Rumors, Rumors, Rumors to start your week off right.
- Darryl disappointed in top guns, but he’s not trading them away
- Rangers don’t seem ‘desperate’ Phaneuf
- Marty Turco’s status is up in air, but reading Stars won’t help
- What will Hawks do at the trade deadline?
Darryl disappointed in top guns, but he’s not trading them away
ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
Darryl Sutter has bad news for all those calling for an overhaul of his club following six straight losses.
“We have no intention of breaking any of it up,” said the Flames GM after returning from a four-night scouting trip out east.
“You don’t have to shake it up. I don’t know how or why you’d do that. We have the intention of getting the most out of what we’ve got. You know those guys can be better.”
It’s a familiar refrain from Sutter, who still believes this team can challenge for a division title. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been fielding plenty of phone calls from GMs around the league wondering if all the Dion Phaneuf rumours are true.
“When you lose three or four in a row, there are teams that call about your best players,” said Sutter in his first interview since the club’s nasty skid began.
“Will we be active before the trade deadline? Depends where we are.”
Rangers don’t seem ‘desperate’ Phaneuf
Despite Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter’s adamant denial that Dion Phaneuf is on the trade market, another NHL GM yesterday told The Post that the Flames are “desperate” to move the defenseman and the annual $6.5 million cap hit he will carry through 2013-14.
Which leads us to the Rangers, a team in desperate need of size and toughness that just happened to be scouted by Daryl Sutter and pro scout Ron Sutter during the Blueshirts’ 2-0 surrender in Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Blueshirts, who play Montreal tonight (7:00, WPIX, ESPN 1050 AM) in what should be a terrific Round 2 of the nasty battle they and the Canadiens waged at the Garden last Sunday, wouldn’t have the cap space to accommodate the head-hunting, 24-year-old Phaneuf without sending either Michal Rozsival or Wade Redden the other way as part of the package.
Redden carries the same cap obligation for the same number of years as Phaneuf, so there’s no reason to believe the Flames would be interested in him.
Beyond that, Redden likely has included Calgary on his eight-team no-trade list.
The Flames, who also scouted the Rangers at the Garden on Tuesday, might be willing to accept Rozsival, who has two years following this one remaining on his contract with an annual $5 million cap charge, but who will be owed just $7 million in salary after this season.
But Calgary is seeking help up front to bring back in a hypothetical Phaneuf trade.
The only reasonable target would be Brandon Dubinsky — reasonable, that is, for the Flames, but entirely unreasonable for the Rangers, who are essentially bereft down the middle behind No. 17.
If Phaneuf, 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, were playing up to the reputation he established his first couple of years in the league as a Barry Beck-type multi-dimensional specimen, perhaps GM Glen Sather could justify moving one young piece for another to fill one hole even while creating another. Perhaps.
Marty Turco’s status is up in air, but reading Stars won’t help
MIKE HEIKA / The Dallas Morning News
Marty Turco fully understands the weight of his current situation, he just doesn’t believe it helps him in any way to dwell on it.
Dallas Stars / NHL
Marty Turco’s status is up in air, but reading Stars won’t help
The 34-year-old goalie’s contract expires at the end of this season, and he and the Dallas Stars are not discussing an extension. He has struggled at times and last week was replaced by backup goalie Alex Auld for three straight games. And with the NHL’s trade deadline coming March 3, there is always the thought he could be playing for a different team before the end of the season.
“You guys ask me about it, and I know it’s out there, but I really, truly do everything I can to not read about and not talk about it. It does me no good,” Turco said after registering 35 saves in a 4-3 win over Edmonton on Friday in his return to net.
“I honestly am so tied up in doing anything that I can to help my team win, that I feel that’s the best place to put all of my energy. And if you want to talk about what’s best for me and my future and my family, it’s to play well. That will take care of a lot of things.”
Turco played well Friday. He was fantastic at times in the third period, and two of the goals he allowed were pretty much unstoppable. On one, the Oilers made a perfect passing play, moved the puck from one side of the ice to the other and hammered home a one-timer. The other, with 1:02 left, was kicked in by teammate Mike Modano.
Turco then came up with two huge saves in the final 10 seconds to seal a much needed victory.
“He saved his best for last,” coach Marc Crawford said. “Those were very big saves.”
Crawford said he and his coaching staff have talked to Turco on a regular basis but said he has left goalie coach Mike Valley and Turco to work out the details of his game. And though Turco looked more conservative in his movement in net Friday and seemed to stay on his feet more, he said it was not by design.
What will Hawks do at the trade deadline?
It’s never too early for Stanley Cup contenders to start thinking about the trade deadline, which this season falls on March 3.
You can be sure it was a topic of conversation last weekend when the Blackhawks held organizational meetings.
The Hawks are in an interesting spot. They are one of the best teams in the NHL, maybe the best, but are right up against the salary cap, which is going to make adding a piece or two for the playoffs a difficult task for general manager Stan Bowman.
This is assuming, of course, Bowman and his staff even feel the need to tinker with what’s working so well now.
What do the Hawks need? Like most contenders with their sights set on going deep into the postseason, depth on defense is high on the list. The Hawks are an injury or two away from having a big problem on the blue since there is no one in the minors at Rockford that could be counted on to come up and contribute.
Here’s what the Hawks may be thinking: With salary cap problems on the horizon for the off-season, do they move a player or two off the current roster knowing it’s what they must do anyway in the summer when all they likely will get in return are draft picks?
Does Bowman risk disrupting the team’s great chemistry with only weeks left in the season to pursue one of the top rentals at the deadline, a guy such as Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer?
These are tough questions and decisions for Bowman and his people, but maybe the deadline will be the time he can get the most return for players that are going to be cut loose anyway.
It should be noted that Ducks GM Bob Murray has given no indication that Niedermayer will be available, but with the 36-year-old veteran becoming an unrestricted free agent and Anaheim looking
to retool on its way to missing the playoffs, odds are good Niedermayer will be up for bid.
Your guess is as good as mine as to what it would take to land Niedermayer. Let’s say it’s a defenseman and a forward, maybe with a draft pick or prospect. In any case, there might not be another team in the league able to offer what the Hawks can for a player they might want at the deadline.
Then again, perhaps the best course of action for Bowman is to stand pat at the deadline, stay with the very good group he has and worry about his cap issues in the summer.
Complicating the trade deadline process for teams is the fact there can be no trading during Feb. 15-23.