Another week, another round of trade rumors regarding Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.
Miller remains linked to the St. Louis Blues even though, as Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes, they lack the cap space to take on the remainder of his salary and could be unwilling to pay what’s expected to be a steep asking price from the Sabres.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently suggested the Minnesota Wild as a destination, citing Josh Harding’s absence due to ongoing multiple sclerosis symptoms. Twitter was abuzz on Monday over a rumored offer from the Wild of Dany Heatley, a young player like Charlie Coyle or Mikael Granlund and a first-round pick for Miller.
That was swiftly shot down by Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press, adding GM Chuck Fletcher seems willing to stick with his current tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom until the Olympic break. It’s hoped Harding can re-join the club following the Olympics.
Fletcher shipped a package of prospects and draft picks to the Sabres at last season’s trade deadline for winger Jason Pominville. That’s likely stoking anticipation he could do the same for Miller. Graff reports Fletcher is monitoring the trade market, but he is less likely to swing a deal involving his young players this season. If Fletcher goes shopping near the trade deadline, it could be for offensive depth, as his club is among the lowest-scoring teams.
As for Miller, TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes the Sabres are prepared to move him, but he doubts there’s anything imminent, noting the limited trade market for goaltenders. Sabres GM Tim Murray says if he shops his pending UFAs (Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott), he expects significant returns. Their value is likely to increase in the 10-day period between the end of the Olympic break and the March 5 trade deadline.
PARENTEAU-FOR-BOURQUE NOT HAPPENING
A supposed swap of P-A Parenteau from the Colorado Avalanche to the Montreal Canadiens for winger Rene Bourque made the rounds on Monday. There were conflicting reports over which club rejected the deal, but it’s agreed this move isn’t happening.
The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater reports Parenteau was a healthy scratch for Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars. Dater notes Parenteau only recently returned from a knee injury and with the Avs playing their third game in four nights, coach Patrick Roy decided to give the winger the night off. He also did the same for the recently returned Alex Tanguay in an earlier game against Tampa Bay.
Dater acknowledges the trade rumors about Parenteau, who lacks a no-trade clause on his $4 million per season contract, which runs through 2015-16. He also cites the Avalanche’s depth at forward and their blueline worries. Rather than move Parenteau for another forward, Dater believes swapping the 30-year-old winger for a defenseman makes more sense.
It’s been expected for months the Avalanche will shop center Paul Stastny for a defenseman rather than risk losing him for nothing via free agency this summer. There was even some talk about moving winger Ryan O’Reilly after his current trade restriction ends on Feb. 28, the one-year anniversary of the Avalanche matching a two-year offer sheet from the Flames.
Given the importance of Stastny and O’Reilly to the Avs’ improvement, Parenteau could become their best trade chip for a skilled defenseman.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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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