Rumor Roundup: Red Wings ‘D’ hunting; Reimer stuck with Maple Leafs?

#34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs stands by the net during a break in action in a game against the Edmonton Oilers on October 29, 2013 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

After striking out in their efforts to land a right-handed defenseman via free agency, the Detroit Red Wings could turn to the trade market to address their need.

Wings GM Ken Holland told Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News his club needs “another defenseman, maybe two,” adding he’ll see what the summer brings. Kulfan speculates Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien and Edmonton’s Jeff Petry could be available.

Ansar Khan of mlive.com also believes the Wings could try to bolster their blueline via the trade market. In addition to Myers, Byfuglien and Petry, Khan lists Washington’s Mike Green and Toronto’s Cody Franson among the right-handed options, along with left-handed shots like Arizona’s Keith Yandle and Vancouver’s Alexander Edler.

The asking price for most of the aforementioned would be expensive, costing the Wings one of their promising young forwards as part of the return. The Wings won’t part with Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar, but clubs could seek Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco or Anthony Mantha. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson believes if Petry’s available the Oilers must get a young center for him. Read more

Vancouver Canucks look for bounce back season, sign Radim Vrbata for two years

Rory Boylen
Vrbata

The Vancouver Canucks aren’t bowing out yet, nor should they.

Another of a dwindling free agent class came off the market Wednesday night when Radim Vrbata signed a two-year deal at a $5 million cap hit with the Canucks. It’s a deal that will help Vancouver through a transition phase and put Vrbata back up for auction in a couple years, after the salary cap rises.

Vrbata could fit on the Canucks’ top line with the Sedins, or on the second line to spread out the scoring a little. Vrbata scored 20 goals and 51 points for Phoenix this season and scored 62 points just two years ago. He has positive possession stats and fits under the team’s cap structure. As far as forwards go, $5 million is par for the course this free agent season. Read more

Canucks continue tear down, Lightning move closer to contender status in Jason Garrison trade

Rory Boylen
garrison-457441349

In one day – so far, at least – the Vancouver Canucks shaved $5.6 million off their cap and that’s what the Ryan Kesler and Jason Garrison deals were about. Yes, the Canucks are moving into a new phase and the cap space they’ve picked up will help them achieve it.

Now, Vancouver can get a little more aggressive in acquiring the elite futures they couldn’t get in a Kesler trade. For instance, they could go after a top four pick in this draft, or a good young player or two from some other team, and have the ability to take back an overpriced contract to help facilitate such a move. It also gives them plenty of room to chase free agent Ryan Miller in a few days, if GM Jim Benning so chooses.

Either way, Vancouver’s first two moves Friday are only the beginning of a much bigger shift, it seems Read more

Canucks legend Gino Odjick battling terminal heart condition, but his brilliant spirit will stay with us

Adam Proteau
Gino Odjick (Glenn Cratty  /Allsport)

Bad things happen to good people each and every day. But there’s something particularly painful about a cruel hand dealt to a person noted for their strength and toughness. Such was the case late Thursday night when legendary Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick revealed he’s been diagnosed with a rare and terminal heart condition that is expected to bring a tragic end to his life in the coming weeks and months.

It’s not the first time Odjick has had to deal with terrible news. Over the years, he’s battled alcoholism and mental illness he believes is linked to the concussions he suffered as one of the NHL’s most feared combatants. But he never could’ve been prepared to learn in April he was suffering from cardiac amyloidosis, an affliction that creates protein deposits in the heart. There is no cure for the disease and Odjick was forced to come to terms with his own mortality at a far younger age than anyone should have to.

“You don’t think when you’re 43 years old they’re going to tell you you’ve got one year to live,” he told the Vancouver Province. “(T)here comes a point when I have to make plans to enjoy the last year and that’s where we’re at right now.” Read more

Signing of Patrik Berglund could kick off momentous week for offense-hungry Blues

Patrik Berglund (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Patrik Berglund – who has been and will remain the subject of trade speculation – to a three-year, $11.1-million contract extension Thursday. The signing kicked off what could be an eventful week for the franchise, which is still looking to make its first conference final appearance since 2001.

Getting the 26-year-old Berglund (a restricted free agent who earned $3.25 million last season) under contract doesn’t mean he’s a lock to stay with the Blues; this could be a precursor to moving him. The Blues (and Berglund, who had a disappointing 2013-14 regular season with 14 goals and 32 points in 78 games) have been linked in trade rumors with Senators captain Jason Spezza – and depending on what happens with Canucks trade requester Ryan Kesler, he could be wearing a St. Louis jersey sometime this weekend and Berglund could be in Ottawa. The Blues have also kicked the tires on Avalanche unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny as an alternative. Either player would be an immense help to a squad that finished with the third-worst goals-per-game average (2.33) in the playoffs.

That said, there will be competition for the services of Stastny and Spezza, and there’s every possibility the Blues still are hunting for a skilled center by next week. They may have to sacrifice some of their much-envied blueline depth to get a quality pivot in place. Read more

Rumor Roundup: UFA interviews begin…who’ll stay and who’ll go?

Stastny (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The window for NHL clubs to interview free agents on rival teams opened on Wednesday. Though actual contract negotiations are prohibited, the interview period is a great opportunity for teams to woo prospective free agents before the unrestricted free agent market opens on July 1.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector observes the Calgary Flames hope to re-sign left winger Michael Cammalleri while the Boston Bruins want to retain Jarome Iginla. However, this interview period provides players an opportunity to gauge interest from other clubs.

That’s why Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny is going to test the market, even though his agent claims he’s had good contract conversations with Avalanche management. The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater notes the Stastny camp intends to circle back to the Avalanche to give them an opportunity to retain him. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Where will Ryan Kesler be traded?

Ryan-Kesler-VAN

With the Vancouver Canucks having hired a new GM (Jim Benning) and coach (Willie Desjardins), the focus returns to center Ryan Kesler, who remains the target of recent trade speculation.

Earlier this month it was reported Kesler informed Benning he still prefers a trade. There’s been some recent confusion, however, over where the 29-year-old prefers to be dealt. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are Kesler’s only preferences, prompting The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek to note the difficulty that would create for the Canucks to move him.

The Blackhawks have limited cap space ($4.6 million) for 2014-15 and restricted free agents (Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Antti Raanta) to re-sign. They’ll have to either do a dollar-for-dollar swap with the Canucks or convince them to pick up part of Kesler’s salary to squeeze him under their cap. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but Sharp has a modified no-trade clause, meaning he’ll have to agree to the deal. Read more