Kraken reportedly passing on Price, Tarasenko in NHL expansion draft

The game of chicken between Ron Francis and Marc Bergevin will end with Carey Price not heading to the Seattle Kraken.

According to a number of NHL insiders, the Kraken will use their Canadiens pick on defenseman Cale Fleury.

The news over the weekend that Price had been exposed by the Canadiens was a bit of an eyebrow raiser, but then it came out that he might require knee surgery and miss a large chunk of the 2021-22 NHL season. Still, there was a small case to make for him being drafted. Price would have been a “face of the franchise” type player, played junior hockey in Washington State, and was born in British Columbia.

But the case against drafting Price was obvious. He will be 34 in August, has five more years remaining on a contract that carries a $10.5M salary cap hit, and his game has been trending downward since his Vezina Trophy win in 2014-15.

Another star player the Kraken will be passing on is Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old forward has requested a trade out of St. Louis and was left unprotected by the Blues. Defenseman Vince Dunn, who is a pending restricted free agent, will reportedly be Seattle’s pick.

Tarasenko has two years left on his contract with a $7.5M cap hit. There were reports that teams were contacting Francis to inform him of their interest in making a trade should they pick the Blues forward. Now that Tarasenko will remain in St. Louis for the time being, GM Doug Armstrong can at least attempt to get assets in return.

Roster news slowly dripping out

The leaks are coming out hours before Wednesday’s expansion draft show. Jared McCann, Brandon Tanev, Carsen Twarynski, Mark Giordano, Vitek Vanecek, and Joey Daccord appear to be heading to Seattle. That news follows reports of Francis agreeing to sign defensemen Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak, along with goaltender Chris Driedger.

Seattle’s expansion draft roster must feature at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies. The Kraken had a 10 a.m. ET Wednesday deadline to submit their 30 expansion draft selections to the NHL.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Which players might Kraken flip after NHL expansion draft?

The Seattle Kraken will announce their official roster on Wednesday with their expansion draft selections.

They will select 30 players, one from each NHL team excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, to build initial current roster (the rules are here).

While many of the players selected will be the foundation of the first year franchise, there will no doubt be several selections on Wednesday that never play a game for the Kraken. There are no doubt side deals being made right now with other teams for Seattle to pick a player another team likes, and then flip them for more assets.

[Related: Picking Carey Price would be bold, risky move for Seattle Kraken]

Back in the 2017 expansion draft the Vegas Golden Knights immediately traded five of their initial picks, including Dave Schlemko, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Marc Methot, Calvin Pickard, and Alexei Emelin. It was a good way for Vegas to stockpile future assets and additional pieces to its organization.

Seattle will almost certainly do the same.

Here are some candidates that Seattle could select only to use as a trade chip immediately after the expansion draft is completed.

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

Honestly the Kraken would be smart to take him for themselves. But it also seems reasonable to think they could take him for the purposes of flipping him to another team. Tarasenko has reportedly asked for a trade out of St. Louis, but his contract, salary cap hit, and recent injury history do make him a bit of a risk. The Kraken could pick and eat a portion of his salary in a trade to remove some of that risk for another team that wants him.

Or, the Kraken could just keep him and hope he is healthy and bounces back and plays like the All-Star player he is for the next two years.

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

Giordano seems like an easy pick from the Flames, even as a trade chip whether it be immediately after the draft or at the trade deadline. Is he still a Norris Trophy level player like he was three years ago? Not at all. But he is still really good and would improve a lot of team’s blue lines. He is still a positive possession-driver and can chip in enough offense to make an impact with a very manageable salary cap number. The fact he is on an expiring contract should also be attractive to other teams (including the Kraken).

[Related: NHL Mock Expansion Draft, projecting Kraken roster]

P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils

Subban has rapidly declined in recent years but he did see a slight bounce back this past season.

The obvious deterrent to a trade is going to be the $9 million salary cap hit, even for just one year, as he is not a $9 million per year player.

