Steven Stamkos. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning could be working on a deal to move defenseman Matt Carle to free up salary-cap room to re-sign captain Steven Stamkos.
The Tampa Bay Lightning could be working on a deal to free up salary-cap room to re-sign captain Steven Stamkos. That's the suggestion from Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune, reporting the Lightning could try moving defenseman Matt Carle.
Erlendsson notes Carle, a healthy scratch for Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, was the subject of trade rumors for the past two weeks. The 31-year-old blueliner is the Lightning's highest-paid defenseman ($5.5-million annual cap hit), with a contract that runs through 2017-18 and contains a modified no-trade clause.
The problem, however, could be finding some takers. In 12 games, Carle had no points and is minus-1. That performance won't exactly have teams beating down GM Steve Yzerman's door.
In early October, the Bruins were reportedly in the market for a defenseman. However, they enter this week having gone unbeaten (6-0-1) in seven games, so there now may be less urgency on their part. The Columbus Blue Jackets were also shopping for a blueliner, but management could be taking some time to evaluate their roster's under new coach John Tortorella.
Erlendsson notes the Lightning scratched defenseman Eric Brewer around the same time last season before eventually shipping him to the Anaheim Ducks. Brewer also carried a fairly expensive ($3.875 million) cap hit and a modified NTC. However, he was also in the final season of his contract and thus easier to move.
The Lightning ultimately retained a portion of Brewer's cap hit to facilitate that trade. They'll have to absorb more of Carle's cap hit, or take back some salary in return, if they hope to move him this early in the season.
Speaking of the Ducks and defensemen, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports GM Bob Murray might be willing to move one of his in order to either save his job or that of embattled coach Bruce Boudreau.
Garrioch claims Murray is “listening to offers” for Cam Fowler, but he's also set a high price for the 23-year-old defender and is apparently only interested in dealing him to an Eastern Conference team. If the Bruins and Blue Jackets are still looking for blueline help, they might want to give the Ducks' GM a call.
If Murray is indeed peddling Fowler or another of his good young defensemen, he'll probably want a scoring forward in return. The Ducks are currently the league's lowest-scoring team.
On the subject of available defensemen, TSN's Bob McKenzie also mentions Carle on his list that includes Philadelphia's Luke Schenn, Toronto's Roman Polak, and Calgary's Dennis Wideman. He cautions that it's still early yet and teams seeking defensive depth have salary-cap concerns. McKenzie notes Carle and Wideman ($5.25-million cap hit, full no-movement clause) carry hefty contracts. Schenn ($3.6 million) and Polak ($2.75 million) are more affordable, but their early-season struggles adversely affects their trade value.
As the Flames struggle to overcome a horrid 3-8-1 start, Wideman and teammate Kris Russell are fixtures in the rumor mill. They told the Calgary Herald's Kristen Odland they're aware their names are being bandied out but appear unconcerned by the trade chatter. Wideman also claims management hasn't approached him about waiving his movement clause.
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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