All eyes on the blue line
The Senators aren’t the only team looking for a boost on the blue line.
League sources told QMI Agency Saturday about 10 teams are looking for help on defence as the calendar turns to November, but demand far exceeds supply.
Besides Ottawa, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks are among the teams working the phones trying to land defencemen.
Unfortunately for those clubs, few teams are willing to give up quality blueliners. Ottawa’s Bryan Murray has been the most aggressive GM in his pursuit of a defenceman and is dangling D Brian Lee as bait.
The Ducks have made it known they would be willing to part with Paul Mara. The Oilers are looking to deal veteran Sheldon Souray, who is currently in the minors, but he didn’t help their cause by breaking his hand in a fight in the AHL. Souray would prefer to be put on recallable waivers, but that’s not likely to happen.
At some point, the Canucks will likely trade Kevin Bieksa and his $3.5-million (all terms US) salary. Vancouver GM Mike Gillis has no pressing needs right now, but might be tempted to make a deal since the market for blueliners is so hot at the moment.
“That’s the problem with defencemen,” said one league executive. “When you have them, you should keep them because they’re so difficult to find. Why do you think there’s so many teams looking? There’s a shortage.”
At the very least, trade talk is finally heating up.
“A lot of GMs are like coaches now: They’re on the hot seat,” one high-profile agent said last week. “They can’t afford to have their teams go in the tank because they’re being held accountable with the cap.”
Rumours du jour
The Dallas Stars, already in financial peril with their ownership situation in flux, are likely going to have to shed salary down the road. The Stars are averaging just 13,509 fans a game and the belief is C Brad Richards will be dealt before the Feb. 28 trade deadline. “They might have to do it to save cash, but that just doesn’t make sense to me,” said one league executive. “They’ve got a chance to have a pretty good team. They should be trying to add, not subtract.” … Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who is trying to clear cap space and figure out a way to keep RFA LW Zach Parise, has been fielding calls about LW Patrik Elias. Elias, however, has a no-move clause and isn’t likely to agree to a trade. He has two years left on his deal and wants to stay put … The Coyotes are trying to move little-used RW Petr Prucha. He’s been a healthy scratch and is making $1.1 million this season. He’ll be a UFA next summer … The Bruins will have to shed salary once Marco Sturm and Marc Savard come off the long-term injury list in the next month. RW Blake Wheeler’s name has surfaced in trade rumours, but Boston would have to get a good return to consider moving him. While there has been talk the Bruins could bury the $4-million contract of RW Michael Ryder in the minors, he will be a UFA after the season and has been a consistent contributor this year.