NHL fans can tell June is fast approaching, not by the weather or the progress of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but rather by the frequency Columbus right winger Rick Nash appears in trade rumors.
The latest came this week via Blue Jackets play-by-play man Jeff Rimer, who told a local radio station the Boston Bruins were prepared to make a significant offer.
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com examined the possibility of a Nash-to-Boston scenario and was unconvinced that move could happen.
Haggerty acknowledged the Bruins were on Nash’s list of preferred destinations prior to the February trade deadline, but pointed out they’d have to free up more than $7.8 million in cap space to comfortably absorb the big winger’s salary.
The biggest stumbling block is the Blue Jackets asking price. While many observers believe they would have interest in goalie Tuukka Rask, Haggerty cited sources saying they’d want either left winger Milan Lucic or center Tyler Seguin and blueline prospect Dougie Hamilton.
It’s difficult to believe the Bruins would part with the rugged Lucic as part of a return for Nash and they certainly won’t part with both Seguin and Hamilton.
Unless the Blue Jackets are willing to accept center David Krejci or goalie Tim Thomas as part of a package offer, Haggerty doubts Nash will be coming to Boston.
It should be remembered Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli sounded reluctant during his end-of-season press conference to break up his current roster. It would take moving two or three significant players to acquire Nash and if Seguin or Lucic and Hamilton are part of the asking price, it won’t happen.
ROY HEADING OUT OF BUFFALO?
Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier expects the thin free agent market will lead to increased trade talk once the playoffs end.
Regier made those comments during a press conference announcing the re-signing of defenseman Alexander Sulzer, adding his priority is to bolster his depth at center.
The Sabres centers currently include Derek Roy, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis. Roy was frequently mentioned in trade rumors, but Regier said he expected him to return “at this point.”
Paul Hamilton of WGR550 claimed the Sabres have been trying to move Roy since last June, suggesting Regier’s comments purposefully left the issue open.
Roy, 29, has one season left on his contract at a cap hit of $4 million, though his actual salary will be $5.5 million, as his is one of those rare NHL contracts that is back-loaded.
Given the Sabres presently have more than $58 million committed to payroll, they’ll need to move some salary – like Roy’s – to add experienced depth at center.
Roy is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, with only 44 points in 80 games, his lowest total playing when playing more than 70 games.
It’s been suggested Roy could benefit from a change of scenery, especially given his criticism of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.
Roy could attract attention from clubs seeking depth at center, but the steady decline of his offensive numbers since a career-high 81-point effort in 2007-08 will scare off some suitors.
The Philadelphia Flyers signing of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov last June to a nine-year contract assures young netminder Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t fit into their long-term future plans.
John Boruk of CSNPhilly.com believes Bobrovsky – whose numbers dropped substantially this season – currently lacks trade value. Boruk suggests demoting ‘Bob’ to the Flyers minor league affiliate while GM Paul Holmgren searches the free agent market for a reliable veteran backup.
Boruk listed Tomas Vokoun, Johan Hedberg, Josh Harding, Scott Clemmensen and Chris Mason as free agent possibilities.
His colleague, Sarah Baicker, went one further, suggesting they bring back Martin Biron, who played for the Flyers from 2006 to 2009.
Moving Bobrovsky, who has one season remaining on his entry level contract, to the minors to improve his performance, confidence and trade value isn’t a bad idea, provided he clears waivers first.
Otherwise, teams willing to take a chance on him could pluck him off the waiver wire without giving up anything in return.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday 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, Kukla’s Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.