Two names are starting to buzz in NHL Rumor circles again with regards to trades. Both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tomas Hertl are centers that may be on the move by the trade deadline.
Let’s dive in a little more on each.
The 29 year-old pivot has three years remaining at $7.8 million AAV with a 15 team no move clause. He scored 29 points in 41 games this past season, and was rumored to be on the block after the Caps late last season.
General Manager Brian MacLellan backtracked that talk this summer. “He’s a good player, we like the player and I don’t know, we’ve never said we’re trading Kuznetsov. I said we’re open to discussions with most of our players for the trade market,” he said. “It’s never been, we are moving Kuznetsov.”
Still, if the Caps struggle out of the gate they may be more inclined to make a deal involving their second line center. Washington would love to gain some younger assets and cap space in a deal.
Tarik El-Bashir who covers the team for The Athletic added this; “My gut feeling on the Kuznetsov trade speculation is this: if he were going to be dealt, it probably would have happened by now.”
Ultimately, it may come down to the team that misses out on Jack Eichel that could come knocking for Kuznetsov.
Teams that were rumored interested at one time or another were the Rangers, Kraken, and Blue Jackets.
Tomas Hertl will be a UFA at the end of this season. At this point and time, the Sharks have not seriously engaged with Hertl’s camp about an extension.
In a recent Czech interview with iDNES.cz, Hertl gave an update. “I wonder if San Jose will want to re-sign me and if I’ll want to stay there,” he said as translated by Kevin Kurz. “I don’t want to think about it so it doesn’t negatively affect me. I’ll start the season and see how it turns out.”
Hertl will be 28 years-old when his current deal with a $5.625M cap hit expires. Last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games. For his NHL career he’s registered 323 points in 503 contests.
While he is talented, Hertl comes with a long history of knee injuries dating back to his rookie season in 2013. In 2016, he injured the same right knee which also reared its ugly head the following season. And in 2020, he damaged his left knee.
There is a buyer beware sign on his knees, but if the price is right a trade deadline rental will make sense for a contender.