The best-case-scenario hope, of course, is that various developments will make Phaneuf and the rest of the core look better soon enough; that Morgan Rielly emerges as a home-grown bargain; that Peter Holland continues to produce as a trade-market steal; that trade bait like Jake Gardiner or Nazem Kadri could land a respectable fish; that Bolland returns from injury and re-signs for a reasonable number when he hits free agency this summer; that Jonathan Bernier’s goaltending can cover up enough the rest of the flaws through another money-drenched playoff run.
The Pittsburgh Penguins need a third-liner with some bite, but with Pascal Dupuis out with a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament, they also need a top-six winger. The Calgary Flames’ Mike Cammalleri, an unrestricted free agent, fits that bill. He doesn’t check as well as Dupuis, but he has a better scoring touch.
Marian Gaborik, who sustained a broken collarbone on Dec. 21 in his first match after having been sidelined for 17 games with a sprained knee, is determined to compete for Slovakia in Sochi if health permits, even if the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly thrilled by the prospect.
Another injury would destroy the trade deadline market for the former Ranger, who, as an impending free agent, would be considered one of the prime available rentals up front with the Islanders’ Thomas Vanek, Buffalo’s Matt Moulson, Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri and perhaps the Rangers’ captain Callahan and the Devils’ Jaromir Jagr.
In light of the apparent season-ending injury to Pascal Dupuis, you would have to believe the Penguins will be knee-deep again in that market.
Boy oh boy, would the Maple Leafs love to find a taker for Nazem Kadri.
Defenseman Kyle Quincey clearly is the top candidate to be traded. He’s an unrestricted free agent after this season and won’t be re-signed, so they might as well get an asset for him – or at least clear his $3.775 million cap hit as a prelude to a separate deal.
He hasn’t played well, which limits his value and his potential suitors. But rental defensemen are always in demand the latter half of the season and at the trade deadline.
A spat between Blue Jackets Brandon Dubinsky and Blake Comeau escalated, quickly, into a full-on fight today during practice in Nationwide Arena.
Dubinsky and Comeau, who had moments earlier exchanged words and had to be separated on the bench during a penalty-kill drill, dropped the gloves and exchanged punches when their lines were next on the ice together.
Chiarelli could try to find a more experienced defenseman on the trade market, perhaps dangling a young blueliner to a non-contender for a player with a little more on his resume. The Sabres’ Henrik Tallinder comes to this mind, while the Rangers’ Dan Girardi, the Jets’ Mark Stuart and the Senators’ Chris Phillips — all unrestricted free agents at season’s end — have come to others’.
The NHL trade freeze has been lifted and it is back to business as usual for Senators GM Bryan Murray and his other 29 counterparts.
While Murray has been working the phones heavily for the last month, he’ll step up his efforts to try to find a top six forward and puck-moving defenceman with the holiday ban officially over at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
Aside from a couple of details, Phaneuf and the Leafs are very close on a 7 year, $7 mil per contract extension. Term was key. #tsn
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 28, 2013
That’s what the Canadiens can look forward to in 2014.
But there won’t be any immediate changes and fans who are concerned that Max Pacioretty will be traded can rest assured that a team short on size and scoring punch isn’t about to trade one of the few players on the team who supplies both.
Originally, the plan was to keep Jones around only as long as it took Quick to recover from a bad groin injury and then he’d go back down for the rest of the year, with a view to starting full time in the NHL next season. By then, Scrivens would have moved on – either via a trade at the deadline or as an unrestricted free agent.
Management has all but settled on dealing the erratic 23-year-old defenseman, who will play in his ninth straight game on Friday since sitting out the Dec. 7 match against the Devils in which Marc Staal was concussed.
Trade possibilities: The NHL trade deadline is March 5, but will the Red Wings be able to do much? Teams will be asking for young players such as Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Petr Mrazek for the few quality rentals available, and general manager Ken Holland absolutely will not make those kind of deals.
Dreger "I wouldn't be at all surprise if once the trade freeze lifts NY makes that trade and Del Zotto goes to Ottawa"
— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) December 23, 2013
Another thing MacTavish will do – if he hasn’t already – is call Nashville Predators capo David Poile and say, “If you decide to trade No. 6, I’m in. I’ve got what you want. There’s no better fit in the league.” The Predators had no choice but to match the Philadelphia Flyers’ offer sheet for Shea Weber. They needed control of the asset and credibility among the fan base after losing Ryan Suter. But things are changing in Tennessee.
Nobody has been described as more desperate to make a deal than the New York Rangers.
The club is on a nine-game homestand and has only one victory in seven games and that could mean a trade not long after the roster freeze is lifted at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 28.
League executives say Rangers GM Glen Sather has been working the phones trying to move several players — including blueliners Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi — in an attempt to try get his struggling club on track.
Is there going to be room for Sheldon Souray next month when he returns to the crowded Anaheim Ducks defence after wrist surgery? Whose spot does he take? Ben Lovejoy and Cam Fowler, an odd mix, have become their shutdown pair. They love rookie Hampus Lindholm, are getting good offensive work from Sami Vatanen, and have Francois Beauchemin and Bryan Allen as a heavy defence tag-team. Luca Sbisa (wrist tendon) will return in a few weeks, too.
It seems inexplicable, but Slap Shots has heard continued chatter about the Canadiens’ willingness to trade Max Pacioretty, the 25-year-old winger who apparently isn’t Michel Therrien’s ideal.
A great skater who put up 30 points in his rookie season, 23-year-old defenseman Jake Gardiner is a tantalizing talent. And according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to trade him.
“I think there’s a better chance of him getting traded, just because of the continued interest,” Dreger said this morning on TSN 1050 radio (audio). “At some point, I think that Toronto’s needs are going to equal what teams are going to be willing to pay.
It has not been the easiest season for Brad Marchand. The winger has struggled to produce, with five goals and nine assists in 34 games entering Thursday’s game, and has had multiple incidents of questionable judgment in the last week, with his antics in Vancouver and a boarding penalty against the Flames.
In the wake of Marchand mimicking kissing his Stanley Cup ring and then mimicking raising the Cup and kissing it during a loss to the Canucks last Saturday, his coach and general manager expressed disappointment in him.
But that doesn’t mean GM Peter Chiarelli wants him gone.