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Rumor Roundup: Will Varlamov’s arrest trigger a trade?

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Semyon Varlamov’s arrest last week has many in the hockey world wondering how this will affect the Colorado Avalanche goaltender and the Avs season.

Varlamov was released on a $5,000 bond and is allowed to travel with the club. So far, his legal troubles haven’t adversely affected his performance or that of the team. In his first game after the incident, a 3-2 overtime win Friday over the Dallas Stars, Varlamov made 27 saves and finished with a .931 save percentage.

The Buffalo News’ John Vogl suggested the off-season rumors linking the Avalanche with Sabres goalie Ryan Miller could resurface if Varlamov is sent to jail.

The outcome for Varlamov remains to be seen, but for now he remains the Avalanche’s starting goalie. It could be weeks or months until his case goes to trial, so they aren’t in a hurry to shop for goaltending insurance.

HOW TO SOLVE THE SENATORS’ ‘D’ PROBLEMS?
With the Ottawa Senators struggling through a five-game winless skid, GM Bryan Murray could consider shaking up his defense.

The Senators give up an average of 3.14 goals-per-game, good for 27th best in the league. Their 38.5 shots against per game leads the league.

In the past, the Senators could rely on strong goaltending to overcome those high shot totals, but the overworked tandem of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner are being left defenseless on too many nights.

Over the weekend, Murray called up Mark Borowiecki and the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculates more moves will be coming if things don’t improve soon.

Garrioch reported Murray spoke with “a couple of teams,” but noted a lack of quality defensemen in the trade market. Those he considers available include Philadelphia’s Hal Gill, Toronto’s John-Michael Liles, Vancouver’s Yanick Weber and Florida’s Tom Gilbert.

Liles’ $3.9 million cap hit is too rich for the Senators tight budget. The others are affordable but won’t do much to bolster Ottawa’s sagging defense.

If Murray seeks more than a Band-Aid solution it would cost him a promising young player or a top prospect.

A ‘COOL BRYZ’ IN EDMONTON?
As the Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle, New York Post columnist Larry Brooks wondered why they won’t take a chance on free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

Brooks pointed out Oilers goalies Devan Dubnyk, Jason LaBarbera and Richard Bachman combined for a “deficient .882 save percentage,” undermining Dallas Eakins’ first month as an NHL coach.

Noting Bryzgalov “survived the Philadelphia nuthouse,” Brooks believes the Russian netminder – having received a $23 million buyout last summer from the Flyers – would be an affordable signing.

Bryzgalov’s reputation as a flake, highlighted during his two unhappy seasons with the Flyers, explains why he’s still unsigned by an NHL team in early-November.

With only three wins in 15 games, the Oilers have dug themselves a deep hole in the standings. If they don’t turn things around in November, their playoff chances will be dashed by December.

Oilers management could be fearful adding Bryzgalov would make a bad situation worse, but considering their current plight, how could it get any worse?

ISLANDERS’ MACDONALD ON THE RADAR
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported a few teams were watching New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who’s “greatly improved” and eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.

MacDonald, 27, is among the Islanders best blueliners, logging 26:57 per game. He’s earning a very affordable $550,000, but will seek a substantial raise this summer.

Unless the Islanders drop out of playoff contention by the March 5 trade deadline and MacDonald wants to test the free agent market, don’t expect him to be moved.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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