But, again, this is a situation where the Kraken could weaponize their salary sap space and eat some money to facilitate a trade. They can not do that a lot, because eventually that cap space will run out and you can only retain salary on so many trades, but if the Kraken were willing to eat 50 percent of Subban’s deal there will no doubt be a handful of teams that would take him on a $4.5 million salary cap hit. He would probably be worth that for this season.

Calle Jarnkrok, Nashville Predators

The Predators exposed list is full of big money forwards and players that would not really change much for the Kraken. They would also sabotage their current and future salary cap space. Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen are not worth their contracts, and given that they still have term remaining on them retaining salary would ruin their future cap numbers. Stay clear of those contracts.

Jarnkrok, though, could be somebody they could flip. He has an affordable contract and could be productive in a middle-six role that you could probably pencil in for 15 goals in any given season.

Adam Henrique, Anaheim Ducks

Could a change of scenery be what Henrique needs?

His contract is not cheap, counting more than $5.8 million against the salary cap for another three seasons, but there are still reasons to believe he might have a bounce back in him. For one, he is just one year removed from a 26-goal season with the Ducks (in only 71 games). But he also still has strong underlying possession numbers and it could serve him well to be on a better team with more offensive talent around him.

Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers list might have the most big name players of any team in the league, with Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, and Gostisbehere all available. Any of them could be attractive to Seattle and former Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.

Gostisbehere has not blossomed into the top-pairing, No. 1 defender the Flyers hoped he would when he first arrived in the NHL seven years ago, but he still has some value and can contribute, especially if put into a sheltered role. His possession numbers are still strong and he definitely provides some offense from the blue line. He seems like one of those players that failed to meet expectations fully and is viewed as a bust, when in reality he is simply just a good player. Maybe not what you expected. Still pretty useful.

Price, Tarasenko, more: Biggest names (risks?) available in expansion draft

Before the protected and available players lists emerged, it seemed like the Kraken would be sifting through debris while making their expansion draft picks. The thinking was that, at best, they’d be unearthing diamonds in the rough. Instead, the Kraken must determine: is that big, shiny, flashing object (like Carey Price) worth a gamble?

In this post, PHT breaks down some of the biggest names (and contracts, and risks) available to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Wednesday represents when the Kraken’s expansion draft picks will be announced.

Later on, we’ll discuss potential values/steals available to the Seattle Kraken during this intriguing expansion draft.

Seattle Kraken expansion draft rules refresher

Now, you might want a refresher on the Seattle Kraken expansion draft rules. (If not, scroll to the next section.)

Each NHL team (except the Golden Knights) needed to choose to protect players under two alignment options:

  1. Protecting seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.
  2. Protecting any combination of eight skaters (example: four forwards, four defensemen), and a goalie.

That said, not every NHL player is involved, so some prospects were not available to the expansion draft. Meanwhile, NHL teams were forced to protect certain players because of contract factors. As the NHL explains:

* All players with no movement clauses at the time of the draft, and who decline to waive those clauses, must be protected and will be counted toward their team’s applicable protection limits.

* All first- and second-year professionals, and all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection and will not be counted toward protection limits.

So, the 30 NHL teams involved faced those considerations. What about some of the minimums and other factors for the Kraken in selecting players in the expansion draft? Here are some key details:

  • The Kraken must select at least: 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies. They’ll need to select one player from all 30 teams in the expansion draft.
  • At least 20 players must be under contract for the 2021-22 season. That part of the process once made it tougher to put together these PHT lists.
  • The total cap hit must fall somewhere between 60-percent and 100-percent of the upper limit of the salary cap.
  • Starting on Sunday (July 18), the Kraken open a window to exclusively negotiate with pending free agents who were not protected by NHL teams. If the Kraken signed one of those free agents, that player would count as Seattle’s pick for a given team.

Want even more detail? The NHL’s rules explained how injuries and other factors work.

