Rumor Roundup: Several teams looking at moves leading up to holiday trade freeze

Buffalo's Tyler Myers (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL’s holiday trade freeze beginning at midnight on Dec. 19 there’s growing speculation over possible moves leading up to the deadline.

ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reports Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray is willing to be creative after noting a recent decline in trade talks, leading Murray to acknowledge his asking prices could be too high.

Winger Chris Stewart, a recent healthy scratch against the Los Angeles Kings, is considered most likely to be dealt. The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports the 27-year-old winger’s poor play could affect his trade value, as well as his chances for a lucrative contract via free agency in July. Vogl claims the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators could be interested in Stewart. Read more

Nolan calls out Stewart, winger responds with fight after telling media to “ask Lucic how soft” he is

Chris Stewart

Amid rumors that Chris Stewart and the Buffalo Sabres are in their last days together, it appears the big bodied forward and coach Ted Nolan aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.

On Tuesday, the 27-year-old forward was scratched for the Sabres game against the Los Angeles Kings. When asked about removing Stewart from the lineup, Nolan said the Sabres winger hasn’t been playing the way the team needs, and that, “he’s a big, powerful forward, but powerful forwards can’t be playing a soft game.”

Stewart, who avoided media on the day he was scratched, spoke on Wednesday and you could say he took exception to the comments of his coach. Read more

Forget Mike Babcock speculation: Focus on Tyler Myers

Tyler Myers  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock is vehemently denying rumors he’s on the verge of re-upping with the Detroit Red Wings as the highest-paid coach in the NHL and GM Ken Holland isn’t saying much of anything one way or the other. So where does that leave us? Well, your trusty correspondent is inclined to believe that before long, Babcock will sign in Detroit and continue his outstanding coaching career in Detroit.

From what I’ve been told, the one factor more than anything that was important to Babcock was whether or not the Red Wings have an opportunity to be a contending team for the long-term. During the Red Wings prospect tournament in Traverse City, I had a long talk with Holland after we picked the Red Wings to miss the playoffs and even he acknowledged the fans were beginning to ask questions.

“Has he lost his touch?” Holland asked rhetorically. “Is he a doofus?” Read more

Rumor Roundup: Ottawa could see more than just a coaching change

Craig Anderson (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators made headlines earlier this week by firing head coach Paul MacLean and replacing him with Dave Cameron. That might not be the only change in store for the Senators, who’ve won only three of their last 10 games entering Thursday’s tilt against the Los Angeles Kings.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports Senators GM Bryan Murray has had defenseman Patrick Wiercioch and forwards Colin Greening and Erik Condra on the trade block for some time. Murray’s also reportedly entertaining offers for center Zack Smith. Garrioch also speculates the Senators GM could draw upon his goaltending depth by peddling Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner to land an impact player. Both are under long-term contracts which could enhance their market value. Read more

Love from Latvia has Zemgus Girgensons leading All-Star voting

Jared Clinton
Zemgus Girgensons featured

You’ve certainly heard by now that the leading vote getter for the All-Star Game isn’t Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, or P.K. Subban. No, none of those stars have the top spot. Rather, the number one slot goes to Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons.

Girgensons is blowing away the competition. Through three weeks, the Latvian star has received more than 800,000 votes in favor of placing him in the starting lineup of the All-Star Game in Columbus this season. That’s more than double the total of Patrick Kane, who as of Tuesday sat in second place with nearly 376,000 votes. Read more

Behemoth 2015 prospect Jordan Greenway leads off The Hot List

Jordan Greenway (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

World junior camps are approaching and some teams are getting excellent news already. Most recently, Canada found out that New York Rangers rookie Anthony Duclair will be loaned out, giving the host nation another speedy and dangerous offensive weapon in its arsenal. Finland must be happy that Dallas gave its blessing for Julius Honka to return, while Washington’s Andre Burakovsky is still a wait-and-see for Sweden. In the meantime, here are some of the other top prospects making noise in the hockey world.

Read more

Rumor Roundup: Bruins scoring woes, injuries cause for trade talk

Boston Bruins Seidenberg Marchand Smith featured

Scoring is a problem this season for the Boston Bruins. In their last dozen game stretching back to November 12, the Bruins tallied three-or-more goals in only three games and won only five games over that period.

The Bruins began this week 21st overall in goals per game (2.50). That’s a considerable decline from last season, when they finished third (3.15) in that category.

Injuries to first-line center David Krejci and top defenseman Zdeno Chara have contributed to this offensive decline. Another is management’s inability to find a suitable replacement for first-line right wing Jarome Iginla, who departed last summer via free agency. Right wings Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith have struggled to fill the void. Read more

Tampa Bay and Buffalo combine for more than 100 penalty minutes in three separate brawls

Jared Clinton
Tampa Buffalo Brawl featured

In Thursday night’s contest between the high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning and the lowly Buffalo Sabres, there were three beat downs: one on the scoreboard and two on the ice.

The Lightning walked out with 5-0 win over their Atlantic Division opponents, but they didn’t leave the ice without throwing a few fists in the process. The Sabres, who have been on a run of late, and the Lightning mixed it up on three separate occasions, with the two teams combining for 110 penalty minutes.

Things weren’t actually getting too crazy, but less than eight minutes into the third period the first brawl started: Read more