The NHL trade deadline is nearly upon us. Here’s the latest on the notable names in the rumor mill.
Ryan Kesler: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Kesler gave the Canucks a short list of preferred trade destinations. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are believed among them. Kypreos notes the Canucks are reluctant to move the 29-year-old center to a Western Conference team.
Various reports claim the Canucks seek a 20- to 25-year-old center to replace Kesler, along with a first-round pick and a top prospect. The Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma reports the Penguins, Flyers and Detroit Red Wings are among the front-runners. Kesler apparently won’t waive his no-trade clause for the Columbus Blue Jackets, possibly because of an old feud with former college teammate R.J. Umberger. Kuzma believes the Flyers can address the Canucks’ need for a young center by offering either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier.
The Penguins and Flyers have reportedly made offers for Kesler. It’s also believed the Flyers have interest in Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. Given the limited cap space of the Flyers and Canucks, salaried players would have to be exchanged to make the dollars fit. One wonders what effect the Canucks shipping Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers will have on the Kesler trade talks.
Thomas Vanek: Once considered the most valuable asset in this year’s trade market, Vanek’s been overshadowed by the recent addition of Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler into the rumor mill. The New York Islanders’ asking price is reportedly a first- and second-round pick plus a prospect. That’s expensive for a scoring winger who’s expected to test this summer’s free agent market.
Martin St-Louis: The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson reports trade rumors about St-Louis, which emerged last week, have died down. The Lightning captain apparently requested a trade in January after being initially passed over for Team Canada. Erlendsson believes deadline day will be a quiet one for the Lightning.
Jason Spezza: TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Monday the Ottawa Senators were “quietly gauging interest” in their captain. That prompted a swift denial from GM Bryan Murray. Dreger subsequently reported the Senators weren’t shopping Spezza but claimed his name “was brought up in a general sense, in a bigger dialogue.” He’s not expected to be dealt.
Marian Gaborik: The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports there’s been no contract talks between Gaborik and the Blue Jackets. While believing the Jackets have gauged Gaborik’s value on the trade market, Portzline doubts they’ll get a decent return. The Jackets could retain him for the remainder of the season.
Mike Cammalleri: Despite the efforts of Flames acting GM Brian Burke to re-sign Cammalleri, the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis believes the 31-year-old winger will be traded before the deadline. Cammalleri has submitted a list of seven teams to which he won’t accept a trade. Francis hopes Burke can get no less than a second-round pick and a prospect in return.
Matt Moulson: The Buffalo Sabres shipping Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues overshadowed Moulson’s availability. Though the Los Angeles Kings are linked to Islanders winger Thomas Vanek, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector believes they could also pursue Moulson, who began his NHL career in Los Angeles. He would certainly be a more affordable option in salary and return for the cap-strapped Kings. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa suggests the 30-year-old winger would be a good fit with the Penguins.
David Legwand: The Tennessean’s John Glennon reports Nashville Predators’ GM David Poile isn’t aggressively shopping Legwand. Dealing him for a pick or prospect won’t help their playoff hopes. Legwand must waive his no-movement clause to approve a deal. Glennon also reports re-signing the 33-year-old center remains an option. If so, it won’t happen until the off-season.
Ales Hemsky: After years in the rumor mill, Hemsky could finally be on the move. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector believes the Rangers are interested if they can get him for a third rounder. His colleague Chris Johnston reports the Coyotes have interest, but consider the asking price a little high. It’s thought the Oilers seek a second-round pick.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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