Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski’s pending UFA status led to his name being mentioned in trade rumors, despite GM Brian Burke’s claim there was no reason to consider shopping him.
The Toronto Sun reported Wednesday agent Gary Greenstin, who represents Grabovski, was in Toronto this week for potential contract negotiations with the Maple Leafs.
Grabovski has shrugged off the recent trade speculation, insisting he’d prefer to remain with the Leafs.
Given Grabovski’s development over the past couple of seasons as a solid second-line center, there’s a good chance the Leafs will re-sign him. The 28-year-old is making $2.9 million this season and could command more than $4 million per on the open market this summer.
SUTER SAGA FAR FROM OVER
Fans from outside Nashville harboring any hope the Predators will move pending UFA defenseman Ryan Suter at the trade deadline would’ve been disappointed to read that Predators GM David Poile is continuing to negotiate with Suter’s agent.
Suter made headlines a week ago when he said he wouldn’t re-sign before the trade deadline, but that was because he doesn’t want to be distracted by contract talks during the season, not to an unwillingness to stay with the Predators.
Poile, meanwhile, said the only real deadline he had was July 1, when the blueliner will become eligible for UFA status. That gives him five months to negotiate with the Suter camp.
FLYERS CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR DEFENSEMEN
With Suter and recently re-signed Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason off the market, the Philadelphia Flyers – long rumored to be in the market for blueline depth – will shift their focus elsewhere.
Sam Carchidi of Philly.com suggested Montreal’s Hal Gill or Gleason’s teammate Bryan Allen could be of interest to the Flyers.
Both are big blueliners and while Allen plays a more physical style, Gill has considerable post-season experience, winning a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.
Niklas Grossman of the Dallas Stars is also an option, though as ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun observed, the Stars have begun contract talks with Grossman’s agent.
NOT-SO-BIG-Z ON THE BLOCK?
Another defenseman who might be available for clubs seeking depth on the blueline is Marek Zidlicky of the Minnesota Wild.
Zidlicky, who turned 35 on Feb. 3, has had his playing time reduced this season under Wild coach Mike Yeo and prior to the all-star break was a healthy scratch for the first time since joining the club in 2008.
Things recently came to a head between Zidlicky and Yeo when the blueliner voiced his unhappiness in the local media, increasing speculation he’ll be shopped by the trade deadline, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.
SENATORS INTERESTED IN RUUTU
The Ottawa Sun reported the Senators may become one of the teams interested in Carolina Hurricanes right winger Tuomo Ruutu, though the asking price is reportedly high.
No word on what the Hurricanes are seeking in return, though it’s been speculated they’d want a first round pick or top prospect as part of the return.
The Senators have considerable depth in young roster players and prospects, which could give them an edge in any bidding war for Ruutu.
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.