The Edmonton Oilers are among the handful of teams considered sellers leading up to the March 5 trade deadline. Right winger Ales Hemsky and defenseman Nick Schultz are among the Oilers expected to be shopped once the Olympic trade freeze lifts Feb. 23.
Hemsky is no stranger to rumors, but he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer earning $5 million this season and isn’t expected to be re-signed. Schultz, earning $3.6 million, is also a pending UFA.
Oilers analyst Bob Stauffer claims the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins could be interested in Hemsky. Stauffer also commented on a proposed deal with Hemsky going to the Phoenix Coyotes for prospect Henrik Samuelsson. While doubting the Coyotes would part with Samuelsson, the Edmonton Journal’s Jonathan Willis believes if the Oilers agreed to pick up half of Hemsky’s remaining salary it could make the 30-year-old winger attractive to teams with financial issues, like Phoenix.
The Philadelphia Flyers could use some help on their defense to boost their playoff hopes, but pickings are slim on the trade market. CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio doesn’t see anyone the Flyers could acquire who would bolster their blueline.
Responding to questions from his readers, Panaccio notes the Nashville Predators’ stockpiling of young defensemen suggests they could be willing to part with captain Shea Weber and his massive contract. Weber signed a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet from the Flyers in July 2012, which the Predators subsequently matched.
Panaccio believes the Flyers still have interest in Weber as a replacement for the all-but-retired Chris Pronger, but doubts such a move will occur by the trade deadline. The Predators are battling for a wild card berth in the Western Conference. They wouldn’t handicap their chances by trading Weber, whose contract would be difficult to move during the season. Read more
Questions about Martin Brodeur’s future with the New Jersey Devils are keeping his name in the NHL trade rumor mill. The long-time Devils starting goalie is now backing up Cory Schneider. Brodeur recently gave a mixed message on his status, saying he’s thought about waiving his no-trade clause while claiming he prefers to finish the season with the Devils. He said he’d consider waiving if approached by GM Lou Lamoriello about a trade that made sense for both parties.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the 41-year-old netminder is expected to spend the Olympic break mulling his options. If Brodeur decides to move on, Brooks considers the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators as trade destinations. The Wild are relying on call-up Darcy Kuemper while Josh Harding grapples with MS symptoms and Niklas Backstrom deals with soreness related to off-season abdominal surgery. The Predators are trying to make do without starter Pekka Rinne, who’s recovering from an infection since late-October in his surgically repaired hip.
It was a good night for home teams to start the weekend as the Rangers, Hurricanes, Red Wings, Predators and Jets all sent their fans away happy. The Capitals and Devils were the two visitors that came closest to leaving town with wins in a pair of tilts that featured some late-game dramatics.
Alex Ovechkin scored with just seven seconds left in regulation to send Washington into overtime against Detroit before Patrick Eaves won it for the Wings with the lone snipe in the shootout.
While in Nashville, David Legwand scored with only 11 seconds left to force OT, which allowed Shea Weber to close it out over New Jersey at 1:29 of the extra frame.
The Maple Leafs dealt defenseman Mark Fraser to Edmonton Friday in exchange for minor-league forward Cameron Abney and the rights to KHLer and restricted free agent Teemu Hartikainen. If you’re underwhelmed by the move, you probably need to adjust your whelm expectations as the NHL’s trade deadline approaches, because these types of defensive depth deals – and not blockbuster moves for marquee blueliners – are what NHL people expect to see.
Sure, there’s a possibility an elite defenseman such as Phoenix’s Keith Yandle moves on to a new team. And if the Rangers can’t get Dan Girardi’s signature on a contract extension, teams will line up to bid on his services. But take a good look at the larger pool defensemen believed to be available. There’s far more demand than supply for high-quality players of that position. Read more
The idea of accountability is nebulous. For some, it means the buck stops with them – and if they don’t get the job done, they’ll fall on their sword, move along and give another individual a shot at succeeding where they failed. For others, it only means explaining themselves to a superior and/or business owner and/or Toronto civic taxpayers and carrying on with their duties regardless of their inability to fulfill their mandate.
There’s no better example of this in the NHL than the Metropolitan Division, a.k.a. the place where upper management accountability goes to die. This is a division that has seen just two GM changes since 2006, and both of them occurred with a team (Columbus) that hasn’t been part of the division until this season began. If there’s anywhere running a hockey team is akin to being an emperor or tenured university professor, it’s the Metro.
To be fair, there are understandable reasons why the GM turnover in the Metropolitan is notably lesser than the NHL’s other three groups of teams. Read more
There have been times when Bob Suter’s gold medal from the 1980 Miracle on Ice would go missing for a week. He never worried about it, just figured one of his kids forgot it in his locker at school.
“To be honest, I had it in here at the rink yesterday,” said Suter, who now runs a hockey rink in Madison, Wisc. “And I forgot to bring it in so it’s sitting between the seats in my pickup truck right now.” Suter obviously thought that when it came to his gold medal, an object’s utility lies in its accessibility. That’s why he never squirreled it away in a safety deposit box, instead allowing his kids to take it to school for Show and Tell. “If somebody wanted to take it to school or one of my parents’ or my wife’s friends wanted to see it, then you have to go through the hassle of getting it,” he said. “And if I put it in a safe, I might forget the combination.” Read more
It’s been a lot of years since I watched a Revenge Of The Nerds movie, but something about last night’s game between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames got my synapses thinking about those yuck-yuk flicks from the 1980s.
Eric Nystrom scored all four of his team’s goals in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Flames in the city where he started his NHL career. And although Nystrom isn’t a nerd, he is a grinder supreme and grinders aren’t supposed to score all their team’s goals, let alone four of them in a single game. After the son of Bob Nystrom scored his second goal in the second period, you couldn’t help cheer for him to complete an unlikely hat trick.
He reacted to his first two goals of the game with ear-to-ear grins and you could tell he was having a great time skating by his bench collecting glove-to-glove celebrations. The bottom-six grinder oozes personality and is a dressing room favorite wherever he plays. From that moment on, my eyes were affixed to Nashville’s No. 24 whenever he stepped on the ice. You could tell he was having one of those games for the ages.