Price, Tarasenko, Ovechkin? Biggest names, risks available in Kraken expansion draft

OK, let’s run down some of the biggest names (and, usually, cap hits) available in the Kraken expansion draft. Check out the full list of available players here.

Carey Price: Expansion draft pros and cons

Could Carey Price echo Marc-Andre Fleury as a veteran goalie who became the “face” of an expansion franchise?

If you judge Price based on some strong playoff work, then many will utter an emphatic “Yes!” It’s unclear how much people show up at the box office for a big-name goalie. Still, Price could give the Kraken a marketable name right out of the expansion draft.

But, goodness, would that ever be a risk.

Price, 33, carries a $10.5M cap hit for five more seasons. His contract has ranked among the worst in the NHL, at least until his playoff resurgence. (Full disclosure: it still scares me. A lot.)

While Price waived his clause for the expansion draft, the Kraken can’t just assume they can turn around and trade him, either.

As Johnston mentions, Price also receives that $11M signing bonus. If the Kraken were guaranteed quality goaltending, it might be worth it. Even then, are we certain they wouldn’t just be wasting strong performances behind a flawed team?

Sure seems like a huge gamble with murky odds of success to me. We’ll see if Ron Francis and the Kraken disagree.

Tarasenko an interesting risk

After trying to trade Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues exposed him to the expansion draft. That alone raises some red flags about the 29-year-old.

With three shoulder surgeries (and the Blues’ side of that situation driving a wedge?), Tarasenko’s a risk. He only played 10 games in 2019-20, and 24 in 2020-21. When he played last season, Tarasenko looked far from the elite sniper he once was.

Can he regain that form? Maybe not, but the Kraken might find Tarasenko appealing if he merely can be, say, 80-percent of that player. Theoretically, the Kraken can trade Tarasenko in the event that he rebuilds his reputation.

His contract itself is a mixed bag. Most importantly, it only runs for two seasons. If Tarasenko’s toast, it won’t linger on the books for ages. (Price, meanwhile, could rapidly become an albatross.)

The actual structure of Tarasenko’s contract is especially interesting. While Tarasenko carries a $7.5M cap hit for two more seasons, he gets paid very differently. Next season, he’s a pricey $9.5M; in 2022-23, he costs merely $5.5M in actual salary.

Would the Kraken really want to pay that much up front? Maybe not. The risk-reward ratio is absolutely fascinating, though.

JVR, Voracek, interesting/pricey Flyers

The Flyers began their offseason push with a shrewd Ryan Ellis trade. Will the Flyers lose a prominent (and expensive) player to the expansion draft?

  • James van Riemsdyk, 32, carries a $7M cap hit for two more seasons. In an otherwise bleak season for the Flyers, JVR was incredible. He’s a little older, and not cheap. But that strong season, and not too much term, make him intriguing.
  • Jakub Voracek, 31, commands an $8.25M through 2023-24. It sure sounds like the team and player might be ready to part ways. He certainly can score, yet is that mix of money and term right for Seattle?
  • If you consider the tepid interest in acquiring Shayne Gostisbehere, maybe he warrants a mention. Ghost, 28, carries a $4.5M AAV for two more seasons.

Gotta say, I don’t hate the idea of giving JVR a shot. That said, maybe the Kraken believe there are better values on younger expansion draft options?

Flames expose Giordano

There was some debate over whether the Flames would protect Christopher Tanev or Mark Giordano in the expansion draft. Now, the Kraken get to debate the merits of selecting Giordano from the Flames in the expansion draft.

  • On one hand, he’s getting up there in age. Giordano is 37.
  • That said, he’s not that far removed from winning a Norris Trophy. While his play has slipped, he’s still one of the best defensive options available.
  • His $6.75M cap hit is pricey, yet the risk is low. The contract expires after next season.

