Massive Rumor Update – Deadline Day Edition


Deal or no deal?

Washington Capitals assess their needs as NHL trading deadline approaches

No Jackets deals yet, but stay tuned

Suitors eye Staios, Moreau

Enjoy Gonchar while he’s still around

First thing first: Ducks’ Niedermayer going nowhere

Canucks return to play: Hamhuis could be trade-deadline target

Bruins up against a deadline

As trade deadline approaches, Flyers man the phones

Trade deadline eyes on goalies

Deal or no deal?

Vokoun a prime example of the wild rumours floating as NHL deadline upon us

By MIKE ZEISBERGER, Toronto Sun

With Twitter-palooza running amok as the clock ticks down to Wednesday afternoon’s NHL trade deadline, the misinformation is oozing hot and heavy.

Given the wild rumours that run rampant this time of year, can anyone really be surprised?

The Florida Panthers’ Tomas Vokoun is Exhibit No. 1 in this argument. The veteran goalie told Panthers beat scribes Tuesday that no, he had NOT refused to waive his no-trade clause as has been reported by various sources.

Having arrived back in south Florida after his stint with the Czech team at the Olympics, Vokoun returned to south Florida to meet with Panthers GM Randy Sexton.

“No I didn’t,” Vokoun said when asked if he told Sexton he was unwilling to be moved.

“We agreed we wouldn’t make public any of the details. But I didn’t. It’s more like, if there’s a deal in place, he’ll let me know. Ultimately it’s my decision, yes or no.”

The moving of Vokoun would add some much-needed spice to a trade deadline day that is in danger of lacking any significant sizzle.

Would the Chicago Blackhawks, whose only question mark appears to be a lack of stability between the pipes, be a potential landing spot?

Starter Antti Niemi was pulled Tuesday night after allowing three goals on nine shots and was replaced by Cristobal Huet. Huet, ironically, was linked in a potential deal earlier in the day that would have sent him to the Maple Leafs for overpriced defenceman Jeff Finger, a scenario the Leafs quickly dismissed.

With Ray Emery undergoing season-ending surgery Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers also are in the market for a goaltender. There was an erroneous report that the Islanders’ Dwayne Roloson had been dealt to Philly, a suggestion that evaporated when Roloson was the Isles’ starter versus Chicago.

If the likes of Vokoun and Huet don’t move, the chances of any blockbusters being pulled off appear slim.

Paul Kariya, a big name with a modest point total, reportedly does not want to waive his no-trade clause. Fellow St. Louis Blue Keith Tkachuk also is said to be reluctant to move.

That might open the door for the engimatic Brad Boyes to be shipped out of St. Louis, a concept that appears to be gaining momentum as the deadline approaches. But the Blues, like many other teams, might be reluctant to be sellers because they find themselves in no-man’s land — too close to a playoff spot to be sellers.

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/columnists/mike_zeisberger/2010/03/02/13089796.html


Washington Capitals assess their needs as NHL trading deadline approaches

Tarik El-Bashir

With 20 games remaining in the regular season and a double-digit point cushion in the Eastern Conference standings, the question facing Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals isn’t so much whether they’ll make the playoffs, but rather what they’ll do when they get there.

The answer to that question won’t be known for months. Clues to the team’s thinking about what it needs to ensure postseason success, however, could emerge in the coming hours.

General Manager George McPhee has been steadfast in saying he won’t overpay at Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline.

McPhee was typically tight-lipped when speaking to reporters this week. But an Eastern Conference official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the veteran general manager has made acquiring a rugged veteran defenseman a priority.

McPhee did not travel to Buffalo with the Capitals for Wednesday night’s game and will instead spend the day with his scouting staff and other hockey operations employees at the team’s Arlington headquarters.

“We have good players and they’re well coached and we have good chemistry and I don’t want to tinker with that too much,” McPhee said. “But I really like where the club is right now and we’ve done, obviously, really well.”

McPhee has the best poker face in the business and made similar comments in February 2008 before completing separate deals for forwards Sergei Fedorov and Matt Cooke, and goalie Cristobal Huet.

