With the dog days of summer now behind us and NHL training camps set to open in a couple of weeks it appears there could soon be an upswing in player movement.
Business, in fact, picked up recently with Joe Sakic announcing his return to the Colorado Avalanche for another season and the Ottawa Senators resolving their contract impasse with defenseman Andrej Meszaros by trading him to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defensemen Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picard and a first round pick.
Trading Meszaros might not be the only move Senators GM Bryan Murray has in store for his club. The Ottawa Citizen recently reported the potential exists for Murray to sign an affordable unrestricted free agent forward, listing Mark Parrish and Glen Murray as possible targets.
The Lightning also might not be done tinkering. They’re overloaded at forward and could still use defensive depth on their current roster and in their farm system. Forwards Jussi Jokinen, Michel Ouellet and Jason Ward remain the prime trade candidates.
While many pundits have suggested activity could start picking up once former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin finally makes a decision on his future, it seems some teams aren’t willing to wait on Sundin much longer.
The respective managements of the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens remain interested in signing Sundin, but have already suggested they’re examining other options should the big Swede sign elsewhere, retire or remain undecided.
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis still has his two-year, $20 million contract offer on the table for Sundin, but in a recent interview, the first-year GM suggested that, while he’s willing to wait a little longer for the talented center’s decision, he won’t wait forever.
If Sundin is still undecided about his future by the time training camps open, most of the clubs interested in his services could look elsewhere and that could set some deals in motion that have been on hold.
Veteran scoring winger Teemu Selanne recently told the Finnish press he was returning to the NHL this season, likely with the Ducks. Anaheim currently lacks the cap space to sign him, but are believed to be shopping defenseman Mathieu Schneider’s $5.625 million hit.
Rumor has it the Ducks are trying to move Schneider to an Eastern Conference team, but some of those potential clubs were also interested in Sundin and awaiting his decision. If Sundin’s still undecided by mid-September, that could open up the market for a possible Schneider trade.
Reports out of Toronto insist the Maple Leafs will be moving Bryan McCabe to the Florida Panthers for blueliner Mike Van Ryn after Sept. 1, once the Leafs have paid McCabe a $2 million signing bonus as stipulated in his contract.
Several clubs, including the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames, are still above the league’s $56.7 million cap, while the Los Angeles Kings are still far below the $40.7 million cap minimum. Those clubs could be forced to consider trades or waivers to address their respective cap needs.
It’s clear this September is shaping up to be a potentially busy month.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.