A report from a Montreal radio station last week claiming the Tampa Bay Lightning were shopping Vincent Lecavalier sparked denials from the team, his agent and Lecavalier himself.
The basis for the report was the Lightning’s supposed financial problems forcing the club to try and distance itself from the 11-year, $85 million deal they signed Lecavalier to just last summer.
In addition to the team’s denials, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly claimed the league was satisfied the Bolts’ financial obligations were being fulfilled following the recent restructuring of the deal between the club’s current and outgoing ownership.
That should be enough to kill the Lecavalier rumors, but some in the media and blogosphere insist the club was “exploring” trade options involving their captain, noting his new contract with its no-trade clause doesn’t take effect until July 1.
Naturally, this resurrected speculation that Lecavalier might be dealt to the Montreal Canadiens, who have supposedly coveted him for years.
Even if the Bolts were trying to move Lecavalier, the length and value of his new contract is almost as good as a no-movement clause.
If the Lightning truly wanted to dump salary by moving his contract – which will be worth more than $7 million per season starting in 2009-10 - they’d have to accept a considerable amount of salary in return to make the deal happen.
With more than half of the league’s teams possessing payrolls for next season in excess of $35 million and concerns the salary cap for 2009-10 could flat-line or drop to nearly $50 million, the Lightning would have a difficult time finding suitors for Lecavalier’s contract.
It’s not that teams wouldn’t want him on their rosters, but the fact is few could comfortably afford him during tough economic times.
• Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr stated last week he wouldn’t rule out a possible return to the league in the future.
Jagr, who signed a two-year contract last summer with Omsk of Russia’s Kontinental League, suggested he’d consider signing with either the Rangers or Penguins, two of his former NHL clubs.
Of course it’ll depend on whether or not those two teams are willing to sign him. Jagr claimed he’d be willing to play for the league minimum to rejoin the Penguins out of gratitude to team owner and former teammate Mario Lemieux for all he did to help him develop into a star.
• Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle has long been a subject of trade rumors this season and last week he added fuel to the fire by saying he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause if requested by management.
Leafs GM Brian Burke has stated he won’t ask any of his players currently with no-movement clauses to waive them, but it’s believed if one of them - be it Kaberle or fellow Leafs blueliner Pavel Kubina - wants out he’d be willing to deal them.
It might be in the players’ best interests to request a trade now when the two would have a say in their potential destinations. Should the Leafs miss the playoffs, there’s a clause in their contracts that provides Burke a two-month window to deal them to any NHL team without permission.
The Leafs aren’t about to tank the season to try to land in draft lottery contention for the 2009 first overall pick, but a package centered around either Kaberle or Kubina could be used by Burke to try to land a high pick come this June’s entry draft.
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.
Back before basement-dwelling teams spent trade deadline day dealing away futures, picks, and rentals to the contenders, some teams managed to get together to make hockey trades.
Today is trade deadline day, which means you can expect to hear certain words repeated over and over. "Buyers." "Sellers." "Rentals." Those are the key terms on a day filled with bad teams flipping players to good teams in return for future assets.
But back in the old days, there used to be a different term that showed up occasionally on days like today: "Hockey trades."
To be honest, back then we pretty much just called them "trades," and they went something like this: Two teams exchanged players in a deal where both sides were trying to get better. Nobody was throwing in the towel and rebuilding, and nobody was sacrificing future assets for a short-term boost. Just two teams, both trying to improve their rosters right now, and using a trade to do it.
I know. Crazy stuff.
But it did happen. And we even sort of got one Tuesday night -- the Brandon Davidson/David Desharnais deal, while not anyone's idea of a blockbuster, was at least kind of hockey-ish. So today, while we wait for the rental market to heat up, let's look back at five true hockey trades from deadline history where there were no clear buyers and no sellers, just two teams trying to get the best end of a deal.
1989 – Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy for Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse
Let's start back in 1989 with a classic hockey deal. No picks, no prospects, just a forward and a defenseman on each side of the trade.
Oh, and 75% of the deal ended up in the Hall of Fame. That's not bad for a day's work.
The deal saw Capitals GM David Poile trade away Gartner, at the time the franchise's all-time leading scorer, and Murphy, who'd been a Norris finalist less than two years ago. In exchange, the North Stars gave up their top goal-scorer in Ciccarelli and a hard-nosed blueliner in Rouse.
As it turned out, none of the players stuck around in their new homes all that long. Gartner was traded again at the 1990 deadline, and by the time Ciccarelli was dealt to Detroit in 1992, all four players had moved on. Still, at the time this was an impressive blockbuster, and in hindsight it's probably the most star-studded four-player deal in league history.
