Eric Staal has only eight points in 20 games this season and a minus-18 rating. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The ongoing soap opera of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the free-fall of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs search for goaltending depth is providing plenty of fodder lately for the rumor mill.
Here's a sampling of the latest from the blogosphere.
The early collapse of the Hurricanes sparked considerable gossip they will make a coaching change or a trade.
Media reports from Raleigh and Toronto suggest GM Jim Rutherford could shop one of his defensemen, perhaps Tomas Kaberle or Bryan Allen, in hopes of landing scoring depth at forward.
This report, however, indicates Hurricanes captain and franchise player Eric Staal might also be available.
Staal has had a terrible start and with wunderkind sophomore center/left winger Jeff Skinner now the Hurricanes top scorer, the suggestion is the Hurricanes are better off shipping out Staal and his $8.25 million per season cap hit for a return of young players, prospects or high draft picks.
One possible destination would be the Toronto Maple Leafs. On Oct. 18, Leafs GM Brian Burke scouted the Hurricanes, leading to speculation he'd have interest in some Hurricanes players.
The possibility of Rutherford trading any of his scoring forwards, when he's reportedly seeking more scoring depth up front, is unlikely. He's certainly not about to trade his team captain and franchise forward on the basis of one slow start.
Poor Zach Parise. No matter how often he expresses his hopes of getting a new contract worked out with the New Jersey Devils before next summer, when he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent, rumormongers persist in dreaming up trade scenarios for him.
This latest rumor suggests the Los Angeles Kings had “huge interest” in Parise. It claims, however, that nothing will happen until the trade deadline and the asking price is “a goalie and a top six forward.”
Undoubtedly the Kings would have considerable interest in Parise if he became available, but they wouldn't be the only club. A bidding war for his services could price him out of the Kings’ reach, even as a rental player.
If Parise and the Devils fail to come to terms on a new contract by the February trade deadline, it's possible they’ll put him on the block. But if they remain in the playoff picture, they won't move him until the off-season, probably during the June NHL draft weekend.
That's assuming they won’t get a deal done. Even if Parise isn't re-signed by the trade deadline, that doesn't mean the two sides are at an impasse and he'll become trade bait. Negotiations could continue throughout the spring, with a signing announced prior to July 1.
Reports of the Devils ownership woes are contributing to speculation of a Parise trade, but if the team suddenly finds itself forced to cut salary, odds are they'll look elsewhere to do so in order to free up the cash to retain him.
This one came about as a result of an editorial late last month in the Vancouver Province calling on the Canucks to trade goalie Roberto Luongo to Tampa Bay for Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier.
Among the many reasons why such a deal won't happen is Lecavalier's no-movement clause, but the author of this rumor cites people he trusts who claim there “may be a handful of teams Lecavalier would indeed go to.” The writer then says two of those teams “could be Vancouver and Buffalo.”
One teensy problem: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has no intention of trading Lecavalier, telling his captain in June, 2010 to relax, focus on playing hockey and stop worrying about trade rumors.
Lecavalier, who has spent his entire career in Tampa Bay and is a popular figure in the local community, took the advice to heart, scoring 54 points in 65 games last season and 19 points in 18 playoff games.
In his first 18 games of this season, Lecavalier has 15 points, leads the Lightning in game-winning goals (four), is second in plus-minus (plus-8) and on pace for a 36-goal season, which would be his best total since potting 40 back in ’07-08.
Lecavalier isn't going anywhere, for Luongo, Cory Schneider or any other goalie around the league. He doesn't want out of Tampa Bay and Lightning management have no intention of moving him.
Trade Talk addresses the biggest rumors being discussed online and appears weekly 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.