Bruins, Oilers, Penguins and Kovalev trade talk

Deadline hangs over Bruins’ heads

Hemsky News

What’s the ‘tradability’ of Alexei Kovalev?
Deadline hangs over Bruins’ heads

he first shoe that dropped on Tuesday night left the Bruins [team stats] dressing room unscathed. A second one that everyone believes is coming — in fact, general manager Peter Chiarelli has just about promised it — will almost surely leave a mark.

The Bruins obtained forward Chris Kelly from Ottawa Tuesday night for a second-round pick, but if the B’s are to get the desired puck-moving defenseman of impact, somebody’s salary must go.

With Kelly, the B’s have room for a cap hit of slightly more than $2.5 million. When you consider that’s much less than the salaries of most of the suspected targets — Tomas Kaberle and Eric Brewer are each at $4.25M, Ron Hainsey at $4.5M and Zach Bogosian at $3.375M) — it stands to reason that someone on the roster has played his final game at TD Garden in a Bruins’ uniform.

The names that have bandied about the most are defenseman Mark Stuart and forward Blake Wheeler. Though Stuart has played the last couple of games like a guy who should not be discarded lightly, he was a healthy scratch for eight games and is a pending unrestricted free agent with a $1.675M salary cap hit.

Wheeler, meanwhile, has a $2.2M cap and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Both players took the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach to the uncertainty leading up to the NHL’s Feb. 28 trade deadline.

“You don’t believe anything until it happens,” Wheeler said. “That’s kind of what I’ve learned at least. The rumors you hear never happen and the ones you don’t hear about are the ones that happen. From our standpoint, our focus is that we have games to play and points to earn. We can’t worry about what’s being written in the papers and online and blogs and stuff because when you start worrying about things you can’t control then the things you can control are going to start to slip.

“We’ve already lost three straight so the most important thing for us is to start winning and whatever happens from other standpoints is going to happen.”

Said Stuart of the rumors: “I could care less. Until I get the phone call, it doesn’t really matter to me. My toothbrush and toothpaste are still in my bathroom in my apartment.”

Coach Claude Julien didn’t discount the notion that the looming weight of an impending change could be having an effect on the team.

“You never know,” Julien said. “I know it weighs on players’ minds all the time when you hear rumors. At the same time, you want the players to be professional and deal with the issue as professionals.”

Hemsky News

On nights like this, you wonder why his name would ever come up in trade talk. But, of course, it’s because he has just one year left on his contract after this season and he’s an unrestricted free agent. The clock keeps ticking, with the trade deadline on Feb. 28, just six Oilers games away.

Hemsky has seen Mike Fisher (from the Ottawa Senators to the Nashville Predators) and Kris Versteeg (Toronto Maple Leafs to the Philadelphia Flyers get dealt recently, both for first-round picks.

“What am I worth?” Hemsky said, playfully.

Not to denigrate Fisher or Versteeg, two good NHL players for sure, but they don’t put up the points that Hemsky does.

Fisher has never had more than 53 points in a season, but fetched Ottawa a first- and a second-round draft pick from Nashville.

Versteeg? Same thing in his first two full seasons, and he looks like a 50-point guy again now that he’s in Philadelphia for a first and a third-round draft pick to Toronto.

Hemsky has had three 70-plus seasons, and has garnered 57 points in his last 62 games, clearly playing hurt in some of those games.

If the Oilers do want to move Hemsky, he’s certainly worth more than Fisher and Versteeg. A first-round pick for sure, maybe another draft pick and a good NHLer.

But, as Hemsky has said, that’s out of his control. Tonight, he’ll be playing with two good wheels against the Canadiens as the Oilers try to win two straight games for the first time since their four-game winning streak (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto on the road and St. Louis here) in late November, early December.

What’s the ‘tradability’ of Alexei Kovalev?

Burnside: The player I’m most curious about in Ottawa is Alexei Kovalev. The enigmatic winger has been a dog in Ottawa, everyone knows that. But there’s still something about his skill set and the possibility he could regain his fire over a few short weeks (especially with his contract in Ottawa coming to an end) that will make him attractive to some GM.

I talked to a scout last night that thought he would be a nice fit in Pittsburgh (assuming Sidney Crosby returns at some point from a concussion), and I tend to agree. Can’t believe Murray would be asking for anything of value (fourth-round pick? fifth?) to get Kovalev and his salary off the books. Remember, in Kovalev’s last 22 playoffs games, all with Montreal, he had 21 points. Hmm.

LeBrun: With every trade, the market price adjusts. Kelly went for a second-round pick, which seems a little high. He’s not a rental, having one more year on his deal next season at $2 million. Once again, a non-rental moved yesterday. Francois Beauchemin, Versteeg, Joffrey Lupul, Mike Fisher and Kelly all have term left on their deals past this season. So, to answer your question on Kovalev, the market has yet to yield a price for rentals this close to the deadline. Until tomorrow, my friend.

2 Responses to Bruins, Oilers, Penguins and Kovalev trade talk

  1. alpalstewart says:

    Ales hemsky and a 5th rounder to ATL
    Zach Bogosian and atl's 1st pick

    this deal makes sense for both clubs. The oilers need to improve the defence and have loads of small talented forwards, Bogosian is the top prospect defenceman the oilers need.
    Atlanta definitely needs a top 3 forward and hemsky will make players around him better.

  2. alpalstewart says:

    oops was supposed to say
    bogosian and atl's 1st pick to edmonton.


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