The San Jose Sharks look as though they’re going to miss the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade and that could put the futures of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in question. Also, Loui Eriksson’s time as a Bruin may be up sooner than many had expected, while the Senators could ship out some veteran players this off-season.
The ongoing struggles of the San Jose Sharks will ensure they spend another summer firmly entrenched in the rumor mill, especially if they miss the playoffs.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson made some minor moves leading up to the trade deadline, shipping out pending unrestricted free agentss Tyler Kennedy, James Sheppard and Andrew Desjardins. Bigger moves could be coming in the off-season.
Since last summer, long-time Sharks stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have been the focus of trade rumors. CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports Wilson never approached the duo about waiving their no-trade clauses prior to the recent NHL trade deadline. He also said he would never ask them to do so, saying they would have to request a trade.
It seems Wilson wants to avoid being the bad guy by placing the onus on Thornton and Marleau to engineer their departures from San Jose. As Kurz notes, neither player has indicated they want out.
Both players have, however, made statements suggesting they could be open to that possibility. Marleau told Kurz it would be a different matter if he felt he wasn't wanted, which is similar to what Thornton said last summer. Uncertainty over where their standing with the Sharks could lend additional intrigue to Wilson's off-season plans.
ERIKSSON'S TIME UP IN BOSTON?
Questions over Loui Eriksson's future with the Boston Bruins could carry over into the off-season. Eriksson, 29, has been an offensive disappointment since joining the Bruins nearly two years ago as part of the return in the Tyler Seguin trade.
The Bruins' recent acquisition of right wing Brett Connolly (a restricted free agent at seasons end) prompted The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa to suggest Eriksson could be traded this summer. The veteran winger has a season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.25 million, which could be moved to free up space to re-sign key players like defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
On deadline day, Shinzawa's colleague Kevin Paul Dupont wrote that he could see Eriksson being traded for a first-round pick and a “$2-million No. 5 d-man.” That deal never materialized but perhaps the Bruins will seek a similar return later this year.
CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty also speculates Eriksson could be peddled to create cap room, as well as veteran blueliner Dennis Seidenberg, who was the subject of trade chatter leading up to the deadline. However, the 33-year-old Seidenberg could prove more difficult to move. He's a year removed from knee surgery, which adversely affected his performance this season. He's also under contract for three more seasons at an annual cap hit of $4 million with a no-trade clause.
SENATORS VETERANS ON TRADE BLOCK
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could have several players to move during the summer. Possible trade candidates include defensemen Chris Phillips, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba, as well as forwards Chris Neil and David Legwand.
Several weeks ago, Senators GM Bryan Murray spoke with Neil and Phillips regarding potential interest in the veteran duo from rival clubs. He left the decision up to the pair, though subsequent injuries sidelined them leading up to deadline day. Garrioch claims Phillips, who has year left on his contract, prefers to finish his career with the Senators. Neil's status could be revisited in the summer.
Wiercioch ($2-million cap hit) and Legwand ($3 million) were frequently mentioned in the rumor mill before the deadline. The Senators could try to clear their contracts from the books after this season. Winger Colin Greening, who has two more years at $2.294 million remaining on his contract, is another they hope to move.
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.).
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