What happens at this season’s deadline could remain unclear until the final moments. What’s not so much of a secret is this: one year after standing pat as other teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins loaded up, McPhee is armed with considerable salary cap space, a stockpile of prospects on the club’s minor league affiliate in Hershey, Pa., and eight draft picks (the Capitals also have Phoenix’s fifth-round pick).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/02/AR2010030203599.html

No Jackets deals yet, but stay tuned

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson has earned a reputation for being a patient man when it comes to acquiring assets and moving pieces.

This season’s trade deadline will be no exception.

The Jackets were not expected to make any substantial deals until today – when the last trades must be consummated by 3 p.m. Howson is believed to be shopping all three of his unrestricted free agents: forwards Raffi Torres and Fredrik Modin and defenseman Milan Jurcina.

Moving Jurcina, who had a strong Olympics for Slovakia, has been complicated by an undisclosed injury that he supposedly suffered in the bronze-medal game. He did not play last night against Vancouver. The Jackets are thought to be seeking a fourth-round draft pick as compensation.

Jurcina was coy after the game about his health, initially saying he felt fine, before backpedaling to add that he probably could not have played.

The Jackets, who sit 14th in the Western Conference, hope to get their biggest return for Torres, the unpredictable winger who can swing a game with a big hit or goal. Howson has no shortage of suitors, but some of the more interested parties – Philadelphia and Boston – either lack the requisite draft pick or salary-cap space. Those teams would likely need to supply good prospects.

The Jackets are hoping to secure a second-round pick for Torres, who entered last night’s game with 19 goals. Two other potential trade partners are Los Angeles, which possesses good prospects and two second-round draft choices, and Phoenix.

It’s believed the Kings and Blue Jackets spoke yesterday regarding Torres. Los Angeles, as well as Detroit, had scouts at last night’s game.

Although Howson has deliberate tendencies, the process is also tied to factors out of his control. Several “buyers” are hunting the same left wingers: Ray Whitney (Carolina) and Alexei Ponikarovsky (Toronto). Once one domino falls, the others often follow.

It started late last night as Ponikarovsky was dealt to Pittsburgh for forward Luca Caputi and defenseman Martin Skoula.

A source told the Dispatch the Jackets will “not give (Torres) away” if they don’t receive an offer that makes sense.

During the Olympic break, Howson spo
ke with Torres’ agent, and it’s thought that a two-year contract extension worth $2million per season was discussed. Torres likely will receive more lucrative offers after July 1 during free agency, although a poor economy and stagnant salary cap contributed to lower-than-expected bids for third- and fourth-line forwards last summer.

http://www.bluejacketsxtra.com/live/content/sports/stories/2010/03/03/no-jackets-deals-yet-but-stay-tuned.html?sid=101

Suitors eye Staios, Moreau

Jim Matheson, edmontonjournal.com

The Washington Capitals are interested in Steve Staios after losing out on New York Islanders defenceman Andy Sutton, while it’s no secret that the Los Angeles Kings like Ethan Moreau.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was impressed with the Edmonton Oilers defenceman’s play when Washington was at Rexall Place just before Christmas, with Staios throwing himself in front of several Alex Ovechkin rockets.

They are a little leery about Staios’s two concussions this season — the first when James Neal belted him in October, the second when he collided with Patrick Marleau in January — but they need a warhorse-type blue-liner, although Staios has another year remaining on his contract at $2.7 million.

The Capitals would be pitching a draft pick for the 36-year-old assistant captain — the going rate seems to be second-rounders, but you can bet they are also telling the Oilers they have to take back somebody with salary they don’t want on their books. That could be a defenceman like John Erskine ($1.25 million next season), so that Staios’s hit next season isn’t so steep.

Washington offered a second-rounder to the Islanders for the 34-year-old Sutton, but so did the Ottawa Senators. Islanders general manager Garth Snow took the Sens’ pick because it might be better in June.

The Phoenix Coyotes are also looking hard for a depth defenceman, so keep Staios in mind there, too.

