The NHL playoffs are still alive and well, but the offseason rumors are already out in full force.
Recently, on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio’s “The Power Play with Steve Kouleas,” Former NHL defenseman and current Sportsnet 650 radio analyst Shane O’Brien joined Kouleas and shared some insight on Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, floating his name in a potential trade for St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko.
“I think [Tarasenko’s] time’s up,” O’Brien said. “I got a little rumour, I guess here [Kouleas] and for Dwayne. I got Tarasenko going to Calgary for Tkachuk. I heard Tkachuk wants out of Calgary, Tarasenko’s time’s up there, I think that’s a trade that could happen.”
Kouleas then asked O’Brien to elaborate on what he’s heard about Tkachuk.
“I’m hearing more on the end that [Tkachuk] wants to play in St. Louis, his hometown,” O’Brien added. “I just think the time is it for a change in Calgary, is it going to happen? I don't know, but I just heard some rumblings that it could be a Tkachuk for Tarasenko thing and that’s in the silly season as you would call it, [Kouleas].”
A Tkachuk for Tarasenko trade would likely involve the Blues giving up more to acquire the hometown talent, but it’s an intriguing starting point for negotiations.
Tkachuk turns 24 later this year, making him six years younger than Tarasenko. The Russian winger has also undergone multiple shoulder surgeries which may prevent him from returning to his former self. Due to injuries, he’s been limited to just 34 games played over the last two seasons.
As far as the salary cap is concerned, Tkachuk is entering the final season of a three-year deal he signed with the Flames that carries an annual average value (AAV) of $7-million. Tarasenko has two years left on his current contract which pays him $7.5-million per season. He also has a no-trade clause worked into his deal. Both Calgary and St. Louis are projected to have more than $14 million in cap space for 2021-22, per CapFriendly.
Tkachuk recorded 16 goals, 43 points and 132 hits across 56 games played in 2020-21. His father, Keith, spent nine seasons with the Blues as a player, while serving the last seven years as an amateur scout and Director of Player Recruitment with the organization.
If what O’Brien is saying is true, it sure seems like Keith is earning his paycheque when it comes to player recruitment.
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