Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 11/26/13 at 11:48 PM ET
Paul noted that ESPN's Pierre LeBrun tossed off a set of "Rumblings" with Olympic ramifications--and, "Lemme tell ya, kids, them Russkies are gonna be furious that the IIHF won't let them revise their rosters until right before the 'Perfect Olympics'"--and LeBrun's comments were made in parallel with TSN's latest epsiode of Insider Trading. LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie touched on a set of topics that included some bona-fide trade talk and this intriguing topic:
Commissioner Gary Bettman talked about expansion and said nothing was imminent. What is happening?
McKenzie: Bettman said there was no formal process in place but you have to believe there may be an informal process that is in the works. We know the NHL wants to get to 32 teams, the question is when it could happen. The absolute earliest you could add teams to the NHL would be the 2015-2016 season, just less than two years away. The league needs a one-year lead time on that, therefore if anything is happening, it will escalate over the next ten months.
How about Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets?
McKenzie: Similar situation to Pacioretty as teams in the NHL are seeing an uneasy relationship between Kane and head coach Claude Noel and teams are curious to see if the Jets are interested in moving Kane. He has not asked for a trade, the Jets are not shopping him but teams are certainly monitoring the situation to see if Kane could be pried out of Winnipeg.
We expect the Calgary Flames to make a move at some time this year, who's generating the most interest there right now?
Dreger: Teams are calling about Mikael Backlund, no surprise there, specifically the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are looking for a third line centre as well as a puck moving defenceman. Carolina has made an offer on Backlund but there's no fit there just yet. The Flames also need an age-comparable player in terms of their return.
LeBrun: Busy times in Carolina. The Hurricanes have a couple of players on their trade block including Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty and Tim Gleason, who it sounds like will be the first player traded out of Carolina. Gleason has a contract with a couple more years left on it at $4 million but if they can move him, I believe then they could turn around and trade for a guy like John-Michael Liles. Liles has been parked in Toronto because of his contract. For the Hurricanes to take Liles, they need the Leafs to take Ruutu and Leafs currently have no interest in picking up that deal.
The gents continue, and I think that Ruutu's actually got a significant amount of trade value due to his size and once-potent scoring touch.
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