Hockey Trade Rumors – Feb 21, 2011

The first Deadline Period update (key name: Hemsky).

Osgood’s status could prompt trade at deadline

Demoted defenseman Wade Redden may walk away from Rangers guaranteed money at end of season

Avs coach Sacco, GM Sherman to keep jobs

Flyers, Bruins trades put pressure on Pens, Caps
The first Deadline Period update (key name: Hemsky).

A history lesson: Aside from last season, Shero has played it patient and waited until Deadline Day to improve his team. (I’m not counting the 2009 swap of D Ryan Whitney for LW Chris Kunitz and LW Eric Tangradi because it happened several weeks before the deadline that year. The Penguins deadline moves in 2007, 2008 and 2009 all happened on Deadline Day — and up against the deadline in 2008 and 2009.)

My point: Shero has been credited often, not just by me, for “winning” the trade deadline. He’s done so by not tipping his hand early. Last year he did make moves in the days before Deadline Day, and those acquisitions — D Jordan Leopold and RW Alexei Ponikarovsky — are the ones that didn’t really pay off.

Anyway, the whole point for this post was to note this bit of information I’ve heard regarding Ales Hemsky of the Oilers. I’ve heard from an NHL agent and somebody high within the Penguins that the asking price is “huge” — at least a first-round pick and player off the NHL roster, probably more. Judge for yourself if that price is too high for the Penguins, but do consider that Hemsky still has a year remaining on his contract — always a factor for the cap-strapped Penguins, as they will be cap-strapped for at least the next couple of seasons.

Osgood’s status could prompt trade at deadline

With little more than a week left before the NHL trade deadline, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has one pressing concern: the status of goaltender Chris Osgood.

Osgood underwent surgery for a sports hernia Jan. 11. He started doing light drills a week ago and Friday faced shots for the first time. He plans to try practicing either Tuesday or Wednesday. The Wings need to know by the end of this week whether Osgood thinks he can return, because if that’s in doubt, they’ll need to see if they can find a replacement before the Feb. 28 deadline.

“Priority 1 is to find out the status of Chris a week from now,” Holland said. “Hopefully, he’s ready to start stepping it up.”

Last month, the Wings tried to add Evgeni Nabokov to their lineup, but he was claimed by the Islanders while going through waivers.

Holland doesn’t expect the Wings to be big players on the market for a number of reasons. They have only $570,000 in salary space. They’re well stacked up front, and though a cheap and savvy defenseman is always welcome, nearly every team wants one.

“At this time of year, everyone is looking for veteran defensemen,” Holland said. “I’m still going to explore. I’ve talked to a few managers in the last couple of days. But we’re dollar in, dollar out. I don’t see us getting a rental, because we can’t add. The only thing we’re going to do is if there’s a hockey deal out there. But we got Brad Stuart back. We’re getting Mike Modano back in a week. We’re getting Valtteri Filppula back in the next week.”

Matters also are complicated by a league so competitive only a handful of teams are out of the running for a playoff spot.

The Wings haven’t been dealers at the deadline since 2008, when they added Stuart, a move that paid off with a Stanley Cup. They’ve since addressed their lineup during the summer, doing so again last year by adding Modano and veteran defenseman Ruslan Salei.

The Wings went through a rough period in early February, but since getting most of their injured players back — guys like Stuart, Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary — they have played much better. They’ve won four straight entering today’s matinee at Minnesota.

Demoted defenseman Wade Redden may walk away from Rangers guaranteed money at end of season

Wade Redden is the forgotten man on Broadway this season, banished to the AHL in the preseason to delete his $6.5 million salary-cap charge from the Rangers’ ledger.

Saturday night, the 33-year-old defenseman got to enjoy a special occasion in his year in the wilderness, playing in Whale Bowl, an outdoor game at the University of Connecticut’s football stadium. Redden notched an assist in the Connecticut Whale’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Providence Bruins.

After the game, Redden told the Daily News that when this season ends, and he tries to chart a course back to the NHL, he will consider walking away from the remaining three years and $16.5 million on his Rangers contract.

