Losing superstar Steven Stamkos to a broken leg threatens to derail the Tampa Bay Lightning’s surprising start (14-5-0) to this season.
At the time of his injury, Stamkos – a two-time Richard Trophy winner – was tied for the NHL scoring lead with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby at 23 points. He’s not expected to return until March, leaving veterans Martin St-Louis, Valtteri Filppula and Teddy Purcell, along with youngsters Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson, to pick up the slack.
The Lightning’s strong start allows GM Steve Yzerman to remain patient with his roster, but that could change if they tumble in the standings in the coming weeks.
Sportsnet’s Ryan Dixon listed Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri, Columbus’ Marian Gaborik and Montreal’s David Desharnais as trade options. Of this trio, Desharnais is the least attractive. He has only one point in 17 games and has three years (at $3.5 million per) remaining on his contract.
Cammalleri and Gaborik are veteran scorers eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end. While Gaborik is currently struggling with the Blue Jackets, Cammalleri (eight goals, 11 points in 12 games) is playing well for the rebuilding Flames.
Both players, however, carry expensive salaries, with Gaborik earning $7.5 million and Cammalleri $7 million (at a cap hit of $6 million). While the Lightning will get some cap relief when Stamkos ($7.5 million) goes on long-term injured reserve, Yzerman could wait until later in the season before considering the addition of an expensive winger.
CANUCKS LOOKING TO ADD ANOTHER RENTAL?
The Vancouver Province’s Jason Botchford believes the Vancouver Canucks need another impact forward, but he acknowledges the difficulty of finding one at this point in the season.
If GM Mike Gillis shops for help, Botchford hopes he’ll avoid repeating the mistakes he made with previous acquisitions like Derek Roy and Sami Pahlsson. He suggests Buffalo’s Steve Ott, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds and Florida’s Marcel Goc would make for good trade targets.
The Flyers are reportedly listening to offers for most of their players, but they could be reluctant to part with an aggressive, physical winger like Simmonds. Ott and Goc are unrestricted free agents next July, but they could be unavailable until the March trade deadline.
Speaking of the Canucks, they were one of two Canadian teams linked to Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane in this week’s rumor mill. With six goals and 11 points in 18 games, Kane is off to a slow start, hampered in part by injury.
The Winnipeg Free Press reported “a TV type” in Vancouver claimed the Canucks were willing to package some prospects for Kane, while a Montreal radio station floated the notion of Kane getting shipped to the Canadiens for winger Max Pacioretty.
Given the recent scoring woes of the Canucks and Canadiens, these rumors sound more like wishful thinking than anything based in reality.
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.).
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