Welcome to another edition of NHL rumours. It might be the dog days of the NHL offseason, but there are still some rumours to explore! However, there are no Arizona Coyotes rumours, so maybe it isn’t really the dog days of summer.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: Jeremy Rutherford of the Athletic speculates that the Blues are interested in free-agent defenceman Zdeno Chara and have also targeted New York Islander’s defenceman, Scott Mayfield, as pieces to add to their blueline.
Analysis: It makes sense for the Blues to be interested in Chara. They don’t have a second pair left-shot defenceman after the Seattle Kraken took Vince Dunn. Chara played 18:19 a night, and his shots, scoring chance and high danger scoring chances given up per minute are the second-lowest next to Nick Jensen. While Chara isn’t a puck possession darling, he can hold his own defensively. The Blues gave up the 13th most goals last season, so they could use some help.
Scott Mayfield is a St. Louis native, and Rutherford speculates that he could be a part of a return in a possible Vladimir Tarasenko trade to the Islanders. Similar to Chara, he’s no puck possession king. He had a Corsi For percentage of 46.66 percent at even-strength per Natural Stat Trick. However, Evolving Hockey ranks player’s performance out of 100 using advanced analytics. Mayfield ranks at 89 defensively, which indicates that he is an excellent defender.
It looks like the Blues are targeting big, defensively sound defencemen, similar to the defence they had when they won the Stanley Cup in 2019. There should be more NHL rumours about this in the future.
Analysis: According to Salvian, contract comparables for Zadorov are Adam Larsson and Jake McCabe. Both make $4 million a year over four years. Considering Zadorov’s qualifying offer would be $3.2 million, it’s easy to see why Zadorov would be looking for a number in the fours. He is scheduled to go to arbitration on Aug. 26, but the Flames should not want this to get to that point.
Calgary traded a third-round pick in 2022 to acquire Zadorov from the Chicago Blackhawks this offseason. While not a hefty price to pay, they don’t want to hand a defenceman they recently acquired a one-year deal through arbitration. It will allow Zadorov to explore free agency next season. With Mark Giordano gone, Zadorov is expected to be a top-four defenceman for the Flames. Paying a top-four player $4 million a season is reasonable, so they should be able to make this work before arbitration.
Analysis: It looks like there has been some progress on the Kaprizov front. Russo reports Kaprizov wants to sign a contract that allows him to go to unrestricted free agency in 2024. A four to six-year deal will undoubtedly do that, so it looks like both sides are getting closer on the term of the deal. If that is close to settled, what is left to deal with is money. If the Wild are going to give in on term, the expectation is Kaprizov will give in on salary.
Russo reports the Wild have offered Kaprizov seven and eight-year deals worth around $9 million a season. But they won’t keep that cost if Kaprizov signs for fewer years. Evolving Hockey’s contract projection tool projects Kapriziv getting a five-year deal at $7.78 million per season. I see Kaprizov shooting slightly higher than that because he has room to grow with only completing one season in the NHL. I think a deal somewhere in the mid-eight million range is what happens. The Wild and Kaprizov are a step closer to putting the rumours to bed, to the sadness of our NHL rumours writers.
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