There's concerns Philadelphia's defense isn't strong enough to get them into the playoffs; the Penguins are in the market for depth and where will Flames winger Mike Cammalleri end up?
With the NHL trade deadline a week away, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly is concerned the Philadelphia Flyers defense isn't strong enough to get them into the playoffs. He feels they lack an impact defenseman, but acknowledges the difficulty of landing one by the trade deadline.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he likes how his blueline has played this season. He admits “it's not a sexy defense,” but praised their performance. Holmgren adds he's on the lookout for anything that could help his team, but he doesn't foresee making a major trade. When it comes to trades, Holmgren has a history of saying one thing and doing another. One shouldn't dismiss the possibility he's looking around for blueline depth.
Panaccio suggests New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald would be “a very nice upgrade for any club,” noting his $550,000 salary is very affordable. Other options are Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien, Dallas' Trevor Daley, Edmonton's Nick Schultz and Calgary's Dennis Wideman, though Panaccio observes they all carry substantially higher cap hits.
MacDonald would certainly be an affordable addition, but he's also a pending unrestricted free agent this summer and could test the market. The Islanders will try to ramp up a bidding war for MacDonald in hopes of maximizing his trade value.
Given the Jets' improvement leading up to the Olympic break, they're unlikely to part with Byfuglien. Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill sounds more like a buyer than a seller. Wideman's contract carries a $5.3-million annual cap hit running through 2016-17, plus a full no-movement clause. Good luck moving him at the deadline. Schultz would be enticing for the Flyers, but the Oilers would likely have to pick up part of his remaining salary.
WHERE WILL CAMMALLERI LAND?
Calgary Flames forward Mike Cammalleri could be on the move by deadline day. The Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson lists the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins as potential destinations for the 31-year-old sniper.
Gilbertson believes Cammalleri would address the Ducks' need for depth on left wing, while the Kings need to boost their struggling offense. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello reportedly has interest in Cammalleri, while the Penguins could use him to replace the sidelined Pascal Dupuis.
Cammalleri is also in the final year of a contract paying him $7 million in actual salary with a cap hit of $6 million. The Flames might have to absorb part of his remaining salary to make him enticing to clubs with limited cap space, like the Penguins and Kings. Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke advocated the inclusion of salary retention in the current CBA. He could go that route if he helps him get a decent return for Cammalleri.
It's believed the Ducks are more interested in an experienced shutdown defenseman than a scoring winger. The Devils' interest could depend on their performance leading up to deadline day. If they continue to struggle, Lamoriello could switch from buyer to seller.
Gilbertson doesn't rule out the possibility of the Flames re-signing Cammalleri, but that seems unlikely at this stage in his career. The Flames are in the midst of rebuilding and it could be years before they're a serious playoff contender. Cammalleri doesn't have much time left in his career to play for a Cup contender.
WILL THE PENGUINS DIP INTO THE TRADE MARKET?
Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Penguins GM Ray Shero remains non-committal about making moves by the trade deadline. Given Shero's history of acquiring rental players leading up to deadline day, Molinari anticipates the Penguins will make a deal or two.
Shero doesn't have much cap space to work with, however. The Penguins have around $2.5 million in cap space, though that figure could be lower as they've sought long-term injury relief for several players. Shero could free up additional room by demotions or shipping out a salaried player in a trade.
Molinari believes the Penguins need a right winger to replace the injured Pascal Dupuis, a bottom-six winger and an experienced defenseman. He suggests targeting non-playoff clubs for affordable options. Buffalo's Matt Moulson, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky or Florida's Brad Boyes are be among the candidates to fill Dupuis' spot.
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.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.