Speculation was rampant late last week the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers were on the verge of a deal where the Leafs would ship defenseman Luke Schenn to the Flyers for left winger James van Riemsdyk.
This was fuelled by reports out of Philadelphia claiming Flyers director of player personnel Don Luce scouted the Leafs in recent games.
It was subsequently reported the two teams had talked, but no deal was imminent. Leafs GM Brian Burke on Friday told the Globe and Mail he’d spoken with Schenn to assure the blueliner he wasn’t being shopped.
“We haven’t offered him to anybody,” Burke said. “I don’t know where the rumors started. I told him that’s not happening.”
Any further speculation of van Riemsdyk heading to Toronto or anywhere else was quashed when it was reported he’d suffered a concussion and been placed on IR.
The Flyers are believed to be in the market for blueline depth, but that could hinge upon the performance of young defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who’s returned to action from a wrist injury suffered in early November.
If Gustafsson performs well, it could lessen the need to seek another defenseman. If the Flyers do go shopping, it could be closer to the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
As for the Leafs, their search for a scoring forward with playoff experience will continue, likely targeting non-playoff teams like Edmonton, Carolina, Columbus and Anaheim.
It’s been rumored Burke, former GM of the Ducks, would try to pry center Ryan Getzlaf or left winger Bobby Ryan out of Anaheim, but Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun claimed few GMs believe Ducks GM Bob Murray is shopping those core players.
One player, however, who might be available is right winger Teemu Selanne, who Francis claimed left the door open for a possible trade if the Ducks fall out of playoff contention soon.
Burke took a chance on Selanne back in 2005, when the winger’s career was believed to be finished due to knee surgery, and was rewarded when ‘The Finnish Flash’ regained his offensive touch, becoming a key factor in Anaheim’s 2007 Stanley Cup victory.
While Winnipeg Jets fans would love to see Selanne return to the city where his NHL career started, one shouldn’t dismiss Toronto as a possible destination.
DOG DAYS WILL BE SUMMER
The Phoenix Coyotes have struggled of late, entering this week with only two victories in their last 10 games, putting them four points out of the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
That explains why the names of right winger Shane Doan and left winger Ray Whitney have recently appeared in the rumor mill.
Coyotes GM Don Maloney poured cold water upon the Doan rumors, saying there was no truth whatsoever to speculation he was available. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Coyotes hope to re-sign Doan to a long-term extension if the team gets new ownership, and, if not, he’ll move on as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
No word from Maloney regarding Whitney, who’s also a UFA this summer, probably because his name hasn’t appeared as frequently as Doan’s in the rumor mill. As long as the Coyotes remain in playoff contention, they won’t move their second-leading scorer.
NO NEW GOALIE FOR LIGHTNING
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s free-fall finally hit bottom this weekend, with the club starting perched dead last in the Eastern Conference and 12 points out of the final playoff spot.
Poor goaltending is considered the main reason for the Lightning’s woes, leading to calls for GM Steve Yzerman to either shop for a goalie like Evgeni Nabokov of the New York Islanders with an expiring contract, call up minor league goaltender Dustin Tokarski or trade for a long-term solution, like Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks or Jonathan Bernier of the L.A. Kings.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, however, suggested none of those moves would be worthwhile for the Lightning at this time.
He points out the folly of giving up a draft pick or prospect for a rental player “when reaching the post-season would take a near historic second-half run” and suggested calling up Tokarski now hoping he’ll save the season isn’t the right move.
Erlendsson also pointed out it would cost the Lightning more than it’s worth to land Schneider or Bernier, believing this summer could provide better options, especially in the free agent market, when Minnesota’s Josh Harding or St. Louis’ Brian Elliott could be available.
It appears Yzerman shares these opinions. If there were something worthwhile to be had without giving up much in return, akin to the move which brought Dwayne Roloson to the Lightning last season, Yzerman would’ve done it long before now.
Best to avoid any panic moves that won’t significantly improve their playoff hopes and take the long view by waiting for better options this summer.
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 Eishockey News and Kukla’s Korner.