NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Taylor Hall, Vladimir Tarasenko and More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJuly 9, 2021

NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Taylor Hall, Vladimir Tarasenko and More

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The 2020-21 NHL season is over. The Tampa Bay Lightning repeated as Stanley Cup champions, and there won't be any more hockey played until this fall.

    However, there's a lot that will take place on the NHL calendar between then and now. And there's a good chance that many teams' rosters will look much different by the time the 2021-22 season arrives. Even discounting the expansion draft on July 21, free agents will be switching teams and trades will be taking place.

    Heading into the offseason, here's some of the latest buzz from around the NHL.

Will Hall Return to Boston or Head Elsewhere?

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Over the past two seasons, Taylor Hall has played for four teams. He ended the 2020-21 campaign with the Boston Bruins, who acquired him in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres in April. Now, the 29-year-old is set to hit free agency for the second straight offseason.

    Could Hall return to Boston? That appears to be a possibility. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is "engaged in discussions" with Hall's agent, Darren Ferris, about a potential extension. And Hall would "like to extend his time in Boston," per Dreger.

    However, there are other teams interested in pursuing Hall. Dreger reported that there are "a lot" of teams with interest in the former Hart Trophy winner, a group that includes the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    It will be interesting to see whether the Bruins can work out a deal with Hall before other teams have an opportunity to try to sign him when free agency begins July 28.

    Hall got off to a slow start to the 2020-21 season, as he had two goals and 17 assists in 37 games with Buffalo. However, he had more offensive success in Boston, tallying eight goals and six assists in 16 regular-season games before recording five points (three goals, two assists) in 11 postseason contests.

Tarasenko Wants to Be Traded from St. Louis

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Vladimir Tarasenko has spent the first nine seasons of his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues, a run that included him helping them win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2019. However, if it's up to the 29-year-old, his time in St. Louis is over.

    The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford reported that Tarasenko "officially requested a trade" following the conclusion of the Blues' season, while St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong is now "currently attempting to facilitate the deal."

    Rutherford added that "there is no apparent timetable for a move, but the expectation is that it could happen before the start of the 2021-22 season."

    Tarasenko is set to make $7.5 million each of the next two seasons, and he has a full no-trade clause in his contract. Rutherford also reported that Tarasenko is "upset with the team's handling of his shoulder surgeries in 2018 and 2019" and that the wing thought the Blues waited too long to get testing done on his injured shoulder in 2020.

    Over the past two seasons, Tarasenko has been limited to 34 games because of injuries. He had four goals and 10 assists in 24 games in 2020-21. But when healthy, the two-time All-Star has the potential to be among a team's top scoring options.

Could Coyotes Trade Ekman-Larsson?

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    There have been several trade rumors surrounding Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson over the years. However, the 29-year-old has never been dealt during the first 11 seasons of his NHL career.

    With the offseason here, it appears the trade buzz surrounding the blueliner is picking back up. According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, the Coyotes are "once again listening" on potential trade offers for their captain. However, Lebrun also detailed why Ekman-Larsson may end up not getting dealt again.

    "I don't know that it's a sure thing Ekman-Larsson moves given his contract—six more years at a $8.25 million cap hit," LeBrun wrote. "... Ekman-Larsson's contract might be too much for most teams to handle in the flat-cap environment we're in."

    Ekman-Larsson played a career-low 46 games this past season, missing some time through injury. He had three goals and 21 assists as the Coyotes failed to make it to the playoffs.

    Arizona has undergone a lot of changes at the top, which included the hiring of new head coach Andre Tourigny earlier in July. Will Ekman-Larsson stick around for the start of another new era for the franchise? It's tough to tell.

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