In Seattle’s shoes, I’d snatch Giordano, then test the trade market. Would a great deal pop up during the offseason? Might something better come up at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline? If nothing else, Giordano’s the sort of veteran presence teams twist themselves into a pretzel to get.

Big names with the big free agent caveat

  • Technically, the Capitals did not protect Alex Ovechkin. Multiple reports indicate that the Kraken would be wasting their time picking Ovechkin in the expansion draft, though.

(Want one scenario where Ovechkin would make sense for the Kraken? Perhaps if they simply didn’t want to choose a Capitals player. They have some nice options, there, though.)

Lightning round: Subban, Quick, other expansion draft options for Kraken

Here are some of the other notable names.

  • Like Carey Price, P.K. Subban boasts “face of the franchise” potential. He’s expensive at $9M, though, even if that deal is expiring. Subban hasn’t enjoyed the redemption arc Price as, and it’s tough to imagine the Kraken taking a risk to give him a chance to do that.
  • What about Jonathan Quick? A side deal would really only make sense for a 35-year-old whose $5.8M AAV lasts for two more seasons.
  • The Lightning provided one truly great option (Yanni Gourde), another noteworthy name (Ondrej Palat), and someone who’d likely require a bribe (Tyler Johnson). Between Gourde and some nice young players like Ross Colton and Alex Barre-Boulet, the Kraken have some options. Maybe the Lightning bribe them?
  • Also intriguing: two Islanders forwards. Jordan Eberle, 31, is quite effective. His deal is a mixed bag: $5.5M cap hit for three more seasons. Meanwhile, Josh Bailey, 31, is slightly cheaper ($5M) and also sees his deal expire after 2023-24.
  • It would be a really, really bad idea to pick $8M Predators centers Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen. They must be mentioned, because wow.

OK, even faster lightning round. Some other names that stand out, with many falling into the “only if teams bribe the Kraken” category:

Lots to choose from

Again, PHT will go deeper on players viewed as the best values. Some players mentioned above may also make it into that mix.

Yet, if the Kraken merely just throw caution to the wind, they have a ton of fascinating expansion draft options, eh?

Pretty stunning stuff. How would you approach these choices? Are you in that Carey Price club? Do tell.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Islanders could be positioning themselves for big offseason move

It has been a busy 24 hours in the NHL as teams have made moves to position themselves ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft on Wednesday. The New York Islanders were one of the busiest teams ahead of Saturday’s roster freeze, working to shed some significant salary cap space.

It could be setting the stage for a significant move in the coming weeks and months in an effort to help them make another deep postseason run.

They started on Friday by sending veteran defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Richard Panik, with the Red Wings retaining half of Panik’s salary.

Then on Saturday they sent Andrew Ladd to the Arizona Coyotes, along with three draft picks (two second-round picks and a third-round pick) to remove the final two years of his contract from the books. The Islanders received nothing in return except for the salary cap space.

[Related: Islanders send Nick Leddy to Red Wings]

Those two moves give the Islanders more than $12 million in salary cap space to work with this offseason. They will add another $6 million to that at the start of the season when veteran defender Johnny Boychuk is moved to the long-term injured list. So figure the Islanders have $18 million to spend this offseason. That is a lot. It also does not take into account the possibility of another contract being shed in Wednesday’s expansion draft.

Before they can get into adding to the roster there are some in-house moves that need to be made.

  • Top defensemen Adam Pelech is a restricted free agent and will require a significant contract.
  • Anthony Beauvillier is also a restricted free agent and due for a new contract.
  • Goalie Ilya Sorokin, the future of the position on Long Islang, is also a pending restricted free agent.

Those three players will no doubt eat into a significant portion of that $18 million in space. But they should not take all of it.

There is also the possibility of them perhaps trying to re-sign trade deadline acquisition Kyle Palmieri who proved to be a great fit in the postseason.

Assuming they let Palmieri walk, there are a lot of interesting possibilities for the Islanders out there in both trade and the free agent market.

