Hockey Trade Rumors – Feb 8, 2012

Price of NHL deadline trades soars

Yzerman in no hurry as trade deadline nears

Could the Avs move O’Brien

Price of NHL deadline trades soars

Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has been aggressively reviewing his trade options for two months, and he often has been more troubled by the market than intrigued by it.

“It is not a big market in terms of the number of sellers,” Fletcher said. “And second, the prices are very high. And historically, if you look, I’m not sure that 25% of these rental trades work out for the teams that are buying.”

Since the salary cap was introduced, the trading of potential unrestricted free agents has become a staple of trade deadline maneuvering.

There has been considerable attention this season to the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes have Tuomo Ruutu, Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen in that category and the Edmonton Oilers have Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky and Andy Sutton as possible rentals.

The salary cap has created parity, and parity has created tighter races, which have turned the trade deadline into a seller’s market.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke decided he wants to avoid deadline day shopping if it all possible because he thinks prices are always too high.

Yzerman in no hurry as trade deadline nears

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said Tuesday he is no closer to determining whether he will be a buyer or seller at the Feb. 27 deadline.

Yzerman had said he believed clarity would come after the homestand that ended against the Kings. But with the team still on the edge of the playoff conversation, there is no longer a clear timetable, though the upcoming three-game road trip that starts Thursday against the Rangers likely will be key.

“The team is playing well,” Yzerman said before Tampa Bay’s 3-1 loss stopped its 6-0-1 points streak. “We’re winning games. There’s still lots of time left. … Let this play itself out.”

There was a minor stir when for the eighth time D Evan Oberg was called up from AHL Norfolk. With Marc-Andre Bergeron in the lineup after missing nine games with a back injury, Tampa Bay has nine healthy blue-liners. That sparked thoughts of a pending trade.

But Yzerman said Oberg was insurance for a team that wants to dress seven defensemen and see how Bergeron’s back reacts.

“No trades or things that you would love to hear; nothing to speculate on,” coach Guy Boucher said. “It’s just a precaution thing. If something happens, it will be something that comes out of the blue.”

Could the Avs move O’Brien

Veteran defenseman Shane O’Brien, a potential unrestricted free agent this summer, doesn’t want to speculate about his future with the Avs. His name could be tossed around in trade talks before the NHL’s Feb. 27 trade deadline, but “I’m only going to talk about the game,” O’Brien said Tuesday. O’Brien was a healthy scratch for a game last week, but he has been in the lineup the past two games and said he’s getting his play back in gear. “My game wasn’t where it needed to be. It’s a long season and it’s tough to be at your best every night, but you’re a pro and you’ve got to try to do that,” he said. “Right now I’m just trying to work as hard as I can, keep my legs going and keep my energy up. Hopefully, I can get back to where I was playing a month ago or so.”

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