It is well-known by now that St. Louis Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko has requested a trade, but the extent to which he will go to make sure that request is honored may still be a surprise. Unlike other standout players with trade protection who simultaneously demand a trade while holding their team hostage with a limited list of acceptable destinations, Tarasenko is reportedly taking an “anywhere but St. Louis” approach. The Athletic’s Arthur Staple writes that Tarasenko, who has a full No-Trade Clause in his contract, has nevertheless provided the Blues with a considerable list of teams that he would be amenable to ending up with. Per multiple sources, Staple relays that the length of the list is “double-digits at least”. One team that is known to be on Tarasenko’s list of preferred destinations are the New York Islanders, though the salary cap implications would be tricky for such a deal. It is unknown if other teams who have checked in – the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Washington Capitals – are also on the list, but the odds are in their favor. One way or another, Tarasenko will be dealt, putting an end to an injury saga that was only resolved once Tarasenko went outside the organization to repair his shoulder. He should be fully healthy moving forward, but with some doubt and a hefty contract, there is some concern about what the Blues will recoup in a trade, if anything. Some have speculated that they may need to attach their first-round pick in order to move the pricey veteran, while others believe he will be exposed in the Expansion Draft in hopes that the Seattle Kraken take him for free instead.
- While it is unclear exactly why, it has become obvious that Pavel Buchnevich’s name is being floated on the rumor mill. The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello confirms as much, but does not know the source. This could be a case of teams simply making calls to the New York Rangers about Buchnevich following a career year, creating the illusion that he is available for trade whether the team is taking those offers seriously or not. However, there is also a good chance that the Rangers are at least actively listening or even shopping Buchnevich. The 26-year-old winger has improved significantly in each of the past two years since signing his last contract with the Rangers. Now he is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and the ammunition to command a sizeable pay raise. With more depth on the wing than at center, including top picks Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko, New York could choose to save the cap space for improving the center position, especially if Buchnevich can help to accomplish that goal as part of a trade. Carpiniello also notes that the Rangers have a number of young standouts who will require expensive extensions this summer and in the coming years and the team could be hesitant to let Buchnevich’s deal get in the way. Of course, this is all still speculation, but for whatever reason Buchnevich’s name is out there.
- It was reported last week that the Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Nate Schmidt could be heading for a split this summer after a less than inspiring first season. However, the team has since publicly denied any talks to trading Schmidt. Nevertheless, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli still debuted Schmidt at No. 12 on his Trade Targets board and believes that there is something to the rumors. Schmidt was not a good fit in Vancouver this season but still has value in the eyes of teams across the league; he appears to want to maintain that value by leaving the Canucks. Vancouver likely does not want to give up leverage by admitting that their is a mutual desire for a move, but could very much use his cap space.
- The NHL Expansion Draft allows flexibility with protection schemes, offering teams the ability to protect seven forwards and three defensemen or, in the event that there is a fourth defensemen worth more than protecting three additional forwards, the eight-skater approach. However, there is not much a team can do when they want to protect five defenseman (unless they somehow feel they can afford to only protect three forwards.) The Nashville Predators appear to be facing this conundrum. Earlier in the season, the team entertained trading Mattias Ekholm because it was assumed they wanted to protect Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Dante Fabbro and seven forwards in the upcoming Expansion Draft. However, once the team began to improve and Ekholm was not moved before the Trade Deadline, it then became more likely that they would go with eight skaters instead, keeping all four defensemen. The late-season breakout of Alexandre Carrier threw a wrench in those plans though. The 24-year-old Carrier outplayed and ultimately took the job of the 23-old Fabbro and now the Predators do not want to lose either for nothing to the Seattle Kraken. It has previously been reported that Nashville is trying to construct a side deal with Seattle that would see the NHL’s newest team take a player of the Predators’ choosing with an additional cost, rather than having an open selection of all exposed players. However, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that in the even such a deal cannot be reached, the Predators will try to trade one of their top five defenders. LeBrun believes it will be one trade route or the other; Nashville will not protect all five defensemen.