Rumor Roundup: Pacioretty, Spezza & Marchand trade buzz

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In late November there were reports of clubs expressing interest in Montreal Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty, forcing management to deny he was being shopped.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks, however, believes the Habs were indeed willing to move Pacioretty, claiming the 25-year-old isn’t a favorite of coach Michel Therrien. Brooks wrote the Rangers had interest but he didn’t see a match there, while the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers were seriously pursuing the Habs sniper.

Pacioretty is a streaky scorer who leads the Canadiens in goals (15) and game-winning goals (five). Habs GM Marc Bergevin is believed to be in the market for scoring punch, but it doesn’t make sense to move his best goal scorer unless it’s for a player of greater value.

Given the Rangers’ anaemic scoring, their interest in Pacioretty is understandable, but he won’t bolster the Flyers’ biggest soft spot, defensive depth, or address the Islanders’ goaltending and blueline needs.

WHO ARE THE RANGERS UNTOUCHABLES?
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch cited sources claiming Rangers GM Glen Sather was trying to move several players “including blueliners Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi” to bring in help for his struggling club. Garrioch also claimed Sather’s only untouchables were Rick Nash, Henrik Lundqvist and Chris Kreider.

It’s hard to believe Sather would consider dealing top defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Winger Carl Hagelin and center Derek Stepan could also be among Sather’s untouchables. Forget about moving Brad Richards unless the Rangers are willing to pick up half of his expensive contract. Even then, it’s doubtful another club would be tempted to acquire him.

Girardi and sidelined captain Ryan Callahan are possible trade bait, depending upon their contract negotiations and the Rangers’ position in the standings by the March trade deadline. Sather’s shopped Del Zotto for weeks without success, largely because the asking price (top-four defenseman) is too expensive.

WHAT TRADES SHOULD THE SENATORS MAKE?
The Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren had some trade suggestions for Senators GM Bryan Murray in his quest to improve his roster following the Christmas trade freeze.

He proposed Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla as a short-term fix for the Senators’ leaky blueline. Klesla’s bounced between the Coyotes and their farm team and the asking price could be affordable. Warren noted Murray floated the names of Erik Condra, Colin Greening and Eric Gryba during his earlier pursuit of Del Zotto.

While Klesla’s $2.9 million salary is expensive for the frugal Senators, Murray could try to convince the Coyotes to pick up part of it.

A more extreme move would be trading captain Jason Spezza, who has one year and $7 million left on his contract. Warren suggested shopping him to a Western Conference club hoping to load up for the playoffs. Such a move, however, depends as much upon Spezza’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause as Murray’s willingness to trade him. It’s doubtful the Senators go to that extreme.

BRUINS NOT TRADING MARCHAND
Boston Bruins pesky winger Brad Marchand didn’t endear himself to the Vancouver Canucks and their fans during a recent game in Vancouver between the two clubs, as he feigned hoisting the Stanley Cup and kissed an imaginary championship ring.

His antics didn’t go down well with the Bruins coaching staff and management, who took Marchand to task following the game. That led to rumors claiming the Bruins had lost patience with the 25-year- old winger, prompting GM Peter Chiarelli to say he wasn’t trading Marchand.

Marchand’s on pace for 37 points, his lowest total in a non-lockout season. Chiarelli, however, expressed confidence in Marchand playing his way out of his slump.

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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