Category Archives: Trade Rumors
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
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SIEGEL: BURKE INTENDS TO USE FIFTH PICK; TRADE NOT IMMINENT