Tons of Late Night/Early Morning Rumors from the Globe and Mail

Eric Duhatschek

RUMORS DU JOUR: There’s something admirable about the way the Carolina Hurricanes are going about their rebuilding phase, without any pretence about their prospects for the current season, which are lost anyway. First, they installed Eric Staal as captain in place of Rod Brind’Amour, so he can adjust to the yoke of leadership, with comparatively little stress. Secondly, they’ve acknowledged publicly via general manager Jim Rutherford what everybody knew already – they will be sellers at this year’s NHL trading deadline and that any number of veteran players with Stanley Cup championships on their resumes
(Ray Whitney, Matt Cullen, Scott Walker, Joe Corvo, Niclas Wallin) will be available to the highest bidder. In recent years, teams have paid a premium for 11th-hour help just because the buyers vastly outnumbered the sellers. This year, the separation between the good and the bad came earlier in half-a-dozen precincts, meaning the market could be deeper than it has been.

FURTHERMORE: If the Atlanta Thrashers do make Ilya Kovalchuk available, but at the same time, do not want to wave the white flag on their season, would they have any interest in the Maple Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky? Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov had some chemistry before in Toronto; he might be a short term fit in Atlanta and maybe that would permit the Leafs to get a first-round draft pick in return … And if we’re fuelling wild trade talk in Leaf Nation anyway, would the Pittsburgh Penguins ever make a meaningful offer to Toronto for Nikolai Kulemin, with a view to reuniting him with reigning scoring champion Evgeni Malkin? Kulemin and Malkin were linemates during the latter’s final year in Russia; and the fact that the Penguins didn’t grab Petr Sykora off waivers this week suggests they have different ideas about how to bolster their flanks for a possible Stanley Cup defence. Kulemin has been solid for the Leafs this season, but he is a restricted free agent and if he gets to July 1 unsigned, the KHL will presumably figure into the equation as well.

FINN STAYING PUT?: Teemu Selanne will almost certainly retire after this season as an Anaheim Duck and the only reason that any one thinks he might not is if the Los Angeles Kings make an offer on his services. Selanne doesn’t want to leave southern California, but with the Kings, he wouldn’t have to. And the man running Los Angeles, general manager Dean Lombardi, made that deal once before. That was at the 2001 trading deadline when Lombardi, then in charge of the San Jose Sharks, gave the Ducks Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields and a second-round pick, in exchange for Selanne. History – not often but sometimes – does repeat … Calgary, meanwhile, is desperate for additional scoring, but would they ever take underachieving Alex Tanguay off of Tampa’s hands? Tanguay did 81 points (and 59 assists) in his first of two seasons with the Flames and might be the set-up man Iginla so desperately lacks.

4 Responses to Tons of Late Night/Early Morning Rumors from the Globe and Mail

  1. number15 says:

    Ponikarovsky will not land a 1st rounder for the Leafs…… though he would be a huge addition to Atlanta, especially if Kovalchulk is traded. Antropov and Ponikarovsky have amamzing chemistry.

    Leafs should keep Kulemin. Only way i let him go is if he want to play in the KHL or if someone overpays for him. He is not sporting big time numbers but if u watch any Leafs games, he is playing some big time hockey at a very young age…. He is also a former MVP in the league that Malkin and Ovechkin came from and he is about their age too, just pointing that out….. sadly the KHL will be all over this

  2. cam7777 says:

    He's also apparently been added to the Russian Olympic team, so he has clearly been catching other perople's attention with his strong play as of late.  I have no idea why Wilson moved him off the top line last night, and forced him to play with Primeau and Stemps again.  I would have understood if we were playing an offensive powerhouse, and we needed a legit checking line, but c'mon, it was the friggin' Panthers.  Kulemin / Bozak / Kessel has been great for us, but Wilson won't let them stick.  Very frustrating.

  3. cam7777 says:

    Doubt Ponikarovsky returns a first round pick.  You never know, because the market could spiral out of control and someone could panic.  Doesn't make much sense for Atlanta though.  Unless they traded Kovalchuk to a team like Chicago, and got a 1st back that was almost guaranteed to be between 27 and 30 – they could trade that, but I suspect even then, they would want more coming back from Toronto.  Who knows though, it's all about what teams feel will be available in the draft by that point.

  4. cam7777 says:

    I guess too, that Ponikarovsky might be worth more to Atlanta than anyone else, as they would be acquiring him with the intention of locking him up to a lucrative deal and pairing him with Antropov.  If they were really interested in having him, perhaps the threat of sending him to Pittsburgh and having him become Malkin's permanent left winger, would be enough to force Waddell's hand.  In essence, the Thrasher's wouldn't just be trading for a rental, but rather, a guy they are going to have for 4-5 years.

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