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NHL Rumor Roundup: Trade talk heats up for Blues, Kings ahead of holiday freeze | NHL

Can’t get enough NHL rumors? Lyle Richardson’s Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league.

With the NHL’s annual eight-day holiday roster freeze beginning at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 19, notable trade chatter has picked up around the league. 

Last week, we observed growing media conjecture over what moves could be in store for the struggling Blues. As they continue to flounder in the standings, anticipation over a major move is growing. 

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The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported the word around the league is St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong is in listening mode. Meanwhile, TSN’s Darren Dreger said there’s a sense Armstrong isn’t willing to part with young core players such as Jaden Schwartz but could listen on some of his veterans. 

Blues stars Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo are recent fixtures in the rumor mill but moving either guy in-season could prove difficult. Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual salary cap hit and Pietrangelo’s $6.5 million are quite expensive for other clubs to absorb. Pietrangelo’s full no-trade clause provides him complete control over his situation. 

A more likely trade candidate could be defenseman Colton Parayko, who topped TSN’s recently updated NHL trade bait list. Frank Seravalli believes teams will line up for the 25-year-old blueliner, who could fetch the Blues a solid return. He carries a $5.5 million annual average value through 2021-22 and lacks no-trade protection.

Can the Kings move Jeff Carter?

Speaking of struggling Western Conference teams, the Kings remain mired at the bottom of the standings. As his club’s playoff hopes fading away, GM Rob Blake could be forced to consider a roster rebuild. 

Most of the Kings’ core players are aging veterans carrying expensive contracts with no-trade clauses. If Blake shakes things up, he’ll likely have to consider moving those without no-trade protection. Defensemen Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez fall into that category. Both carry annual average salaries of $4 million and frequently surfaced in this season’s rumor mill.  

Jeff Carter could be another possibility. TSN’s Bob McKenzie last week suggested the 33-year-old center could interest teams in need of experienced scoring depth, like the Coyotes and Bruins. He carries a $5.272 million cap hit through 2021-22, though he’ll be paid a combined $7 million in actual salary over those remaining years.

Carter, however, could be reluctant to leave Los Angeles. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested interested clubs would have to work with Carter to ensure he’d be happy with the situation. 

McKenzie also suggested retirement could be an option if Carter didn’t want to be traded. That would result in the Kings getting hit with a $2.75 million annual salary cap recapture penalty over the remaining three years of his contract.  

ROUNDUP: Are the Penguins looking to move Phil Kessel?

Charlie Coyle on the trade block?

Since last season, Wild forward Charlie Coyle frequently popped up in trade rumors. Last month, there was conjecture linking the 26-year-old to the Bruins, but there was no indication if he was actually available. 

That changed last week when The Athletic’s Michael Russo cited “multiple sources” who claimed Coyle was on the trade block. Russo indicated the Bruins, Canadiens and Senators were monitoring the situation. 

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun acknowledged the Canadiens’ previous interest in Coyle but doubted they’re looking at him now. NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty felt there could be better options available to the Bruins at the February trade deadline. 

Coyle could be “Plan B” for the Senators if they can’t get Matt Duchene under contract before the deadline. He’s signed through 2019-20 with an affordable $3.2 million cap hit.

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Canucks linked to Andre Burakovsky

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Andre Burakovsky has fallen out of favor with the Capitals. The 23-year-old winger is seeing reduced playing time this season and was recently banished to the press box for three games.  

When the Capitals selected Burakovsky in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, they envisioned him one day becoming a top-six winger.  Injuries and inconsistency, however, have hampered his development. 

Johnston said the Canucks were among the teams inquiring about Burakovsky. The Athletic’s Jason Botchford wondered if the Capitals would want defenseman Ben Hutton in return, pointing out Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos is sidelined indefinitely following thigh surgery. 

However, the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reported the Capitals aren’t in any hurry to move Burakovsky and aren’t actively shopping him. They remain hopeful he’ll get his game back on track and earn a new contract next season. 

Given Burakovsky’s potential, the Capitals’ reluctance to move him is understandable. Nevertheless, his slow progress thus far and eligibility to become a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights raises doubts over his future. If he doesn’t turn things around soon, he could be on his way out of Washington before the trade deadline. 

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