Mailbag: Tarasenko’s Future, Devils’ Chances, Competitive Games

Here’s the August 3 issue of Mailbag, where we answer your questions on Twitter with #OvertheBoards. Tweet your questions to @drosennhl.

Are the St. Louis Blues still having any ongoing talks with the teams about Vladimir Tarasenko? There have been conflicting reports of him wanting to get out but the talks seem to have died out completely. What are the chances that he will end up with the team this year and leave in free agency? -BeerLeagueSelke

It’s been quiet on Tarasenko’s front with the blues, but I think that’s by design. I have no reason to believe that his trade order placed prior to last season has been cancelled, but that doesn’t mean St. Louis wants or should trade it. Tarasenko was not traded last season and did well, collecting 82 points (34 goals, 48 ‚Äč‚Äčassists) in 75 games to help the Blues qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

I don’t think Tarasenko’s trading value is strong enough for the Blues to trade him now or before the season. They will have to take back the top six attackers to replace him, especially since they lost David Peron in free agency, who signed a two-year contract worth $9.5 million ($4.75 million average annual value) with the Detroit Red Wings. But Tarasenko is 30 years old and entering the final year of an eight-year contract worth $60 million (US$7.5 million). Why would a St. Louis give one of Tarasenko’s top six forwards when he’s on the wrong side 30 and there are no guarantees they’ll keep him longer than this season? Let’s not forget his history of shoulder injuries. It might be different if Tarasenko was willing to sign an extension when trading, but he would do so blindly. He’s never played for another NHL team, so I’m hesitant to think that he would marry himself to a new franchise without playing with them. He may also be tempted by the chance to become a UFA next summer.

My feeling is that Tarasenko will be with the Blues this season and they will try to go on another magical tour with him and the middle Ryan O’Reilly, who is 31 and moving away from unrestricted free agency by one year, is entering the final year of a seven-year contract. It is also possible that they will get one or both of them to sign a contract extension before or during the season.

Video: STL @ MIN, Gm5: Tarasenko scores hattie in third period

With off-season acquisitions and coaching staff changes combined with more development for younger players, can the New Jersey Devils finally squeeze in the playoffs? -keithcaporelli

The Devils are undoubtedly deeper and positioned to be a better team with the attackers’ additions Ondrej Balat And the Eric Holadefensemen John Marino And the Brendan Smiththe goalkeeper Vitik Vanishek. Love the bales and hula toppings. New Jersey needed more veteran presence in their group of top nine strikers. The demons they have with these two. Palat can be perfect for Jack Hughes. It was with Nikita Kucherov And the Brayden Point When they played with Tampa Bay Lightning. He plays well with skilled players. with Doji HamiltonAnd the Damon Severson And Marino, the demons are strong on the right side of the blue line. This buys time for Simon Nemec, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Smith is a versatile veteran. He will play in the back Ryan Graves And the Jonas Signthalerbasically to buy time Luke Hughes4th pick in the 2021 NHL Draft who is expected to play an additional season at the University of Michigan. Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwood They have good synonyms in goal, but neither is certain. Either way, it couldn’t have been worse than last season, when the Devils used seven guards, and the only one who had a save rate of 0.900 or better was Jonathan Bernier (.902), who played 10 games, and had nothing after December 3 due to a hip injury.

But to make the playoffs, the Devils have to break the top five in the DC division, and that’s only good enough if they’re better than the fourth-placed team in the Atlantic Division. So, are the Devils better than the Carolina Hurricane? difficult no. Are they better than the New York Rangers? hard again. Are they better than the Pittsburgh penguins? I do not see it. Are they better than Washington Capitals? Can. What about New York Islanders and Columbus Bluejackets? That remains to be a sight. They were 18 points behind the sixth-place finisher last season. They are no better than the Lightning, the Florida Panthers or the Toronto Maple Leafs, the top three agreed upon in the Atlantic Division. I think the Boston Bruins and Ottawa would have a fight for fourth place, but I wasn’t convinced that New Jersey is better than both teams.

The Devils have improved this season and have some star power to come with Luke Hughes, Nemec and striker Alexander Holtz. But I’m not ready to predict that they will go into the playoffs, not with the uncertainty in the net and the distance they have to go to be better than they were last season.

Video: Ondrij Balat joins New Jersey

Where do you see Pat Verbeek’s plan for the Anaheim ducks going? All I know is that he wants big men. Where does he look for scoring and defensive depth? In spite of John Klingberg Sign, there is still a huge gap in defense? -pucksngraps

There are gaps in the duck depth chart that need to be filled because they rebuild and it’s practical. Adding Klingberg on a one-year contract is a big one for this season. It’s a trial run to see if Ducks and Klingberg can extend the marriage for several more seasons. He turns 30 years old on August 14. He wasn’t too old to be a big part of the ducks’ future because they’re not too far away.

Verbeek, the general manager of the Ducks, wants speed and power. This does not necessarily mean that there are great players. This means that faster players can compete aggressively for the disc. He’s mentioned multiple times that he doesn’t think the Ducks were fast enough last season. They have young, dynamic players in the attackers Trevor Zegras And the troy terryand defenseman Jimmy Dressdale. They need more. straight ahead Mason McTavish He could be on the opening night list in the top nine. 3 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft with size (6 feet, 213 pounds) and speed. He’s the kind of player Verbeek wants. They added attackers Ryan Strom And the Frank Vatrano In free agency. These are two top six strikers who can skate and compete hard on the disc. Strom Game Maker. Vatrano is a shooter. They’re powerful additions to complement Zegras and Terry up front, just like Klingberg at the back end to join Drysdale, Cam Fowler And the Kevin Shattenkirk.

Ducks need more players who are fast and compete hard for the disc, are players who can defend well and score. They’re hoping to have a few more to come with Mactavish joining the attackers Jacob PerraultAnd the Brayden Tracy And the Benoit Olivier Grolux. They need time to become NHL players and can get a chance this season.

Video: Ryan Strom joins Anaheim

Thoughts on scheduling rivalry games? Should some kind of favoritism be given to the competitions or does splitting the schedule really help grow the game/markets better? -mickeybox

I’m all for rivalry games, but I’m not all for a lot of them. It might sound cool to have Rangers and Islanders, Maple Leafs and Senators, Kings and Ducks, Flames and Oilers, Penguins and Flyers, Bruins and Canadians, Lightning and Panthers, as many as eight or 10 times per season, but that’s way too many. I’ll be good five times a season, and it’s at least again more than what they’re playing now. Rangers and Island play each other only three times, all by December 22. this is not enough. I am not selling that every team needs to play in every market. For example, as much as Philadelphia fans love to see it Conor McDavid And the Oilers came to town, and I think they’d be fine to sacrifice this opportunity for another game against them. Sidney Crosby and penguins. Likewise, Crosby to be played in Southern California is important, but the additional Ducks-Kings will likely tempt the local fan base even more. But the NHL’s scheduling matrix invites every team to play at least once indoors and out, and the league’s competitive balance makes it hard to argue against that. The attendance numbers area is strong as well (the NHL played to 90 percent of adjusted capacity last season with 20.7 million fans going to matches) so it’s clear that the current system is working.