Rumor Roundup: Six big-name players most likely to be traded this season

Eric Staal (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Heading into the American Thanksgiving long weekend, USA Today’s Kevin Allen listed six NHL players most likely to be traded this winter. The candidates are New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal, San Jose Sharks left winger Patrick Marleau, Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen, Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Trevor Daley and Calgary Flames rearguard Dennis Wideman.

Of this group, the closest to a certainty is Hamonic. The 25-year-old requested a trade during the off-season for family reasons and Isles GM Garth Snow is trying to accommodate him. A Manitoba native, Hamonic’s preference is Winnipeg or another Western Canadian NHL city. The Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche are also possible destinations.

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Karri Ramo’s robs Corey Perry with awesome reach-back blocker stop

Jared Clinton
Karri Ramo (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Calgary goaltender Karri Ramo’s performance last season helped him play his way into a one-year, $3.8-million contract with the Flames in the off-season. Though, he hasn’t been anywhere near as good in 2015-16, Ramo still has the ability to make some spectacular stops.

The Flames and Ducks had played to a 2-2 draw midway through Tuesday’s night game when Anaheim winger Corey Perry fought his way through a check and right to the front of the Calgary net. The puck was bouncing around and skipped into the air over the shoulder of Ramo. With the Flames netminder down and seemingly out, Perry attempted to bat the puck out of mid-air and towards the net.

Usually, this would end with us talking about Perry’s great hand-eye coordination or how he stuck with the play to give the Ducks the lead, but not this time. Perry’s chance to score a highlight-reel tally was stolen from him by an incredible reach-back blocker stop by Ramo: Read more

The Calgary Flames aren’t a good hockey team – and that’s perfectly fine

Matt Larkin
Dougie Hamilton. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

The pun-packed headline read, “Internal Combustion: Young guns look to ignite the rebuild with a culture of accountability in place.”

Affixed to the top of the page: a prediction, “7th in Pacific,” and Stanley Cup odds of 125 to 1.

It was the Calgary Flames preview in THN’s Yearbook for the start of 2014-15. Oddly enough, 412 days later, it still rings true. If you fell off your bike Oct. 8, 2014 and sustained a coma-inducing head injury, only to wake up today, the Flames would be exactly what you thought they were. You wouldn’t believe the story of Calgary’s magical 2014-15 season.

“Jiri Hudler had 76 points and won the Lady Byng? Sean Monahan scored 30 goals as a 20-year-old? Little Johnny Gaudreau became a legit NHL star as a rookie? Kris Russell set a single-season record for blocked shots? Bob Hartley won the Jack Adams? MY Flames finished third in the Pacific Division, ahead of the Los Angeles Kings? And won a playoff series? That’s it. I’m going back to bed for another year.”

It was a mind-blowing season because the Calgary Flames were so darned ahead of schedule. There was a reason they picked fourth overall at the 2014 draft, snagging future franchise player Sam Bennett: they were deep in the rebuild stage, years away from contention, slowly trying to amass prospects. Then last year happened, and everything went haywire.

Of course, we knew what the advanced statistics suggested: that Calgary was among the NHL’s luckiest teams, that it played way over its head and would regress the next season, just as the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-14 to 2014-15 and the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2012-13 to 2013-14. Bad habits come back to bite you, and the Calgary Flames had too many. They finished with 97 points despite a pitiful 5-on-5 score-adjusted Corsi For percentage of 44.2, good for 28th in the NHL. They actually regressed from 2013-14 to 2014-15. They allowed far more shot attempts than they generated. Winning was not sustainable.

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First quarter report: What’s up with the Dallas Stars and what’s wrong with Sidney Crosby?

Jamie Benn (left) and Tyler Seguin have been on some kind of tear this season. Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Monday night’s NHL games marked the official passing of the first quarter of the season and like Nathan MacKinnon, time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for the league to rubber stamp the Las Vegas expansion application and allow Bill Foley into the annual owners’ croquet game. We’re still waiting on that and, if Jeremy Jacobs’ comments have any merit – and they do – we’ll be waiting a lot longer.

