Larry MacDougal/Associated Press
Even though the start of the 2021-22 NHL season is fast approaching, there are still some questions that need to be answered before the first puck drops in October.
Which free agents are going to sign with teams? Who may sign an extension? Will any noteworthy trades occur? Could there be any transactions that greatly affect the landscape of the league?
For now, there are rumors but not a ton of certainty. If these situations don’t develop over the next few weeks, it’s possible there won’t be much more major news this offseason. However, there’s still time for that to change.
Here’s some of the latest buzz from around the NHL.
Will Tkachuk Work Out New Deal with Ottawa?
Brady Tkachuk is a restricted free agent, so the Ottawa Senators control his rights. However, the 21-year-old forward doesn’t have a contract for the 2021-22 season.
That doesn’t mean the two sides aren’t trying to work something out, though. On Tuesday, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that the Senators and Tkachuk were having contract discussions.
“The indications are there hasn’t been any animosity and both sides are trying to find common ground to get a contract done,” Garrioch wrote.
On Monday, Shawn Simpson of TSN 1200 tweeted that there hadn’t been any updates on contract talks over the weekend but that Tkachuk doesn’t plan on returning to Ottawa until he signs a deal. NHL training camps are scheduled to begin later in September, so there’s a chance Tkachuk won’t be taking part.
But there’s still time for a deal to get done. And considering things have seemed to be progressing between the parties, it’s hard to imagine Tkachuk won’t be back in Ottawa for the 2021-22 season.
The Senators took Tkachuk with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft. Since then, he’s played 198 games over his first three seasons, tallying 60 goals and 65 assists. He may even continue to get better and put up bigger numbers as he gains more experience.
However, Tkachuk will have to sign a contract before he can continue that progression on the ice.
Could Tarasenko Still Be Traded?
During the most recent Stanley Cup Final, Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues. Yet the 29-year-old forward hasn’t been moved with the start of training camp right around the corner.
It may not be for a lack of suitors, though. According to Andy Strickland of Bally Sports Midwest, there’s at least one interested team that would even be “willing to retain a portion of Tarasenko’s salary.” He’s set to make $9.5 million during the upcoming season and $5.5 million in 2022-23, the final year of his contract.
However, it’s unclear what team would be willing to do that, so Tarasenko might not be close to getting traded.
Strickland also noted that for a deal involving Tarasenko to get done, it may require a third team to get in the mix. So the Blues could be looking for two trade partners.
As for St. Louis head coach Craig Berube, he doesn’t seem to be thinking about a trade. He said during an appearance on The Cam & Strick Podcast that he’s preparing for Tarasenko to be on the team this season.
“I expect Vladdy to play for us,” Berube said. “And I’m gonna treat him like every other player. Yeah, he asked to be traded and things happen. But again, we want Vladdy to play good hockey for us.”
It’s still a situation to monitor, though, in case things change.