Category Archives: Trade Rumors
Once again the idea of the Chicago Blackhawks trading for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has reared its ugly head. Over the weekend, a story in the Vancouver Province said the teams have been talking and “reportedly” the Hawks have dangled Dave Bolland for the embattled netminder.
There are so many reasons this would be a bad idea it’s hard to pick the best one. In fact, trading anyone for Luongo remains a poor notion. Talk about creating a bigger headache than you already have …
Bolland is a valuable player. For what the Hawks need out of Luongo he simply may not be. At least not for what his contract dictates him to be. If he still was, the Canucks would not be trading him. And the Hawks are short on centers as it is. Potentially upgrading themselves in goal will only come back to haunt them up the middle. Most important is the idea that the Canucks believe they can get full value — which Bolland would be — for Luongo. The whole league knows he’s being moved. If the Hawks trade a quasi top-6 forward for Luongo, Vancouver would be committing highway robbery.
And no matter his public proclamations, Luongo doesn’t want any part of leaving one pressure cooker for another. Not a chance. His leash with fans in Chicago wouldn’t last through the fan convention this weekend let alone his first soft goal. The Hawks know this. There has been no indication from them — publicly or privately — throughout the offseason that they are interested in Luongo other than perhaps the usual perfunctory phone calls that can be chalked up to due diligence.
This hockey town isn’t big enough for Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly.
Three outstanding centers are one more than Colorado needs.
Somebody needs to go.
Somebody needs to be bait for the well-known, top-scoring, fed-up wingers on the NHL trade market, Bobby Ryan of Anaheim and Rick Nash of Columbus.
The Avs have a need for somebody to put the puck in the net and a happy surplus of playmakers.
So what’s Colorado general manager Greg Sherman going to do about it?
Whenever the Avs lose two in a row, fans automatically take out their frustration on Stastny, whose rock-solid (and often boring) work on the ice never matches the expectations of his $6.6 million salary.
But here’s a different take: Duchene is the center who makes the most sense for the Avs to trade.
His flash would be an easy sell for a GM in another market. At 21 years old, his potential stirs the imagination. His new two-year, $7 million contract is easy to digest under the salary cap.
The Rick Nash saga chugs on, and with this scary possibility — it might just be getting started.
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson hoped the first few days of free agency — specifically the signing of free-agent winger Zach Parise — would spur the marketplace toward more serious trade offers for the Columbus winger and team captain.
But Howson has maintained that he won’t trade Nash for less than “market value,” even if the saga drags well into July, even into August, and yes, even into the start of training camp in September.
Parise was signed by the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, but as of late last night, Howson did not seem any closer to reaching a deal.
Howson has declined to speak publicly regarding Nash the past two days, and Nash’s agent, Toronto-based Joe Resnick, hasn’t spoken extensively in months. Nash has declined to speak to reporters since April 7, the last game of the season.
The Dispatch confirmed yesterday that the Boston Bruins are on Nash’s list of approved clubs, joining the New York Rangers, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and San Jose.
As of yesterday, the list hardly mattered for two reasons: First, Howson has listened to offers from all 29 clubs, hoping that Nash — eager to avoid a messy spat — would relent and broaden his list. And, second, because Howson hasn’t come close to trading Nash.
The general tone from GMs around the NHL is that Howson is asking too high a price for a player he is being forced to trade. The Blue Jackets, who never scored enough goals even with Nash in the lineup, figure to struggle mightily once their franchise player is gone, so they’re hopeful of getting at least one NHL-ready forward in return.
The Senators may not be done big-game hunting.
Though any chance of landing Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash has been scratched off the list, don’t rule out the possibility of the Senators making a pitch for unhappy Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan.
While the Senators believe top prospects Jacob Silfverberg and Mark Stone and newly-signed winger Guillaume Latendresse are going to battle for spots, don’t be surprised if Ottawa is in the Ryan sweepstakes.
Even if captain Daniel Alfredsson does decide against retirement and signs an extension, the Senators could still add depth up front. With its pursuit of Nash, the club proved owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend.
Though business was on hold while six teams with a serious chance of signing winger Zach Parise waited for him to agree to terms with the Minnesota Wild Wednesday, trade talk heated up again Thursday.
Ryan, 25, is going to be a valuable commodity on the trade market. He had 31 goals and 26 assists in 82 games, which means he’s going to be in heavy demand once the Ducks decide exactly what they’d like in return.
Since former Washington winger Alexander Semin — a high-risk gamble by any stretch of the imagination — is the only legitimate high-scoring forward left as a UFA, attention could very well turn to Nash and Ryan.