[Related: Blues’ Tarasenko reportedly asks for trade]

Vladimir Tarasenko has requested a trade out of St. Louis, and assuming he is not selected by Seattle in the expansion draft (he has reportedly been left unprotected by the Blues) could be an option. It would be a risky move given Tarasenko’s recent injury history, but there is also the possibility of St. Louis retaining salary and the fact his trade cost may not be all significant given his current value.

Gabriel Landeskog is one of the top potential free agents and, as of now, seems to have hit a roadblock in his negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche.

Lamoriello has an extensive history with Zach Parise, and was even rumored to have tried to trade for him at the deadline a couple of years ago. He is now a free agent after his deal was bought out by Minnesota.

You also can not overlook Taylor Hall if he does not re-sign in Boston.

Or would they get really wild with it and pursue somebody on defense? Devon Toews and Nick Leddy have been traded the past two years and they could certainly use another top-four option. Seth Jones is available, while Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Suter, and Keith Yandle are all set to hit the open market as free agents.

[Related: Lessons Kraken, rest of NHL can learn from Golden Knights expansion draft]

Bottom line, the Islanders should have some money to play with and some options to use it on.

It also might be the time to go all in for it. The Islanders have advanced in the Stanley Cup Playoffs three years in a row and reached the Conference Finals/semifinal round in each of the past two years only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning. For whatever flaws you think they might have, they have consistently been close to the Stanley Cup Final and can clearly cause problems in the playoffs. They also do not exactly have a young team, and have depleted the draft pick cupboard over the past couple of years with additions. The window is there. Right now.

If there is one thing the Islanders need to get through a team like Tampa Bay in the East it might be another impact player that can break a game open.

They might have put themselves in a position to pursue one of them.

NHL Power Rankings: Players who could get traded this offseason

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we look ahead to what could be a very busy offseason and highlight some of the biggest trade candidates that could be available.

The combination of a flat salary cap, teams needing to create space, and the expansion draft creates quite an environment for trades, and potentially significant trades.

A franchise player could be on the move, another has already reportedly requested a trade, and a former dynasty could be continuing its rebuild.

Which players make this week’s NHL Power Rankings list?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

The franchise changing trade

1. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres. At this point it just seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Eichel era is going to come to a disappointing end in Buffalo. The Sabres have failed to build around him, he is clearly frustrated with the team on multiple levels (medically, competitively), and it just seems like it is a matter of when and not if this happens. When it does it will significantly alter the course of two of the league’s franchises. For Buffalo, it will kickstart what is almost certainly another full blown rebuild. For the team that gets him it is adding a franchise player, one of the best in the league, in the prime of his career. It is the type of move that can accelerate any team’s rebuild (Los Angeles, New York) or turn any good team into an immediate contender.

Very strong possibility of a trade

2. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues. Tarasenko has reportedly requested a trade from the Blues and there should be a few teams with serious interest. It will not be an easy trade, however, given his recent injury history, production, and the size of his contract (especially his $9.5M salary this season).

[Related: Teams that should pursue a Tarasenko trade]

3. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets. Entering the final year of his contract and apparently unwilling to re-sign in Columbus makes Jones an obvious trade candidate. This is going to be a fascinating one to watch because there seems to be some disconnect on how good Jones still is. Analytically his play seems to have regressed. But the eye test people still love him and hold him in high regard. The truth probably sits somewhere in the middle.

4. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks’ rebuild looks to continue with a Keith trade, and there was already a report they are working with him to get him to the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada. The Oilers seem to be the favorite, but is that really what they need?

[Related: Which teams make sense for Duncan Keith?]

5. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes. This will be the second year in a row Ekman-Larsson is mentioned prominently in trade speculation. He will be 30 at the start of the season and his production has regressed a little the past couple of years, which might be a couple of red flags given the size of his remaining contract.

