Sami Salo's injury leaves the Vancouver Canucks in cap limbo. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract saga has been the dominant story of late, but it’s not the only one coming out of the NHL’s rumor mill.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has been frequently mentioned in recent weeks as a possible trade candidate, but an injury to teammate Sami Salo could change that.
The oft-injured Salo tore an Achilles tendon playing floorball – similar to floor hockey – in Finland and will be sidelined for at least three months, according the Vancouver Sun.
While Canucks GM Mike Gillis would apparently prefer to move Bieksa and his $3.75-million cap hit next season the Sun pointed out he might not wish to lose the defensive depth Bieksa and Salo provide to begin the season.
CapGeek.com reports the Canucks currently sit about $1.2 million over the $59.4 million salary cap. But should Salo open the season on long-term injury status, as expected, Vancouver will be allowed to remain over the cap for as long as he’s sidelined, provided they’re under it when he’s ready to return.
It’s possible the Canucks will retain Bieksa for as long as Salo is on the shelf and shop him later in the season when the latter is close to returning to action.
Losing Salo’s $3.5 million to long-term injury reserve early in the season will provide some temporary relief, but management will have to consider a trade or demotion to become fully cap compliant.
The Chicago Blackhawks shipping center Marty Reasoner last week to the Florida Panthers for center Jeff Taffe was an obvious salary dump, freeing up an extra $600,000 of salary cap space.
It’s been suggested that money could go toward re-signing restricted free agent goalie Antti Niemi, but even that won’t enough for the Blackhawks to ice a full roster next season.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman recently told the Chicago Sun-Times he had “a few ideas on how to make things work.” Having told center Patrick Sharp he won’t be traded and finding it impossible to trade expensive blueliner Brian Campbell, moving out more role players appears to be the main idea.
With 17 players currently under contract for next season and goalie Cristobal Huet expected to be demoted, Bowman doesn’t have many secondary players he can move.
If Sharp isn’t to be dealt and Campbell is untradeable, the other options are shopping or demoting forwards Dave Bolland, Tomas Kopecky or Troy Brouwer and replacing them with affordable prospects or call-ups from the minors.
The Edmonton Journal recently reported the Colorado Avalanche were “sniffing around” restricted free agent center Andrew Cogliano.
However, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post noted the Avalanche currently have two comparable players in Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller and couldn’t fathom the club shipping either to Edmonton for Cogliano.
Unless the Avs have serious difficulties in their efforts to re-sign Stewart or Mueller it wouldn’t make much sense to pursue Cogliano.
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.