So desperate is Nash to get out of Columbus he might be willing to expand his potential trade list from four teams, but even if he is to put Ottawa on his new list, Melnyk told the Sun Tuesday the club doesn’t want Nash.
That means the Senators could focus on Ryan.
Zach Parise’s decision to sign with the Minnesota Wild, along with Ryan Suter, got everyone’s attention on Wednesday. Thirteen-year, $98 million deals tend to do that and it was quite the package deal.
Now, the attention turns to Rick Nash.
The Canes are pushing hard to make a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the All-Star winger and are thought to have made a strong offer. But the Pittsburgh Penguins, spurned by Parise, could ratchet up the ante.
Pens general manager Ray Shero told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he wants a winger to play with center Sidney Crosby. Shero said that could come in free agency or a trade. If it’s a trade, he said, it has to make sense.
Nash appears to be the No. 1 target. If not Nash, maybe Shane Doan of Phoenix. Or Alexander Semin.
Which all sounds familiar. Sounds as if the Canes and Pens — and some others — could be in lock step approaching CBJ general manager Scott Howson about Nash.
Nash has a no-movement clause in his contract. The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday that five teams — Pens, Rangers, Flyers, Red Wings and Sharks — were believed to be approved for trades but that there could be one or two others. The Dispatch said today that Carolina could be the first team added to the list — that the recent trade for Jordan Staal was another attention-grabber.
It’s uncertain what the Canes have offered for Nash, although it’s believed Jeff Skinner would not be a part of the trade package.
Though the Wings would have given that to Suter had it come down to that, they weren’t going anywhere near a $7.5-million average salary cap hit for a small winger like Parise, who last season had 69 points. If they’re going to take on that kind of contract for a forward, it’ll be by trading for Columbus’ Rick Nash, a 6-foot-4 behemoth who’d be a 40-goal scorer next to Pavel Datsyuk.
That possibility will be explored, but for now, the Wings wake up with nearly $17 million in salary cap space and will look at Plans B for the defense. There aren’t any elite options left. Carlo Colaiacovo has a good offensive upside, but he has been injury-prone. Chris Campoli is another possibility. The Wings weren’t remotely interested in paying Matt Carle the $5.5-million average he got for six years from Tampa Bay Wednesday night.
A likelier course of action is trading. Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester, 28, is a great skater, capable of eating up 25 minutes a game, and he could rediscover his offensive skills playing in Detroit’s system.
General manager Ken Holland said he “was down” about Suter’s decision, which was announced around noon. But by the afternoon, Holland already was putting things in perspective.
“Our focus going back to last year was to be positioned for this summer,” he said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to add a high-profile player or two. But I think we have a lot of good pieces in place, and we have some players ready to take bigger roles. We’ll explore the marketplace. We’ll explore trading. We’ll move on.”
In the 2005 world junior hockey tournament, Cory Schneider had a long look at how teammate and roommate Al Montoya handled expectation in backstopping the U.S. to within a win of a medal in Grand Forks, N.D.
It could be the other way around next NHL season. But that might be a bit of a stretch, based more on a past link than a pressing present need. Time will tell.
When the Vancouver Canucks finally move Roberto Luongo in an offseason trade scenario, they will need to address various needs and also find more than just a capable backup for Schneider in his new role as the bonafide starter.
They’ll need someone who can step in and play a number of pre-determined games or more if Schneider succumbs to injury or indifferent play. They’ll need someone who can support the starter and who won’t wilt under the glare of the media spotlight.
In time, that goalie will be Eddie Lack. For now, it could be Montoya. Or it could someone else.
The right unrestricted free agent may provide what the Canucks are seeking because of what the Presidents’ Trophy winners and the St. Louis Blues proved last season.
No, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was pretty quiet on the opening day of free agency on Sunday – making only one small addition in checking centre Jay McClement – and given the market, he was fine with that.
After being burned on July 1 before, he wasn’t wading into the frenzy despite his team’s obvious needs.
“We hand out contracts with unrealistic values and with unrealistic term,” Burke said of NHL teams on free agency. “When you’re in a hard cap system, that bites you right in the butt at some point. …
“I think if you look carefully at the impact players from July 1 have, you’ll see it’s not what people think it is.”
Some evidence of Burke’s previous mistakes in free agency was on display on Sunday.
Colby Armstrong – bought out on the weekend for the final year of a three-year, $9-million (all currency U.S.) deal the Leafs signed him to two years ago – landed with the Montreal Canadiens for just $1-million next season.
Netminder Jonas Gustavsson, a Leafs signing in 2009, received a two-year deal from the Detroit Red Wings, who were happy to have him as a backup and felt he had been misused as a Leaf.