1991 – Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings for John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker
This may be not just the biggest pure hockey trade in deadline history, but the biggest trade of any kind, period. It was a monster blockbuster, one that left fans in Hartford perplexed and fans around the league worrying that a good Penguins team had just added the final piece.
As it turns out, both of those reactions were on the nose. The deal was a major win for the Penguins; the 28-year-old Francis was a perfect fit behind Mario Lemieux, giving Pittsburgh one of the best one-two punches down the middle in a generation. Today, the deal is often described as a heist, one that may even have contributed to the Whalers' eventual move to Carolina.
But at the time, it wasn't all that hard to see what Hartford was doing. They got a little younger and added a player in Zalapski who became their best offensive blueliner. More importantly, while it's been all but forgotten now, the 26-year-old Cullen was in the middle of an absolute monster year, and had 94 points through just 65 games when the deal went down. He finished the season ranked fifth in the Art Ross race with 110 points; that wasn't just more than Francis would manage that year, it was more than the Whalers' star had ever had during any season in his career.
Still, there's no doubt that in hindsight, the Penguins won the deal. Cullen never hit those heights again, while the move rejuvenated Francis. And the grizzled (and occasionally outright dirty) Samuelsson was the perfect fit for a skilled Pittsburgh team looking to make a long run through the postseason grinder.
1991 – Geoff Courtnall, Sergio Momesso, Cliff Ronning and Robert Dirk for Garth Butcher and Dan Quinn
Our second entry from 1991 was the biggest of the actual deadline day (the Francis deal came the day before). The Blues and Canucks hooked up on a six-player trade, and it's another one that looks lopsided in hindsight.
At the time, the Blues looked like a team that was ready to make a run at the Stanley Cup. They battled division rival Chicago all the way to the wire for the Presidents' Trophy, ultimately ending the season sitting second overall with 105 points. Like so many contenders before and after, they wanted more toughness on defense, and Butcher certainly fit that description. Adding him to a blueline that already featured Scott Stevens left the Blues with two guys who could eat big minutes and still beat you in the alley. Quinn was a nice add as well, 25 years old and just two years removed from a 94-point season.
But in hindsight, the Canucks made off with a haul, adding four veterans in the deal (as well as the deal's only draft pick, a fifth-round choice). The best of those turned out to be Ronning, who had 85 points two years later. Along with Momesso and Courtnall, he was a key piece of the Canucks' team that made a run to within one win of a Stanley Cup in 1994.
The Leafs threw in a fourth-round pick and the rights to a prospect who never made the NHL, but this was essentially a one-for-one deal. And it even featured two players who were virtual clones of each other: Old but speedy right-wingers who ended up in the Hall of Fame based on their offense.
So why make the swap at all? For the Rangers, the move came as part of a massive deadline day shakeup by GM Neil Smith that saw them make five trades involving nine players. The day was all about reshaping a team that was challenging for the Presidents' Trophy, but had its eye firmly on the bigger prize of ending a 54-year Cup drought. Anderson didn't have Gartner's numbers, but he had five Cup rings, and Smith was betting that he could make it six in New York.
That bet ultimately paid off. Anderson's time in New York was underwhelming, as he managed just twelve points combined in the regular season and playoffs before bolting as a free agent. But the Rangers did win their Cup, so Smith's long day of deadline work can't be viewed as anything other than a win.
As for Gartner, he spent two seasons in Toronto, scoring 35 goals in 1995-96 at 36.
2006 – Jose Theodore for David Aebischer
We'll close with the only entry from the cap era on our list. One year into the new CBA, the deadline was a busy one, and one of the most interesting deals was a good old-fashioned one-for-one goalie trade.
It was a rare case of two teams making a mid-season trade of guys who were at least ostensibly their starters. The two players were roughly the same age – Theodore was 29, while Aebischer was 28 – and both had put up similar career numbers. Theodore's peak had been far higher, including a Hart Trophy in 2002, while Aebischer was having the better season. Theodore was also more expensive and was recovering from a heel injury.
In hindsight, the deal ended up being fairly even. While Theodore never regained his Hart Trophy form, he spent two full years in Colorado compared to Aebischer's one in Montreal. Theodore later resurrected his career with a good 2007-08 campaign and went on to play through 2013, while Aebischer never overtook Cristobel Huet for starter duties in Montreal and was out of the NHL for good by 2007.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008; you may know him from Twitter as @downgoesbrown. His e-book, The 100 Greatest Players in NHL History, is available now. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.
The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday, though there's already been lots of activity. Here's a look at the latest rumors surrounding some of the notable players still believed available in the trade market.
Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche reportedly seek a good, young NHL-ready defenseman or goaltender, a first-round pick and a top prospect as part of the return for either forward. TSN's Darren Dreger notes Duchene's been linked to the New York Islanders. He wonders if defenseman Travis Hamonic as part of the return might tempt the Avs.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports the Avs told interested clubs they have no intention of lowering that asking price at the deadline. That could ensure the pair remain in Colorado for the remainder of this season.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins. Jonathan Bombulie reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said last Friday he hadn't received a trade offer for Fleury, who lost the role of starting goaltender to Matt Murray. Still, Rutherford didn't rule out the possibility of moving the veteran netminder.
The combinations of Fleury's $5.75-million cap hit through 2018-19, his modified no-trade clause, and a soft market for goalies could make him difficult to move. Rutherford has also said he'd be content with keeping his tandem intact for the remainder of the season.
Tomas Vanek, Detroit Red Wings. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports there hasn't been much interest in the 33-year-old. However, he expects that will pick up as the deadline draws near. With 38 points in 47 games, Vanek could be attractive to the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and San Jose Sharks. He also carries an affordable $2.6-million cap hit on an expiring contract.
Shane Doan, Arizona Coyotes. Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports the 40-year-old Coyotes captain was unhappy about seeing long-time teammate Martin Hanzal dealt to the Minnesota Wild. That's increased speculation Doan could waive his no-movement clause, but GM John Chayka said the veteran winger hasn't requested a trade. Should Doan become available, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch believes the San Jose Sharks could come calling.
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. The Edmonton Sun's Jim Matheson cites scouts claiming the Hurricanes defenseman is in play. He believes their depth in young rearguards no longer makes Faulk their blueline mainstay. The Hurricanes need scoring depth, especially at center, and Faulk could land them a quality return.
Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings. Friedman reports the Kings are looking into moving Gaborik. The 34-year-old winger's best years are behind him. His contract (four years remaining at $4.8-million annually) makes him almost impossible to move at the deadline.
Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars. Having already shipped out one pending UFA winger in Patrick Eaves last week, the Stars could attempt to do the same with the 35-year-old Sharp. The Matheson speculates the Oilers could be watching the veteran winger
Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks. Hansen recently submitted his list of preferred trade destinations as requested by Canucks management. LeBrun believes the winger is garnering lots of interest. The asking price could be a young player or top prospect.
Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. The recent additions of Michael Stone and Matt Bartkowski made Wideman the odd man out on the Flames' blueline. Wideman told the Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson he was open to waiving his no-movement clause. So far, he hasn't been asked to do so.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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.).
Welcome to NHL trade deadline central 2017. Stay tuned to THN.com for up-to-minute analysis of every trade, as it happens.
Our team of experts will break down every trade, as they happen. As has become the case the last few years, several NHL teams got an early start on the trade front. So we decided to get the tracker going a little early. All the notable trades from the last few days are here. You can also check out a list of every trade made over the last year and beyond season in the Trade Log on our transactions page.
TO FLORIDA: LW Thomas Vanek TO DETROIT: D Dylan McIrath; 2017 third-round pick
THN's Take: Vanek was a polarizing trade commodity. On one hand, he's been the Red Wings' best offensive player this season, with 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games. On the other hand, he was a massive disappointment the last time he was a trade deadline rental in 2014 when the Montreal Canadiens acquired him. He had contract motivation that time, too, as he was a pending unrestricted free agent just like he is now. Still, the Panthers didn't have to pay much to get him: a third-round pick and defenseman Dylan McIlrath, who wasn't even taking a regular shift in their lineup. Vanek will add some offensive touch and power play ability and can play on any of the top three lines, though it's unlikely to be the No. 1 unit with Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr entrenched. Vanek will fit somewhere into a middle six that includes Vincent Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault and Nick Bjugstad, probably bumping Denis Malgin down. This team has one deep forward corps. As for the Wings, McIlrath is a warm body who gives them size and snarl should they want to give him a crack in the NHL. He's only 24. The reality is that he's a UFA, though, and the Panthers likely just needed to move some salary. He may not have a future as a Wing. Detroit's return is all about the third-rounder, which was a bit underwhelming considering some less talented players have fetched more than that over the past couple days. – MATT LARKIN
TO MONTREAL: C Steve Ott TO DETROIT: 2018 sixth-round pick
THN's Take: A puzzling trade, even if it didn’t cost Montreal all that much to make the acquisition.
