Category Archives: Trade Rumors
The question might not be whom to select in Friday’s NHL draft, but this: To trade or not to trade?
The combination of a relatively even distribution of talent among the first-round prospects, certain needs for teams selecting at the front end and a new collective-bargaining agreement looming has the potential for some big deals this week and into the weekend, when all 30 general managers will be in Pittsburgh, ostensibly to make their teams deeper through the draft.
Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said this past week he has no plans to trade the No. 1 overall pick, but he listened to offers, a new development from the past two seasons, when Edmonton did not hesitate to make Taylor Hall and then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the top selections of 2010 and 2011.
Edmonton — like several teams, including the Islanders — has a crying need for help on defense.
So it might be more of a difference-making forward who gets dealt this week. Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash heads the list, having nearly been dealt at the trade deadline, although he still has a no-trade clause to determine where he’ll go.
The Rangers could be the biggest movers this week. Nash, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks, and defensemen Shea Weber of the Predators and Tobias Enstrom of the Jets could be targets, with the Rangers using their No. 28 pick and/or some of their deep prospect pool to swing a deal.
Under GM Garth Snow, the Islanders have refused to deal picks and/or young players for established NHLers. This year is no different, although Snow is trying hard to land a defenseman to shore up a thin mix. Only Mark Streit, Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald will be back from the team’s regular 2011-12 defense corps.
A restricted free agent such as the Canadiens’ P.K. Subban would have gotten Snow to strongly consider dealing the fourth overall pick, but new Montreal GM Marc Bergevin isn’t moving Subban, according to those who’ve spoken with him.
One player who figures to have his name whispered often leading up to Friday’s first round is Derek Roy. The center had a disappointing season and is entering the final season of his six-year contract. Roy will earn $5.5 million next season but has a manageable $4 million cap hit.
If the Sabres move Roy or another big name, it wouldn’t be the first time they used draft weekend to significantly alter the roster. Names such as Jochen Hecht, Michael Peca, Tim Connolly, Don Edwards and Tony McKegney have been part of selection meeting swaps. The biggest blockbuster came in 1990, when the Sabres acquired Dale Hawerchuk and a first-round pick from Winnipeg in exchange for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and a first-round pick.
The most recognizable star on the market this year is Columbus right wing Rick Nash. The captain wants out, and the Blue Jackets are expected to accommodate him after failing to find a suitable deal at the trade deadline. The 28-year-old has six years remaining on a deal that averages $7.8 million.
The main purpose of the draft, though, is to pick young players. Nail Yakupov is likely to be No. 1.
The 18-year-old Russian forward is ranked first by NHL Central Scouting, a position he also held at the midterm rankings. Yakupov recorded 31 goals and 69 points in 42 games with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League and added nine assists in seven games for Russia at the world junior championships.
The Leafs are expected to be near the front of the line if former Anaheim Duck first-rounder Justin Schultz becomes a free agent in a couple of weeks.
Schultz, a big defenceman with 44 points in 37 games, is leaving the University of Wisconsin a year early to play pro. But he’s thus far not signed with the Ducks, who could lose him if a deal is not reached by June 24. After that, a number of teams are in the picture, his home province Vancouver Canucks, the needy Detroit Red Wings, the Rangers, Oilers and the Leafs.
Toronto’s connection is that Burke drafted him just prior to leaving the Ducks in 2008, 43rd overall, the round after another Wisconsin defenceman Jake Gardiner. Anaheim was so anxious to get Schultz signed, it was reportedly prepared to burn a year of his entry-level contract just to play him in the final few games of the regular season. The Ducks might also work a trade for his rights before the 24th.
The world of goaltending options is closing in on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With Tomas Vokoun signed in Pittsburgh and Anders Lindback acquired by Tampa Bay, the list of available quality goalies has shrunk by two. And while there are many teams interested in inquiring about Los Angeles backup Jonathan Bernier, at this time the Kings prefer to maintain the status quo with Jonathan Quick as starter and Bernier behind him.
The pro-active trade Steve Yzerman made for Nashville’s Lindback hurts the Leafs in two different ways: 1) It removes a goalie they should have had interest in from the marketplace; 2) It provides one of their opponents in the Eastern Conference with potentially better goaltending than it has had in the past (and you know the Lightning, with Steven Stamkos, can score goals).
With Vokoun and Lindback scratched from the list of the available and the Kings’ Dean Lombardi saying “having only one quarterback is dangerous,” that leaves Roberto Luongo as their best goaltending option moving forward to this week’s NHL draft and trade meet. The good news with Luongo is it won’t cost much to get him. The bad news is it’s a long-term solution for the Leafs and if they still believe in James Reimer and, to a lesser extent, Ben Scrivens, then it isn’t an ideal situation for the development of a youngster.
While there are still run-of-the-mill free agents available such as Josh Harding, Scott Clemmensen and Chris Mason, there is nothing that would excite Maple Leafs fans here. Luongo remains the most viable option — and that’s not without its pitfalls.
Luongo to Where?
Where will Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo be playing hockey next season? Obviously he’ll need to be moved if the team wants to move forward with Cory Schneider. Tampa bay GM Steve Yzerman has denied interest but sources tell me they aren’t necessarily buying it. Many feel his quick denial is an attempt to deflate the market for the All-Star goaltender.
Multiple people tell me they don’t believe Canucks GM Mike Gillis has interest in moving Luongo to Toronto and seeing him playing on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night. He wouldn’t want to have that thrown in his face every weekend especially if Luongo is having success. It’s much easier to hide him in a U.S. market.
