For weeks, the New York Islanders have been speculated as trade deadline sellers, but that conclusion is far from certain.
They’ve won six of their past 10 games and are 10 points out of a playoff berth. With two games in hand on the eighth-place Toronto Maple Leafs, GM Garth Snow is reluctant to dump his pending free agents.
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has been the subject of trade rumors since last summer and of late he’s been linked to the struggling Chicago Blackhawks, but Snow recently said he won’t move him.
Nabokov told Newsday he couldn’t predict the future, but is encouraged with the club’s direction and hasn’t been asked to waive his no-movement clause.
Right winger P-A Parenteau has also been mentioned as a trade candidate because of his pending UFA status, but he’s keen to re-sign with the Islanders. Newsday reported Parenteau’s agent has had preliminary talks with Snow, but the two sides aren’t close to a deal.
But one shouldn’t assume that means Parenteau is a goner. Snow has done a remarkable job over the past couple of years retaining key players such as John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen, who was recently re-signed to a four-year, $11-million extension.
Despite the club’s inconsistent play over the past two seasons, most of the players firmly believe they’re building something special on Long Island and want to be part of the process.
Given Parenteau’s desire to stay, Snow’s chances of keeping him in the fold appear favorable.
BERNIER AN INSURANCE AT BACKUP
Teams seeking goaltending help could turn toward the Los Angeles Kings, where promising 23-year-old netminder Jonathan Bernier is seeing limited action as the backup to Jonathan Quick.
There’s speculation the Kings will part with Bernier, but Rich Hammond of LAKingsInsider.com reported it isn’t that simple. Hammond suggested Bernier alone wouldn’t fetch a big return, plus management isn’t keen to move him before getting Quick signed to a long-term contract.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi told Hammond he “understands the value of having two strong goalies,” which suggests Lombardi would prefer to retain Bernier as insurance should Quick struggle or get injured down the stretch or in the playoffs.
SCHNEIDER AN UNLIKELY TRADE CANDIDATE
As for those who believe the Vancouver Canucks will move backup goalie Cory Schneider, GM Mike Gillis acknowledged that at some point he’ll have to make a decision about Schneider’s future, but he still has no intention of moving him unless he gets a mind-blowing offer.
Given how well Schneider has performed this season splitting the goaltending duties with Roberto Luongo, it would be surprising if Gillis traded him by the deadline.
NO JOKE JOKINEN
Center Olli Jokinen continues to enjoy a resurgence with the Calgary Flames, as he’s currently on pace to reach 70 points for the first time since 2007-08.
Jokinen, 33, is scheduled to become a UFA this summer, but told the Calgary Sun his preference is to re-sign with the Flames.
His agent has had talks with Flames management over a new contract, but Jokinen isn’t concerned about re-signing before the trade deadline and said he’s open to doing so whenever the club is ready.
It’s possible Flames GM Jay Feaster will shop him by the trade deadline if the club is out of the playoff race, but as they remain in contention in the tight Western Conference, that’s an unlikely scenario.
The Flames also lack depth at center and, with Jokinen wishing to stay, the odds are good he’ll ink a new deal with them before the 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.