As for Moreau, it’s clear the Kings like him. Multiple sources say they’ve been searching for a responsible fourth-line player for months, and somebody who could kill penalties for them.

Moreau scored against the Kings just before the Olympic break, too, which doesn’t hurt. Obviously, Moreau also has a booster club in Jarret Stoll, Ryan Smyth and Matt Greene, three former Oilers playing for the Kings. That swings considerable weight in any trade discussion.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Washington+Capitals+eyeing+Oilers+Staios/2633272/story.html

Enjoy Gonchar while he’s still around

There was no more beautiful sight at Mellon Arena Tuesday than the first-period goal scored by Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar. It didn’t just lead to a 3-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres, a terrific start for the home team to the NHL season’s stretch run after the Olympics break. It gave a nice lift to its ultra-talented power-play unit, which often struggled in the first 62 games.

But, sadly, the goal — the 200th of Gonchar’s career — came at some cost.

It’s one more reason to think Gonchar will become a free agent July 1 and be with another hockey club next season.

A tip:

Enjoy the man while he’s here because it might be a long time before you see someone who’s better at running the power play.

I know what you are thinking: Why don’t the Penguins just sign Gonchar to a new contract? Well, it’s not that easy because of the NHL salary cap. It’s especially not easy when the player in question will turn 36 before the playoffs begin this spring.

The Penguins have had all season to do a deal with Gonchar and haven’t been able to get it done. Both sides have agreed to suspend negotiations until after the playoffs. That is not good news for those who want to see Gonchar stay. If he gets to free agency, he’s likely to get an offer for more money and more years than the Penguins have to offer.

Bye-bye.

It hurts to think the Penguins will lose Gonchar and get nothing in return for him.

But it seems inevitable.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10062/1039839-61.stm

First thing first: Ducks’ Niedermayer going nowhere

J.P. Hoornstra, Staff Writer

When scoping the Ducks’ roster for trade-deadline possibilities, the question always comes up. The answer is always the same.

So let’s get this out of the way first.

“Scott Niedermayer is going nowhere,” general manager Bob Murray said after Tuesday’s practice, about 24 hours before the NHL trade deadline at noon today. “That’s the last time I’ll answer that question.”

Niedermayer, the team’s 36-year-old captain, is the biggest name among the five Ducks due to become unrestricted free agents July 1. The group also includes forwards Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, defenseman Sheldon Brookbank and goalie Vesa Toskala.

Last year, his first as Ducks GM, Murray traded four impending free agents on deadline day. It amounted to an on-the-fly rebuilding effort that allowed the team to qualify for the playoffs and keep most of its roster intact over the summer.

Given the amount of talent that could leave this offseason, it’s been suggested that Murray might pursue a similar path at this season’s deadline, but that doesn’t appear to be the plan.

“I like the players in the room,” he said. “I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t do anything. You try to clean up a few things and make the dressing room good.”

That’s a different tune from the one Murray was singing last year, and while he’s in the market for a defenseman – the Ducks have kept one less than the usual seven throughout February – Brendan Mikkelson might just as easily be recalled from the American Hockey League to fit the bill.

With the team just three points back of eighth place in the standings, rebuilding is out of the question.

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_14502794


Canucks return to play: Hamhuis could be trade-deadline target

By Ben Kuzma, The Province

If the Nashville Predators are willing to part with highly coveted unrestricted free agent defenceman Dan Hamhuis before the Wednesday trade deadline, the feeling in Music City is that general manager David Poile would need a blueliner in return because Shea Weber and Ryan Suter can’t shoulder the entire load before promising prospects mature. That’s understandable.

However, when the Predators shipped a second-round 2010 draft pick to Edmonton on Monday for veteran UFA defenceman Denis Grebeshkov, 26, the GM filled a need even though it wasn’t an earth-shaking transaction. But it should send more than a ripple of interest toward Vancouver, where the Canucks could be in a big blueline bind.

Willie Mitchell is still sidelined by post-concussion syndrome from a crushing Jan. 16 check into the endboards by Evgeni Malkin that has the Port McNeill native feeling good one day and bad the next.

