Most of the focus over which Canadian-based teams will make major moves this week is on the Edmonton Oilers (fielding offers for the first overall pick), Vancouver Canucks (shopping goalie Roberto Luongo) and Toronto Maple Leafs (rumored to have interest in Luongo and Columbus right winger Rick Nash). However, two other Canadian clubs have popped up in the rumor mill.
George Johnson of the Calgary Herald speculated defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is the most likely Flame veteran to be dealt.
Bouwmeester’s name had occasionally appeared in Flames trade talk this past season and Johnson noted new coach Bob Hartley neglected to include ‘Jay-Bo’ among his list of core players in a recent interview.
Johnson went on to link Bouwmeester with Columbus and Toronto, but observed his $6.68-million cap hit and no-trade clause make him difficult to move.
As Johnson pointed out, it is possible Hartley’s oversight of Bouwmeester was inadvertent. Still, at this time of year, when trade rumors multiply like dandelions, any innocuous comment regarding a player by a coach or GM can be blown up into full-fledged trade speculation.
Johnson doubted Flames GM Jay Feaster would peddle captain Jarome Iginla, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, left winger Curtis Glencross or center Mike Cammalleri, who was acquired midway through the season.
He also doesn’t see Feaster shopping the rights to center Olli Jokinen, who’s eligible for UFA status on July 1.
IS EVANDER KANE HAPPY TO BE A JET?
A recent Twitter post regarding the contract status of Winnipeg Jets left winger Evander Kane created significant uproar around the blogosphere.
On Friday, RDS.ca columnist Renaud Lavoie claimed a Winnipeg player told him Kane (a restricted free agent) didn’t want to re-sign with the Jets. He noted Kane had no arbitration rights and the Jets would qualify him, but wondered if the 20-year-old budding star would be traded.
For several days following Lavoie’s posts there was no reaction from the Winnipeg media nor any comment from Kane, his agents or the Jets, prompting Backhand Shelf columnist Cam Charron to question the rumor’s validity.
On Monday, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Jets management and Kane’s representatives claimed the winger hadn’t sought a trade nor were the Jets negotiating with any teams that had expressed interest in him.
This isn’t the first time Kane has been subject to rumors about his alleged unhappiness in Winnipeg. Last summer, shortly after the club relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta, this type of speculation was already in full swing. Despite his claims he’s happy playing for the Jets, it persists.
The only thing that will put an end to it is if he signs a long-term contract with the Jets.
WILL WILD AND SABRES JUMP INTO TRADE MARKET AGAIN?
The Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres made two of the most significant trades during last year’s draft weekend, with the Wild shipping defenseman Brent Burns to San Jose for a package including right winger Devin Setoguchi, while the Sabres acquired defenseman Robyn Regehr from Calgary in a multi-player swap.
With both clubs coming off disappointing seasons, is it possible they’ll make a big splash at this year’s draft?
Michael Russo of the StarTribune.com reported Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is less inclined to do so this year since he lacks a quality player like Burns to shop, plus he’s unwilling to move any of his promising young prospects.
Another reason is the Wild are expected to make a pitch for New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise if he becomes available on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent.
The Sabres, on the other hand, are poised for another significant draft weekend deal.
John Vogl of the Buffalo News reported the Sabres hold two picks in each of the first two rounds, including the 12th and 21st overall, and GM Darcy Regier is open to anything regarding those selections. That includes using them to trade up in the first round or packaging them for a quality player.
Sabres center Derek Roy has been frequently mentioned as a trade candidate since last summer, so the expectation among Sabres fans is he’ll be shopped this weekend.
Though Roy is only 29, the sharp decline in his production, $4-million cap hit for next season and pending UFA status next summer make him a difficult sell, unless Regier decides to package him with a first or second round pick.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday 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, Kukla’s Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.