Rumors from the Dreger Report

There are many intriguing scenarios being discussed, even though the true list of available players is far from complete.

For a number of NHL teams, it’s still too early to declare their intentions, while for others – such as Pittsburgh and Boston (two contending clubs) – injury has heightened their sense of urgency.

1) With no time frame set for the return of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and a knee injury that will likely see Evgeni Malkin miss the rest of the season, Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero needs a Top 6 forward – preferably a centre.

Because of long term injury relief, cap space is no longer a problem. However, if Shero hopes to lure players like Stephen Weiss from the Florida Panthers or pry a talented young forward like Devin Setoguchi from the San Jose Sharks (as examples), he will need to present a package of assets containing either a combination of a young roster player and high ranking draft pick, or a top prospect and draft picks.

In San Jose’s case, assuming Sharks GM Doug Wilson is willing to consider moving Setoguchi, a young defenceman such as 25-year-old Alex Goligoski may have to be included.

New Jersey Devils centre Jason Arnott will also draw interest for teams needing help up the middle.

2) Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli also has some unexpected flexibility – roughly $4 million removed from Boston’s cap when Marc Savard was placed on LTI on Monday.

The Bruins have an interest in a replacement centre, but feel confident Blake Wheeler can fill that void.

Chiarelli is hoping to add a defenceman and a forward and providing he can swing a deal for the right blueliner. The forward he adds may not be as significant as some might hope.

Boston’s interest in Tomas Kaberle is believed to be strong, although it’s hard to envision the premium the Bruins would have to pay for Toronto to do them any more favors.

Eric Brewer, Chris Phillips, Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen (if Carolina drops out of playoff race) are more likely targets for Chiarelli to focus on.

3) It seems unlikely the Dallas Stars’ ownership situation will sort itself out anytime soon. That uncertainty makes it almost impossible for Brad Richards to negotiate an extension with the Stars.

Richards and his agent Pat Morris have an excellent relationship with Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk and will continue to listen to updates on ownership possibilities, while also allowing Dallas to dictate the pace and direction the organization wants to go with the star centre.

An in-season trade is highly unlikely. However, if presented, Richards would consider his options provided enough time was given to weigh the possibilities of making the move – especially if the proposal were to include a contract extension.

Another scenario could see Richards turn down such an opportunity and finish the season in Dallas hopeful that ownership solidifies in time for him to comfortably re-sign with the Stars.

This would have to happen before the NHL Entry Draft in June, the next logical hot-spot for trade prior to Richards cruising into unrestricted free agency on July 1.