Rumor Roundup: Sabres’ Chris Stewart drawing major interest

Chris Stewart

Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart frequently popped up in the rumor mill this week as a possible trade candidate. Stewart, who turns 27 on October 30, is earning $4.2 million this season (with a cap hit of $4.15 million) and becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.

On Sunday, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claimed “lots of teams” are interested to see what Sabres GM Tim Murray will do with Stewart, fellow UFA winger Drew Stafford and defenseman Tyler Myers, who’s under contract through 2018-19 at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

Garrioch noted the Ottawa Senators were interested in Stewart last season, but the Sabres asking price was “Mark Stone or some other high-end prospect.” If that price hasn’t changed, Garrioch doubts the Senators will do it.

Earlier this week it was suggested in this column Stewart might be a good fit with the Boston Bruins, who are struggling this season to replace Jarome Iginla as their first-line right wing. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Bruins are indeed interested in Stewart, though he didn’t indicate if offers had been exchanged.

Assuming Murray seeks the same return as he reportedly did from the Senators (high-end prospect) for Stewart, he could have interest in center Ryan Spooner, goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman Joe Morrow or right wing David Pastrnak. The Bruins, however, currently possess $3.759 million in cap space, meaning the Sabres must either pick up nearly half of Stewart’s remaining salary or take on a salaried roster player in return.

It’s doubtful Murray will be interested in any of the Bruins potential UFA players. Chris Kelly‘s name has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but he’s a third-line center with a modified no-trade clause signed through 2015-16 at a cap hit of $3 million.

There’s no need for Murray to rush into trading Stewart, Stafford or Myers. He can simply allow this season to play out in hopes the market value for the trio improves leading up to the March 2 trade deadline.

FLIGHTLESS FLYERS SEEK BLUELINE HELP

For the second straight season the Philadelphia Flyers are off to a poor start. With only one victory in their first six games, there’s concern over the state of the Flyers defensive play. They’re 21st in shots-against per game (30.9) and possess the third-most goals-against per game (3.71) and fourth-worst in penalty-kill percentage (73.7).

Flyers GM Ron Hextall has limited cap space ($1.48 million) to bolster his defense. He’s reportedly seeking a defensive blueliner but the pickings are currently slim. Those mentioned in recent trade rumors – Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, Detroit’s Jakub Kindl and Edmonton’s Jeff Petry – aren’t considered shutdown defensemen.

It could cost Hextall one of his good young forwards to acquire a skilled stay-at-home blueliner. CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio claims the price among interested teams is Brayden Schenn, who’s in the first season of a two-year contract at an annual cap hit of $2.5 million.

Penguins, Oilers & NHL show support for Ottawa tragedy with singings of ‘O Canada’

Jeff Jimerson (Vincent Pugliese/ Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the unspeakable attack Wednesday in Ottawa that killed a Canadian soldier and terrified the federal parliament and the country itself, the NHL responded admirably to show its support for those affected by the tragedy. An example was found in Pittsburgh, when prior to the Penguins/Flyers game, the fans in attendance and singer Jeff Jimerson sang Canada’s national anthem:


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NHL postpones Maple Leafs/Senators game after Parliament Hill shootings

Matt Larkin
Ottawa's home arena, the Canadian Tire Centre. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

It’s a horrific day for Canada, as a shooting tragedy has shaken the nation’s capital.

At least one gunman opened fire at Ottawa’s National War Memorial Wednesday morning, wounding a soldier, who was later pronounced dead. The assailant then moved to Parliament Hill, firing upon and wounding a security guard before the assailant was killed, reportedly by the Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms.

Police continued a hectic chase after the incident and more shots were fired, suggesting multiple attackers may still be on the loose. Parliament itself and an increasingly large portion of the downtown core is on lockdown as police continue their pursuit. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was safely moved away from Parliament Hill and out of harm’s way.

The Hockey News’ thoughts are with the citizens of Ottawa and anyone affected by these atrocities. It feels trivial to bring hockey into the discussion, but it’s our job to tell you everything you need to know about the sport.

