Rumor Roundup: Improving Blue Jackets still looking for help on blueline

Lyle Richardson
John Tortorella. (Getty Images)

Dropping their first seven games of this season led a coaching change for the Columbus Blue Jackets, replacing Todd Richards with John Tortorella. In their 11 games under Tortorella, the Jackets have a 6-5-0 record entering their Nov. 17 game against the St. Louis Blues.

Unfortunately, they’re mired at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division with a lot of ground to gain if they hope to reach a playoff berth. While time remains on their side, GM Jarmo Kekalainen is still trying to find a trade to bolster the Jackets’ defense.

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Rumor Roundup: Duchene talk heating up, but move to Senators unlikely

Lyle Richardson
Matt Duchene (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

Recent trade speculation regarding Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene dominated the NHL rumor mill over the weekend. TSN’s Darren Dreger expounded on his report claiming the Avalanche contacted the Ottawa Senators to gauge interest in the 24-year-old center. It’s believed as long as Duchene remains in the discussion, the Senators (and other clubs) could continue to explore the possibility.

Dreger, however, considers it unlikely Avs GM Joe Sakic will move Duchene. He suggests Sakic could be using the forward as a means of starting trade discussions involving a different move with other players.’s Pierre LeBrun thinks Sakic is simply gauging the trade value of Duchene and other players on his roster.

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Rumor Roundup: Marleau will have to widen list if he wants out of San Jose

Patrick Marleau. (Getty Images)

A recent report claiming San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau would agree to be dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers attracted swift reaction from several NHL pundits.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (who first broke the Marleau trade rumor story), TSN’s Bob McKenzie,’s Allan Muir, and the San Jose Mercury News’ Mark Purdy doubt the long-time Sharks star would be dealt to California rivals like Anaheim and Los Angeles. Purdy believes Sharks GM Doug Wilson would never ship Marleau to those clubs unless the deal was so overwhelming he simply couldn’t refuse. Don’t hold your breath expecting that deal to materialize.

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Rumor Roundup: Marleau would accept trade to Rangers, Ducks, or Kings

Patrick Marleau. (Getty Images)

The recent trade speculation involving long-time San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau took an interesting twist on Tuesday evening. CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz cites a source claiming the 36-year-old Marleau, who carries a no-movement clause in his contract, would accept being dealt to the New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings.

Kurz also reports it’s uncertain if Marleau is pushing for a trade or if management initiated it. He cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggesting it’s more likely Marleau asked the club to explore trade possibilities. Kurz notes Sharks GM Doug Wilson’s policy is not to ask players with movement clauses to waive them.

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Rumor Roundup: Return of Duncan Keith doesn’t deter Blackhawks from seeking D-man

Lyle Richardson
Duncan Keith (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks will soon be welcoming back defensemen Duncan Keith and Michal Roszsival from injured reserve. Keith’s been sidelined since Oct. 19 by knee surgery, while Rozsival’s still recovering from a gruesome ankle injury suffered during last spring’s playoffs.

While the Blackhawks won six of their last 10 without Keith and Rozsival, they began this week 14th overall in goals-against per game. The imminent return of two key blueliners, however, apparently isn’t stopping management from pursuing additional defensive depth.

The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc and Chris Hines cite a source claiming the Blackhawks are pushing hard to acquire a blueliner. This isn’t a recent search, as the duo note the club’s interest in bolstering their defense dates back to before Keith’s surgery.

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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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Rumor Roundup: Ducks, Flames, Avs, and Jackets looking for quick fix

Anaheim Ducks Announce Bruce Boudreau

A month into this new NHL season, the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves mired near the bottom of the league’s overall standings. While it’s rumored they’re shopping around for help, they’ve yet to find trade partners willing to assist them.

In an interview with USA Today, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray was trying to make a deal, but he’s unwilling to do anything rash. He also believed the Blue Jackets are still in the market for a defenseman. Earlier in the week, McKenzie named the Avalanche among several teams with interest in demoted Edmonton Oilers blueliner Nikita Nikitin.

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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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