“That’s one of the options,” Redden said. “There’s that, there’s coming back here, there’s going to Europe. I don’t know. It’s a lot of money, but at the same time, I don’t want to – it’s only a short time that you have a career, so you want to be at the highest level as long as you can. Obviously, the money isn’t the No. 1 thing.”

Redden had the option to walk away when the Rangers assigned him to the minors after he cleared waivers in September. He knew then that accepting the demotion would mean a full season in the AHL, as the Rangers would risk being stuck with half of his salary charged to their cap for the life of the contract were he to be claimed on re-entry waivers.

“That’s the reality, I guess,” Redden said. “Obviously, you’d rather be in the NHL and have an opportunity there. Things didn’t work out in New York, but we’ll see. When I came down, and talked with my agent and other people that I respect and get advice or whatever from, coming here for a year was kind of my mind-set and I didn’t ever really expect to get called up or picked up on waivers. So it isn’t like I’m disappointed that it hasn’t happened…. (The outdoor game) was a fun thing. It’s different than your regular game when you come to the rink. It’s something new, and it was fun.”

Avs coach Sacco, GM Sherman to keep jobs

Despite an ongoing team-record, 10-game losing streak and the unlikely prospect of a playoff appearance, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco will not pay for it with his job. Neither will general manager Greg Sherman.

Sacco and Sherman will return next season in their respective roles, an NHL source told The Denver Post on Sunday. In his second year of a three-year contract, Sacco will be given the chance to help turn around a team that has seen nothing but turbulence and big changes in player personnel of late. Sherman is also in his second year at the helm.

Sacco has had more numerical losses in personnel this season than any other coach in the Western Conference, and the third-most in the NHL. The Avs have eight players sidelined with injuries, and the team has had 296 man-games lost to injury.

The Avs have essentially been without a pure left winger on either of the top two lines for much of the season. Peter Mueller, TJ Galiardi, Tomas Fleisch-mann and Peter Forsberg have missed all or big portions of the season with injuries, and Forsberg retired last week.

Injuries have spared no area of the team, with former No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson, who was traded Friday, missing
five weeks and a top-four defenseman (Kyle Quincey) out since December after shoulder surgery.

As bad as the Avs have been of late, it’s easy to forget the team was in first place in the division near Christmas. They were still near first place Jan. 18, when Fleischmann last played before being lost to a pulmonary embolism.

Since then, the Avs have gone 1-11-1 without him.

“It’s been difficult,” Sacco said after Saturday’s 4-0 loss to San Jose. “There’s no easy answer to this. It’s going to take hard work and sticking together, and we’ll get out of it.”

Avalanche winger Milan Hejduk said the current losing streak has been “pretty much as bad a thing as we’ve ever gone through.

Flyers, Bruins trades put pressure on Pens, Caps

The ball is now in the courts of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins have both made their pre-deadline moves, so it’s up to Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero and Washington’s George McPhee to react.

With Sidney Crosby out indefinitely with a concussion and Evgeni Malkin gone for the season after tearing two knee ligaments, the Penguins have to decide what price they’re willing to pay to win the Stanley Cup this spring.

McPhee doesn’t have player injuries to deal with, but he’s likely feeling the same way with the Caps’ window of opportunity to win a Cup closing. Washington really needs a second-line centre, but failed in its pursuit of Mike Fisher, who the Senators dealt to the Nashville Predators.

The Flyers, already a top team, bulked up by bringing in RW Kris Versteeg from Toronto, while the Bruins acquired Leafs D Tomas Kaberle and Atlanta LW Rich Peverley with two pretty swift moves.

Shero could react by making a pitch for Dallas C Brad Richards, but he has a no-movement clause and the Stars are in a hunt for a playoff spot, even though they’re going in the wrong direction.

While Richards isn’t on the market right now, the belief is the Stars won’t make a decision on his future until just before the Feb. 28 trade deadline because there’s little chance he’ll be back next season.

The Stars have been quietly holding contract talks with Richards’ agent, Pat Morris. However, there hasn’t been much progress. Richards would be the biggest player available on the trade market.

As for the Caps, many still believe they need a goalie, but McPhee has been stubborn in the past. Instead, Washington might try to bring in some depth and then let the chips fall where they may in the post-season.

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