UPDATE: The NHL has officially postponed tonight’s game. It posted the following on its website:

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Rumor Roundup: Will the Oilers shop Eberle or Yakupov?

Jordan Eberle (Getty Images)

Though the Edmonton Oilers finally won their first game of the season, their early-season struggles continue to generate trade speculation.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry told Sportsnet 590 he thinks the Oilers must trade one of their good young players if they’re to improve in the near future. Cherry expressed concern about the Oilers goaltending, but when asked if they should contact free agent Martin Brodeur, Cherry doubted Brodeur would go there.

Cherry also believes right wing Jordan Eberle would fetch the best return, as he doesn’t feel anyone could be interested in struggling winger Nail Yakupov. However, TVASports’ Renaud Lavoie claims there are teams interested in the 21-year-old right wing. Read more

Ottawa Senators rookie Curtis Lazar brings a full toolbox

Ryan Kennedy
Ottawa's Curtis Lazar  (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the Ottawa Senators traded Jason Spezza to Dallas over the summer, it was a definite signal that the franchise was moving in a new, younger direction. Their captain and second-leading scorer was gone, with top scorer and offensive defenseman extraordinaire Erik Karlsson eventually earning the ‘C’ for his own jersey.

But so far, the Senators aren’t wilting without Spezza. In fact, at 4-1-0, Ottawa is off to a grand start and the Sens are doing it as one big unit: No player has more than four points, but 14 skaters have already counted on the scoresheet. One such player is rookie Curtis Lazar.

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Getting To Know: Jim Thomson

Jim Thomson (http://www.jimthomsonsdreams.com/)

Status: NHL right wing from 1986-1993 with Hartford, Washington, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Ottawa.

DOB: December 30, 1965 In: Edmonton, Alberta

First Hockey Memory: “I borrowed a pair of skates. I grew up in a mobile house park, Westview Village in Winterburn, Alberta. I was six years old and one of my friends lent me his dad’s skates. They were too big but I skated around and couldn’t stop. I fell in love with it.” Read more

Senators’ Lehner absolutely robs Blue Jackets’ Wennberg with stunning stick save

Robin Lehner (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been the weekend of the stick save.

Last night, it was Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper keeping the score knotted at one-apiece with a diving, swatting stick save on a puck that was redirected on goal by teammate Jonas Brodin’s skate.

Robin Lehner must have caught the clip because he tried his hand at one of his own.

In Saturday’s contest against Columbus, the Blue Jackets moved the puck around behind the net and right winger Jack Skille moved the puck to defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Savard let a shot go that deflected off of a Senator and landed right on the waiting stick of Alexander Wennberg.

Wennberg is going to want that one back.

The save was Lehner’s sixth of the game and kept the score at even at zeroes. For the remainder of the game, the Senators backup goaltender would remain stellar. He finished the game with 38 stops in the Senators 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.

If it’s over for him, Daniel Alfredsson the player and person should be celebrated

Adam Proteau
Daniel Alfredsson (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

We should know that, when the end of their playing career arrives for most NHLers, it does not arrive in the fairy tale format. For every Raymond Bourque, there are hundreds of guys who experience a less-than ideal exit from a league most never want to leave.

If that’s how it has to be for Daniel Alfredsson – and this Detroit Free Press report suggests that could very well be the case – the 42-year-old has nothing to be ashamed of. If his ailing back can’t take any more punishment, it says nothing about his competitive desire or legacy. It only speaks to Father Time’s eventual dickishness to us all. And if Alfredsson has played his final NHL game, there’s little doubt he’ll be regarded as a terrific talent on the ice and one of the sport’s best ambassadors away from it.

Yeah, he didn’t get to celebrate a Cup win the way fellow good guy Teemu Selanne did. But that’s no reason to be sad about his retirement. There are too many teams and too few Stanley Cups awarded every season to adequately reward all the talents that ache to win at the game’s highest levels.

No, now’s the time for Alfredsson’s fans in Ottawa and Detroit to celebrate the contributions of one of hockey’s most fundamentally decent human beings.
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