Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Struggling Flames dangling defensemen

Lyle Richardson
By:

Dennis Wideman (Rich Lam/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

Rumor Roundup: Struggling Flames dangling defensemen

Lyle Richardson
By:

Rumors of Steven Stamkos landing in Calgry have been shot down, but the Flames may be looking to move defensemen Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell.

As the losses continue to mount for the Calgary Flames (2-7-0 in nine games entering Wednesday's contest against the Ottawa Senators), there's growing media chatter claiming management is shopping around for help.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun is the latest to dismiss talk of the Flames looking into the availability of Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos, citing sources from both clubs denying the rumor. He believes Flames GM Brad Treliving is working the phones and could draw upon his blueline depth for trade bait. However, LeBrun feels Treliving won't make a panic move.

Bleacher Report's Adrian Dater reports the Flames GM is trying to move veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman. However, the 32-year-old has two years and $11 million remaining on his contract, which Dater considers a tough sell. Another factor is Wideman's no-movement clause. Though he could be talked into waiving it, he will have a narrow list of preferred destinations.

Kris Russell is another Flames blueliner cropping up in the rumor mill. Sportsnet's Mark Spector believes the 28-year-old could fetch a second-line forward, providing a much-needed boost to the Flames sputtering offense.

Russell is on the final season of his contract at a very affordable $2.66 million cap hit and lacks a no-trade clause, giving the Flames a wider range of trade destinations. Though he's currently carrying a league-worst plus/minus of minus-12, he led the Flames last season with a plus-18.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports Flames assistant GM Craig Conroy recently attended a game involving the Blue Jackets AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters. He wonders if promising winger Kerby Rychel was in Conroy's sights. Friedman claims the Jackets are willing to move the 21-year-old Rychel, but the Flames apparently don't want to pay the high asking price.

Treliving could face some competition from the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks. With three regular forwards (Paul Stastny, Jaden Schwartz and Patrick Berglund) sidelined by injuries, Spector believes Blues GM Doug Armstrong could get into the market for some help up front. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch recently reported Armstrong could dangle veteran defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who's a UFA next July carrying a $2.95-million cap hit.

The Ducks are also struggling to score in the early going this season and have some blueline depth to spare. Garrioch reports they've floated defenseman Clayton Stoner but he won't bring back much of a return.

Those clubs could be of interest to the Blue Jackets, who are reportedly very much in the market for a top-four defenseman. One player who the Blue Jackets may be looking to move is right wing Cam Atkinson, who entered this season coming off back-to-back 20-goal, 40-point performances. He's also in the first season of a three-year deal with an average cap hit of $3.5 million, which could be difficult to move this early in the season.

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: Struggling Flames dangling defensemen