TO SAN JOSE: RW Jannik Hansen TO VANCOUVER: LW Nikolay Goldobin; 2017 conditional fourth-round pick
THN's Take: San Jose adds some speed as it chases that elusiva Stanley Cup, while Vancouver adds another good prospect. More here.
TO EDMONTON: C David Desharnais TO MONTREAL: D Brandon Davidson
THN's Take: It’s curious to see a team once desperate for defensemen trade one for a forward that doesn’t offer much in return, but the Oilers made this deal. There has been speculation that Davidson would have been exposed to Vegas in the expansion draft and likely taken, since he’s a youngish blueliner with a decent dollop of promise. In that sense, Edmonton got something for him in Desharnais, an undersized center who has been a frequent healthy scratch since Claude Julien took over the bench in Montreal. Quick and crafty, Desharnais gives Edmonton another option down the middle, but don’t look for a big impact. -- RYAN KENNEDY
TO CHICAGO: D Johnny Oduya TO DALLAS: RW Mark McNeill; 2018 conditional fourth-round pick
THN's Take: My colleague Ryan Kennedy said it best: "The Blackhawks are getting the band back together." And why not? Reacquiring Oduya cost very little: prospect Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Stars also eat half of Oduya's $3.75-million salary to get him under their cap. This is an easy win-win trade for both teams. The Stars have thrown in the towel on 2016-17 and are selling off Oduya, a pending unrestricted free agent who will be 36 when next season starts. Dallas wants to give its stable of young D-men, including Julius Honka, Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak, more minutes down the stretch. It makes sense for Dallas to see what it has. In McNeill, it gets a 2011 first-round pick who was a pretty effective AHL center with good size but who just couldn't find a home on the Hawks' depth chart. Chicago wanted to give McNeill a fresh start. Oduya, obviously, can slide seamlessly back into coach Joel Quenneville's system in Chicago and helps provide depth with Niklas Hjalmarsson hitting the IR. It's not a guarantee Oduya reunites with old partner Hjalmarsson once he's back healthy, as the Hawks solidified a new top four by signing Brian Campbell in the summer. Oduya has shown signs of decline since signing with Dallas for last season and wasn't an effective possession player there. But he'd be a fine, experienced option to play on the bottom pair. That or Quenneville opts to recapture the Hjalmarsson/Oduya chemistry, which would give Chicago three solid pairings: Duncan Keith/Brent Seabrook, Hjalmarsson/Oduya and Campbell/Trevor van Riemsdyk. Regardless of how the Hawks use Oduya, he didn't cost much. Solid deal. – MATT LARKIN
TO OTTAWA: LW Viktor Stalberg TO CAROLINA: 2017 third-round pick
THN's Take: The Ottawa Senators bolstered their forward corps by acquiring the veteran Stalberg, who brings great speed and a big frame to the organization. A pending UFA, the left winger may very well be a rental, but in the wide-open Atlantic Division, the Sens can use him in the bottom six. Ottawa has a couple of injuries up front right now, including Bobby Ryan, so the more help the better. Stalberg may not contribute much offensively, but he can help out on the penalty-kill and has two shorthanded goals this season. For Carolina, the third-round selection goes into GM Ron Francis’ already-stocked coffers. The man is doing his rebuild the right way and now has seven selections in the first three rounds of the 2017 draft. -- RYAN KENNEDY
TO NEW YORK RANGERS: D Brendan Smith TO DETROIT: 2017 third-round pick; 2018 second-round pick
THN's Take: The Rangers again dealt their future in an effort to make one last run for a Cup with its current core. More here.
TO WASHINGTON: D Kevin Shattenkirk; G Pheonix Copley TO ST. LOUIS: 2017 first-round pick; 2019 conditional second-round pick; LW Zach Sanford; LW Brad Malone
THN's Take: The Capitals are going all in for a Stanley Cup with this move, as we wrote here.
