All the focus this week has been on potential moves by the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, but there are other clubs getting far less media attention that are believed to be actively shopping for help by the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
The Stars’ recent skid in the standings resurrected Brad Richards trade rumors, with some observers suggesting GM Joe Nieuwendyk would consider moving Richards if it appears his club will fall out of the playoff race by the trade deadline.
Nieuwendyk, however, told CBC.ca’s Tim Wharnsby he still intends on re-signing Richards, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1, adding he’s been in touch with the center and his agent and prefers to work quietly on his contract situation.
Richards’ agent, Pat Morris, told Wharnsby that uncertainty concerning the Dallas ownership situation meant negotiations for a new contract would have to wait until season’s end (the team has been controlled by its creditors this season during an ongoing search for a new owner).
Nieuwendyk isn’t likely to make a panic move based on his team’s recent slide, knowing their playoff hopes are better with Richards in the lineup than without.
If the Stars had played better during Richards’ recent absence from the lineup to an upper body injury perhaps Nieuwendyk would have had second thoughts, but their ongoing struggles only serve to highlight the center’s value for Dallas’ playoff hopes.
Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported Penguins GM Ray Shero acknowledged he might have to make a trade by the deadline to bolster his injury-ravaged roster.
However, Shero isn’t likely to make a move until closer to the deadline to give himself a “complete read” of the market.
In other words, the Penguins GM will likely wait another week or so in hopes more clubs enter the market as sellers.
With Evgeni Malkin gone for the season with a knee injury and Sidney Crosby still sidelined indefinitely by a concussion, Shero is likely seeking either a scoring winger or center.
The Ottawa Senators would love to move right winger Alex Kovalev and rumors persist Shero might try to bring him back to the Penguins . But given Kovalev’s age and declining production in recent years he’d be a last resort for Shero on deadline day.
The Washington Post reported multiple NHL sources who claimed Capitals GM George McPhee is in the market for a proven, two-way, second-line center.
While McPhee remains quiet on his intentions the Post‘s Katie Carrera mused about possible trade targets, including New Jersey’s Jason Arnott, Buffalo’s Tim Connolly, Florida’s Stephen Weiss and Columbus’ Antoine Vermette.
Carrera noted Connolly might not be available as the Sabres are now back in the playoff chase. The same could be said for Vermette and the Blue Jackets, who are also in need of depth at center.
A month ago Arnott might’ve been available, but with the Devils’ improbable rise in the standings of late, it’s possible they’ll retain him for a late playoff push.
Weiss has been a fixture in the rumor mill of late, but he’s got a no-movement clause and has stated his intent to remain a Panther, though he admitted he’d waive his clause if management told him they wanted to move him.
His cap hit ($3.1 million) could also prove a difficult fit for the Capitals or any other club.
NEW YORK RANGERS
The New York Post reported Rangers GM Glen Sather is continuing his search for a hard-shooting defenseman to anchor the power play.
It’s believed Sather has some interest in Ottawa defenseman Filip Kuba, who used to play for Rangers coach John Tortorella in Tampa Bay and was a teammate of Marian Gaborik’s during their Minnesota Wild years.
Kuba used to be a good puck-moving defenseman, but injuries over the past two seasons have limited his effectiveness. The 34-year-old also has another season remaining on his contract at $3.7 million, which, as the Post noted, eats up valuable cap space for next season.
Twitter reports claiming the Carolina Hurricanes were about to move defenseman Ian White created quite a stir on Wednesday.
One tweet claimed White was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks, but that was quickly denied by Canucks GM Mike Gillis.
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News & Observer he did have an offer for White, which prompted him to sit the defenseman for a couple of days while he considered his options. Rutherford declined to say where the offer came from, but suggested White would be back in the Hurricanes lineup by week’s end.
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.