Couple that with uncertainty as to whether the unrestricted free agent will be re-signed and the Canucks could be targeting Hamhuis. At 27, the Smithers native would easily fit into the top-four mix and a trade would be financially palatable today and in the future.

The Canucks likely believe they can sign Hamhuis in the offseason at reasonable dollars — he’s earning $2.5 million US this season — and even a raise would place him in the salary cap hit range of returnees Kevin Bieksa ($3.75m), Sami Salo ($3.5m), Alex Edler ($3.25m) and Christian Ehrhoff ($3.1m).

http://www.theprovince.com/sports/hockey/canucks-hockey/Canucks+return+play+Hamhuis+could+trade+deadline+target/2630463/story.html

Bruins up against a deadline

Minutes before the Bruins [team stats] opened post-Olympic play against the Montreal Canadiens at the Garden, general manager Peter Chiarelli said he hopes to make a trade that adds scoring help before today’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.

But Chiarelli said he did not feel a trade is something he absolutely has to do.

“I’ve said this before: I’m confident this group can score,” Chiarelli said. “I’d like to give them some help. But if I don’t, I am confident that they can score. I liked the way they ended off prior to the break.”

Yeah, but he can’t have been too thrilled with the first game after the break – as the punchless Bruins dropped an important game to the Canadiens, 4-1.

As the team won its final four games before the shutdown, the B’s attack showed signs of returning to form. But last night the team accomplished little in the offensive zone, at times overpassing and squandering possible chances. There was obvious rustiness in both teams’ play because of the two-week layoff, but the Canadiens got better as the night wore on, while the Bruins got worse.

“We’ve said it all along (that) we’ve really been challenged at scoring goals this year,” coach Claude Julien said of a team that has scored the fewest goals (150) in the league.

“It hasn’t been because we haven’t tried, or we haven’t encouraged our team to do it. We just have a lot of guys whose numbers are down this year. It’s as simple as that.”

Simple, but devastating for a team that now faces pretty tough odds just to sneak into one of the final playoff slots – an unthinkable predicament after the B’s monster performance of a season ago.

Clearly, there is a need to upgrade the team’s No. 1 line, which currently is Marc Savard between Mark Recchi and Daniel Paille.

Today is the day on which the onus is on Chiarelli to do something about it, and he sounded reasonably optimistic he’ll be able to do it.


http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/hockey/bruins/view/20100303bruins_up_against_a_deadline_clocks_ticking_on_trades_season/

As trade deadline approaches, Flyers man the phones

FRANK SERAVALLI

For hockey fans, today is one of the most exciting days of the season.

It remains to be seen, though, whether Flyers fans will have anything to cheer about after the 3 o’clock trade deadline passes.

Publicly, yesterday was quiet for the Flyers. While general manager Paul Holmgren undoubtedly spent most of his day on the phone, he did not complete any deals. There wasn’t a lack of chatter, though.

Multiple league and team sources told the Daily News that the Flyers are still involved in trade talks to acquire Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

With multiple teams phoning the Predators for Hamhuis, the holdup on a potential deal with the Flyers was that Nashville upped the ante. Rental players, or players who don’t tie up space in next year’s salary cap, always command a higher price at the deadline than others who can be a liability in the future.

Sources told the Daily News that the Predators, who originally were asking for defensemen Ryan Parent or Braydon Coburn, changed their tune yesterday and asked for both. That was too much for the Flyers to swallow.

Parent was activated and in the lineup – and off the long-term injured reserve list – at Tampa Bay last night for the first time since Dec. 23. He underwent back surgery on Jan. 25.

Mike Santos, Nashville’s director of hockey operations, was spotted in the press box at the St. Pete Times Forum, likely to observe Parent’s progress and to scout any other players who could potentially be involved in a trade. Santos was one of 10 NHL scouts in attendance.

Parent went down hard in the third period – and needed assistance to get off the ice – when he was double-teamed on the boards by Ryan Malone and Jeff Halpern. Parent played a total of 13 minutes, 59 seconds. He played 5:31 in the third period, most of it after the collision.

