Irresponsible Rumormongering

Forget Nail Yakupov, Glen Sather should set his sights on Tomas Hertl


It’s only a matter of time until the Rangers deal Cam Talbot, and the return looks like it’s going to be a slam dunk. Yesterday TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Blueshirts have already turned down two second-round picks for Talbot, indicating the team believes it can fetch even more for the 27-year-old netminder.

The Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks are rumored to be the three teams most interested in Talbot, with the Oilers believed to be the frontrunner to acquire his services. There’s some debate over whether Edmonton has offered its first-round pick, No. 16 overall, but it’s a fair assumption that the Oilers have at least dangled No. 33 and probably a prospect. There’s also been considerable speculation that Edmonton would consider parting with disappointing 2012 top pick Nail Yakupov given the team’s glut of young forwards.

But the Rangers’ ultimate target should actually be another 2012 first-round pick – San Jose’s Tomas Hertl. You remember Hertl – he’s the guy that did this to New York:


It’s amazing that any of those potential deals could be on the table given the usually pitiful returns for goaltenders on the trade market, but overpaying for a proven backup that a team believes could be a stud No. 1 isn’t without precedent – in 2011 Colorado acquired Semyon Varlamov for high first- and second-round picks and in 2013 New Jersey gave Vancouver No. 9 overall for Cory Schneider. There are a number of goalies available this offseason, but it appears that Talbot is far and away the top preference of goalie-needy teams. And as such, Rangers GM Glen Sather seems to hold all the cards.

So is Hertl an unrealistic target? Probably. But there are reasons a deal could make sense for both sides.

Hertl dazzled as a rookie with 15 goals in an injury-shortened season, but he succumbed to an ugly sophomore slump this year that has the Sharks a little uncertain about his future.

San Jose reportedly traded James Sheppard at the deadline in an effort to give Hertl more playing time at center, but it now appears that Hertl has been passed over on the depth chart by Chris Tierney. Hertl also provided disappointing results at left wing this season, so it’s unclear where he fits going forward.

For all their warts the Sharks do still boast an enviable group of top-six forwards, starting with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture. Youngsters Matt Nieto and Melker Karlsson, along with Tommy Wingels all performed well at times alongside those stars season, and 2014 first-rounder Nikolai Goldobin will surely join them in short order. In other words, like the Oilers, the Sharks are equipped to trade from a surplus.

What San Jose lacks, obviously, is a franchise goaltender. And if they believe Talbot to be that, then there’s a starting point.  But the Sharks also have a lot of work to do along the blueline, where only Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun are signed for next season, with restricted free agent Brenden Dillon also likely to return and Mirco Mueller in line for a full-time job. San Jose has cap space to spare and could choose to re-sign UFA Matt Irwin, or chase one of the other defensemen on the free agent market like Mike Green or Christian Ehrhoff. Or, perhaps they could be interested in Kevin Klein – who the Rangers also need to move and has a very reasonable contract. For a team with a new coach and whose stated goal is to reload rather than rebuild, shoring up those two positions before the draft while maintaining cash to make further additions in free agency could be very appealing.

Like Yakupov, Hertl’s early development in the NHL has been a rocky ride, but Hertl doesn’t come with Yakupov’s baggage. He also happens to be $1.5 million cheaper next season, at a time when every penny counts for the Blueshirts. Hertl has rare offensive skills and possesses imposing size, but the big concern is that he’s a poor skater. That obviously clashes with the team’s identity, but perhaps his strengths, youth and affordable contract make up for it. And if the Rangers view Kevin Hayes’ long-term future as a winger, then Hertl could slot in as a third-line center behind Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan and potentially give the Blueshirts three very effective scoring lines:

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 8.23.24 PM

According to reports, the Rangers have primarily been targeting draft picks and prospects in return for Talbot and Klein. However, at just 21 years old, Hertl is still younger than many of the prospects New York could hope to obtain, so he could help both now and for the future. Sather has precious little room to improve his roster given the cap crunch, but acquiring Hertl could do exactly that without creating any more financial trouble. Hertl will be a restricted free agent next summer, when the Rangers will again be in major cap trouble, but at least he’d still be cost-controlled, so the Blueshirts could keep their roster largely intact.

Clearly, this is a long-shot for many reasons, but as the hours tick down until the draft and Sather continues to hold out, it seems Talbot’s price tag is only increasing.


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  • To me, San Jose is in a spot where they want to remain competitive (playoff team) for the rest of the Thorton/ Marleau tenure, but their main focus is probably gearing up for their next major cup window. That core would be built around Couture, Pavelski, Burns, Vlassic etc.

