In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the injury to Ryan O’Reilly doesn’t sound like it will change the St. Louis Blues’ approach to trading him. Are the Toronto Maple Leafs still looking at him as an option? Meanwhile, will the Carolina Hurricanes be among the teams that look closely at Vladimir Tarasenko?
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The Seattle Kraken are potentially among this season’s buyers, but the GM is still waiting, and the Vancouver Canucks have a lot of money tied up in coaching salaries.
Blues Still Think Market Will Exist for O’Reilly
Despite going on the injured reserve list, the Blues still believe there will be a trade market for O’Reilly and insiders believe the Toronto Maple Leafs might still be a team that looks his way. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic notes that Doug Armstrong (Blues GM) will be asking for a decent return.
If O’Reilly returns and is able to show he’s healthy and productive, there should still be a market. He doesn’t have no-trade protection and was the 2019 playoff MVP. I think the Maple Leafs had talked about him internally, prior to the injury. Like with Horvat, the Avalanche would make sense. Any contender could.source – ‘NHL trade board 2022-23: Could Bruins deal for Bo Horvat? Or Hurricanes? Updates on the top deadline targets’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 01/18/2023
Tarasenko Trade Could Be Around the Corner
There is also a belief that Vladimir Tarasenko‘s contract will be easier to move than ever before. He’s a pending UFA and has been fairly productive with 29 points in 34 games. Jeremy Rutheford of The Athletic writes that Tarasenko could be back from a hand injury imminently and notes, “the right winger’s return will become a showcase of whether he can prove to teams interested in the pending unrestricted free agent that he’s healthy and can help a playoff contender.”
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There is a question about whether Taransenko will ride out his no-trade clause and simply elect for free agency, but if he does allow for a trade, the Carolina Hurricanes are a team that could be interested. Rutherford adds:
Will a team like Carolina, for example, take look at Tarasenko as a possible scoring replacement for Max Pacioretty, who recently suffered another Achilles tendon injury? If not the Hurricanes, who? Will he have enough time to show clubs he’s still capable of being the guy who has 262 goals in his 11-year career? If he comes back against Buffalo, again, there are just 14 games left before the deadline.source – ‘Rutherford: Blues trade deadline talk should intensify as Vladimir Tarasenko nears return’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 01/22/2023
Kraken Ready to Be Deadline Buyers
Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times writes that general manager Ron Francis is loaded up with three second-round picks this summer and is ready to use them to grab a talented player that some other clubs might not be able to afford. The Kraken have some cap space with which to work and are playing well enough to warrant trying to make a playoff run.
Baker suggests the concern is on the blue line where their depth is fairly thin. When Jamie Oleksiak was sidelined, the team went 3-3-1. This was after a seven-game road winning streak. Baker wondered if Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg would be a good fit and suggests he’s been linked to the Kraken in the trade rumor mill. Klingberg has a $7 million contract that expires this season and he is a pending UFA.
Francis preached that there was still time to make a decision on how active the team would be. He noted:
“It’s two months, so there’s time. It’s not like this is coming today or tomorrow. There’s time to see where we are and how we’re playing, what the lineup looks like. And then all the other things at that point, and then making that decision.source – ‘Kraken GM Ron Francis has eye on trade deadline as playoff push continues’ – Geoff Baker – Seattle Times – 01/17/2023
Tocchet’s New Salary, Canucks Total Coaching Salaries
LeBrun tweeted, “Hearing Rick Tocchet’s salary is $2.75M per year, signed through 2024-25 season. Canucks also still paying Bruce Boudreau $2M this season and Travis Green $2.75M this season.” That means the Canucks are forking over $7.5 million in coaching salaries this season. This isn’t even counting the assistants that have been let go and new ones brought in.
Rutherford said during the Canucks’ media avail to announce Tocchet as the new head coach that the team never considered using an interim coach to get through the transition period to bring Tocchet in. We have to assume that means the Canucks never considered letting Boudreau finish out the season.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”