Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow's name continues to pop up in the rumor mill. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow has been mentioned in trade rumors over the summer, but Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk has stated his intent to retain the 33-year-old, believing he'll overcome the neck and shoulder injuries that limited him to only 57 games last season.
In a recent column, however, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News wondered if teams that lose out in the bidding for free agent right winger Shane Doan will consider Morrow as an alternative.
Heika noted Morrow has one season remaining on his contract at $4.1 million, suggesting clubs with depth in young talent and a desire to win now are willing to make a pitch to Nieuwendyk for the veteran left winger.
Morrow does possess a no-trade clause, giving him control over where he'll play this season. Heika doubted Nieuwendyk will shop him, but would be willing to at least listen to offers.
Barring a mind-blowing offer, the Stars will start with Morrow in the lineup. If he's playing well and helps the Stars into playoff contention, odds are they'll retain him for the post-season, where his experience and leadership will prove invaluable. However, if the Stars are floundering in the standings by the trade deadline, Nieuwendyk could decide to shop Morrow for a young player, draft picks and/or prospects, provided he can sell him on accepting a trade to a Cup contender.
The Boston Globe recently reported the Bruins haven't heard anything new regarding the status of goaltender Tim Thomas, who stated his intent to sit out this coming season.
If a new CBA maintains teams must reach a mandated salary cap minimum, it's thought those in need of reaching that level will have interest in acquiring Thomas, if for nothing else than to have his salary count against their cap.
A trade would remove Thomas' current $5 million cap hit (and $3 million actual salary) from the Bruins payroll. That's assuming, however, teams will be allowed to acquire the salaries of players who don't intend to play in a given season, as a new CBA could prevent such moves.
The Carolina Hurricanes were among this summer's more active clubs, adding center Jordan Staal via trade and signing right winger Alexander Semin via free agency, providing a considerable boost to their offensive game.
It's believed GM Jim Rutherford would like to add a tough, physical checker, but Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer suggested the Hurricanes are be better off bringing in a defenseman with those qualities.
DeCock pointed out the Hurricanes haven't found a suitable replacement for departed blueliner Bryan Allen, leaving their defense corps “heavy on finesse and light on heaviness”.
Options for big blueliners are few via free agency, with Jim Vandermeer (6-foot-1, 210 pounds), Milan Jurcina (6-foot-4, 253) and former Hurricane Mike Commodore (6-foot-4, 227 pounds) the best options.
If Rutherford believes he needs more physical size on his blueline, he’ll have to turn to the trade market. Such a move probably won't take place until he's had time to evaluate his defense corps, either during pre-season or the regular season, whenever it begins.
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.