The NHL draft is over and the Boston Bruins are still shopping goaltender Tim Thomas and center Marc Savard, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are still entertaining offers for defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was coy in addressing the rampant trade speculation about Thomas and Savard, but it’s widely believed he’d like to move one or both.
It’s understandable why: Tuukka Rask took over the starting goalie role from 2009 Vezina winner Thomas last season and with the selection of can’t-miss prospect Tyler Seguin the Bruins have a logjam at center.
Chiarelli was seen speaking at length during the draft with the GMs of Nashville, San Jose, Vancouver and Philadelphia, giving rise to speculation he was trying to work deals with those teams.
The Flyers have been linked to Thomas, but they would have to dump salary to make such a deal work. It’s been suggested they could offer up Jeff Carter for Thomas, as they both make the same money. But Carter would be too much to give up for the netminder.
Thomas and Savard both have no-trade clauses, but reportedly they were willing to waive them; in Savard’s case, for two Canadian teams, believed to be Toronto and Ottawa.
That gave rise to suggestions the Maple Leafs could reunite Savard with former Bruins linemate Phil Kessel. Such a move might not be as costly as some suggest, given the late-season concussion Savard sustained at the hands of Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke.
Although talks reportedly fizzled on Saturday, Chiarelli hinted they could resume Monday.
It’s been suggested the Leafs may offer Kaberle for Savard straight-up, but it’s believed the Leafs would prefer to hang onto Kaberle for a little longer in hopes of landing another top-six forward.
Leafs GM Brian Burke admitted to entertaining offers during the draft, claiming he received four, one of which he considered “an insult.”
It’s believed Burke’s strategy is to wait until mid-July when the best unrestricted free agent defensemen have been signed and then contact teams that missed out on landing blueline help via the UFA market in hopes of attracting better offers.
DAN HAMHUIS TRADE
Only a week after acquiring the negotiating rights to defenseman Dan Hamhuis from the Nashville Predators, the Philadelphia Flyers raised eyebrows during the first round of the draft by shipping his rights to their archrivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It had been expected the Flyers would get Hamhuis re-signed before the draft, but apparently talks fell through over money and his role with the team.
The Flyers get a 2011 third round pick in return, after initially trading Ryan Parent for Hamhuis.
Some suggest the Penguins see Hamhuis as a potential replacement for veteran Sergei Gonchar, who’s also eligible for unrestricted free agency and has been unable to agree to terms with the Penguins on a new contract.
However, Penguins GM Ray Shero said talks with Gonchar are continuing and suggested the possibility of retaining both blueliners, although in the case of Hamhuis it appears to be a long shot. It’s expected he’ll test the free agent market and might prefer signing with a Western Conference franchise.
BLACKHAWKS LOOKING FOR MORE TRADES
Having already shipped out several players in salary-dumping deals, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman recently suggested there was no need to make more moves of the type.
In the wake of trading Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Colin Fraser, Bowman said his team was “fine with the cap right now,” adding further deals would have to make sense for his team.
The trades, combined with the increase in the salary cap to $59.4 million, leaves the Blackhawks with nearly $6 million of available space and with the anticipated demotion of goalie Cristobal Huet next season, Bowman could have nearly $12 million of cap room to work with.
Bowman also has to re-sign goalie Antti Niemi, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and possibly winger Andrew Ladd, who was already handed a qualifying offer. These price tags could cut deep into that cap space and leave Bowman without enough room to fill the remainder of his lineup.
That’s why Kris Versteeg’s name continues to float around the rumor mill.
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.