“Their team had trouble and he was kind of leaned on to be the guy and it might have been a bit too much,” Wings vice-president Jim Devellano said. “We’ll have a better team and I think he’ll do just fine.”
Luongo has 10 years left on the 12-year contract with Vancouver, and it appears there is interest on all three sides (Vancouver, Florida and Luongo) to get a deal done. Luongo is said to have agreed to waive his no-trade clause to come back to Florida — where he and his family reside for much of the offseason.
Scott Clemmensen, Florida’s backup the past three seasons, will be a free agent Sunday.
Tallon said the Canucks and Panthers talked “goaltending” at last weekend’s draft without mentioning Luongo by name; Santos said Friday there have been no talks about it since.
Florida could also have interest in future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur if he were to leave New Jersey after two decades with the Devils — possibly because of concerns with team ownership. Brodeur owns a home in Palm Beach County and won’t come cheap.
Of the free agents who played for Florida last season, it’s possible Jason Garrison played his final game with the Panthers, although he could still sign with the team.
Garrison, who made an average of $675,000 the past two seasons, could garner $5 million per season on the open market after he scored a career-high 16 goals. Florida has reportedly offered Garrison around $3.5 million per season.
“We’ve kept the line of communications open,” Santos said. “But when you get this close to July 1, typically, the player wants to see what his options are.”
The Panthers have spoken to Clemmensen and forwards Krys Barch and Mikael Samuelsson about returning — and it’s possible the Panthers bring some or all of them back. The Panthers waived Mike Santorelli and Matt Bradley on Thursday.
Florida has quite a bit of money to spend to get to the raised salary cap floor, so don’t be surprised if the Panthers make some big moves.
While Vancouver Canucks starter-to-be Cory Schneider says he’ll take his time to sign a new deal, the team probably wants to get that whole Roberto Luongo mess cleaned up sooner rather than later. Darren Dreger provides the latest update on that front: the Florida Panthers remain the “frontrunner.” The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, appear to be lagging behind.
Bob McKenzie paraphrases Dreger as such:
Insider Trading hilites: @DarrenDreger says dialogue continues between FLA and VAN on Luongo. Not so much TOR and VAN. FLA frontrunner.
Plenty has been made of the Panthers’ interest in bringing back Luongo; it’s even clear that the team’s ownership seems OK with his lengthy, risky contract. It appears that Luongo wants to go back to Florida, too, as a report surfaced that he wouldn’t accept a swap to two other interested parties in Toronto and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Make no mistake: the Calgary Flames have held trade talks regarding Jay Bouwmeester here in Pittsburgh at the NHL Draft. They also talked about trading their $6.7 million defenceman at February’s trade deadline. I’ve been a big defender of Bouwmeester during his time with the team, but there are good reasons for the move to happen.
The first and most obvious thing that comes to mind is saving money and cap space. Getting Bouwmeester’s money off the cap can only help the team financially and can only increase their flexibility in making moves for the near future. If a big move is what the club wants to do, saving a few million dollars on Bouwmeester’s contract will only help.
Any news that is filtering out regarding a trade doesn’t seem to suggest a “your bad contract for ours” type deal. That’s a step above what was being thrown around even a few months ago. The Flames aren’t going to be getting a huge return in a trade for Bouwmeester, so all that talk of a first round pick and a top prospect are probably unrealistic. But, the fact that the team would be able to get some sort of a return and not have to necessarily eat a terrible contract? That’s a positive in my eyes.
The merits of trading Bouwmeester go a little deeper, however. Plain and simple, there just hasn’t been a fit. Because his contract is so steep and because he’s such a high profile contract, the attention is hard to escape, and right now bad attention isn’t what this team needs. And I’m not even talking from a PR standpoint. Being around the team on a daily basis last year, there was no doubting how frustrated players got at times with constant questions about the team. It’s part of the business and no one is feeling sorry for them, but it can have a negative effect.
Divesting yourself from Bouwmeester’s contract sends a fairly clear message of moving on. He was signed by former general manager Darryl Sutter, his three years in Calgary haven’t lived up to expectation, and there just doesn’t seem to be a natural fit.
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The Blue Jackets have shown much patience in making a Nash trade, turning down offers that weren’t to their liking at the NHL trade deadline in February. GM Scott Howson continues to insist that he’ll wait as long as it takes to get the right return for Nash, even if it means going beyond the start of free agency on July 1, and even if it means Nash remains a Blue Jacket heading into next season.
Can you say elephant gestation?
