Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks not done, Zuccarello trade talk heats up

Lyle Richardson
By:

Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks not done, Zuccarello trade talk heats up

Lyle Richardson
By:

Chicago made a big splash Saturday evening by trading Klas Dahlbeck and a first-round pick to Arizona for Antoine Vermette, but they may not be done yet. In New York, Mats Zuccarello is likely skating in his final games as a Ranger.

The Chicago Blackhawks wasted little time utilizing the nearly $6 million in cap relief from superstar Patrick Kane going on long-term injured reserve. On Friday, they acquired veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2015 second-round pick and a conditional 2016 pick. The following day, they shipped minor-league defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round pick to Arizona for forward Antoine Vermette.

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman might not be done dealing. Backup goalie Antti Raanta could be a trade chip. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Lazerus notes Raanta, 25, was recently demoted to the minors while Scott Darling was called up as Corey Crawford's backup. Lazerus wonders if Raanta still has a future with the Blackhawks.

An intriguing rumor emerged Friday evening when the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc reported a source claimed the Washington Capitals had dialogue with the Blackhawks regarding veteran winger Patrick Sharp. The Sun-Times' Lazerus cited two sources claiming Sharp was in play and the Capitals and Detroit Red Wings had interest.

Kuc followed up on Saturday reporting Sharp's agent claimed Bowman said he had no intention of trading the winger.

It was an odd rumor to being with. The Blackhawks needed an offensive forward so it made no sense to ship out one of their most reliable scorers in Sharp. Still, for a few hours, Capitals fans could daydream over the possibility of Sharp playing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

MICHALEK STILL AVAILABLE FROM COYOTES

The Coyotes could still have one or two players on the move. Defensman Zbynek Michalek was attracting interest in the trade market until sidelined by a concussion a week ago. Michalek, 32, could still be dealt but his injury significantly reduces his trade value.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports an Eastern Conference playoff contender could make a pitch for Keith Yandle. While Michalek is a free agent in July, the 28-year-old Yandle has a year left on his contract at a cap hit of $5.25 million.

Yandle (a Boston native) is frequently linked to the Bruins, who are struggling to hang onto a playoff wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. They recently placed center David Krejci on long-term injured reserve, giving them an opportunity to pursue an expensive pickup like Yandle.

The Coyotes received a first-round pick and a minor-league defenseman for Vermette. The asking price for Yandle could also include a first rounder as part of the return.

ZUCCARELLO PLAYING FINAL GAMES AS RANGER

For weeks, there were reports in the New York media claiming the Rangers didn't intend to shop pending free agent winger Mats Zuccarello if he was unsigned by the trade deadline. It appears, however, the situation has changed.

The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Glen Sather now intends to move the 27-year-old Zuccarello and is aggressively shopping him. Negotiations apparently reached a point where Sather feels a deal cannot be reached before the winger's UFA eligibility on July 1.

Brooks claims the Rangers are offering a five- or six-year deal worth up to $4.5 million per season, while the Zuccarello camp seeks up to $5.5 million. While the hard-working Norwegian is considered a valuable part of the Rangers' roster, his level of play isn't worth his asking price.

The Toronto Sun's Rob Longley claims the Rangers are interested in Leafs forward Tyler Bozak. Brooks however, cites sources saying it's the Leafs who've pitched the 28-year-old center several times to the Blueshirts. He wonders if a “Zuccarello-plus” deal for Bozak might interest the Leafs.

Zuccarello isn't the only player the Rangers hope to move. Brooks' colleague Brett Cyrgalis reports “ultra-talented but frustrated” defenseman John Moore is on the block. Perhaps he could be that “plus” in Brooks' suggested Zuccarello offer for Bozak.

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.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks not done, Zuccarello trade talk heats up