Friday Feb 18, 2011 – Hockey Trade Rumors – Update #2

Shero plans to be active at trade deadline

Rangers have interest in Kuba to help defense

As NHL trade deadline approaches, Washington Capitals could try to add a defenseman

Shero plans to be active at trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away and, no, Penguins general manager Ray Shero doesn’t expect to be just an interested onlooker between now and then.

That doesn’t mean he is poised to make a personnel move anytime soon.

“Not unless it’s a call-up from Wilkes-Barre,” he said, laughing. “I’m good at those.”

Shero should be, with all the practice he has had in the past few weeks.

But bringing up guys from the American Hockey League is a short-term response to injury problems. A trade before the Feb. 28 deadline would have longer-lasting implications, especially if Shero doesn’t settle for adding “rental” players whose contracts expire after this season.

“Everything you do, you have to keep in mind how that’s going to affect us moving forward,” he said Wednesday.

At this point, he seems willing to consider deals that would bring in guys who are on the cusp of free agency as well as those for players with time left on their contracts.

It is unlikely either will happen until he can get a complete read on the market, and that isn’t possible yet.

“There aren’t a lot of guys who are selling players [yet], so it’s not like players are getting thrown at me, left and right,” he said. “I have an idea of what I want to do and what price I might want to pay — and not overpay, obviously.

“I have a decent idea [of who might be available] from talking to a number of the teams. For some teams, it’s still a little early to decide if they’re going to make a move with somebody “

The Penguins’ primary target is believed to be a goal-scoring winger, although the idea of pursuing a center to fill in for Evgeni Malkin, out for the season after knee surgery, apparently hasn’t been ruled out.

Shero would neither identify the players in whom he is interested nor reveal how many there are.

“We can have some names [to target], but if teams don’t want to move [that individual] … I’m sure teams would like Jordan Staal, but he’s not getting traded,” he said.

Rangers have interest in Kuba to help defense

With the trade market humming in advance of the Feb. 28 NHL deadline, general manager Glen Sather is on the lookout for a defenseman in order to give his coach alternatives.

The Post has learned the club has at least some interest in Ottawa’s 34-year-old, 10-year veteran Filip Kuba, who played for Tortorella in Tampa Bay in 2006-07 and 2007-08 after spending four years in Minnesota with Marian Gaborik.

Kuba is averaging 19:15 per game, the lowest ice time of his career. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound native of the Czech Republic is a big body defender with a big shot from the point. Indeed, Kuba scored a career-high 15 goals while playing for Tortorella in his first year with the Lightning. He’s getting 1:41 per game on the power play for Ottawa.

As NHL trade deadline approaches, Washington Capitals could try to add a defenseman

The Washington Capitals’ most pronounced need as the NHL’s Feb. 28 trade deadline approaches is arguably to acquire an established, second-line center. But it’s possible that General Manager George McPhee could look to bolster the blue line as well.
Veteran Tom Poti has only appeared in 21 games – some for only part of the game – because of a nagging groin problem, and there is no definitive timetable for his return.

The defensive corps has fared well without him, though, due in large part to the November acquisition of experienced blue-liner Scott Hannan from Colorado in exchange for forward Tomas Fleischmann.

But with injury concerns to Mike Green, who missed a third straight contest with an inner-ear trauma Thursday night in San Jose, the presence of another experienced defender could solidify the unit even more – particularly in the event of another player being hampered by an injury.

The Capitals “could really benefit from more experience on the blue line, like what Anaheim just did by bringing Francois Beauchemin back,” said Craig Button, an NHL Network analyst and former general manager in Calgary.

“To add another guy like Hannan, on the blue line or elsewhere like that who has been through the experiences of winning in the playoffs, it can take some pressure off of players like John Carlson, Jeff Schultz.”

Among some of the more prominent defensemen who are set to become unrestricted free agents this season are Ottawa’s Chris Phillips, Phoenix’s Ed Jovanovski, St. Louis’s Eric Brewer and Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle, who has long been the subject of trade rumors, most recently involving the Boston Bruins.

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