Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Staal, Stewart still highly sought after

Lyle Richardson
By:

Eric Staal (left) and Casey Cizikas (Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Staal, Stewart still highly sought after

Lyle Richardson
By:

Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal reportedly has no intention of waiving his no-trade clause, but that hasn't kept his name out of the rumor mill.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal reportedly has no intention of waiving his no-trade clause, but that hasn't kept his name out of the rumor mill.

TSN's Darren Dreger reports there's no change in Staal's commitment to the struggling Hurricanes, who enter this week as the NHL's only winless team. Dreger claims the Toronto Maple Leafs, who inquired about the Hurricanes' captain in the offseason, remain interested in him.

If the struggling Hurricanes fail to reverse their sinking fortunes soon, Dreger speculates Hurricanes GM Ron Francis could face pressure from ownership to shake things up and shed salary. Staal (currently sidelined with an upper-body injury) won't demand a trade. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said the Hurricanes captain isn't interested in leaving unless there's a change in ownership interested in making changes.

Despite speculation earlier this year suggesting Hurricanes owners Peter Karmanos, Jr. wanted to sell the franchise, team president Don Waddell recently stated Karmanos wasn't close to selling the club, nor was he in any rush to do so.

Staal's desire to remain with the Hurricanes, who last made the playoffs in 2009, is admirable. They're the only NHL team he's every played for. He enjoys playing and living in Carolina alongside brother Jordan, who is currently sidelined four-to-six months with a broken leg.

Assuming the Hurricanes front office wanted to move Staal, his no-trade clause and expensive contract ($8.25-million annual cap hit, $9.25 million in actual salary this season) makes him very difficult to move during the regular season, when 21 teams (including the Maple Leafs) carry less than $8 million in cap space.

Teams interested in Staal will likely revisit their interest in the off-season, when they'll have more cap space to work with.

SABRES’ STEWART SOUGHT AFTER

The Boston Bruins are reportedly interested in Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart, but other clubs could also pursue him.

Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal wonders if Stewart, who turns 27 on October 30, could be on the Columbus Blue Jackets' radar. Jackets right wing Nathan Horton remains sidelined by a potentially career-threatening back injury, and Matheson suggests Stewart could be a good short-term fit.

The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa also notes the Bruins and Blue Jackets interest in the Sabres winger, as well the Ottawa Senators. Shinzawa believes the Bruins will find it difficult to land Stewart, citing interest from rival clubs and the Sabres asking price.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports the Sabres rumored asking price for Stewart consists of either two young players or a young player and a draft pick. Shinzawa believes the Sabres could ask the Bruins to include the Philadelphia Flyers second-round pick in 2015, which was acquired from the New York Islanders in the Johnny Boychuk trade.

With blueline stalwart Zdeno Chara sidelined four-to-six weeks due to a knee injury, the Bruins can ill-afford to part with any players. While they still need to find a suitable top-six right winger, the more pressing need right now is coping with Chara's absence. Should that prove a difficult adjustment, or if Chara is sidelined longer than expected, their focus could shift toward finding an experienced defenseman.

CALLS COMING FOR SENS COWEN

If the Senators are keen to acquire a top-six winger like Stewart, they'll draw from their blueline depth for trade bait. They currently have seven defensemen under one-way NHL contracts.

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have received some phone calls regarding Jared Cowen, who's been a healthy scratch for all but two games so far this season. Garrioch claims the Arizona Coyotes have expressed in Cowen, but the Senators aren't rushing to part with the 23-year-old defenseman.

The status of both Marc Methot's health and contract talks could determine which of their excess rearguards the Senators move. Methot, currently sidelined with a back injury, is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. It's believed the Senators could move him if contract discussions remain stalled after his return to action. Should they re-sign Methot, however, Cowen could become a trade candidate.

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Rumor Roundup: Staal, Stewart still highly sought after