The NHL 2021-22 season is about 6 weeks away as we anticipate the start of preseason hockey on September 28. In four weeks, we will have the NHL prospect showcase followed by training camps.
In that time span we should continue to see RFA’s sign new deals, some UFA’s joining new teams, and maybe a few more trades?
Two big names that were already expected to be moved are still stuck on their respective teams and it looks like they may stay there.
Let’s update their respective situations and see what other players are expected to be traded before puck drop.
NHL Rumors: Jack Eichel
Why is Jack Eichel still a member of the Buffalo Sabres? There’s no denying that the asking price was too high for trading the face of the franchise. Despite his neck injury, he’s still a former #2 overall draft pick, an almost point a game player, and just 24 years-old.
The situation has reached critical mass over the last few weeks.
“The process is not working,” Eichel’s agents have fired back at the Sabres for feeling no pressure to make deal. “As previously stated, we fully anticipated a trade by the start of the NHL free agency period…What is being left out of the discussion is that Jack would be able to play in the NHL for the start of the season pending medical clearance if he were allowed to have the surgery he desires even as of this date. Repeated requests have been made to the Sabres since early June to no avail. This process is stopping Jack from playing in the NHL and it is not working.”
Right now the Sabres seem to be playing hardball not only with any team asking about Eichel, but with him and his agents. There’s some growing rumblings that the Sabres may very well drag this out into training camp and beyond.
So what happens next?
Eichel still needs surgery, and from all the latest reports and information that has come to light it will be an artificial disc replacement. That recovery time will take at least 8 weeks. That means if he were to have today, Eichel would miss all of training camp. If it’s a fusion, the recovery is a minimum of 12 weeks.
Any team acquiring him will likely ease him back, so he may miss regular season games. If the trade were to happen next month, he could miss 15 to 30 games. All of that is going to drive down what teams will offer.
Could Eichel play for Buffalo next season? That seems unlikely and he may sit out until a trade is made.
This drama is far from over it appears and may last awhile. It also doesn’t help that it appears no teams are in the mix at the moment.
Vladimir Tarasenko likely to start season with Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko wants out of St. Louis and the Blues are still trying to accommodate his request. The 29 year-old has two years left on a deal that comes with a $7.5 million AAV and the ability to control his fate. Thanks to his contract which includes a 10 team trade list protection.
Teams where he’d be willing to go are the Lightning, Capitals, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Golden Knights, Panthers, and Bruins. At this time, few of those teams could even afford to take his cap hit on. Maybe the Islanders and Rangers could do it, but he will need to expand his list to facilitate a trade before the new campaign begins.
The Hurricanes make a lot of sense and have cap space for what is it worth.
Regardless, the Blues aren’t going to just give him away or eat too much of his salary. That’s why this could be an in-season trade now.
“Vladi has to prepare like he’s coming back to St. Louis,” Armstrong said via The Athletic. “He has to get ready to play. He is a 30-year-old. I’m sure he wants to play for a number of years in the NHL, and he has to come back and have a great season.”
Alexandar Georgiev still on the block
Frank Seravalli is pretty adamant that Alexandar Georgiev is interested in a change of scenery as a starter and that the Rangers are looking to move him. The 25 year-old goalie could be part of a package for a big trade or simply sent off for a high draft pick to a team looking for a new number 1.
Georgiev’s cap hit is $2.425M for this season and then he will be an RFA with arbitration rights. Word around the Blueshirts is that he is still available.
With Keith Kinkaid proving he is a more than a capable backup after last season, he makes more sense cap wise. The 32 year-old is only on the books for $825,000. The Rangers just gave Igor Shesterkin a new 4 year-deal worth $5.66M and is the unquestionable starter for the team going forward.
Expect Georgiev to be traded before the season starts.