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Frozen assets

Jeff Carter is on pace for 30 goals and 64 points this season, a big drop off from last season's 46 and 84. (Getty Images)

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Jeff Carter is on pace for 30 goals and 64 points this season, a big drop off from last season's 46 and 84. (Getty Images)

Prior to the end of the NHL’s Christmas trade freeze there was talk Philadelphia Flyers management could move center Jeff Carter in an attempt to shake the roster out of its current malaise.

On Sunday the Ottawa Sun suggested Carter could be dealt “once the roster freeze is lifted,” claiming the Los Angeles Kings were front-runners for his services.

CSNPhilly.com, however, reported league sources claimed the Flyers had no intention of moving Carter at any point this season, with one source noting the team’s main problem is goal-scoring and it wouldn’t make any sense to trade away one of their best offensive assets.

With only a year remaining on his current contract (worth $5 million) and lacking a no-movement clause it’s understandable why so much speculation has centered on Carter. On a team loaded with players carrying expensive multi-year deals with no-movement clauses he’s perhaps the Flyers’ best trade chip.
 
Just because Carter’s that valuable doesn’t mean the Flyers intend to move him. For now management appears intent on giving head coach Peter Laviolette time to try to turn things around.

• Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak remained the focus of rumor chatter during the holiday trade freeze.

During that period Halak backstopped the Habs to four consecutive victories, stopping a staggering 180 shots, including a shutout over the N.Y. Islanders.

Those performances should improve his value on the trade market. RDS.ca suggested the Detroit Red Wings could be interested, while the Flyers – whom GM Bob Gainey reportedly offered Halak to earlier this month – apparently haven’t fully closed the door on potential trade talks.

The Montreal Gazette however took another perspective, saying Halak’s performance is only more reason why the Canadiens, who’ve been struggling defensively of late, cannot afford to part with him.

It remains to be seen if Gainey moves Halak this season, but such a move likely won’t occur until close to or on the March 3 trade deadline to maximize his value and secure a better return.

• Ilya Kovalchuk’s seemingly endless contract negotiations with the Atlanta Thrashers took an interesting turn during the trade freeze when GM Don Waddell admitted talks had hit a snag.

"Their position is fixed years with money and we have a different side of that”, Waddell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That's what we have to work through. We've gotten through everything else, now we have to make it through that."

The report naturally stoked speculation Waddell could try to move Kovalchuk by February if he’s not re-signed by then, but if the Thrashers remain in playoff contention by that point the talented Russian won’t be dealt. 

Remember, the Thrashers have until July 1 to get Kovalchuk under contract. Failing that, they could try to move him during the June entry draft weekend, when there’ll be more teams with available cap space willing to not only spend money, but also perhaps part with a good return. 

• Don’t expect the Tampa Bay Lightning to place defenseman Lukas Krajicek on re-entry waivers.

GM Brian Lawton told the St. Petersburg Times Krajicek wouldn’t be placed on re-entry waivers “under any circumstance” meaning his time with the Bolts is over as the club attempts to work on a trade.

The report claimed there was interest from another NHL team prior to Krajicek’s demotion on December 12, but the offer would’ve involved the Lightning taking an asset in return, something the cash-strapped franchise cannot afford to do.

Look for Lawton to shop Krajicek – who’s earning $1.475 million this season, of which almost half has been paid by the Lightning – for perhaps a draft pick.

• Vancouver Canucks defenseman Mathieu Schneider has been missing in action of late, prompting the local media to wonder where he is and why he’s been absent from recent practices.

GM Mike Gillis claims Schneider is away attending to a personal matter. He could however be pondering not only his future with the Canucks, but in the NHL.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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