Kari Lehtonen is 2-5-2 with a 3.44 GAA and .903 SP so far this season. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
- Recent reports suggest Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell could be shopping a goaltender in hopes of adding depth elsewhere on his roster.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch and Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove panelist Al Strachan suggested Thrashers starter Kari Lehtonen could be on the move, with Waddell handing over the reins to young Ondrej Pavelec whilst retaining Johan Hedberg as his backup.
Lehtonen, 24, still has considerable potential and his salary ($3 million) and youth would make him a more attractive alternative for clubs seeking goaltending upgrades than Chicago’s expensive Nikolai Khabibulin or Edmonton’s aging Dwayne Roloson.
Waddell, however, was recently quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution denying plans to shake up his roster and with the Thrashers playing better of late he’s unlikely to trade a goalie or anyone else at this time.
Still, if Waddell feels he has three NHL-caliber goalies, at some point he’ll have to decide who stays and who goes.
- Speaking of goaltenders, the sidelining of New Jersey Devils workhorse Martin Brodeur for the next three to four months with a left bicep injury could be a serious blow to their playoff hopes.
That’s naturally given rise to speculation GM Lou Lamoriello is shopping for an experienced starter.
Lamoriello insists that for now he and head coach Brent Sutter will put their faith in backup Kevin Weekes to carry the load until Brodeur’s return, but it’s thought the Devils GM will go shopping if Weekes struggles.
Brodeur’s injury will place him on long-term injury status, meaning Lamoriello will be allowed to spend above the cap by almost the full amount of Brodeur’s $5.2 million salary for this season to land a replacement.
However, a problem arises when Brodeur is ready to return to the lineup because Lamoriello would then have to dump payroll to get back under the cap, which should rule out Khabibulin and the remainder of his $6.75 million salary as an option for now.
- Florida Panthers GM Jacques Martin has not been impressed with the performance of his club thus far and recently suggested in the Miami media changes could be in the offing if the Panthers fail to turn things around soon.
That news only increased chatter in the media and on the Internet that defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, an unrestricted free agent next summer, could be on the move soon, with seemingly half the teams in the NHL rumored to be interested in acquiring him.
Bouwmeester could very well be dealt this season, but if so, Martin is likely to wait until the weeks leading up to the trade deadline when the blueliner’s value is significantly increased.
- One defenseman who apparently could be traded soon is Colorado’s Brett Clark, whom Denver Post reporter Adrian Dater claims may be attracting some attention from various teams.
If the Avalanche shop Clark or anyone else from their current roster, it’ll likely be for a goaltender as their current tandem of Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft is struggling this season.
One rumor Dater claims he’s heard is Clark to Montreal for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, but a major problem with that proposed deal is in making the cap dollars fit.
Clark earns $3.5 million per season, Halak only $775,000, meaning this move would push the Canadiens right up against the salary cap ceiling, something GM Bob Gainey may be loath to do this early in the season.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.