Antoine Vermette (Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Though rumors have been swirling about the availability of Arizona's Antoine Vermette, there's a possibility that Coyotes GM Don Maloney is working to retain the veteran center. Elsewhere, the Devils may look to deal Jaromir Jagr, while the Kings could ship out Mike Richards.
Trade rumors continue to dog Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette. He's an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and with the struggling Coyotes under a new majority owner it's believed Vermette could be dealt at the trade deadline.
That opinion, however, could be hasty. ESPN.com's Craig Custance cites an unnamed NHL GM saying Vermette's status is currently in a holding pattern, claiming Coyotes management still hopes to re-sign the 32-year-old center.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports contract talks earlier this season between the Coyotes and Vermette's agent were put on hold, but the veteran pivot hasn't given up on staying in Arizona. Garrioch believes the final decision will be made by majority owner Andrew Barroway.
It's rumored the Vermette camp could seek a six-year deal worth $33 million. That could prove too much to justify on an aging center who will be a rapidly-depreciating asset over the term of such a deal.
If the Coyotes decide to move Vermette before the March 2 trade deadline he will attract considerable interest from clubs seeking a playoff rental player. He's long been linked to the Boston Bruins. Another suitor could be one of Vermette's former teams, the Ottawa Senators. Custance's colleague Pierre LeBrun reports the Senators remain in the market for a forward.
DEAL FOR DEVILS JAGR ON HORIZON?
New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr could be a trade option for the Bruins, Senators or any team seeking experience scoring depth and leadership. The 42-year-old tallied 67 points in 82 games last season, and enters this week with 25 points in 43 games. Jagr is no stranger to the Bruins, having played for them during their run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Bob McKenzie told Montreal's TSN 690 he could see Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin pursuing Jagr. He points to the Canadiens acquisition of Thomas Vanek at last season's trade deadline to highlight Bergevin's willingness to pursue a playoff rental.
TVA Sports' Renaud Lavoie, however, dismissed that notion. He took to Twitter claiming that, despite the Jagr-to-Montreal chatter, his understanding is such a move won't happen.
KINGS' RICHARDS DEAL HURTING TRADE VALUE
The declining playing time of Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards continues to prompt speculation over his future with the club.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman took note of Richards' play and his annual $5.75-million cap hit for five more seasons, but believes there's still a market for the 29-year-old center. He feels the Kings could be calling around the league to teams like Toronto and Winnipeg to test Richards' trade value, but also believes they'll have to retain part of his salary in a deal.
Kings management could be counting on Richards' reputation as a respected, two-way leader and winner to entice a desperate rival GM into taking a chance on him. If Richards had a more affordable shorter-term deal, he would be worth the gamble. Even if the Kings agree to pick up part of his remaining salary, uncertainty over the salary cap for 2015-16 could make teams leery of taking on a fading star with five years left on his contract.
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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