Another wave of trades by the Toronto Maple Leafs is expected to come soon with left winger Alexei Ponikarovsky likely to be swept out of town.
A reliable 20-plus goal-scorer, Ponikarovsky has apparently attracted considerable attention in the trade market. TSN’s Darren Dreger recently claimed up to 10 teams were interested, although he didn’t expect the Ukrainian winger to be moved until close to March 3.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen claimed the Pittsburgh Penguins weren’t amongst the interested parties, but suggested it was still early.
A second round pick is apparently the asking price for Ponikarovsky, although it’s possible the Leafs could get more back if they hold onto him until the deadline.
• Are the slumping Boston Bruins so desperate for help they could shop goaltender Tim Thomas?
That’s the suggestion of Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, citing two league sources claiming Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was in talks with teams seeking help in goal and, with the Bruins mired in a horrible slump, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of moving Thomas.
The sticking point according to Garrioch is the no-movement clause in Thomas’s contract, plus a cap hit of $5 million per season. Another problem is his performance, as his numbers are well below those that won him the Vezina for 2008-09.
While anything’s possible, it appears unlikely Chiarelli would trade Thomas. But if he were so inclined, the netminder’s contract, movement clause and performance this season makes a trade all but impossible, especially at this time of year.
• Edmonton Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray is currently sidelined with a broken hand until late March, but he and the Oilers are hoping the teams on his trade “wish list” might be willing to take a chance on him by deadline.
TSN reported Souray’s list of preferred destinations consists of at least six teams, three in each conference: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Washington and the Rangers.
The Kings’ recent interest in Ilya Kovalchuk and Ray Whitney indicates they’re seeking a forward, not a defenseman. Pittsburgh and Dallas might be in the market for a puck-moving defenseman, but Souray’s $5.4 million per season cap hit won’t be an easy fit. The Capitals’ interest might lie in a more defensive blueliner than Souray.
The Rangers were reportedly interested prior to his injury, but since their recent trade with the Calgary Flames, their interests might turn elsewhere. As for the Ducks, they too might be more inclined to pursue a scoring forward.
It’s possible one of these teams might take a chance on Souray, but it seems more likely he’ll finish this season with the Oilers.
• With the Chicago Blackhawks opting out of the bidding for Ilya Kovalchuk, it’s believed they’re trying to bolster their blueline corps.
While there was talk last week of potential interest in Penguins defenseman Jay McKee, the Chicago Daily Herald wondered about the possibility of landing Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer should the Ducks fall out of playoff contention.
If recent reports from Chicago are any indication, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman’s attention isn’t on Niedermayer, but rather former Blackhawk James Wisniewski, with Bowman possibly willing to part with Cam Barker in exchange.
Most of the recent Blackhawks rumors focus upon the possibility of Bowman shopping for a goalie, but for now his priority appears to be landing an experienced defenseman.
• The contract status of Nashville Predators blueliner Dan Hamhuis had ESPN’s Scott Burnside musing over the possibility of GM David Poile shopping Hamhuis at the trade deadline for scoring depth.
Burnside believes ultimately Poile will tweak his roster by the deadline rather than make a major deadline deal. One wonders, however, if Poile might reconsider if a rival team was to make a considerable offer for Hamhuis.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays 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.