In today’s NHL rumors rundown, did the Boston Bruins sign Linus Ullmark because Tuukka Rask is not returning? Meanwhile, how easy a decision was it for Zach Hyman to sign with the Edmonton Oilers? The New York Islanders are still working on a couple things and why did the Seattle Kraken select so many goaltenders if Philipp Grubauer was going to sign with the team? Finally, what’s happening with Vladimir Tarasenko and the St. Louis Blues. Is he still being traded?
Bruins Not Shutting Door on Tuukka Rask
The Bruins raised some eyebrows when they gave $20 million to free agent goaltender Linus Ullmark. Considering the team hasn’t ruled out Tuukka Rask as an option for next season, it was an interesting decision because that’s not exactly backup money. Daniel Vladar was traded to Calgary, but with Jeremy Swayman still a part of the system, what does this mean for Rask?
Rask is still part of the plans in Boston. GM Don Sweeney said, “We needed to be prepared and allow Tuukka [Rask] all the time he needs to get healthy.” He added that Rask is doing well after surgery and said, “I think we’ve always left the door open for Tuukka to return.”
The Bruins plan to run with a trio of strong goaltenders when Rask returns. They want depth in case of injury or if someone is struggling.
Still with the Bruins, Nick Foligno said he chose to sign with the team because he and his family have a special connection to Boston. The children’s hospital in Boston saved his daughter’s life when she underwent heart surgery in 2013 and 2018. “I think it was – my wife said, serendipitous in a way, of coming back to a place that gave us a chance to be a family in the first place.”
Hyman Called the Oilers a “No-Brainer” Decision
When speaking to the media after the signing became official, Hyman said it was an easy decision to join Edmonton on a seven-year deal. He and his wife flew themselves out (on their own dime) to the city to check out the different places where they might live or their son would grow up. Once they saw everything and the facility, there was no other option for him.
It doesn’t sound like any other team was close, although he did speak with a couple other organizations early on in the process. Hyman did his media avail in front of a piece of Wayne Gretzky art and said it was fate that he is now going to be a part of the team. He is already doing offseason training with Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, newly-acquired Warren Foegele and Devin Shore.
Still with the Oilers, Tom Gazzola notes the team is still trying to trade goaltender Mikko Koskinen. There had been some interest in him yesterday afternoon and it sounds like the Oilers were in on Darcy Kuemper before the goalie went to Colorado. It’s not clear what netminder Edmonton is targeting now as the crop of available netminders has really gone down.
Islanders Still Working on Deals
A few names that didn’t come off the board on Wednesday were Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri. Both are linked to the New York Islanders and David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period writes, Parise and Palmieri are closing in on contracts with the team. It also sounds like there has been some progress on forward Casey Cizikas.
Story Behind Kraken Acquiring Grubauer
Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis admitted that they never expected goaltender Philipp Grubauer to become available as a free agent when the team selected their goalies during the NHL Expansion Draft. “We picked Vitek Vanacek expecting him to be part of our goalie tandem,” he said.
It was only when things fell apart between the Colorado Avalanche and Grubauer that Seattle was able to step up and sign the player. He notes that once that happened, six different NHL teams called him to see if Vanacek was available. Ultimately, they moved him back to Washington.
It doesn’t sound like the split between Grubauer and the Avalanche was necessarily amicable. He said of Colorado after signing with Seattle, “They had their time and their opportunity.”
What’s Going on With Tarasenko?
Vladimir Tarasenko was not traded on Wednesday and there are a lot of questions as to what happens now in St. Louis. GM Doug Armstrong has said Tarasenko needs to be prepared to return to the team, but many believe that ship has passed. It’s just not clear which teams are in the mix now.
There’s a belief that maybe the Islanders, Hurricanes and Devils could be possible landing spots, but Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic writes:
The source said Armstrong has miscalculated the situation, asking for “too much” in return. There were once four teams interested in Tarasenko, and there are still at least two, but the options are dwindling after Wednesday’s signings around the league.
source – ‘The latest on the Blues and Vladimir Tarasenko: Source says trade value is decreasing — ‘it’s time to move him’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 07/28/2021
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”