Former Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco is among the few notable unrestricted free agents still available.
During Hockey Night in Canada‘s second intermission “Hot Stove” segment Saturday, Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis noted Turco was still working out and would be willing to return as a backup.
Francis suggested Turco would be a good fit with the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he could mentor young starting goalie Steve Mason.
But Turco’s performance has declined for the past two seasons, so would the Blue Jackets even want him? Instead, they’d likely prefer a more stable and active netminder such as Evgeni Nabokov of the New York Islanders.
Jake Leonard of SFGate.com wondered if Nabokov would be the odd man out of the Isles goalie rotation, which includes Al Montoya and oft-injured Rick DiPietro.
Nabokov was scouted by NHL teams, including the Blue Jackets, during his season debut Oct. 15, a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers.
Nabokov has played four games, posting a 2.23 GAA and .927 SP, but was removed from last Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins after the overtime session because of a lower-body injury.
Leonard brought up the Detroit Red Wings as a potential destination for Nabokov.
The Wings attempted to sign Nabokov to a one-year contract midway through last season, but because he started in the Kontinental League, he had to pass through waivers. He was claimed by the Islanders, but failed to report, so his contract was ruled active for the 2011-12 season.
Wings current backup Ty Conklin appeared shaky in his last two games: a 7-1 thumping at the hands of the Washington Capitals and a 4-1 loss to the floundering Columbus Blue Jackets.
But the Wings may not be ready to acquire another goalie yet this season and as long as Nabokov keeps improving and shows he is capable of playing consistently in the NHL again, the Islanders will hear from other interested parties.
Another club with the potential for a goaltending controversy is the Florida Panthers.
Jacob Markstrom, filling in for sidelined backup Scott Clemmensen, has been making the most of his opportunity, posting a 2-2 record with a 2.11 GAA and an impressive .945 SP.
Clemmensen, 34, had minor knee surgery in September and should be ready to return to the lineup soon.
The Panthers aren’t likely to move veteran starter Jose Theodore and given how well the 21-year-old Markstrom is playing, it will be difficult to demote him.
SENATORS ASKED ABOUT KYLE TURRIS
Add the Ottawa Senators to the list of teams that have contacted the Phoenix Coyotes about holdout center Kyle Turris, who has requested a trade.
Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun reported Friday the Senators were among “one of six or seven teams – including Calgary and Vancouver – who have expressed an interest in Turris,” but were told by Coyotes GM Don Maloney the young center wasn’t going anywhere.
Maloney has received offers, but he’s in no hurry to make a deal, nor does he appear concerned about the possibility Turris will be unavailable to play this season if he’s not under contract by Dec. 1.
On Friday, Maloney acquired center Cal O’Reilly from the Nashville Predators for a fourth round pick and admitted for the first time he wasn’t “overly confident” Turris would sign with the Coyotes this season, though he also said “the door is always open” for his return.
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.