Ales Hemsky has 15 points through 20 games this season. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
The ongoing struggles of the Edmonton Oilers have made them the subject of trade rumors involving several of their veterans, but it appears GM Steve Tambellini won’t be making any significant moves to shake things up.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Tambellini will be sticking with his rebuilding plan and “isn’t in the market for a blockbuster trade,” though rival teams will likely make inquiries into right winger Ales Hemsky’s availability up to the trade deadline.
Tambellini would like to add more grit, plus depth at center and defense, but Dreger reported the GM won’t make any moves that involve trading away prospects or draft picks and will likely continue to look to his farm team for additional depth.
Hemsky is the most marketable of the Oilers’ veteran forwards, but unless they intend on blowing up the roster by the trade deadline – or he asks to be dealt – they won’t be shopping him.
The one veteran Tambellini wants to move is defenseman Sheldon Souray, but given his $5.4 million cap hit and injury history, there’s no market for him.
Right winger Dustin Penner’s name was recently mentioned, but his uninspired play and $4.25 million cap hit aren’t likely to attract much attention. Defenseman Tom Gilbert has also been suggested as trade bait, but his $4 million cap hit kills his marketability.
Center Andrew Cogliano’s name has been kept alive in trade talk by rumor bloggers, but with only five points through 21 games, his stock has never been lower.
RANGERS LINKED TO BRAD RICHARDS
The Toronto Maple Leafs weren’t the only team linked to Brad Richards in rumors this week. The New York Rangers were also cited as having interest in the Dallas Stars center.
However, Rangers fans shouldn’t expect to see Richards in their uniform anytime soon.
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks recently reported Rangers GM Glen Sather has no intention of offering up good young players such as Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal or Michael Del Zotto to Dallas for Richards.
Even the possibility of pursuing Richards via next summer’s unrestricted free agent market could prove difficult.
Defenseman Wade Redden’s $6.5 million salary for next season will count against their cap next summer (though another demotion isn’t out of the question) and restricted free agents Dubinsky and Callahan will be due significant raises based on their performance this season.
Factor in the possibility the salary cap will not increase significantly for next season and Sather wouldn’t be left with any room to pursue Richards, unless he can shed salary elsewhere.
KINGS IN THE MARKET FOR A SUPERSTAR?
The Los Angeles Kings have been the subject of trade rumors since last season, when they failed to land Ilya Kovalchuk via trade and free agency. That’s led to talk they’re in the market for a big-name scoring forward, such as Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.
Recently, though, Kings GM Dean Lombardi told the Ottawa Sun it’s not a certainty he’ll make a major deal by this season’s Feb. 28 deadline.
Lombardi said the performance of his current roster would determine if there’s a need to make a trade, suggesting the desire for a major deal will lessen if his young players continue to improve.
In other words, if the Kings are still jockeying for top spot in the Western Conference by late February and have no real roster weaknesses, Lombardi won’t need to make a major acquisition.
That’s not to suggest the GM won’t make any moves this season, but if his team is playing well by the deadline, he’d likely only tweak his lineup.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 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.