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Hossa hunting

Lyle Richardson
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Marian Hossa is headed toward unrestricted free agency if he doesn't sign a new deal before this summer. Author: The Hockey News

News

Hossa hunting

Lyle Richardson
By:

The slow start of the Atlanta Thrashers had some teams calling GM Don Waddell to inquire into the trade status of forward Marian Hossa, who’s an unrestricted free agent next July unless Waddell can re-sign him to a contract extension.

Waddell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s given no consideration to moving Hossa at this point and that those GMs with interest in the talented winger merely wanted Waddell to keep them in mind if Hossa hits the trade block.

The Journal-Constitution has in recent weeks reported that the lines of communication between Waddell and the Hossa camp toward a new deal remain open. Still, Thrashers fans might breathe easier if their team can get back into playoff contention in the coming weeks, as that could determine whether Hossa stays or goes…

Forget all the speculation of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina or Hal Gill. They’re not going anywhere.

McCabe has a “no-movement” clause, Kaberle a “no-trade” clause and Kubina one that specifies which teams he can be dealt to.

Even if these three were willing to waive those clauses, their respective salaries are significant trade impediments.

Good luck finding takers for McCabe’s $5.75 million per season, Kubina’s $5 million per or Kaberle’s $4.25 million, especially at this time of year when teams lack the cap space to absorb such contracts.

The length of their current contracts (three more seasons for McCabe and Kaberle, two more for Kubina) are also stumbling blocks.

The only member of the Leafs expensive defense quartet lacking a no-trade/movement clause and carrying an affordable salary is Gill, but even a contract worth just over $2 million per isn’t easy to shop early in the season, especially for a slow-footed defenseman like him.

If these guys were playing better defensively it would increase their trade value, but then if they were playing better there’d be no need to trade them.

For better or worse, Leafs fans, you’re stuck with these four…

Hockeybuzz.com blogger “Eklund” recently claimed New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr might be “trade bait”.  This is evidently based on the club’s poor start and the struggles of new Rangers Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to mesh well with Jagr.

Don’t expect to see Jagr playing anywhere but in New York this season and next. His remaining salary (a near $5 million cap hit this season and next) makes him all but immovable and, despite his obvious talent, some general managers perceive him as a problem child…

Another player mentioned in Eklund’s rumor mill last week was Dallas Stars forward Mike Modano, who supposedly was unhappy over “recent moves” by the team and considered waiving his “no-trade” clause.

Not so, according to Modano, who quickly denied the report via the Dallas Morning News. While acknowledging he’s struggling this season, Modano said he has no intention of seeking a trade.

Even if he did, there might not be much of a market for a 37-year-old forward with three years and more than $8.7 million remaining on his contract…

The Columbus Blue Jackets are off to a surprising and impressive start to this season, powered by rejuvenated winger Rick Nash, who’s thrived under Ken Hitchcock’s coaching.

Imagine how much better Nash could do with a genuine first line center on his line.

Hitchcock and Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson have tried without much success to find that center within their ranks, and it’s believed Howson is calling around the league in search of one.

Unfortunately first line centers aren’t easy to come by at this time of year without giving up something substantial in return. Howson might have to wait until the trade deadline to find the right fit.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, www.spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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Hossa hunting