Rumor Roundup: Cam Ward and Eric Staal could move on from Hurricanes

Cam Ward and Eric Staal. (Getty Images)

The future of forward Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward with the Carolina Hurricanes could be determined soon. Both are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency, and their status remains fodder for the rumor mill.

During Saturday’s ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ telecast, Damien Cox reported Staal and Ward expect to hear from GM Ron Francis at the end of this month if they’ll try to negotiate new contracts. If the ownership situation proves so difficult that they cannot, Cox believes the duo will depart via trade or free agency next summer.

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Hurricanes’ Ryan Murphy sidelined with a concussion

Dhiren Mahiban
(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy suffered a concussion during Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the team announced on Sunday.

Murphy was injured on a hit from Flyers forward Ryan White early in the second period.

White received a minor penalty for boarding on the play. Murphy played one more shift after the hit before leaving the game.

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Rumor Roundup: Hurricanes shopping everybody, including Jeff Skinner

Lyle Richardson
Jeff Skinner (Gerry Thomas/NHL via Getty Images)

In his Sunday “Insider Trading” column, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claimed Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is “willing to talk about just about anybody” on his roster. He claims left wing Jeff Skinner’s name is making the rounds in the rumor mill. Center Riley Nash and defensemen Ron Hainsey and John-Michael Liles could also be available.

It’s unsurprising that Nash and Liles were mentioned, as they’re unrestricted free agents at season’s end.The 34-year-old Hainsey ($2.8-million cap hit) has one season remaining on his contract with a modified no-trade clause. If the Hurricanes are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, this trio could be on the trade block.

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Prospect Need to Know: Carter Hart makes his crease case for 2016

Everett's Carter Hart  (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

It’s been a controversial week in the prospect world, as the CHL-NCAA talent war reached DEFCON 1. First, Toronto pick Jeremy Bracco departed Boston College for OHL Kitchener, then days later Carolina prospect Warren Foegele jetted from New Hampshire for OHL Kingston. This didn’t sit well with social media’s college boosters, but in the end it’s up to the players. As for Kingston, the Frontenacs just traded for Maple Leafs pick Stephen Desrocher, who won a Memorial Cup with Oshawa last year. He’ll add size and a big shot to the blueline of a team clearly going for it all. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the world of prospects right now.


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Hanifin, Reinhart probably stay in NHL, but other teams have decisions to make

Noah Hanifin (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Noah Hanifin was a healthy scratch Tuesday night for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Detroit Red Wings and Sam Reinhart was not on the ice for practice Wednesday morning for the Buffalo Sabres. It’s enough to get a guy to thinking there’s a chance these guys might not be much longer for the NHL this season.

After all, Reinhart played in his ninth game of the season Sunday night and Hanifin had played eight before being scratched. Both are teenagers on entry-level deals and their teams must decide very soon whether it would be best to keep them in the NHL or send them to the minors so their contracts slide back a year.

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Cam Ward makes insane diving stick save, throws hat in the ring for save of the year

Jared Clinton
Matt Duchene (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It’s hard to call anything the true save of the year when the regular season isn’t over, but New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist had a surefire candidate with a ridiculous diving stick save on Ryan Johansen. Lundqvist has company now, though, because Wednesday night Cam Ward made a game-saving paddle stop that will leave your jaw hanging.

In a scoreless tie between the Hurricanes and Avalanche, Carolina’s Kris Versteeg blew a tire at the Colorado blueline which sent Jarome Iginla, Matt Duchene and Mikko Rantanen on a 3-on-1 against Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan. Following a slick drop pass by Iginla, Duchene made a great move on Jordan that forced Ward to drop into his butterfly and left an open net.

Duchene held onto the puck and slid into space to take a shot at the wide-open cage. The shot should have given the Avalanche a 1-0 lead and should have resulted in the game-winning goal. Instead, Ward dove to his right, stuck out his paddle and smacked away Duchene’s open-net attempt: Read more

Rumor Roundup: A coaching change or trade seems inevitable in Columbus

Todd Richards (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Before the start of this season, a number of NHL observers projected the Columbus Blue Jackets as a potential playoff contender in the Metropolitan Division. Injuries decimated their roster last season, but with their depth in promising young talent and a healthier lineup, the Jackets were expected to have a bounce-bock season.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone according to plan for the Jackets, opening this season with six consecutive losses. They enter this week with the worst record in the league, sparking speculation that change could be coming if the losses continue to mount.

Shawn Mitchell of The Columbus Dispatch reports the Jackets’ poor start has coach Todd Richards “walking a fine line.” He also speculates an early season trade to shake up the roster is “a very real possibility.”

Mitchell notes Richards hasn’t received any reassurances from GM Jarmo Kekalainen about his job status, though the latter claims they have a “good working relationship.” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Kekalainen prefers a trade over a coaching change.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Jackets’ struggles prompted some rival GMs to pitch trade suggestions, hoping to convince Kekalainen, to part with one of his affordable young players. Defenseman Ryan Murray or forwards like Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson, William Karlsson or Alexander Wennberg (currently sidelined by a concussion) could be on their radar.

Of the Blue Jackets’ youngsters, center Ryan Johansen is by far the best. His contentious contract negotiation history with Kekalainen could prompt some inquiries. Friedman, however, doesn’t believe the 24-year-old Johansen is available, citing his role as their first-line center.

The Jackets must do something soon to arrest their tailspin. Another week of losses makes a coaching change or trade inevitable.

Like the Blue Jackets, the Carolina Hurricanes have stumbled from the gate, entering this week with a 1-4-0 record. Though they’ve been among the league leaders in fewest shots-against per game, their blueline depth took a hit when James Wisniewski suffered a knee injury in their season opener.

Friedman believes Hurricanes GM Ron Francis likely received some calls from teams carrying defensemen they’d like to move. Though Friedman didn’t name any clubs, the Philadelphia Flyers could be among them. The Flyers must shed salary and free up space on their defense. Veteran Luke Schenn ($3.6-million cap hit) was a recent healthy scratch, fuelling speculation he’s the most likely to be dealt.

However, Friedman claims the Hurricanes aren’t interested in quick-fix solutions. While they’re carrying over $9 million in cap room, Francis could be under a self-imposed ceiling. If so, he’ll want a promising and affordable young blueliner who can be part of his club’s long-term plans.

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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Brock McGinn scores first NHL goal on first shift in first minute of first game

Justin Dickie

Brock McGinn had a debut for the ages on Friday evening.

Just 55 seconds into his first NHL game, the 21-year-old Carolina Hurricanes left winger followed up on his own rebound and beat Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard to spot his club an early 1-0 lead. His first NHL goal. On his first NHL shift. In the first minute of his first NHL game.

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