    While it would be very nice to scoop up some cost effective, high upside youthful players like Hertl and Dillon, I’m not sure I see it happening.

    But if a Talbot / Klein package could net us back Hertl / Dillon straight up (which I don’t think it can) then by all means, sign me up. We basically would be replacing Klein with a younger, cheaper d man along with the Talbot/ Hertl swap.

    I haven’t looked at the numbers to see if we can take that salary and still resign all of our RFAs, but on paper it definitely works for me. Probably not for Mr Wilson and his Sharks, though.

    • Pavelski and Burns are both 30, they aren’t exactly spring chickens. Unless they jump back to the top of the West this season or next they’re starting to look like Calgary from a few years back where they thought they could make a run every season, and they just didn’t have the right pieces. Big decisions need to be made in SJ before they just prolong the inevitable. A move for Talbot, with the coaching change that will lend a different voice to the room could be enough to push them over the hump.

      Of course it might not be, and they may just continue to tread water.

      • Bad GMing in SJ can lead to good things for the Rangers. Teams that aren’t in it but think they are (Colorado) are the teams to take advantage of.

        • Very much agree with this statement. Teams that believe they are close when they are huge pieces away. Just look at what Colorado did a couple of years ago for Varly, they didn’t have anything on that roster to protect a young goalie and decided to give up a king’s ransom for a goalie that was still somewhat unproven.

          All NYR need is for a team to get desperate, and man if one of these teams said screw it and just traded for Lehner out of Ottawa, could put Talbot as the only option for 2-3 teams.

  • Hertl makes an awful lot of sense when you think about it. First of all he is young, cheap, strong and big, with good skills. Secondly he slots into the 3-C position, making Hayes a winger. Can you see a line of Step, Hayes, and Kreider, now that would be nice????????

    Straight up for Talbot is cutting us short, but with another asset, this could be a good deal that would benefit us long term due to his age. I’m OK if this goes down and we get the two together!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I think Hertl is Oskar Lindberg with a year under his belt. Not sure he still has a strong upside, playing for a west coast team that likes to skate too. I would rather have their high draft pick.

      • In your limited time viewing and watching both players I assume. Being drafted in the first round and how that translates to the NHL game a year or 3 later is a crapshoot. Maybe Hertl has better players around him than Oskar has. I would rather keep an open mind on young players.

  • The fact that SJ would be giving up a 21yr old who had a good rookie year and a predictable sophomore slump. should send up all types of red flags. Their need for a goalie not withstanding, you just don’t give up on talent that quick. I would stay away. Seems like there might be other things going on with him.

    • It would be interesting to see if Hagelin/Talbot or Hagelin/Klein would get it done, then consider dealing the other for the original picks/prospects plan and see what you’d end up with. That would be a drastic shakeup, obviously, but could produce some benefits. That said, I’m in no hurry to deal Hagelin. I think his speed is too crucial to the team’s identity and obviously not Hertl’s strength. It’s not a risk I think they need to take

  • You guys are gonna hate me for this.

    The more n more I think about this, the more I feel we should hold Talbot till the deadline.

    It’s obvious the King plays better in the playoffs when he’s fresh. Have Talbot play 25 games. This way Hank is fresh.

    The obvious downside is, what of Talbot doesn’t play as good and his stock goes down…..well two things on that. First- Talbot has a vested interest to play well, because in essence he’s playing for a contract and secondly – I’d rather have a fresh Hank, not risk, not having a bonafide backup, then the draft picks and or a few middle of the line players.

    Also, I’d bet my bottom dollar, Talbot doesn’t stink up the jpint this year, making his stock go up even higher at the deadline.

    I’m just thinking out loud, not saying that we shouldn’t trade him, but wouldn’t be the end of the world if we kept him for now.

  • Forget Hertl. As I said in a previous post, go after the two guys you mentioned, Goldobin & Meuller. Offer Talbot & Klein and I think SJ also have to throw in a fifth rounder.

  • Given Sather’s track record with fleecing teams on trades, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes this trade happen.

  • anyone think a talbot, klein, miller for hertl, 2nd rd pick would work?

    Kreider stepan hertl
    nash brassard zuc
    hags lindberg hayes
    glass moore fast

    and when Buchnevich comes next year we will be a powerhouse with 3 high scoring lines

  • Why not consider trading the ‘King’…his value could land players and high draft choices, while Talbot could take over in nets….marinate that one before you hurl insults.

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