Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Hiller could be odd man out in Flames crease

Lyle Richardson
By:

Jonas Hiller turns aside Bo Horvat (Derek Leung/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Hiller could be odd man out in Flames crease

Lyle Richardson
By:

The Calgary Flames could have a logjam in goal if Joni Ortio impresses in training camp, which has led to speculation Jonas Hiller could be sent packing. In Vancouver, Dan Hamhuis’ future with the Canucks is uncertain and he could be a trade chip this season, while the Senators continue to search for depth scoring.

The Calgary Flames entered training camp carrying three goaltenders in Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo and promising Joni Ortio. At some point, they'll have to address this potential log jam between the pipes.

Should the 24-year-old Ortio have a strong training camp, the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis speculates Hiller could become the odd man out. Despite winning 26 games last season, the Swiss netminder was often inconsistent. The 33-year-old is entering the final year of his two-year contract carrying a cap hit of $4.5 million.

Ramo, meanwhile, is on a one-year, $3.8 million deal. Ortio is carrying an affordable $600K salary this season, but he can't be demoted without first passing through waivers. Given his potential, a rival club is sure to pluck him off the wire.

Francis claims Flames management would love to ship Hiller to a team in need of a proven starting goalie, but the return could be minimal.  He suggests placing Hiller on waivers, meaning he'll be picked up  by another team. They could demote him to the minors, but will only receive $950K of cap relief.

Given Hiller's salary, it's unlikely a rival club will pluck him off the waiver wire. Sportsnet's Mark Spector feels the Flames must pick up part of that salary, perhaps as much as half, to enhance Hiller's trade value.

It could take several weeks before the Flames find a suitable deal. Don't be surprised if they open the season carrying three goalies.


HAMHUIS’ FUTURE UNCERTAIN IN VANCOUVER

With the new NHL season around the corner, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis faces an uncertain future. An unrestricted free agent next July, it remains to be seen if the 32-year-old blueliner fits into the Canucks' long-term plans.

NBC Sports' Jason Brough reports Hamhuis was reluctant to discuss the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause when the subject was raised last April.  Brough observes some Canucks followers believe management should peddle the veteran rearguard before the trade deadline in hopes of landing a high draft pick.

However, Hamhuis and Canucks GM Jim Benning aren't closing the door on a contract extension. The Smithers, BC native turns 33 in December, so he won't get another six-year deal like his current one. Still, snother solid performance could net him a three- or four-year deal worth around his current annual cap hit of $4.5 million.

It's unlikely Hamhuis' situation will be resolved before the start of the season Both sides are likely to let the schedule play out to determine their respective needs. If the Canucks are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, Benning could give serious consideration to peddling Hamhuis.


SENATORS LOOKING AT DEPTH FORWARDS

The unexpected rise last season of Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman into top-six wingers provided the Ottawa Senators with a much-needed boost in their offensive punch. It also seemed to address a longstanding need for top-six forward depth.

However, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Bryan Murray still seeks that commodity. He claims he spoke with unrestricted free agents and attempted to make a trade this summer.

Murray tells Garrioch he’s hopeful of adding a top-six forward via trade or from within their system. Latter possibilities include Matt Puempel or Shane Prince, who are currently jockeying for a roster spot in preseason play.

With a high number of free agents currently on professional tryouts with various teams, Murray could offer one of them an affordable one-year contract. Possible options include Brad Boyes and Curtis Glencross, who are currently skating with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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: Hiller could be odd man out in Flames crease