6. Nate Schmidt, Vancouver Canucks. This seemed like a good addition at the time, but Schmidt did not really work out in Vancouver the way he was expected to and the Canucks should be desperate to shed salary given the work they have to do in re-signing Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes this offseason.

7. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals. It has been a rocky couple of years for Kuznetsov and the Capitals and maybe it is time for a change. Is he still an impact player? Maybe! That $7.8M salary cap hit over the next four years is a big gamble for a “maybe.”

Definitely worth keeping an eye on

8. Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins. DeBrusk seemed to spend much of this season on the trade block, and that is not likely to change this offseason. He had a down year with only five goals and nine assists in 41 games, but he has a strong track record that should make a bounce back likely. Good news for a team that trades for him. Bad news for the Bruins who would be selling low.

9. Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. The Wild are going to have another expansion draft log-jam and they could definitely stand to clear some salary cap space, especially with Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala needing to be re-signed. Dumba is no stranger to the trade rumor mill and would be an intriguing target for a team in need of defense. In fact, any team thinking of adding Keith or Jones should probably start their search with Dumba instead.

[Related: NHL Trade advice: Aim for Matt Dumba]

10. Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues. This has always been a weird one. Dunn has always played extremely well in the minutes the Blues have given him, but they never seem willing to increase his role. Definitely worth a look for a team in need of help on the blue line.

11. Tampa Bay Lightning (multiple players). Maybe you heard, but the Lightning were $18M over the salary cap in the playoffs and no matter how hard they try that is going to be difficult to duplicate. They know changes are ahead this offseason, it is just a matter of which players get moved. They already know they are going to lose somebody in the expansion draft while Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow are among their unrestricted free agents. They will no doubt explore moving Tyler Johnson again, but what about somebody like Yanni Gourde if he is not taken by Seattle? Lot of moving parts to watch there.

It is possible, but not likely

12. Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers. Elliotte Friedman reported in his most recent “31 Thoughts” column that the Flyers and Voracek could be looking for a change. There is a possibility that Voracek could be left exposed in the expansion draft, and that if he is not chosen by Seattle a trade could happen. He will be 32 this season and still has a lot of money remaining, but he is still a good playmaker.

13. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames. Gaudreau is entering the final year of his contract so it is worth wondering what his future looks like. He is still an impact player and should have a lot of quality hockey in front of him, but the Flames have been aimlessly stumbling along in mediocrity for a while now and you have to wonder if something eventually gives and they go in a different direction. This would be a risky move for the Flames.

14. Kevin Labanc, San Jose Sharks. The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz mentioned Labanc as a possible trade chip for the Sharks as they attempt to upgrade their goaltending position and forward depth. His offensive game has not fully developed as hoped, but the talent and potential is there and the contract is not terrible for the next couple of years.

15. Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres. If you are going to trade Eichel there is no point in keeping Reinhart, is there?

16. Conor Garland, Arizona Coyotes. Am going to put this in a “long shot” category. It is one of those trades that it would not shock you if it did happen, but it does not seem extremely likely. Garland is a restricted free agent and the Coyotes have to decide what he is worth and where they see their organization going in the next few years. If they rebuild and tear it down, Garland would be an attractive trade asset. But he is also their most productive forward and a heck of a player.

Teams that should pursue a Vladimir Tarasenko trade

Vladimir Tarasenko is the latest big name to enter the offseason trade rumor mill after a report surfaced this week that he has requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues.

Assuming the Blues work to honor that request this is going to be a complicated trade to pull off with what might be a very limited market.

Let’s start with the fact that Tarasenko has only played in 42 games (including playoffs) over the past two seasons, scoring just nine goals in the process. He has had major shoulder issues, has two years remaining on his contract, and his actual salary that teams will owe him is greater than his remaining salary cap hit this season. That could be problematic for teams that do not spend to the limits of the salary cap.

The finances are complicated. There are injury concerns. He also turns 30 this season. That could scare potential suitors away with that sort of risk.

