Rick Nash may not be dealt before NHL training camps begin. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Fans expecting a quick end to the trade rumors surrounding Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Rick Nash after left winger Zach Parise came off the free agent market could be disappointed.
Several teams (among them, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks) are believed to have varying degrees of interest in the 28-year-old Nash, but Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson isn’t willing to lower his asking price.
The Ottawa Senators have dropped out of the bidding and the Carolina Hurricanes did the same late last week after Howson sought Jeff Skinner as part of the return.
The Senators and Hurricanes weren’t on Nash’s list of preferred destinations (which reportedly includes the Rangers, Flyers, Red Wings, Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins), so the odds of landing Nash were against them, anyway.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch believed the Flyers and Rangers have the depth in talent to make a trade happen, but for now, a wide gap exists between Howson’s opinion of Nash’s value and what the rest of the league believes it to be.
Sam Carchidi of Philly.com doubts the Flyers will continue their pursuit of Nash or Anaheim Ducks right winger Bobby Ryan, as they’re unwilling part with promising centers Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn.
Howson insists he’s in no rush to move Nash, hinting it could stretch into September (when training camps are scheduled to begin) to get a deal done.
In other words, don’t be surprised if this saga drags on throughout the summer.
With Parise off the unrestricted free agent market, the best available forwards are right winger Shane Doan and left winger Alexander Semin.
Doan, 35, set a deadline of July 9 for entertaining offers from rival clubs, hoping the additional week would bring about more clarity over the proposed sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to businessman Greg Jamison.
So far, however, that sale appears no closer to occurring that it was a week ago. Doan doesn’t want to leave Phoenix, nor does Coyotes management want to lose him, but he doesn’t want to risk committing to a team that could be playing in a different city next year.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic reported Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, claimed 11 teams have interest in his client. The New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are rumored the potential suitors.
Boivin also ruled out Doan signing a one-year contract with the Coyotes that includes an understanding the deal would extend if the team remains in Phoenix, citing the inflexibility of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.
In other words, Doan would have to agree to a one-year deal and negotiate a new, multi-year deal if the team remains. While that sounds like a reasonable solution, he apparently wants a multi-year deal now.
Just because Doan could soon field offers from rival teams doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll jump to a new team this week. Bross said he’s told interested teams they could be waiting in vain, as his client “would wait until the cows come home” for the Coyotes sale to go through. Still, even Bross acknowledged Doan would have to make a decision on his future sooner or later.
As for Semin, persistent questions over his work ethic, character and defensive play are adversely affecting his value.
Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford recently said he’d look at Semin “on a short-term basis,” citing “the stories” about him. Rutherford suggested a one-year deal, which would allow time to get to know the 28-year-old, then taking it from there.
Semin’s also apparently interested in signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he wants a long-term deal, something Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review doubts they’d do.
Another reason Semin may be seeking a multi-year deal is it’s believed he has a lucrative offer from CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental League and hopes to land something similar from an NHL club.
The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan, stumping for the Senators to sign Semin, cited his agent Mark Gandler’s claims the Washington Capitals didn’t employ the left winger properly last season. Gandler says his client wants more ice time and responsibilities, including on the penalty kill.
Brennan also suggested Semin may have been “miscast” as solely an offensive player, pointing out his plus-minus of plus-92 over the past four seasons was fifth-best over that period, behind only Zdeno Chara, Alex Burrows and the Sedin twins.
Still, Semin remains characterized as lazy, defensively irresponsible and, according to TSN analysts Marc Crawford and Pierre McGuire, a “complete loser” and a “coach killer.”
Semin may indeed be the victim of unfair criticism, but it’s apparent many around the league have bought into it. If he wants to return to the NHL, he may have to accept a one-year deal in hopes of silencing his critics and landing a more lucrative contract next year.
Otherwise, his only option for a long-term deal appears to be in Russia.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo created a bit of a stir during an interview with CFOX radio on Friday, when he said he’d enjoyed his tenure with the Canucks, but that it was “time to move on.”
Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province reported Luongo also said he hasn’t had much contact lately with GM Mike Gillis, though if a deal were close to happening he’d have to make a decision, adding he hasn’t made any so far.
Luongo apparently admitted he’d be willing to return to the Florida Panthers and also said Chicago’s a great city to play in, though he pointed out the Blackhawks would have to want him, the Canucks would have to be willing to move him there, plus he’d also have to be willing to go there.
Some listeners took Luongo’s comments as his way of putting pressure upon Gillis to move him, especially back to the Panthers, but it’s apparent the 33-year-old goalie understands there’s a limited market for his services and has to remain patient as Gillis tries to find a deal.
Luongo also has a no-trade clause, so he still controls where he’ll play next season.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday 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, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.