Will Kopitar move?
Anze Kopitar, who had 77 points in 82 game this past season, has been in the middle of recent trade rumors. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Will Kopitar move?
The need for the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators to free up salary cap space provided fodder for a three-way trade rumor last week involving those two clubs and the Los Angeles Kings.
First appearing on Internet rumor sites before being reported by the Ottawa Sun, the supposed deal had the Senators shipping goaltender Martin Gerber and defenseman Andrej Meszaros to the Kings, who would send forward Anze Kopitar to the Blackhawks, who would deal goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and either blueliner Brent Seabrook or Cam Barker to the Senators.
The Sun suggested this deal was “win, win, win” for the three clubs; the reality is the Blackhawks win big time, the Senators possibly win in the short and long term and the Kings lose, big time.
Kopitar was the fatal flaw in that rumor. He’s the Kings’ best forward and potential franchise player, so while Los Angeles fans might not have a high opinion of GM Dean Lombardi, he’s not about to move Kopitar for such a lousy return. He knows you don’t trade a gem for fool’s gold.
Undoubtedly, Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon will consider shopping Khabibulin (if he hasn’t already), but with most NHL teams having already used up much of next season’s available cap space through off-season acquisitions, moving Khabibulin’s $6.75 million contract won’t be an easy sell, meaning Tallon might have to look elsewhere to get under the salary cap.
Senators GM Bryan Murray has concerns about fitting the new contracts to Meszaros and center Antoine Vermette under the cap whilst leaving room for a top six forward, which explains why their names have popped up in trade rumors.
It remains to be seen what Murray will do with those two, but in the meantime their agents – along with Chris Neil’s – have denied reports their clients had requested trades.
• The Philadelphia Flyers remain slightly above the $56.7 million salary cap for next season, leading to speculation GM Paul Holmgren will consider shopping a right winger, since he’s got plenty of depth at that position.
Joffrey Lupul was considered a potential candidate given his $2.3 million cap hit for next season, but given recent reports that he’s close to signing a new four-year contract with the Flyers, he’s probably staying put.
Other trade candidates could include Mike Knuble, Scottie Upshall or Steve Downie. Knuble’s $2.8 million cap hit for next season makes him the likely candidate.
Holmgren wouldn’t have to move anyone if veteran blueliner Derian Hatcher retired or is declared medically unfit to play next season, but Hatcher seems determined to return and play out the final year of his contract.
• One of the few notable names remaining on this summer’s unrestricted free agent market is veteran left winger Brendan Shanahan, but he doesn’t appear close to signing a contract with anyone.
Last week, Shanahan’s agent denied reports the Vancouver Canucks made him a $2 million offer for next season and also rejected speculation the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks were interested.
The only team the Shanahan camp have been in contact with is his former club, the New York Rangers, but with about $3 million remaining in available cap space they may not have enough room to bring him back.
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.