Off the ice, that was one of the big surprises of the season so far. Between the boards, here are some of the others that have surfaced after the first quarter:

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Go west young man: Handicapping Travis Hamonic’s preferred trade destinations

John Tavares (left) and Travis Hamonic  (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Travis Hamonic is 25 years old. He’s a mobile, physical defensemen who can munch minutes and has a reasonable amount of offensive potential. He’s a steal against the salary cap, currently leads all defensemen in hits, is a right-shot defenseman and has favorable numbers when it comes to analytics. And his best years as an NHL player could very well be in front of him.

So from the standpoint of New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, there could never be a better time to trade him. But when the player not only asks for a trade, but limits his destination to one of four teams, any leverage Snow had over his possible trade partners is wiped out. There’s nothing the drops a player’s trade market value more dramatically than a desperate need to move him and a limited number of destinations.

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Brian Burke weighs in on bigger nets, calls it ‘extreme measure’

Jared Clinton
147154356 Burke

The comments made by Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock regarding increasing the size of nets to create a boost in scoring still has people talking.

Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby weighed in on the issue last week, saying the NHL should look at again shrinking goalie equipment in order to increase scoring. Crosby’s teammate, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, agreed there were ways to shrink the size of equipment even more. Now you can add another vote to shrinking equipment, as Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke said he’d rather see goaltending equipment downsized than the nets increase in size. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Sharks’ Marleau might be on the trading block again

Lyle Richardson
Patrick Marleau. (Getty Images)

Over the course of his long NHL career, San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau has been mentioned several times in trade rumors. Now in his 18th season with the Sharks, the 36-year-old is once again the subject of speculation.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Marleau’s name has surfaced in trade talk, though it’s uncertain who’s pushing for the move. Friedman notes Marleau, who’s carrying a $6.66-million annual cap hit through 2016-17, hasn’t been asked by management to waive his no-movement clause.

Local reporters subsequently questioned Marleau, who joked the rumors were starting early this season. He claims he wasn’t approached about waiving his clause and refuses to speculate over any scenario where he would consider that option.

Following the Sharks first-round elimination from the 2014 playoffs, there was some media chatter regarding Marleau’s future in San Jose. It briefly surfaced against last summer after the Sharks missed the 2015 post-season. Observers noted the decline in his performance through 2014-15, wondering if he’d consider moving on to a Stanley Cup contender.

The latest Marleau trade talk is likely tied to the club’s current performance. After a solid start to this season, the Sharks enter this week having won only three of their last 10 games. Marleau netted five points during that stretch.

Some rival clubs could be calling Sharks GM Doug Wilson to inquire about the veteran winger’s availability. Wilson could also be floating Marleau’s name to see if there’s any serious bidders. His cap hit alone, however, could make it difficult to find a willing trade partner this early in the season.

Marleau still has complete control of this situation. If he’s unwilling to waive his movement clause under any circumstances, it won’t matter if management is shopping him or how many teams express interest in his services.


Approaching mid-November, the Calgary Flames are still struggling to overcome their poor start to this season. With a 5-9-1 record heading into Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Flames face the risk of falling completely out of the playoff race before Christmas if they don’t soon pull out of their tailspin.

Trade rumors continue to dog the club, with defensemen Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell prominently featured. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports GM Brad Treliving continues to gauge their market value.

Wideman carries a full no-movement clause and an annual cap hit of $5.25 million through 2016-17, making him very difficult to move at this point in the season. Russell, meanwhile, is a pending UFA lacking a movement clause and carrying a more affordable $2.6 cap hit. He could be easier to trade, but there’s speculation Treliving prefers to re-sign him.

Should the Flames remain out of playoff contention leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline, Treliving could put some of his UFAs on the trade block. Winger Jiri Hudler is the best of the bunch. He lacks a no-trade clause and is coming off a career-best 76-point season.

While Hudler has 11 points in 15 games thus far, the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis notes the 31-year-old winger’s been largely invisible of late. Francis suggests he’s not only costing the Flames a playoff berth, but also a chance for a good return if they opt to deal him at the deadline.

The Flames still have plenty of time to reverse their fortunes. Of late, they’ve shown some signs of improvement, winning three of their last five. However, they’ll have to keep looking to within for improvement. It doesn’t appear any help is coming via the trade market.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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