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Oil looking for net gain

 Ottawa may be looking to deal Ben Bishop for blueline help, with Robin Lehner ready for the NHL.

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Ottawa may be looking to deal Ben Bishop for blueline help, with Robin Lehner ready for the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers are among the teams believed to have interest in Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, but there's speculation their focus could be elsewhere.

Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk was replaced by call-up Yann Danis after giving up six goals on 17 shots in the first period of his club's 6-3 loss Tuesday to the San Jose Sharks. That sparked TSN's Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger to suggest the Oilers could use another goaltender.

Dreger speculated the Oilers might have interest in Ben Bishop of the Ottawa Senators, who is now their backup after Robin Lehner was demoted to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan reported Lehner's demotion was based on his contract, not his performance, as he didn't have to clear waivers. Bishop is on a one-way contract and management didn't want to risk another club plucking him off waivers.

Brennan suggested it was still possible the Senators trade one of their goalies to answer a glaring need, but so far they don't have any.

If the Sens do shop a goaltender, it won't be starter Craig Anderson, who has picked up right where he left off in last spring's playoffs. Anderson was superb in the Senators opening two games, sporting a miniscule 0.50 goals-against avaerage and a stellar .983 save percentage.

Dreger claimed Lehner's demotion was temporary, as everyone in hockey knows Bishop is available. However, McKenzie noted the Oilers are still carrying an aging Nikolai Khabibulin, who has health issues, plus a career minor-leaguer in Danis. He wondered if Bishop would be the right fit and if the Oilers would pay the Senators asking price.

McKenzie didn't say what that price might be, but Senators GM Bryan Murray has been shopping for blueline depth since the lockout ended.

ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reported the Senators’ hot start isn't putting Murray under any pressure to acquire a defenseman, but he'll keep shopping around.

Murray didn't say if he would dangle Bishop for a blueliner, but that could be his asking price. If so, that's out of the Oilers price range, as they recently acquired Mark Fistric to bolster their defensive depth.
 

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'EL NINO' FULL OF HOT AIR?

Meanwhile, the New York Islanders have an unhappy prospect on their hands.  

On Tuesday, ESPN.com's Katie Strang reported the agent for 20-year-old Nino Niederreiter, currently playing for the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, contacted GM Garth Snow requesting a trade for his client.

Newsday's Arthur Staple subsequently reported Snow has no plans to move Niederreiter, adding the young winger had never expressed unhappiness to him.

Strang noted multiple NHL scouts believe several teams would have interest in Niederreiter if Snow were to shop him

The fifth overall pick in 2010 struggled last season, hampered in part by concussion and groin injuries. He played with Bridgeport during the lockout and is currently its leading scorer, which has his camp puzzled as to why he wasn't able to crack the Isles lineup this season.

Snow told Strang he is open to calling up Niederreiter later in the season. One wonders if the trade request was his agent's attempt to hasten the call-up.

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.

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