Pending UFA Stephen Weiss may soon be available for trade, as the Panthers sit 13th in the East. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Ottawa Senators are believed to be seeking short-term replacements for sidelined stars Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson.
Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen reported GM Bryan Murray is looking into acquiring expensive replacements such as Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly, Florida's Stephen Weiss and Edmonton's Ryan Whitney, but there are budgetary concerns around those players.
The Senators currently have more than $53.5 million invested in this year's roster, placing them well under the cap ceiling of $70.2 million. Warren noted 39 percent of that payroll is tied up in injured players such as Spezza, Karlssson, Milan Michalek, Guillaume Latendresse and Peter Regin
Weiss ($3.1 million cap hit) and Whitney ($4 million) are unrestricted free agents this summer. If the Senators were to acquire either one, they’d likely only be playoff rentals.
O'Reilly, on the other hand, would have to be a long-term investment. He's a restricted free agent thought to be seeking upwards of $5 million per season.
The return for Weiss and O'Reilly would also be expensive. Murray has already stated he doesn't want to give up any of his young players for an expensive quick fix.
With the salary cap dropping to $64.3 million next season, Murray may also be reluctant to add too much salary.
WILL CAPTAIN ALFFY STAY ON BOARD?
Meanwhile, Daniel Alfredsson's name has resurfaced in the rumor mill.
If the Senators decide to shop Alfredsson before the trade deadline, ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun believes there would be plenty of interest in the 40-year-old.
One of those clubs could be the Boston Bruins, as GM Peter Chiarelli knows Alfredsson from his days as the Senators assistant GM.
However, Murray told Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen he would never suggest anything trade-related to Alfredsson and would leave it up to his captain to make the decision.
Alfredsson stated his focus was on the Senators and didn't see himself playing anywhere else.
The end of Alfredsson's playing career is drawing near and his chances of winning a Stanley Cup aren’t getting any better. Still, he didn't bail on the club two years ago when management opted to begin rebuilding at mid-season. It’s hard to believe he'll jump ship now.
SHARKS RUMORS BOYLE-ING
San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson dismissed speculation he would soon shake up his roster with a trade, but that hasn't put an end to the rumors.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported the Sharks are willing to part with a defenseman for a top-nine forward and suggested veteran blueliner Dan Boyle is be a trade candidate. Dreger also said Joe Thornton's name was brought up by an Eastern Conference team, but doesn't see him moving.
CSNBayArea.com's Kevin Kurz dismissed the notion of Boyle being shopped, as the Sharks have no one else who can play the minutes logged by the 36-year-old blueliner. If Wilson does move a defenseman for a forward, Kurz believes it would be either Jason Demers or Douglas Murray.
Like Dreger, Kurz doesn't believe the Sharks would entertain offers for Thornton.
Wilson might not have any active trade plans, but if the Sharks don’t improve soon his hand will be forced, especially if there's more activity in the trade market in the coming weeks.
LEAFS GM EXPECTS CONNOLLY BACK IN NHL
Toronto Maple Leafs center Tim Connolly has been toiling in the minors since Jan. 18, but he could see NHL action again soon.
In an interview with Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan, Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said a number of teams had called him about the 31-year-old. He expects Connolly will return to the NHL this season, either with the Leafs or another club.
Connolly is earning $4 million this season and has a modified no-trade clause in his contract.
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.).