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If I had to wager, I’d say the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are the most likely new homes for Rick Nash if there’s a pre-deadline deal.
But there’s certainly an Original Six team that would like Nash’s services if this were June and not February — the Detroit Red Wings.
With Ryan Smyth off the trade table, Detroit and Nashville can’t be happy.
They were both hot to trot for Smyth, especially the Predators who are dying for a top six forward, especially one with net presence. Nashville likes Ales Hemsky, too, but liked Smyth more, in large part because coach Barry Trotz has a history with the Edmonton Oilers’ winger from the world championship when he was a coach for Canada. The Red Wings have Tomas Holmstrom, a similar type, antagonistic player around the crease, but Homer, who just got honoured for playing 1000 NHL games, is on his last legs and is basically a fourth-line, PP guy now.
A year ago, Joe Colborne was the prospect involved in a trade by the Maple Leafs, coming to Toronto in a deal that sent defenceman Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins.
For Colborne, a 6-foot-5, 213-pound centre with the Toronto Marlies, once was fine, thanks.
If Leafs general manager Brian Burke makes a swap before the deadline, and many across the National Hockey League think he will, there’s an excellent chance he will have to part with a talented young player.
Time for Tim Connolly to start doing something.
Don’t get us wrong — the 30-year-old veteran has played a significant role in turning the Maple Leafs’ penalty killing around. Among Toronto forwards, only David Steckel has averaged more ice time a game when the Leafs are shorthanded.
But Connolly draws a salary of $5.5-million US this season, the second-highest paid Leafs forward after Phil Kessel, and costs the Leafs $4.75 million against the salary cap.
What is certain about the trade deadline is that the Columbus Blue Jackets will be open for business. The uncertainty is in the magnitude of their moves: Impending free agents, like Sammy Paulsson? Cancerous mistakes like Jeff Carter?
Or captain, star and face of the franchise Rick Nash …
Renaud Lavoie of RDS reported on Monday that an NHL general manager confirmed to him Nash is in play and has been offered around to some teams — news that was confirmed by a second source.
Tuomo Ruutu – The roughneck forward is exactly the kind of skill/sandpaper player the Bruins love for their third line roles, and he’d fit in perfectly with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. The Bruins are interested in Ruutu and have several former Hurricanes players on the B’s that have given their recommendation on the scrappy Finn. Unfortunately two major stumbling blocks stand in the way: it appears Carolina is going to sign him to an extension just as they’d done with Tim Gleason. The price for Ruutu is a first-round pick plus some kind of prospect.
Chuck Fletcher is weighing the present with the future, treading carefully as he tries to help jolt the Wild into a playoff berth as the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaches.
The Wild general manager wants to make the playoffs, but he doesn’t want to do something foolish that he’ll regret years from now (i.e. Nick Leddy Part Deux).
After working to build up a prospect pool, he doesn’t want to make a desperation move for a short-term fix.
If Brian Burke is looking at a rental player to give the Maple Leafs an edge in their stretch drive, the club could take a chance with Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner.
At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Penner is one of those big-body forwards that Burke covets and knows well from his days in Anaheim.
Moreover, a change of scenery might also ignite the 29-year-old Winkler, Man., native, who has struggled since the Kings acquired him a year ago in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers.
At the time, the trade was considered one of the big plays of the trade deadline.
The decision over the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending position might be the most important of general manager Mike Gillis’s administration but, in analyzing things as they stand, there is one number that stands out for Roberto Luongo.
It is not the 10 years he has left on his contract. It’s not the $5.333 million US annual cap hit he represents. It’s not even the number of Stanley Cups he’s won.
Could the trade deadline on Feb. 27 come and go with no big moves made by Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke?
It’s a possibility.
Not only have the Leafs been playing well enough to possibly convince Burke that a significant trade does not need to be made, it appears there simply is not a lot happening on the trade front.
“It’s very quiet,” Burke told reporters in Detroit at the Winter Classic announcement.