Puckin' Around With Spector
by Lyle Richardson on 01/18/12 at 02:20 PM ET
The current NHL season is now past the half-way point, and with the February 27th trade deadline now less than six weeks away, the speculation over which players are potential trade bait continues to grow
Here’s a look back at some of the more, shall we say, “notable” NHL trade rumors since late November.
Jarome Iginla to Canadiens, Capitals or anywhere! The trade rumors over the Flames captain persisted, no matter how often Iginla or Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster denied them. Indeed, the denials only seemed to give the rumors more life. Even now, in the aftermath of the Flames acquisition of Mike Cammalleri (a sure sign they’re shooting for a playoff berth) some rumormongers persist with the claim “Iggy” could be gone by the trade deadline. Sad to see someone stuck with an addiction. They just can’t quit Iginla.
Alexander Semin to Detroit. The basis for this seems to be the assumption Semin would be the perfect fit with Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, because they’re Russian, y’know? Kinda like the reason a team will acquire a Canadian-born star to play with their Canadian-born star, because everyone knows Canadian-born players always, with exception, play well together. Even if the Wings were interested in Semin, he wouldn’t net the Washington Capitals the kind of scoring winger or playmaking defenseman they’d need to secure a playoff berth. The Capitals aren’t sellers at this point, and unless they can get back a quality scoring star of equal or greater value, they won’t move Semin, to the Red Wings, or anyone else.
Ryan Suter to Philadelphia. Flyers fans feel he’d be a great fit with their team, which I don’t doubt, but he’d also be a great fit with every other NHL team, including his current club, the Predators. His pending UFA status this summer is why he’s considered a candidate to be moved at the trade deadline, but with the Predators currently playing well and jockeying for playoff positioning in the Western Conference, the last thing they’ll do is ship out such an important defenseman, just because they can’t get him under contract by the trade deadline. Last I checked, the UFA market begins at noon ET on July 1st, meaning the Preds still have plenty of time to re-sign Suter. Failing that, they can always shop his rights during the June Entry Draft weekend.
Keith Yandle to Philadelphia. Hey, if you can’t get big name defensemen like Nashville’s Ryan Suter or Shea Weber, why not the best defenseman of the team everyone believes will be playing in Quebec City, Seattle or on Jupiter’s fifth moon next season. This one smacks of wishful thinking from a Flyers fan spitballing long-term replacements for Chris Pronger. Regardless of where the Coyotes play next season, they aren’t parting with Yandle.
Shane Doan to Winnipeg for Evander Kane. The Jets have been struggling offensively of late, and Doan is a former Winnipeg Jet, so why not send this pending UFA (who probably won’t re-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes if it looks like they’re moving this summer) back to Winnipeg to finish his career? Yes, it’s kinda nice, in a weird “circle of life” way, but the reality is the Jets won’t part with a promising young forward like Kane for an aging veteran who might not even re-sign with them, regardless of his earlier ties to Winnipeg. The Coyotes, meanwhile, are in the playoff chase in the West, and their best bet for securing a berth is with Doan in the lineup. Oh, and Coyotes GM Don Maloney said he’s not trading Doan. Not that this little detail matters to rumormongers, but I just wanted to throw that out there.
Zach Parise to anywhere. OK, I know the New Jersey Devils owner is in debt up to his eyeballs, which could have severe ramifications upon GM Lou Lamoriello’s attempts to re-sign Parise. But the Devils are also in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, and for a team losing money, they could use every cent they can get from playoff revenue this spring. Parise, their captain and best player, is essential to making the playoffs. Sure, there’s no certainty the Devils will get Parise re-signed this summer, but it wouldn’t be the first time Lamoriello has resisted trading away a player he subsequently lost to free agency because he needed that player for the post-season.
