In today’s NHL rumors rundown, less than 24 hours after the 2021 Stanley Cup was awarded, there is already chatter about how the two teams in the Final will move forward with their roster. Will the back-to-back championship Tampa Bay Lightning lose as many as four or five major players? So too, will the Montreal Canadiens bring everyone back? Meanwhile, reports out of St. Louis are that Blues’ forward Vladimir Tarasenko has officially requested a trade. Finally, reports are that Taylor Hall is receiving outside interest from teams, including possibly the Toronto Maple Leafs, while the Edmonton Oilers might be prone to pick up the phone and call GM Kyle Dubas about a trade.
Lightning to Lose Huge Chunk of Their Roster
ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan took a look at what’s next for the Lightning and how they’ll try and navigate their salary-cap concerns with the 2020-21 NHL season officially over with. Cost-cutting offseason trades are a given as the team is currently $5 million above the $81.5 million salary cap.
Kaplan believes the team will use the NHL Expansion Draft as a tool and general manager Julien BriseBois might try to make side deals with the Seattle Kraken. Among them, he could try to trade Tyler Johnson, who makes $5 million per season through 2023-24. A buy out might be on the menu if a trade isn’t possible.
If the team intends to sign unrestricted free agents Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, others will have to go. Outside of Johnson, winger Alex Killorn ($4.45 million AAV through 2022-23), Ondrej Palat ($5.3 million through next season) or Yanni Gourde ($5.16 million through 2024-25), are the most likely candidates.
Who Will the Canadiens Bring Back?
The Lightning aren’t the only team to come out of the Final and perhaps look a lot different next season. Greg Wyshynski pointed out the Canadiens will have to make decisions on Joel Armia, Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar, Eric Staal, Michael Frolik, Corey Perry, Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill. All of these players are slated to become unrestricted free agents.
Danault might be one of the more interesting names on this list. There are reports he’s already turned down a six-year, $30 million offer.
There’s a chance the Canadiens lose a good player via the expansion draft. Names like Jake Evans, Paul Byron, Artturi Lehkonen, Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen and perhaps Jonathan Drouin could be left unprotected. GM Marc Bergevin might be well served to try and strike up a side deal with the Kraken to steer Seattle in a certain direction.
Tarasenko Officially Requests a Trade
Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic broke the news on Wednesday that Tarasenko has officially requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues. While the hockey world is learning about it now, the trade request isn’t actually new, as the player asked for this earlier in the 2020-21 NHL season. Rutherford explains:
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is currently attempting to facilitate the deal, according to league and team sources. There is no apparent timetable for a move, but the expectation is that it could happen before the start of the 2021-22 season.source – ‘Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko requests a trade, per sources: Why he wants out, possible destinations and more’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 07/08/2021
The reported reason for the trade request is that Tarasenko felt that the organization didn’t address his injury issues properly and there’s no longer trust between the two sides. Tarasenko complained about discomfort before he rejoined the Blues for the playoffs in 2020 and that the team should have done additional testing.
Because Tarasenko has a no-move clause in his contract, speculation is that Tarasenko has already provided the Blues with a list of possible landing spots. As many as 10 teams are on that list and the player wanted to offer options to ensure a trade was possible.
Bruins to Compete With Other Teams Over Taylor Hall?
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Don Sweeney, the GM of the Boston Bruins, is in the middle of discussions with agent Darren Ferris about an extension for Taylor Hall. Unfortunately, it might not be as simple as Hall finding the right term and salary with Boston. There are outside influences he’s considering.
Dreger reports that other teams are potentially going to show interest in Hall, including the Toronto Maple Leafs. This would come if the team can’t get Zach Hyman signed.
Oilers to Trade for Hyman’s Negotiating Rights?
Speaking of Hyman, Dreger suggests the Oilers might want to jump the line in free agency and trade for Hyman’s negotiating rights. He believes there’s genuine interest from Edmonton to sign Hyman and while he didn’t believe the Oilers had already talked to Toronto about a trade, it was his opinion that they should.
Dreg said, “If I’m Kenny Holland in Edmonton, I’m approaching Kyle Dubas very soon, and I’m saying, ‘Alright, what’s it going to take?’” He adds, “I want an opportunity to get to Zach Hyman earlier, I want to jump the gun.”
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.”