NHL Rumours: St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Rumours

Welcome to another edition of NHL rumours. Training camps are starting in two weeks, and NHL rumours are picking back up. There are still a few players that are still not signed. They include some unrestricted and restricted free agents. In addition, there is a high-profile player that has yet to be traded. In today’s NHL Rumours we take a look at the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Let’s dive in!

NHL Rumours

St. Louis Blues

Rumour: Andy Strickland with Bally Sports Midwest tweeted that he thinks a third team could get involved in a Vladimir Tarasenko deal to help retain a part of Tarasenko’s salary. 

Analysis: There are two teams immediately who jump out as being the third team in to retain some of Tarasenko’s salary, the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres. The Coyotes have proven this offseason they are willing to do anything to acquire draft picks. It makes sense for the Coyotes to pay some of his salary for picks and prospects. The Buffalo Sabres can also jump in on the fun. Their fans have been begging their team to weaponize their $23.6 million in cap space and take expensive players for an asset,  but they haven’t as of yet. It is because players don’t want to waive their no-movement or no-trade clauses to go there. But if Tarasenko’s final destination isn’t Buffalo, then it should work out.

Who could be the teams making a move for Tarasenko? A team to keep an eye on is the Edmonton Oilers. They could use an elite winger to play with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. The question do they have the room to make him fit?

Ottawa Senators

Analysis: Elliotte Freidman on 31 Thoughts the Podcast said that he thinks the Senators offered Brady Tkachuk the same deal as Thomas Chabot, eight million a season for eight years. Ottawa Senators reporter for Postmedia, Bruce Garrioch, can’t concretely say whether that offer has happened, but he does feel a long-term contract is what the team wants. And a bridge deal can come together quickly if that is what both sides agree on.

Analysis: NHL rumours have been flying the past few days about the Brady Tkachuk contract. What is becoming clearer is a longer-term contract is being discussed. Freidman believes so. Garrioch is more hesitant but said a short-term deal can be worked out quickly, so it doesn’t seem like a shorter term deal is what’s being discussed since we’re in September without a deal signed. He did write the Senators preference will be to sign Tkachuk long-term.

Using Evolving Hockey’s contract projection tool, a contract for Tkachuk will be a cap hit of $6.4 million over six years. Andrei Svechnikov, who is the same age and has 15 more career points than Tkachuk, signed for eight years with an average annual value of $7.750 million. An 8X8 contract for Tkachuk is more than enough. The fact that nothing is signed leads me to believe the 8X8 deal hasn’t been offered yet. An 8X8 offer is around the best offer Ottawa can make. We’re still two weeks out to the start of training camp, they have not made their best offer. If a long-term deal is going to be worked out it could be done closer to the start of camp.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Analysis: Rob Rossi of the Athletic writes that the Penguins will start working on extension talks with Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust in October. He clarified that he meant October in this tweet. 

Analysis: It’s encouraging to hear that the Penguins will start talking with the representatives with the three players come October. Many times, players don’t want to negotiate during the season. The fact that doesn’t seem to be a problem here means both sides must be comfortable with where they stand. Malkin and Letang will undoubtedly sign extensions. They’ve played their whole careers as Penguins and can retire in Pittsburgh. Expect both to sign two-year contracts worth a little less than what they’re making now. After that, they will sign one-year deals until they decide to retire.

While the Penguins could start preliminary conversations with Rust, they may want to see how this year starts before seriously working on a deal. Rust started his career as a reliable bottom-nine player who could score 30-40 points a season. For the last two years, he’s been on Sidney Crosby‘s wing and has been one of their top contributors. It would make sense for the Penguins to let this season play out a little and see where Rust’s game is at. Pascal Dupuis is a strong comparable for Rust as a guy who wasn’t a great top-six player but worked well with Crosby. Dupuis signed in 2013 for four years at $3.75 million. There is a chance Rust could sign for the same term and closer to $5 million a season if he continues to perform well.

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