NHL Rumors: Blues, Wild, Flames, Oilers, Penguins

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk that teams are starting to reach out to the Calgary Flames about the availability of Matthew Tkachuk. Is it possible the Flames lose both Johnny Gaudreau and Tkachuk in the same offseason? Meanwhile, Vladimir Tarasenko trade talk has picked up again. What’s going on with Kirill Kaprizov and his status in Russia? Finally, Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland spoke with media at the draft and provided a number of updates and Ron Hextall did the same regarding the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Blues Ready to Move Tarasenko?

Per reports, including one from Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, there’s a good chance the Blues will move Vladimir Tarasenko this summer, where they weren’t able to last offseason. Seravalli notes, “Unlike Jake DeBrusk, Tarasenko’s trade request has never been rescinded.” He adds a deal is likely, “After the Blues questioned Tarasenko’s commitment and character – even though their own doctor botched two shoulder surgeries – and left him exposed in the Expansion Draft, Tarasenko responded with the best season of his career.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Blue Jackets, Stars, Red Wings, Maple Leafs

This year, the issue isn’t Tarasenko’s health. It’s his contract and the Russian factor as the Blues are rumored to be looking to move some of their Russian-born roster players. The concern there is that other teams might be thinking of doing the same considering the concerns about players being unable to return to North America and that could make a Tarasenko trade slightly more difficult than it otherwise would have been after a great season.

Kaprizov Wanted In Russia For Allegedly Buying Illegal ID

Speaking of issues coming out of Russia, on Wednesday, Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov was reportedly wanted by Russian authorities for allegedly buying a military ID in 2017. As per Andrew Zadarnowski, who shared a story on Sport-Express, “Upon hearing about the arrest of Ivan Fedotov, Kirill Kaprizov reportedly immediately returned to the United States. His name is linked to fraudulent military IDs being sold to players, including Fedotov, and Kaprizov is now wanted in Russia, per Sport-Express.”

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Michael Russo of The Athletic picked up on the story and looked into things further. He learned that Kaprizov is still in Russia despite conflicting reports that he had fled to the United States. When he spoke with GM Bill Guerin, the response was:

“We’re trying to find out as much as we can, but we’re not worried too much about it. I’ve talked to (Kaprizov’s agent) Paul (Theofanous). We’re not going to push the panic button or anything like that. We’re just trying to gather information right now and find out if this is even credible.”

source – ‘Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov remains in Russia amid reports of fake military ID, flight to U.S.’- – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 07/07/2022

Philadelphia Flyers goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov was arrested just days earlier and taken to a military naval camp for allegedly evading mandatory military service. There is growing concern that this could affect the draft and that teams are concerned about drafting Russian players. This could also lead to worries that current Russian roster players won’t be able to leave and return to the NHL in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and escalated global tension.

Fleury Probably Not Signing With Wild

As per Darren Dreger and Kevin Weekes, there is no deal in place between the Wild and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and it appears he will go to free agency and potentially sign with another team. The Wild and Fleury had begun talks on a one-year deal, but an agreement wasn’t reached. Reports of a deal being in place were inaccurate.

Weekes was told, “no deal is in place, it’s a process.” A number of teams will be in the Fleury mix, including Toronto, Colorado, and Washington.

Teams Inquiring About Matthew Tkachuk?

As per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, teams are starting to ask about Matthew Tkachuk, but the Flames have little choice but to wait until Gaudreau makes his decision.

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

LeBrun writes:

“Teams are delicately approaching the Flames on Matthew Tkachuk, whose camp led by Newport Sports, I think, is sitting back and waiting to see how the Johnny Gaudreau UFA situation plays out before formalizing a game plan for their RFA client. Makes sense. You would want to see how the dust clears, and how much of a contender the Flames remain before making any commitments.”

source – ‘LeBrun: The latest on J.T. Miller and Matthew Tkachuk trade talk, goalie carousel and more’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 07/06/2022

Andy Strickland writes, “Told the Calgary Flames have zero plans of trading Matthew Tkachuk at the draft or this summer. The Flames remain completely focused on trying to get Tkachuk signed.”

Oilers Not Close on Kane, Plus Trade and Goalie News

Ken Holland spoke with the media on Wednesday and said that he’s not close to a deal with Evander Kane but he’s had lots of talks with agent Dan Milstein. Admitting that this is a strange process because of the grievance case, he’s playing all of this by ear because no one really knows what to do.

He also mentioned that Jesse Puljujarvi trade talks could stretch out all summer and that he feels his replacement in goal will come in free agency, even though he has talked to almost every manager he feels he needs to about possible trades.

Penguins Close on Letang, Not Malkin

The Pittsburgh Penguins feel they are close to getting an extension done with Kris Letang, according to GM Ron Hextall. He told the media on Wednesday, that he would be “surprised” if he doesn’t get the deal finalized right away. As for where the team is at with Evgeni Malkin, he noted, “We are still working”. The belief is that the two sides are much farther apart there and Malkin may move on in free agency.