NHL trade talks in high gear
There is plenty of talk as the hockey world gathers for Friday’s NHL draft.
“In the last two weeks, there have been a lot more conversations and the guys I’ve spoken with say they’ve seen a lot of increased activity,” said Chiarelli Wednesday.
“They see what I see: A thinner free-agent market and they see a lot of teams that want to move things around.
“With the parity you have now, sometimes a tweak here or there can make the difference. There’s a lot of stuff I’m hearing first-hand that seems a lot more imminent than it’s ever been.”
Senators assistant GM Tim Murray expects increased activity with new GMs in Tampa (Steve Yzerman), Florida (Dale Tallon) and Atlanta (Rick Dudley).
“When you see a turnover of GMs and coaches, you’re going to see a turnover of players,” said Murray. “There are a lot of teams trying to make changes. Only one team wins the Cup so you have to get better and there’s a lot of pressure in some cities for teams to make an improvement.”
Trade winds blowing
The Stanley Cup party is officially over for the Chicago Blackhawks. GM Stan Bowman started the reconstruction job and got the hockey world talking Wednesday by sending playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien , Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and prospect Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for first- and second-round draft picks, Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin (the deal still needs NHL approval). That will save the Blackhawks approximately $4 million, but it could be just the beginning for Bowman. Chicago is also looking to deal Kris Versteeg , Andrew Ladd and D Brian Campbell to clear more cap space. There are whispers the Blackhawks have been offered a late first-rounder and a prospect for Versteeg . The only untouchables in Chicago are Antti Niemi , Jonathan Toews , Patrick Kane , Patrick Sharp , Dave Bolland, Brent Seabrook , Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa.
This ’n’ that
The next player getting a change of address card in Florida: D Keith Ballard. The Ducks need a blueliner and are a possible landing point … The Bruins could be busy this weekend. There’s plenty of talk they’ve been shopping around C Marc Savard, who has a “no-move” clause. Once the Bruins select C Tyler Seguin , Savard could become expendable. The Phoenix Coyotes are looking for a centre and may have more than a passing interest in Savard .