We saw this years ago with Edmonton and Toronto before Chris Pronger was dealt to Anaheim. The offer then-Oilers GM Kevin Lowe received from Toronto was actually better than the one he accepted from Anaheim. Lowe apparently would rather accept less than move him to the Maple Leafs where the Chris Pronger show would air every Saturday night.
We’ve seen exceptions most recently with Calgary shipping Dion Phaneuf to Toronto.
On the telephone from Montreal late Thursday afternoon, when called to discuss the Gelnias hire, Hartley might’ve unwittingly given a tipoff as to how this all might play out.
“For me,’’ he declared, “looking at Jarome, Giordano, Tanguay, Glencross, Cammalleri, Kiprusoff . . . that’s going to be the core of our team.’’
Now maybe it was nothing more than an honest omission, or the overactive imagination of a scurrilous scribbler, but one prominent name was missing from Hartley’s list. There was no mention of No. 4. Of Jay Bouwmeester. Of a guy whose logged murderous minutes since the day arrived here.
If there’s to be a Regehr scenario unfold for the Flames in Pittsburgh next week, Bouwmeester shapes up as it. Yes, his compensation is wildly out of whack (he’s owned $6.68 million for this season and next), he put up almost as many minuses (minus-21) as points (29) last year and has the standard no-trade clause, but at age 29 when (if?) the 2012-2013 regular-season kicks off, the time seems right.
That persistent Columbus rumour that made the rounds a year ago is floating out there again. Toronto’s been mentioned, too. And despite the stiff tariff, you can wager there are bound to be other suitors willing to overlook certain flaws to secure the services of a player with the motor, the effortless skating prowess, of a Bouwmeester.
The most likely destination for Nash is the New York Rangers, who, like everyone else, covet pending unrestricted free agent Zach Parise but who were told earlier this week that Parise doesn’t consider that a realistic move for him. The Rangers are still looking to get over the top after losing in the Eastern Conference finals to New Jersey, and need help up front, as it’s expected star Marian Gaborik will be sidelined five to six months following shoulder surgery.
The other likely destination is Vancouver, where the Canucks are looking to unload Roberto Luongo and figure out a way to make good on years of unfulfilled playoff promise. The San Jose Sharks will be looking to make a move, too, after losing in the first round despite making a big splash at last year’s draft by trading for defenseman Brent Burns.
Management is very serious about re-tooling the Wings after a first-round loss to Nashville, but the focus is on doing it via free agency more than via trades.
Expensive accomplished players like Patrick Kane, Nash, Jay Bouwmeester and Roberto Luongo are possibly available for trade. Ryan Suter and Zach Parise appear set to leave Nashville and New Jersey respectively as free agents. Teams are getting set to make moves lockout or no lockout ahead.
Which brings us to the Maple Leafs.
It’s an intriguing time for GM Brian Burke and his staff as they contemplate the future. The expectation among many is that Burke is plotting aggressive ways of making sure the Leafs don’t miss post-season play again next season eyeing a veteran goaltender (Luongo?) in search of quality veterans to bolster Dion Phaneuf and the leadership group in the Toronto dressing room and searching for ways to get the No. 1 pick in next week’s draft.
There’s just not enough there yet even with some promising players with the Marlies to start aggressively thinking short-term like the Kings.
The likeliest scenario then is for something in between:
• A play for Luongo that might cost one good prospect.
• A mid-range NHL free agent.
• An aggressive bid for unsigned Anaheim blueline prospect Justin Schultz.
• No deal for Nash who may have scratched Toronto from his list of preferred destinations anyway.
• No move up from No. 5 in the draft and therefore ending up with a blue-chip youngster who will be back in junior or Europe next season.
The message? Staying the course no short-term fixes or at least none involving players who can only help for one or two years. Luongo, maybe, because he’s a long-term solution in the crease.
It would be a statement that the Leafs aren’t yet in the prospect-rich position L.A. was last summer but also that they believe enough in what they have put in place — Phaneuf as captain, Phil Kessel as the centrepiece up front — that a goaltending upgrade would make everything look better.
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson has many ideas running through his mind about how to improve his team. Trading the second-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is one of them and Howson says the pick has already garnered some interest from around the league.
“We’ve certainly listened to people. We’ve had a couple of expressions of interest on the pick in terms of moving down,” Howson told The Morning Show on Sportsnet 960 The Fan on Thursday. “We wouldn’t want to move too far down so we’ll just see how it plays out next week. Traditionally, and if history repeats itself, teams get a little more serious about exchanging picks as we get closer to the draft on the draft floor.”
Howson, who has been the Blue Jackets GM since 2007, said he is looking at any and all avenues to improve his squad and is open to dealing his top pick if the right offer is made. But he also admitted that trading away a high draft pick can be quite difficult.
“We’d be open to any suggestions,” Howson said. “It’s not an easy trade to trade out of the two slot, or one slot or three slot for that matter.”
The Blue Jackets are no strangers to making deals close to draft day either. One day before last season’s draft, Howson traded Jakub Voracek to the Philadelphia Flyers along with the eighth-overall pick (which the Flyers used to select Sean Couturier) in exchange for forward Jeff Carter.
In February, Howson then flipped Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for defenceman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick. Although disappointed Carter didn’t help his club like he anticipated, Howson has no regrets about the signing and was pleased he was able to get a good return when they traded him.
The market for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rich Nash is heating up ahead of next week’s NHL Draft.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, as many as seven teams have had ‘significant discussions’ with the club in the last 10 days about acquiring Nash.
The report adds that the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams that have expressed interest.
Blue Jackets’ general manager Scott Howson said that the club had, “significantly more discussions this week,” but would not comment directly on the most recent trade talks regarding the team captain.