Category Archives: Trade Rumors
After leaving the Toronto organization to become the assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Rick Dudley claimed the Maple Leafs, with the same roster they had last spring, would be a playoff team if they had solid goaltending.
Roberto Luongo certainly would fit that bill. And, amidst all this Luongo-to-Toronto speculation, this could very well be a case of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Goaltender Roberto Luongo issued a tweet on Sunday that said: “So (what) do we do now?”
Many Toronto fans may be asking the same question after months of speculation over whether the veteran goaltender with the 12-year contract will be joining the Maple Leafs from the Vancouver Canucks for the lockout-shortened NHL season.
No NHL player can be traded during the lockout. But that doesn’t mean nobody is talking trade, or that trade rumours can’t gain life while the players are locked out.
Well, not true. At least not yet.
Yes, the Leafs remain very much interested in securing the services of Luongo, and the talks are very much alive. It’s believed Leaf GM Brian Burke and his Vancouver counterpart Mike Gillis spoke as recently as two weeks ago, at which time the Canucks demands were reduced from the bounty they requested at the draft, but not enough for the Leafs to agree to anything.
At the draft, reports indicated Vancouver asked for centre Tyler Bozak, defenceman Jake Gardiner, a first-round pick and winger Matt Frattin in exchange for the 33-year-old Luongo. The Leafs had no interest in paying that kind of price, largely because there is no significant market for the services of the veteran goaltender.
The Leafs, however, have only James Reimer on their NHL roster, and he’s a goalie in search of bounce-back season himself. So they have a definite need for quality veteran goaltending and the Canucks need to get Luongo out-of-town.
So talks have continued on and off, with Bozak as the centrepiece. Vancouver believes Bozak would be a good fit as their No. 3 centre behind Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler. The Leafs might be willing to pay more than Bozak, but how much more is unclear.
The most recent owner’s CBA proposal, meanwhile, may have altered the temperature of talks between the two clubs.
Luongo has 10 years remaining on a contract that comes with a cap hit of $5.33 million per season and expires in 2022. His actual salary is $6.714 million for the next six seasons, including the 2012-13 campaign, but then drops by 50 per cent in the seventh year and to $1 million in each of the final two.
The belief has long been with this contract that he’ll play for six years, then retire, taking the Canucks off the hook for the cap hit in the final four years.
When Jonathan Bernier, the Los Angeles Kings‘ well-regarded backup, announced his desire to be traded, rumours swirled that Toronto would be an appropriate landing spot. Here are five reasons why a Bernier-to-Leafs deal should not be struck.
1. They already have him.
More or less: Canadian goaltender chosen in the 2006 draft; will enter the 2012-13 season at 24 years of age; never played a playoff game; save percentage just on the friendly side of .900.
Take away the Mennonite background and last season’s rash of injuries — not a small deal, we know — and James Reimer is Jonathan Bernier. Neither is quite ready to carry a team into the postseason, but both have shown hints of brilliance that, with patience, health and some strong coaching, could get them to that proverbial next level.
Thing is, on paper, the Leafs goalie looks equal to or better than Bernier, who carries with him the perception of a potential star netminder being selected 11th overall (to Reimer’s 99th) and having won gold with Canada at the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships. (Bernier went 1-1 in the tournament, splitting post duties with Steve Mason.)
Sure, there are hockey minds out there that believe Bernier’s hybrid stand-up/butterfly style and quick reflexes make him a prime candidate to improve with experience, but who’s to say a healthy Reimer (or even the untested Ben Scrivens, for that matter) won’t appreciate at the same rate?
Reimer has played 71 games to Bernier’s 48, has actually won more games than he’s lost (34-24-9 to Bernier’s 20-17-5), and has posted comparable stats — despite playing behind an appreciably worse defence. Reimer has six shutouts, Bernier five. Bernier has a .910 save percentage, Reimer’s is .914.
2. Bernier wants to be a starter now, but might not deserve it.
Bernier told TVA that he wants to be a starter in this league, but his impatience could be his undoing. Yes, it was only one interview, but Bernier and his Stanley Cup ring could have chosen to play things cool. There are worse jobs than getting paid millions to platoon in for a quarter of a season in a gorgeous city on a young, excitable winning team, allowing your skills to improve under limited scrutiny behind the second-best defence in the entire NHL.
Sure, it goes against what Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has previously said.
Then again, what hasn’t.
Regardless, the Leafs are reportedly going after young Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, not the veteran netminder Burke told a Toronto radio station he was interested in acquiring.
According to Hockey Night in Canada’s Andi Petrillo, the Leafs have made an offer to the Kings for Bernier, who was the backup to Jonathan Quick last season. Quick signed a 10-year, $58 million contract extension last month, leading Bernier to ask for a trade.
Earlier this month, Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan the Leafs wanted a proven puck-stopper as an upgrade in net. Now it looks like he’s focused on 23-year-old Bernier, who fits more into the might-be-great category.
“We’re not looking at that avenue,” Burke told The Fan. “A couple goalies that moved are young, unproven guys. That’s an avenue were not interested in. We’ve kicked the tires, looked at all the prices, but that’s not an avenue we’re looking at.”
Detroit, to nobody’s surprise, is on Rick Nash’s short list of approved destinations. And the Red Wings, naturally, would love to land the high-scoring forward.
The Red Wings made “a hell of an offer” to Columbus for Nash, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. But the offer generated no conversation.
No counteroffer, no back and forth negotiation, nothing.
It is clear Columbus has no intention of trading the face of its franchise to the team it considers to be its top rival, a Detroit club that has dominated the Blue Jackets since they entered the NHL in 2000-01.
The last thing Columbus general manager Scott Howson wants to see is Nash being paired with Pavel Datsyuk and his Blue Jackets having to deal with that scenario six times a season.
It is not certain what the Red Wings offered. Howson recently told TSN’s Geno Reda that he is seeking at least two NHL-ready forwards in return for Nash because he likes his defense.
The Red Wings, in need of a top-pair defenseman, would be more inclined to relinquish a couple of NHL forwards in addition to prospects and draft picks.
Which forwards might the Red Wings move to get a franchise player like Nash? The two that come to mind are Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, though it’s unlikely Detroit would deal both.
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.”