NHL Rumors Fallout: Ovechkin’s next deal, trading Kuznetsov, and could the Blues trade Tarasenko or O’Reilly?

Alex Ovechkin’s next deal? Evgeny Kuznetsov trade bait? St. Louis Blues trade possibilities?

NHL Rumors Fallout! That’s what happens when any team that people believe should have done more in the playoffs face. Two teams were eliminated last night that many had higher expectations for, none more so than the Washington Capitals.

NHL Rumors Fallout: Washington Captals

Alex Ovechkin is now an unrestricted free agent. Yet, not a single sane person believes he won’t be coming back to the Washington Capitals. “I’m not worried about it,” Ovechkin said via NHL.com about his next deal. “Why do I have to worry about it?”

alex ovechkin next deal
Mar 16, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders in the second period at Capital One Arena. Ovechkin passed Phil Esposito for sixth all time on the NHL goal scoring list with the goal. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The rumor mill has the Caps reserving anywhere from $8 to $11 million depending on how much term Alex is seeking. Just don’t expect this to happen until after the Seattle Expansion draft so Washington can protect another player. I wrote about how NHL teams will be delaying signing UFA’s here.

Fallout for the Caps will be centered around retooling this team for one more run but with an eye on the future. Will they bring back Zdeno Chara for one more year? What about a goalie? Those are two big questions to ask, but one piece is almost likely gone and that’s Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The 29 year-old pivot has three years remaining at $7.8 million AAV with a 15 team no move clause. Expect the Capitals to trade him this summer to start reshaping this roster.

Vladimir Tarasenko or Ryan O’Reilly on their way out?

vladimir tarasenko trade rumors
Vladimir Tarasenko (USATSI)

There is no denying that Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the best offensive players in the game today. Just as there’s no denying he’s one of the most injury prone. Could the Blues put the 29 year-old Tarasenko on the block with two years remaining at $7.5 million? Would Tarasenko waive his full no trade clause to accommodate? Certainly interesting questions that may come to light in the coming weeks.

The Blues are an aging team and need to infuse some more youth into this lineup. What other possibilities would they consider? How about a rebuild? Would they consider trading Ryan O’Reilly and his two years at $7.5 million away for some top prospects? O’Reilly does not have any trade restrictions and I know there’s a team in NY that would be interested in the gritty center.

Word out of New York is that their interest in Jack Eichel has cooled considerably. They are still center shopping and O’Reilly is just the type of center they could be looking for.