Tons of Rumors – Feb 2, 2010

Oilers feel trade fever

No guessing Sutter’s next move

Jackets’ Torres likely on trading block
Oilers feel trade fever


The Edmonton Oilers have been trying since last summer to swing a big trade or two, but two of their biggest rivals, Brian Burke and the Calgary Flames, beat them to the punch.

The Leafs, Flames and Anaheim Ducks swapped 10 players worth about $28 million US on Sunday, and another deal or two is on the front burner.

Apparently you still can make trades in the NHL.

“I guess that puts away the notion that you can’t get anything done,” said centre Shawn Horcoff. “It’s a big trade, a lot of players involved, some big names.”

Added Patrick O’Sullivan: “Burkie likes to make a splash. He’s trying to make his imprint on that team and Calgary needed to shake things up, too.”

With the clock ticking down until the March 3 trade deadline, everyone in the Oilers dressing room is expecting something similar will be happening in Edmonton. Soon.

“When you’re in this situation you’re on full alert,” said Horcoff. “You know there’s going to be changes. It’s not ‘if,’ it’s ‘when.’

“Whether it’s at the deadline, whether it’s in July, who knows. They’re coming.”

And virtually nobody is off limits on a 30th place team.

“Obviously our team is in a situation to do things, any time you’re out of the playoffs, that’s always the case,” said Sullivan.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, and as a player you can’t worry about it. But it’s tough. It’s a difficult time of year, especially when the team is struggling.”

The Oilers need a complete overhaul for the future and a major shakeup for right now. A big trade could accomplish both.

No guessing Sutter’s next move


Attempting to guess what Darryl Sutter’s plans are should come with a warning label: Predicting the Flames GM’s moves could be hazardous to your sanity.

One week he’s declaring he has no intention of trading Dion Phaneuf, the next he’s sending the cornerstone defenceman to the Toronto Maple Leafs and adding four new players to his own lineup.

Sutter followed up the Phaneuf blockbuster with a deal that sends forwards Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to New York to join the Rangers for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins, a move that was finalized following Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Flyers.

And now, the other shoe is expected to drop any minute.

Don’t put it past the realm of possibility a big name ultimately lands in Calgary — be it Ilya Kovalchuk or a more unexpected star.

And almost anyone you talk to who hangs around this team believes there’s more to come.

But what’s the end game?

Where is Sutter heading?

Based on his actions over the years, a cynic would suggest asking the man himself and then proposing the opposite.

History suggests enough action on Sutter’s part to anticipate at least the effort of landing a big fish.

Whether he pulls it off is another story.

He worked for years on getting Jokinen away from the Florida Panthers. Before adding the big Finn on deadline day last season, most of Sutter’s splashes had come during the offseason.

But by finally paying the price necessary to scoop up a star — much as the sparkle has faded in Jokinen’s case –the Flames GM showed he’s willing to gamble.

Jackets’ Torres likely on trading block


One month and one day from the NHL trade deadline, all signs point to Blue Jackets left winger Raffi Torres being traded to a playoff contender in exchange for draft picks or prospects.

As of yesterday, the Blue Jackets and Torres’ agent, Eustace King, had not discussed, even preliminarily, a contract extension that would prevent Torres from becoming an unrestricted free agent July 1.

When asked whether he was frustrated by the lack of progress toward a new deal, Torres said: “I want to stay here and play hockey here. I’m very happy here in Columbus.

“To be honest, I have to stop thinking about (a contract extension) and just worry about what’s happening on the ice. I don’t feel like I’ve been playing my best hockey for the last couple of weeks or so.”

The Blue Jackets, who play the Colorado Avalanche at 9 tonight in the Pepsi Center, would like to keep Torres, too, but money likely will be an issue.

Torres, 28, is making $2.75 million this season, and it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t earned it. Despite long stretches on the club’s fourth line, he ranks fourth in goals (16), third in power-play goals (six) and is tied for first in game-winning goals (three) in only 13:27 of average ice time.

On a club with only a sporadic competitive spirit, Torres, R.J. Umberger and Derek Dorsett arguably have been the Blue Jackets’ most consistently passionate players.

“Raffi has played very well for us,” general manager Scott Howson said. “He has scored some really timely goals for us, he’s pretty versatile and he’s so very competitive.”

Still, Torres might be a luxury the small-market Blue Jackets can’t afford (or aren’t willing to pay for).

King would not comment or reveal specifics to The Dispatch yesterday when reached in Los Angeles, but indications are Torres will command a three- or four-year contract worth at least $2.5 million per season, a significant price tag for a player whom the club doesn’t consider a sure-fire top-six forward.