[Related: Tarasenko reportedly requests trade from St. Louis Blues]

But where there is risk, there is reward. And if turns out that Tarasenko recovers from his shoulder issues, is fully healthy, and returns to his pre-injury form he is still one of the most dominant offensive players and goal scoring wingers in the league. That is going to be attractive to somebody.

Here we take a look at some teams that should have interest.

Teams that should be calling

New York Rangers

There are a lot of reasons why this one makes sense.

For starters, there is a connection between Tarasenko and Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin. They would no doubt have an interesting joining forces in New York and getting an opportunity to play together in the NHL. There is also the fact the Rangers are going to be under immense pressure to win, and win this season. They overhauled their entire front office and coaching staff because they were not seeing immediate results, and another season out of the playoffs is not going to be accepted by anybody. You can be sure they will be in the market for a big addition.

The Rangers are also a team that can swing this financially.

They have the salary cap space to take on Tarasenko’s $7.5 million salary cap number, and they also have the big market budget to pay him the $9 million in actual salary that he is owed this season. Not many teams could do that.

The Rangers seem like a major team to watch here.

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers seem to be putting all of their eggs in the Duncan Keith basket, and while I understand the need to upgrade the defense, I am not sure that is the path to take.

Even though defense is a need, adding another impact forward is as well.

Do we really need to go over the numbers again? When neither Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl is on the ice, the Oilers were outscored by a 29-52 margin this season and attempted just 44 percent of the total shot attempts. When one of them is on the ice, they are great. When both of them are on the ice, they are a Stanley Cup contender. But all of that still leaves 20-25 minutes a game where neither is on the ice, and they get absolutely crushed in those minutes and they have for the entirety of the careers of McDavid and Draisaitl.

Adding a player like Tarasenko, assuming he is healthy, could add another impact player to the lineup to help form a reliable second scoring line when the Oilers play McDavid and Draisaitl together.

If the Oilers are going to take a big financial risk this offseason on a big name player they should take it on the player (Tarasenko) that still has a chance to be a star.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils are in a really good position this offseason to make some moves.

They have a couple of young stars to build around (Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Mackenzie Blackwood, Ty Smith) and they are swimming in salary cap space in an offseason where teams might have to dump some money.

They could be major players this offseason, and they need another goal scorer. They should check in.

Seattle Kraken

This could be something, maybe even expansion draft related. If the Blues know they are going to have to part ways with Tarasenko they could either leave him exposed in the expansion draft and hope Seattle takes him, clearing the remaining salary cap space from his contract, or work out a deal of some sort with the Kraken. Seattle has all of the salary cap space in the world, has the green light to spend to the cap, and Tarasenko could be the type of high-reward player that could make them competitive early on.

Nashville Predators

From a hockey standpoint this could make sense. The Predators need more offense, they just traded Viktor Arvidsson for draft picks, Tarasenko could be a big upgrade, and Nashville has a recent track record of trying to make big splashes like this in trades. The financials make it a little complicated, though. Is Nashville going to want to spend $9 million in actual salary on a player with his recent injury history? Do they have the salary cap space to fit his contract for two years?

Long shots

Columbus Blue Jackets

Another team that needs goal scoring. They tried to make a big splash a year ago with Patrik Laine, but his first year with the team was a mess. Does he bounce back under a new coach? Or with a fresh start? Even if he does he alone is not going to be enough to boost this offense.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins always seem connected to every big player that is available on the market, but this would be difficult given what all they need to do this offseason. They would like to re-sign Taylor Hall, while long-time core players David Krejci and Tuukka Rask are also unrestricted free agents. Hard to imagine them re-signing all three and having the room to add Tarasenko.

New York Islanders

This could be a fit from a hockey and need standpoint, but it would require a lot of moving parts to make it work under the salary cap. Is that worth it given the (very legitimate) questions surrounding Tarasenko (age, shoulder, contract)? It could make sense, but it does not seem realistic.