TO OTTAWA: LW Alexandre Burrows To VANCOUVER: C Jonathan Dahlen
THN's Take: Well, we can at least give the Senators points for guts. The Burrows trade likely won't go over too well with the diehard, educated fan base – and it shouldn't. It's not like Burrows was a rental, acquired for a pick, as was the case with Brian Boyle and the Leafs. The Senators doubled down by extending Burrows for two more seasons at a $2.5-million cap hit. He turns 36 April 11. He'll be 38 when the deal ends. I get that the Senators have major injury woes to overcome on their wings, and that the Atlantic Division playoff race is wide open, but…yikes. Worse yet, the Sens surrendered left winger Jonathan Dahlen to Vancouver as the return. Dahlen, 19, rates as Ottawa's fifth-best prospect in our soon-to-be-releaseed Future Watch 2017. Dahlen was highly regarded enough to go 42nd overall in what was, keep in mind, a stellar 2016 draft class. It seems odd now that owner Eugene Melnyk balked at the Colorado Avalanche's asking price for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog – only to mortgage an A-minus prospect for an agitator in Burrows. – MATT LARKIN
TO MONTREAL: D Jordie Benn TO DALLAS: D Greg Pateryn; 2017 fourth-round pick
THN's Take: We knew a defenseman acquisition for the Montreal Canadiens was likely, but Jordie Benn seems underwhelming. He has decent size and grades out as average defensively in the possession game. He's a legit NHL defenseman. But that's about it. He's just a tiny bit better than Greg Pateryn, not to mention smaller and older than Pateryn. Benn is also a left shot, and the Habs already have Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu as left shots, but Benn had played on the right side in Dallas with Dan Hamhuis on the left lately. Benn can do it and will likely play on Beaulieu's right, but it's not like the right side is Benn's natural fit, so it's a bit of a curious add. From the Stars' perspective, fans should hope Pateryn doesn't take a regular shift with the sinking squad – and that top prospect Julius Honka finds his away into the lineup instead. He showed some amazing possession numbers earlier this season when given 10 games at the NHL level. – MATT LARKIN
TO TORONTO: C Brian Boyle TO TAMPA BAY: C Byron Froese; 2017 second-round pick
THN's Take: We wrote about the Leafs going for it here.
TO MINNESOTA: C Martin Hanzal; RW Ryan White; 2017 fourth-round pick TO ARIZONA: 2017 first-round pick; 2018 second-round pick; 2019 conditional pick; C Grayson Downing
THN's Take: We wrote about Hanzal makes the Wild that much deeper here.
TO LOS ANGELES: G Ben Bishop; 2017 fifth-round pick TO TAMPA BAY: G Peter Budaj; D Erik Cernak; 2017 seventh-round pick; 2017 conditional pick
THN's Take: We wrote long stories about this deal here (on the Lighting's return) and here (on Kings' side).
TO CHICAGO: LW Tomas Jurco TO DETROIT: 2017 third-round pick
TO ANAHEIM: RW Patrick Eaves TO DALLAS: 2017 conditional second-round pick
THN's Take: This deal could be a win for both teams. More here.
Defenseman Brendan Smith is an upgrade for the Rangers, a team that is very much in win-now mode, but it again cost them a piece of their future.
The New York Rangers are fighting a war; a war they cannot win. But the Blueshirts must try anyway and in acquiring defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit for a 2017 third-rounder and 2018 second-rounder, New York at least has a chance of making another run at the Stanley Cup.
The Rangers have been one of the best playoff teams in the East in the past five years, in a league with Tampa Bay and behind Pittsburgh. But the core is aging and there’s no reason to believe stalwarts such as Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash and Marc Staal will be better next season. So this is the window to win…but it’s only open a crack.
If the Rangers can finish fourth in the Metropolitan Division, they’ll cross over to the Atlantic playoff bracket as a wild card, thus avoiding Pittsburgh, Washington and Columbus, at least for two rounds. That’s a big advantage and one that must be taken.
New York still has to win those series however and with Smith, they get a puck-moving defender who was having a down year offensively on a bashed-in Red Wings squad. Smith is certainly an upgrade on the now-injured Dan Girardi and since only picks were traded away, New York comes out deeper here. Will it be enough to actually grasp that Cup for King Henrik and his court? The odds aren’t great, but with Kevin Shattenkirk already snapped up by Washington, Smith represents a needed consolation prize for New York.
The tough part to swallow here if you’re a Rangers fan is that once again New York mortgaged its future. Barring more deals, the Rangers will pick just once in the top-75 of the draft this summer. Last year, their first selection came at No. 81 when they landed controversial defenseman Sean Day.
With this year’s second-rounder already given up (last year’s ill-fated Eric Staal trade), the Rangers had to part with their 2018 pick. At the least, New York had an extra second-rounder thanks to the Derick Brassard trade with Ottawa, so the Rangers still have seven picks for 2018…for now.
The bigger problem is that New York already has one of the worst prospect pools in the NHL (Future Watch spoiler alert). Years of going for the Cup have seen the franchise shed picks and prospects at an alarming speed and there will be a gap very soon.
The team’s Manhattan address and recent run of solid play has helped entice young free agents (Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes being prime examples), but that’s a stop-gap at best. Eventually, this organization will have to go back to drafting and developing talent. If the Rangers win the Cup this season, that restocking won’t be painful. If they don’t, the Smith trade will be remembered as another get-Cup-quick scheme gone wrong.