Welcome to the Sunday edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The NHL Trade Deadline is long gone and the push to the playoffs is on. That means teams are going to be focused on their pending free agents. Not to mention all the moves that did not happen at the trade deadline could be revisited. In this post-trade-deadline edition of NHL Rumors we look at the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues.
Colorado Avalanche – Crowded Blueline
Rumor: Per – milehighhockey.com. It’s safe to assume that Cale Makar and Devon Toews will be the top pairing or at least among the top-four defensemen to hit the ice in the first round. That leaves four defensive slots open for seven available defenders. Jared Bednar and Colorado will have to choose from the following:
Jack Johnson ($750k AAV)
Kurtis MacDermid ($875k AAV)
Bowen Byram ($894k AAV)
Ryan Murray ($2.0-million AAV)
Josh Manson ($2.05-million AAV)
Samuel Girard ($5-million AAV)
Erik Johnson ($6-million AAV)
Based on analytics and playoff hockey starting soon, this is what the Av’s blueline should look like:
Cale Makar – Devon Toews
Samuel Girard – Josh Manson
Bo Byram – Erik Johnson
Much could depend on their opponent as to who sits in the playoffs and who is out on the ice. It seems to boil down to the Johnson boys and Bowen Byram going after the last two spots on any given night. It could come down to whom the Avalanche matchup with. If it’s heavy hockey, Byram may be a healthy scratch to keep him out of harm’s way.
In any case, the loaded Avs have many options, and from past playoff letdowns, they want to get this one right. They can certainly score, but as we all know defence wins in the postseason. The other factor is how strong they will be in the net. Darcy Kuemper is playing in Vezina form with a stunning 35-9-3 record. His .926 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average is right up there. It’s the Avs to lose at this point, let’s see how it rolls out.
Anaheim Ducks – Offseason Plans
Rumor – Per – Eric Stephens – theathlectic.com. Stephens observed GM Pat Verbeek has the assets to make some moves this summer with 14 picks in the first three rounds of the next three NHL drafts. His club also carries $41 million in salary-cap space for next season and must spend to reach the projected $60.8 million cap minimum.
Some additions that Verbeek could consider include the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine and Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois as trade targets. However, since all those choices are restricted free agents, they could require a short-term deal to get them to their unrestricted status with no guarantee that they would stay.
Verbeek was a very busy general manager leading up to last month’s trade deadline, He shipped out pending UFAs Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, and Josh Manson to playoff contenders for draft picks and prospects. Expect more changes to the Ducks this summer with some additions via trades and/or free agency and perhaps another notable player being shipped out if John Gibson should request a trade to a contender.
Without a doubt, the Ducks will be showing off some new feathers next season.
St. Louis Blues – Vladimir Tarasenko
Rumor – Per – Andy Strickland – ballysports.com. Strickland reports that Vladimir Tarasenko has made it clear he wants to stay in St. Louis.
Vladimir Tarasenko, who has made it clear to teammates and coaches that he wants to be in St. Louis, ties his career high with his 8th game winning goal of the season. Closing in on his career high of 75 points. #stlblues— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) April 13, 2022
In our last NHL Rumor, itt seems that perhaps Tarasenko has changed mind that he’d like to stay put. He is enjoying a stellar season with 31 goals, and 41 assists in 67 games. That tallies up to 1.07 points per game. He is red-hot of late with six goals, and five assists in his last five games! He disabled the Buffalo Sabres with three goals and two assists in a recent contest.
So, it seems, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? He was the focal point of numerous trade rumors near the trade deadline, but the Blues couldn’t find a suitable deal. Tarasenko is signed through next season at a $7.5 million cap hit. After his performance this season, if he stays… he will certainly require a pay raise. Better yet, if he carries the Blues’ into a deep playoff run, his value will only increase more.
In the end, he does have a no-trade clause and that could make it difficult to move him unless he rescinds that NTC.
That about does it for this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to check back for our next article!
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