Parent, speaking after yesterday’s morning skate, said he has tried to tune out the trade talk.

“I don’t read the papers or watch the television, so I don’t know anything about what’s going on,” Parent said. “I’ve heard that there are rumors and stuff, but I haven’t asked. I don’t really care. All I’ve been focused on is coming back from injury.”

Another league source told the Daily News that Nashville could part with Hamhuis for Parent or Coburn if a high draft pick or highly touted prospect was included. Those are two things the Flyers don’t have in their cupboard. Their first pick in the 2010 draft is in the third round.

That means Boston and New Jersey, two of the other teams in the Hamhuis sweepstakes, might have a better shot. As today’s deadline nears, the asking price figures to come down as the Predators – whose contract negotiations with Hamhuis have stalled – probably will prefer to get something for Hamhuis rather than letting him walk on July 1.

The Flyers also placed a call to New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow about goaltender Dwayne Roloson. The Flyers coveted Roloson, 40, this past summer before signing Ray Emery.

The Flyers could take on Roloson’s $2.5 million cap hit this season, though he also is signed for next season.

An Islanders source told the Daily News last night that Snow can’t take on the high-salaried players the Flyers have offered for Roloson. A deal for Hamhuis – or for Roloson – would limit anything else the Flyers would be able to do without shedding other salary.

Almost every player without a no-trade clause has been walking on eggshells in the locker room.

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/sports/flyers/20100303_As_trade_deadline_approaches__Flyers_man_the_phones.html

Trade deadline eyes on goalies

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

With Wednesday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline nearly upon us, the biggest question to be answered is whether any team is willing to make the biggest change of all by dealing for a goaltender.

With the speculation running rampant, NHL insiders think the Flyers, Capitals and Blackhawks are seriously considering making a change in net before the clock strikes zero.

There aren’t many goalies available, but there’s talk that all three teams have looked into the likes of Florida’s Tomas Vokoun, Dallas’ Marty Turco, Nashville’s Dan Ellis and the Islanders’ Dwayne Roloson.

Of course, with money so tight, all of those goalies could remain with their current teams.

With Ray Emery lost for the season to a hip injury, the Flyers are the most desperate to add a goalie.

Still, Philly GM Paul Holmgren can’t afford to take on a $5-million (all terms US) salary like Vokoun’s without dumping some serious coin.

Off the glass

While the Predators want a high-end prospect or No. 1 pick for D Dan Hamhuis, the word is Nashville GM David Poile may not move the potential unrestricted free agent. The Predators believe they can make a long playoff run and if they can’t get a winger who can help right away, Poile may hold on to Hamhuis. He might be the most coveted blueliner on the market. The Bruins, Canucks, Flyers, Devils, Rangers and Kings have all made a pitch to Nashville. A lot of teams find the asking
price insane … The Blues sent out an e-mail stating W Brad Boyes and D Carlo Colaiacovo are available. There may be interest in Boyes, who has two years left on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million … An NHL executive on the Senators’ acquisition of 6-foot-6 D Andy Sutton from the Islanders: “I’d go get size and strength for the playoffs as well. He will help.”

Around the boards

After dealing W Alex Ponikarovsky to the Penguins on Wedndesday night for D Martin Skoula and minor-league W Luca Caputi, the Leafs are expected to move Fs Lee Stempniak and Wayne Primeau before the deadline. Leafs GM Brian Burke will likely be looking for draft picks … The Bruins, Penguins, Predators and Rangers are all interested in Columbus W Raffi Torres. Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson wants to make a deal, but several teams were complaining he was asking for too much in return … The reason Florida may have to keep D Dennis Seidenberg: He has a $1.25-million signing bonus payable at the end of the season. That is tough for anyone to swallow … The Thrashers were trying to get D Pavel Kubina signed to an extension Tuesday. He can become a UFA in July and the club would like to keep him, but not at the $5-million cap hit he currently has … The Habs were offering around D Paul Mara.

http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/columnists/bruce_garrioch/2010/03/02/13090221.html