Ryan Miller to Anaheim. It certainly isn’t Miller time in Buffalo this season, as the long-time Sabres goalie has shown little of the form that made him winner of the 2010 Vezina Trophy and an American Olympic hero. With the Sabres slowly but surely sinking in the standings, and with backup Jhonas Enroth out-playing Miller more often than not, there was speculation Miller wouldn’t mind being dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, who are having goalie woes of their own this season, in order to be closer to his actress-wife. Miller and the Sabres management denied it, but as the Sabres struggles continue, the Miller rumors keep swirling. Anaheim seems out of the question, but one wonders if there might be a fit elsewhere this summer if Sabres ownership decides to clean house.
Derek Roy and Drew Stafford for Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. At least the “Miller to Anaheim” rumor makes some degree of sense. From the Ducks point of view, this rumor is just plain stupid . Sure, both teams swap under-achieving forwards, except Getzlaf and Ryan on their worst days are considerably better than Roy and Stafford . If you’re a Sabres fan, you’d rejoice over this deal, but it’s so obviously lopsided the only way this happens is if Ducks GM Bob Murray suffers a complete mental breakdown, and that’s not gonna happen.
Jeff Carter to Toronto. This one’s like a friggin’ vampire, it just refuses to die! Carter’s been linked to the Maple Leafs for what seems like a hundred years, but is in fact only four. Now that his first season with the Blue Jackets is going so badly, there’s actually speculation Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke could target Carter for one of his annual mid-season blockbuster moves. Of course, the fact Carter is on injured reserve with a separated shoulder is to be overlooked in this rumor. Given Carter’s injury history, as well as his expensive, ten year contract, if I were Burke, I’d be leery of pursuing him.
Eric Staal to Toronto. This one was reported prior to last month’s Christmas “trade freeze” by former Sportsnet talking head Bill Watters, claiming the Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes had this deal in principle that would ship Staal to Toronto following the lifting of the freeze. Well, it’s nearly a month since the trade freeze ended, and no sign of Staal in the Leafs lineup. Probably because Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford denied Staal, or goalie Cam Ward, were going anywhere. Funny how that works, eh?
Jaroslav Halak to Toronto. This one’s understandable, as there’s justifiable concern over the quality of the Leafs current goalie tandem of Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer, though if you ask Leafs GM Brian Burke, everything’s hunky-dory between the pipes. The Blues already have an all-star goalie in the surprising Brian Elliott, so the thinking here is the Blues shed Halak and his lengthy contract and invest the savings in re-signing Elliott. Nice idea, but the Blues – currently among the top teams in the Western Conference – are quite happy with their goalie tandem, and have no pressing need to make any significant trades. Most likely, they’ll retain both goalies for much-needed depth in the playoffs. Odds are they’ll let Elliott walk this summer, where he’ll cash in big on the open market, and retain Halak, who’s been playing much better in recent weeks.
Ryan Malone to Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay Lightning are floundering, and this rumor claims Ryan Malone wants out, and not just anywhere, but back to Pittsburgh. One little problem with this one: Malone never made any such demand. Though, if the Penguins were to go insane and offer up goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, I’m sure Bolts GM Steve Yzerman would pull the trigger in a heartbeat…provided he could convince Malone to accept it.
Josh Gorges to Nashville. OK, so when the Predators trade Ryan Suter to Philadelphia, or the NY Rangers, or the Detroit Red Wings, or the Washington Capitals, they’re gonna need a replacement, right? And Gorges of the Montreal Canadiens would be a good option. In fact, the Canadiens and Predators were in talks….uh, what’s that?... You say Gorges recently re-signed a long-term contract with the Canadiens? Well, don’t you see, it’s all part of the insane master plan of Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier, a “sign-and-trade” to bring back Sergei Kostitsyn and reunite him with brother Andrei to convince the latter to forego the UFA market and re-sign with the Habs. Yes, this “sign-and-trade” of Gorges should take place anytime now…aaannnnyy…time…now….
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About Puckin' Around With Spector
I’m Lyle Richardson. You might know me from my website, Spector’s Hockey, my thrice-weekly rumor column at THN.com, my weekly column at Eishockey News (if you read German), and my former gig as a contributing writer to Foxsports.com.
I’ll be writing a once-weekly blog here with my take on all things NHL. Who knows, I might actually find time to debunk a trade rumor or two.