Zach Parise has one more season before he's scheduled to become a UFA. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Last week, we analyzed this coming season's top 10 Western Conference trade candidates. Here's a look at 10 Eastern Conference players we expect to figure prominently in the rumor mill for 2011-12.
Parise’s new one-year, $6 million contract is seen by some critics as proof this coming season will be his last as a Devil. Parise and GM Lou Lamoriello, however, insist they'll continue contract talks in the coming weeks and hope to reach an agreement on a long-term extension. Until he agrees to a deal beyond 2011-12, Parise will remain the subject of trade speculation, especially if the Devils get off to another slow start.
Recent comments by former Capitals right winger Matt Bradley accusing Semin of an indifferent attitude provided more fodder to the trade talk that has dogged the talented, enigmatic left winger since last summer. While Capitals management has insisted Semin isn't being shopped, speculation will persist over his availability throughout the season.
Eyebrows were raised over Kostitsyn's recent critical comments toward Canadiens coach Jacques Martin and led to calls for GM Pierre Gauthier to ship the disgruntled left winger out of town. It remains to be seen what Gauthier will do, but if Kostitsyn hits the trade block, there will be interest in his services. If Teemu Selanne retires next month, the Anaheim Ducks will need a replacement. The Winnipeg Jets are also seeking additional scoring depth.
Currently sitting above the $64.3 million salary cap by nearly $3.6 million, the Sabres must shed salary to become compliant before the season begins. Boyes, who can play center or the wing, is earning $4 million and has been suggested as a quick-fix trade option. Potential trade destinations include the Phoenix Coyotes, who are seeking a center, or Anaheim and Winnipeg.
The acquisition and signing of Ilya Bryzgalov in June to a $51-million, nine-year deal pretty much assures the 22-year-old Bobrovsky doesn't have a future in Philadelphia. While the Flyers will consider moving Michael Leighton, they reportedly gauged Bobrovsky's trade value during the June draft, raising the possibility the young Russian will be dealt by October. Even if the Flyers opt to keep ‘Bob’ for now, it's a good bet he'll be rumored as trade bait throughout the season.
Once considered a promising offensive left winger, Wolski has struggled to establish himself as a threat, bouncing from Colorado to Phoenix to New York over the past two seasons. He was the subject of contract buyout rumors this summer, so if he fails to pick up his game expect him to once again become the subject of trade talk.
Injuries have hampered his performance over the past two seasons, resulting in many Leafs fans calling for management to trade him. While Komisarek has been linked to the Islanders in recent months, GM Brian Burke has stood by the embattled blueliner. There's little market for an injury-prone, expensive ($4.5 million per season) blueliner with a modified no-trade clause, but that won't keep Komisarek's name out of the mill.
Once considered as Plan B by some in the New York media if the Rangers failed to land Brad Richards, Weiss has been considered a trade candidate for the past couple of years. He's played his entire nine-year NHL career with the woeful Panthers and if they're once again out of the post-season race by the trade deadline, it will give rise to talk of Weiss wanting out of Florida.
The Penguins lack a suitable first-line scoring winger for Sidney Crosby, which led to rumors last season that linked them with Edmonton's Ales Hemsky and Calgary's Jarome Iginla. The Penguins signing of veteran Steve Sullivan (as well as the acquisition of James Neal last year) appears to be a nod toward addressing that issue, but if Sullivan fails to pan out it will lead to another search for a winger later this season and they may dangle one of their top defensemen as trade bait. Though Martin is expensive ($5 million per season) and has a no-movement clause in his contract, his name sprung up earlier this spring as a trade candidate and will be mentioned more frequently if the Penguins’ need to bolster depth on the wing grows.
His name popped up as a trade candidate midway through last season when the Senators began their rebuilding program by dumping veteran players. Kuba's recent injury history and salary ($3.7 million) make him difficult to move, but that won't prevent his name from coming up whenever Senators trade rumors are reported.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.