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Josh Harding isn’t oblivious to the fact his name is churning through the NHL rumor mill.
It has been almost 10 years since he was drafted, so he knows how it works. The Wild goalie is a potential free agent and it’s five weeks to the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
So since the Wild has yet to talk contract with him, could Harding help the Wild land that much-coveted top-six forward?
MacLean suggested Hemsky will pull in less than Dustin Penner did last season, though he failed to identify the main reason for that — Penner wasn’t just a rental, but still had another season left on his contract, while Hemsky is rental, a UFA on July 1. “I don’t see teams paying a big price,” MacLean said. He may well be right about that, though Kypreos was more positive. “There’s a lot of teams right now looking for a top six forward and he certainly fits the bill,” the real Kyper said.
The Maple Leafs need it, and Brian Burke has to go out and get it — sooner rather than later. The Leafs are on a fast train to Funkville and something has to be done to get them back on the rails.
They’ve lost three straight and have dropped out of a playoff spot, and have managed only six goals in their last four games.
If the Senators’ bubble was going to burst, you would have expected it to do so by now. It hasn’t, eh? Well, maybe under the hot California sun, where they start a four-game in six-day stretch Thursday against Western Conference teams, in their own time zone, who are at different levels of desperation.
GM Bryan Murray doesn’t think it’s going to happen, though. He looks at his team — the surprise of the NHL season with a 26-16-6 record and within a short saucer pass from the Eastern Conference lead — and he doesn’t see a crash and burn in its future.
There will come a time during the next few weeks when Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets hockey operations department decides whether they will be in the business of buying or selling leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 27.
The chances of it being the latter and not the former is where the smart money currently resides.
The Jets will be open for business, but let’s be perfectly clear — nobody is expecting a fire sale and Cheveldayoff isn’t going to be giving players away just for the sake of making changes.
So, I figured I’d join the Leafs trade talks, and discuss some possible names of interest to Burke and the organization. I know a previous article mentioned Ryan Malone, who may very well be a target. But who else:
Could John Ferguson Jr. be the next general manager in Columbus?
The former Toronto Maple Leafs GM is being mentioned as a possible successor for Scott Howson, according to a report from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
Howson, who is still under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, is expected to be let go at the end of the season. The Blue Jackets already fired head coach Scott Arniel last week.
Ferguson, who was the Maple Leafs’ general manager from 2003-2008, struggled during his tenure in Toronto. His teams did not make a playoff appearance after the lockout in 2005.
The Canadiens were prepared for more personnel changes following the decision to trade left winger Michael Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque.
“At a certain point, you can’t keep firing coaches,” veteran Mathieu Darche said, referring to the firing of head coach Jacques Martin and assistant coach Perry Pearn earlier this season. “It goes down to players. We felt things might happen if we didn’t get better. We have a new player and we move on.”
As the trade deadline approaches, the Flyers are in the process of determining exactly how much salary they can take on. But if it was hard to predict in December how Pronger will feel in May, it’s more daunting to guesstimate now how Pronger will react to physical exertion in September, should he even want to risk his future day-to-day health.
As it stands, the Flyers have north of $3 million in cushion to add for the rest of this season. That’s not the problem. It’s predicting the future. Next year, the Flyers already have $21.3 million committed to Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Andreas Lilja and Erik Gustafsson. Matt Carle ($3.437 million) is the Flyers’ only unrestricted free agent.
The door is still open for the possibility Teemu Selanne could end this season a Winnipeg Jet.
While Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has said the 41-year-old and Finnish teammate Saku Koivu are the only two untouchables on his squad, Selanne refused to confirm his plan is to end his career with the Ducks or that he’d turn down a chance to be a Jet again.
The Minnesota Wild, like many teams, don’t quite know yet if they’ll be buyers or sellers, as it depends on where they sit in the standings come Feb. 27.
They’re certainly hoping to be buyers and, if that’s the case, it’s pretty obvious they’ll be looking to upgrade a 29th-place offense.
“We’ve been talking to teams for a couple of months now,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told ESPN.com Thursday. “We haven’t scored a lot of goals this year. I think there’s room for internal improvement, I think we have guys who will score more goals. But obviously if we could find a way to upgrade our team, we will.”
The Devils have a decision to make before next month’s NHL trade deadline: Do they deal star winger Zach Parise?
With Parise set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, the Devils are desperately trying to keep their 27-year-old captain from testing the market, but if he’s not signed in the next month, GM Lou Lamoriello may have to consider moving him before Feb. 27.