Colorado Avalanche winger Peter Mueller recently suffered another concussion (his second in six months) during pre-season play, leading Adrian Dater of the Denver Post to speculate the club’s options to replace the injured player.
Dater believes Avs management will look within for Mueller’s short-term replacement, perhaps by moving winger David Jones into his spot, but suggested the possibility they’d look toward the trade market.
The New Jersey Devils are seeking to dump a high-salaried veteran or two, which make them a possible dance partner if Avalanche GM Greg Sherman decides to go that route.
Dater considers veteran Devils forwards Jamie Langenbrunner or Dainius Zubrus as trade possibilities, suggesting Langenbrunner, with one year at $2.8 million remaining on his contract, as the best bet.
Such a move wouldn’t hurt the Avalanche in terms of the salary cap because, as capgeek.com notes, they’re currently near the bottom of the league in payroll and could easily afford to take someone like Langenbrunner or Zubrus off the Devils’ hands.
But does Sherman wish to go this route? Throughout the off-season he repeatedly stated the Avalanche wouldn’t take on expensive contracts and so far has kept his word.
It would only take adding a rookie to his lineup to get his club above the league minimum payroll of $43.4 million and while there’s currently not much talent left in the free agent pool, Sherman could also sign a free agent forward to an affordable two-way contract if need be.
Those still available include Slava Kozlov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Owen Nolan, Jason Williams, Brendan Morrison, Miroslav Satan and Kyle Wellwood, though some of them are currently on tryout contracts around the league.
COMMODORE FOR SOURAY UP IN THE AIR
After nearly a week of talk suggesting the Columbus Blue Jackets might ship defenseman Mike Commodore to the Edmonton Oilers for Sheldon Souray, there’s been little news to indicate such a deal is close.
The Edmonton Journal recently observed the Oilers hadn’t scouted Commodore during a recent Blue Jackets-Thrashers game, suggesting if the Oilers were interested they appear to be “taking their time on the due diligence part.”
The report suggested placing Souray on re-entry waivers – whereby a club could claim him for only half of his remaining salary ($5.4 million per season) – which is a possibility if a trade cannot be worked out.
Forget about those Internet-generated rumors of shipping Souray to the New York Rangers for fellow overpaid blueliner Wade Redden. The Rangers placed Redden on waivers Saturday in preparation for demoting him to the minors as a cost-cutting move.
The practice of demoting players to the minors to become cap compliant is nothing new, but it’s unusual for a player earning $6.5 million per season like Redden.
It’s possible there will be more expensive busts like Redden being demoted as cost-cutting measures over the remaining two years of the current collective bargaining agreement, something THN.com’s Ken Campbell suggested could become an issue in the next round of CBA talks.
WILD LOOKING FOR GOALTENDER
Minnesota Wild management is also considering their options to replace an injured player, having lost backup goaltender Josh Harding over the weekend to a potentially season-ending knee injury.
Startribune.com’s Michael Russo speculated Wild management will not rush to find a replacement for Harding outside the organization and may instead give promising Anton Khudobin, who’s been solid in the American League, an opportunity to prove himself.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, however, reported a source told him the Wild were looking at unrestricted free agent Jose Theodore.
It’s possible the Wild will evaluate Khudobin over the remainder of the pre-season before seeking an experienced replacement like Theodore, who would likely be an affordable one-year signing. But there’s a danger of waiting too long and having another team facing a similar situation snap him up.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 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.