Welcome back to another edition of NHL rumours. B is a popular letter today because we’re featuring rumours from the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres. Including talking about some big names like Tuuka Rask and Vladimir Tarasenko. Let’s dive into today’s edition of NHL Rumours!.
Rumour: Free-agent goaltender Tuukka Rask spoke to NESN journalist Logan Mullen about his desire to continue his career in Boston and where negations stand.
Tuukka Rask reiterates his desire to only play for Boston,; shares latest on his contract talks with the Bruins. https://t.co/asaQnrIdSK
— Logan Mullen (@ByLoganMullen) August 25, 2021
Analysis: Mullen’s article provides insight that Rask will eventually re-sign with the Bruins. Rask says, ” (We’re not having active talks) right now. We had good talks with (Bruins general manager Don Sweeney), and I think we’re on the same page. So, we’ll see how my rehab goes and hopefully sign a contract.” From the sounds of it, it looks like Rask and the Bruins are waiting until he is healthy to sign a contract. This makes a ton of sense business-wise. Why sign a contract before the season and pay a goalie who is not playing when you don’t have to?
This piece also brings into light what the Bruins thought signing Linus Ullmark to a four-year $20 million contract. Having Ullmark at $5 million a season and bringing Rask back, this will be an expensive situation for the Bruins. Rask said in the article that money isn’t an issue for him at this point in his career; he’s more interested in finishing his career as a Bruin. Therefore, the Bruins could pay him $3-4 million a season and have two quality netminders in the net for a reasonable price. The regular-season tandem netminding will stay the same that existed with Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Except Ullmark is eight years younger than Halak and six years younger than Rask. Allowing the Rask-Ullmark tandem to be secure for a while.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: According to Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com, the Blues not finding a trade partner yet for Vladimir Tarasenko could lead to Tarsenko still being a Blue once the season starts.
Analysis: Vladimir Tarasenko starting the season as a St. Louis Blue might be the best thing for everyone. It could boost Tarasenko’s trade value. However, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong doesn’t want to trade the team’s top offensive player over the past ten years for a small return. But opposing general managers are rightfully worried about paying a solid price to acquire him. Tarasenko has only played 34 games in the past two seasons because of his shoulder issues, and he could not be the same player he once was. If Tarasenko starts well this season and shows he is still a dangerous top-six winger, teams will be more comfortable making a deal, sparking future NHL rumours. But there is a risk that he doesn’t bounce back. In that case, he probably remains in St. Louis for another two seasons until his contract is up or gets bought out.
It’s always awkward when a player is playing for a team everyone knows he doesn’t want to be a part of anymore. But the Blues are one of the most veteran teams in the league, they will deal with this maturely, and I don’t think this will hinder their ability to perform.
Rumour: John Vogl of The Athletic writes that the Buffalo Sabres have to take advantage of their cap space and receive assets for taking bad contracts.
Sabres mailbag: one-third Eichel, two-thirds other stuff. https://t.co/XbPWEL9MB2
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) August 23, 2021
Analysis: According to CapFriendly, eight teams are currently over the salary cap and another three have less than a million dollars in space. That is before taking into account LTIR usage. There is certainly no shortage of teams looking to dump salary to give themselves some wiggle room. Buffalo has $28.6 million in cap space and needs $7 million just to hit the floor. Based on the floor alone it looks like they will have to acquire someone.
Who could be the targets? Well, that’s where the problem lies, there are none. With big contracts comes no-trade or no-movement clauses, and it’s safe to say no one is waiving those to go to Buffalo. So the Sabres may not be able to weaponize their cap space, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. Buffalo may sign some last-minute free agents to spend the $7 million instead. Sorry Sabres fans. Fortunately, there will still be NHL rumours about how that money is spent.
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