Howson and Nash’s agent, Joe Resnick, are going to meet this afternoon in Pittsburgh, site of the 2012 NHL Draft. The message from Resnick will be loud and clear: “Trade him!” The message coming back from Howson will be just as succinct: “Not until the deal is right.”
Even if the Blue Jackets agree to a trade with a club on Nash’s preferred list, they have to seek approval ffor the trade rom Nash and Resnick. As of noon on Thursday, that has not happened.
The waters have been muddied in recent days with the revelation that Anaheim is willing to part with forward Bobby Ryan. This does not help Howson’s case at all, as Ryan and Nash are similar players, except that Ryan is younger (25 vs. 28) and cheaper ($5.1 million cap hit through 2014-15 vs. Nash’s $7.8 million through 2017-18). The asking price for Ryan is said to be lower than what the Blue Jackets are seeking for Nash, too.
When another 30-goal scorer hits the market, the demand goes down.
Friday’s first round creates an interesting dynamic, too. Clubs planning to include a first-round draft pick in their offers for Nash — clubs who can’t get the deal done with players and prospects alone — have less than 30 hours now to make it happen. If a deal isn’t done Friday, the chances increase dramatically that the deal won’t get done until after free agency starts, until a club that doesn’t get Zach Parise becomes desperate to land Nash.
“There is [trade] interest that’s in place right now,” Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman told reporters gathered for a sidewalk press conference late Thursday afternoon. “It is conceivable that we could make a deal this weekend. That being said, it’s also possible we don’t do anything before leaving Pittsburgh.
“The draft may be the most opportune time to make trades because you have 30 teams, 30 general managers and all their personnel in close proximity. It also happens on the eve of free agency. The situation lends itself to talking trades.
“We’ve tried to be methodical in our approach since we’ve been here — that’s the way Mike has operated the team — and it won’t change with respect to making a move this weekend.”
The Canucks could make a blockbuster if talks with Toronto involving Luongo result in the kind of draft-day deal for which Leafs general manager Brian Burke is known.
Despite speculation that Vancouver may not get a valuable asset in return for another team absorbing the final 10 years of Luongo’s $64-million-US contract, the Canucks believe they can make a genuine hockey trade for the 33-year-old that strengthens their lineup.
Toronto picks fifth in the first round, but the Leafs probably aren’t going to give that up as the Canucks try to move nearer the front of the draft line.
Brian Burke is in a bit of a pickle.
He’ll be in Pittsburgh this weekend to participate in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft where teams hopefully add prospects to their puzzle. And the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager will no doubt attempt to do exactly that, but the draft will be his secondary concern.
Somehow managing to get experienced players to fill some of the holes on his roster will be his No. 1 priority.
That is why for the past few weeks you’ve heard more about Burke possibly acquiring veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks and how he’ll be a player in the Rick Nash sweepstakes than what he’ll do with the No. 5 overall pick.
No player Burke chooses with that selection — should he not trade it — will come in and single-handedly lead the Maple Leafs to the playoffs.
Burke’s reputation as one of the top GMs in the NHL has taken a hit since he engineered his escape from Anaheim to join the Maple Leafs on Nov. 29, 2008. That was not too long after The Hockey News named him the best GM in the business. You sure don’t hear anybody making that claim these days.
Burke came to Toronto guns-a-blazing, telling the hockey world how his Maple Leafs would be bigger and bolder than ever; how they would be a tough team to play against and how he’d build the club from the goaltender out. Suffice it to say those words now ring hollow.
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Given that he has no desire to trade Jake Gardiner, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, one has to think, is looking at parting with at least a player or two off the club’s roster in the coming days or weeks.
Making trades to improve the Leafs is the way to go. Burke has said it as much himself, knowing a thin free-agent market has few attractive players that could come in and help the Leafs become a playoff contender.
When you manage a team that finished 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12, a full dozen points short of the eighth and final playoff spot, few players on your roster would be deemed untouchable.
But there are a few Leafs who know they aren’t going anywhere. Captain Dion Phaneuf, forwards Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski, defenceman John-Michael Liles, goaltender James Reimer — none of these young men have trouble sleeping at night because they’re worried they might be traded the next day.
For the rest of the Leafs outside of Gardiner, there is no such certainty. Defenceman Luke Schenn likely will be hearing rumours until the time comes that he actually is traded, though Burke would have to eat some fairly significant words that he uttered last September when he signed Schenn to a five-year contract.
“What you see is a classic, hard-nosed Canadian defenceman,” Burke said at the time. “Luke plays the game we all dream about finding players to play that way. He plays hard, is hard to play against, he finishes his checks.”
On the surface, it appears that Burke has on his hands several unmovable contracts. Forwards Matthew Lombardi, Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong