contract.

Moving Kuznetsov would help to address that issue. There could be a market for his services but the recent decline in his play, his three-game suspension for “inappropriate conduct” in the fall of 2019, getting placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list twice this season and his recent benching for missing a team function all but scream, “buyer beware.”

The expansion draft will help alleviate some of that salary-cap issue as they’re going to lose a player to the Seattle Kraken. It could be a high-salaried veteran such as T.J. Oshie ($5.75 million annual average value) or perhaps someone like Justin Schultz ($4 million), Lars Eller ($3.5 million) or Brenden Dillon ($3.9 million).

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLUES?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski speculates the St. Louis Blues roster could have a different look next season following a second straight first-round elimination. Pending UFAs include Jaden Schwartz, Mike Hoffman, Tyler Bozak and Carl Gunnarsson, though management has expressed interest in signing Schwartz. They could also bring in an experienced backup for starter Jordan Binnington.

Wyshynski also wondered if the Blues would dare leave oft-injured sniper Vladimir Tarasenko unprotected in the expansion draft. Others who could be exposed include Schwartz, Sammy Blais, Ivan Barbashev, Marco Scandella and Vince Dunn. It’s expected Dunn, a restricted free agent, could be playing elsewhere next season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford believes Schwartz’s status could be the Blues’ biggest question heading into the offseason. He struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs but their left-wing depth is thin.

Rutherford suggests Dunn and perhaps Robert Thomas could be trade candidates. He also feels they need to address their backup goaltending, add size to their blueline, and bring back the versatile Bozak on a one-year, plus-35 contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have $66.8 million invested in 20 players next season. A new contract for Schwartz will take a big bite out of their remaining cap space but they could have little choice if they don’t feel they can find a suitable replacement via trade or free agency.

Dunn was a fixture in this season’s rumor mill. He could be shopped this summer for a return that addresses one of the Blues’ roster needs.

Rutherford isn’t advocating for Thomas to be traded but wondered where he fits on the top six if Brayden Schenn is their second-line center. As he suggests, it might not hurt to examine his value in the trade market.

Exposing Tarasenko in the expansion draft would be a bold move. However, I don’t think it’s one they’ll consider.










NHL Playoffs: St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche Game 1 Preview

NHL Playoffs: St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche Game 1 Preview

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 30, 2021

The Penguins and Capitals clinch playoff berths, Ryan Miller to retire at season’s end, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals both clinched playoff berths as the Penguins edged the Capitals 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jake Guentzel. Kasperi Kapanen scored twice for the Penguins while Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom collected three assists. Both clubs are tied with 69 points but the Capitals hold first place in the MassMutual East Division with a game in hand. Capitals defenseman John Carlson was a late scratch and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images).

A 25-save shutout by Semyon Varlamov gave the New York Islanders a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers. It was the Isles’ fourth win in their last 10 games, leaving them four points behind the Capitals and Penguins. Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the league fined Islanders center Mathew Barzal $2,000.00 for embellishment during an April 22 game against the Capitals.

Third-period goals by Charlie Coyle, Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand lifted the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. With 64 points, the fourth-place Bruins sit one point back of the Islanders while opening a six-point lead over the Rangers.

Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had two points to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Jakub Vrana replied for the Red Wings. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Discover Central Division with 73 points.

An overtime goal by Sam Bennett gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Florida rookie goalie Spencer Knight picked up his third win in as many games. The Panthers sit two points behind the Hurricanes.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his 30th win of the season by shutting out the Dallas Stars 3-0. Ondrej Palat, Blake Coleman and Brayden Points were the goal scorers. The Lightning (70 points) sit one point behind the second-place Panthers. The Stars (54 points) remain two behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as his club nipped the Minnesota Wild 5-4. Kevin Fiala had a three-point game for the Wild as they rallied from a 4-2 deficit to force the extra period. The Blues (52 points) have won four straight games to open a five-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for fourth place in the Honda West Division. The Wild are in third place with 66 points. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Auston Matthews tallied his 36th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who sit atop the Scotia North Division with 69 points. The Canucks have dropped four of their last five games. Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed defenseman Zach Bogosian (shoulder) on long-term injury reserve.

The Calgary Flames kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Elias Lindholm scored twice for the Flames (47 points), who’ve won four of their last five contests and sit four points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens. The Oilers are in second place with 60 points.

A two-goal performance by Yegor Sherangovich powered the New Jersey Devils over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3, eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced goaltender Carter Hart will miss the rest of the season with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller has announced his retirement at the end of this season. He’s spent 18 seasons in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and the Ducks. Miller spent nearly 11 seasons with the Sabres, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2009-10. He leads all American-born NHL goalies with 390 wins and sits second with 44 shutouts and 794 games played. He’s 14th on the all-time wins list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller was in his prime during his years with the Sabres, backstopping them to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 and 2007. He was also named MVP of the 2010 Winter Olympics as Team USA won the silver medal in Men’s Hockey. Best wishes to Miller and his family in their future endeavors.

TSN: The NHL is expected to reach a decision between June 1-5 as to where the winner of the Scotia North Division will play its home games. Discussions between the league and the Canadian federal government are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ongoing closure of the Canada-US border to non-essential travel and traffic could mean whoever comes out of the North Division will have to play all their remaining playoff games in the United States. That means the league will have to find a suitable venue to host the Canadian team.

THE AHL: announced the Calder Cup won’t be awarded this season. Instead, the Pacific Division will hold a tournament to decide its division champion. The first-place teams in the other four divisions will be named division champions.

CALGARY SUN: Original Flames co-owner Byron J. Seaman passed away last weekend at age 97. He was among the ownership group that moved the Flames to Calgary from Atlanta in 1980 and held a stake in the franchise for the next three decades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Seaman’s family, friends and the Flames organization.










Why The Bruins And Blues Are In a Fight For Playoff Spots

Why The Bruins And Blues Are In a Fight For Playoff Spots