Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli's recent scouting forays into Philadelphia and Washington have some observers convinced he's sniffing around for a trade.
Chiarelli told the Boston Herald's Stephen Harris a recent lull in the Bruins schedule gave him the opportunity to watch other teams and to speak with their GMs.
Given the current slow trade market and the Bruins recent performance (7-2-1 in their past 10 games), Chiarelli doesn't anticipate doing anything yet, but wouldn't rule out a move later in the season.
It's believed he seeks depth at forward, preferably a left winger with size and skill.
Harris' colleague Steve Conroy suggested Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, Calgary's Jarome Iginla, Detroit's Valtteri Filppula and Dallas' Michael Ryder (a former Bruin) as trade targets.
ESPN Boston's James Murphy also included Iginla and Ryder on his list of possibilities, as well as Florida's Stephen Weiss, San Jose's Ryane Clowe and Philadelphia's Ruslan Fedotenko.
It remains to be seen if those players become available by the trade deadline, especially Iginla and Weiss, who have no movement clauses. Much will depend on where their respective teams are in the standings in a month's time.
Chiarelli also has to keep his salary cap space for next season in mind.
The Bruins presently have nearly $8.1 million in cap space. Because the salary cap for 2013-14 drops to $64.3 million, Chiarelli would have just over $7.1 million of cap space to re-sign key free agents like Tuukka Rask, Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference.
If necessary, however, Chiarelli can add another $4 million by keeping Marc Savard (concussion) on long-term injury reserve.
Chiarelli could move some salary in a trade this season, but if he's pursuing a playoff rental he'll likely offer draft picks and/or prospects.
Weiss on his way out?
Harvey Fialkov of Sun-Sentinel.com reported the subpar play of center Stephen Weiss has confounded the Florida Panthers higher-ups.
Fialkov noted the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings are shopping for centers, suggesting a change of scenery might be good for Weiss.
Trade rumors have dogged the 29-year-old center for weeks, but GM Dale Tallon continues to dismiss them.
Fialkov also suggested goalie Jose Theodore's days could be numbered in Florida. He's an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Scott Clemmensen is signed through 2014.
Promising Jacob Markstrom played well during a recent call-up. He's since been returned to the minors, but it seems only a matter of time until Theodore is moved to make room for Markstrom.
Theodore is earning an affordable $1.5 million in salary, but has a no-trade clause and his struggles this season could make him difficult to move. Still, if the opportunity arose to go to a playoff contender, Theodore could seize it.
Fialkov subsequently cited a source claiming the Panthers aren't yet shopping Weiss and Theodore.
That could change if the Panthers haven't reversed their fortunes by mid-March.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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.).