The Penguins suddenly have more crease questions with Marc-Andre Fleury struggling and Tomas Vokoun on the sidelines. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun is sidelined indefinitely following a procedure on Saturday to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis.
It's not the first time Vokoun has been diagnosed with blood clots. While with the Nashville Predators in 2005-06, he missed the final weeks of the season to pelvic thrombophlebitis.
Jeff Zatkoff (who has never played an NHL game) is expected to replace Vokoun for the remainder of the pre-season.
With Vokoun possibly laid up for a significant period and starter Marc-Andre Fleury struggling in pre-season play, the Penguins could be forced to seek a veteran backup.
Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons wondered if the Penguins would acquire a veteran like Tim Thomas should Fleury continue to falter. Thomas is currently on a tryout contract with the Florida Panthers.
Thomas could be unavailable as he's being touted as a potential tutor for young goalie Jacob Markstrom, but the Panthers could shop Scott Clemmensen if the Penguins (or anyone else) make enquiries.
Rumormongers could be tempted to link the Penguins to Buffalo Sabres starter Ryan Miller, but his $6.25-million salary should keep him in Buffalo for the time being.
St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak was mentioned as a trade candidate this summer, but the Blues intend to stick with both him and Brian Elliott this season. The Anaheim Ducks have two quality goalies in Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, but currently have no interest in moving one of them.
The Penguins could find an affordable backup via free agency, where Ilya Bryzgalov, Jose Theodore, former Penguin Johan Hedberg and Rick DiPietro remain available.
Granted, there are good reasons why they're unsigned. Bryzgalov has personal baggage from his unhappy tenure in Philadelphia, Theodore and Hedberg are past their prime and DiPietro has a long injury history.
CANUCKS SEARCHING FOR FIREPOWER?
The Vancouver Canucks could be in the market for a scoring winger and a third line center.
Oft-injured winger David Booth was expected to make his return over the weekend after spending seven months sidelined by an ankle injury. However, he suffered an undisclosed injury during his first practice and missed Saturday's game against Edmonton.
Vancouver Province columnist Tony Gallagher believes Brad Richardson isn't a long-term solution as the Canucks third line center.
The Canucks could try to fill those needs with prospects Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat or Hunter Shinkaruk. Gallagher suggests putting together a trade as well as picking up someone off waivers, though he noted the Canucks limited cap space ($2.2 million) gives them little room to manoeuvre.
Another lengthy, injury-related absence for Booth would provide additional cap relief ($4.25 million) if he is once again placed on long-term injury reserve.
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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