The struggling Anaheim Ducks continue to be grist for the NHL trade rumor mill.
On Monday night, an unnamed NHL executive told Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos the Ducks have been shopping left winger Bobby Ryan, who’d been underperforming this season with only 11 points in 23 games.
Ducks play-by-play man John Ahlers told Sportsnet 590 Tuesday there’s been enough speculation he imagines Ducks management is listening to offers.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun cited sources saying the Ducks were “listening to offers” for Ryan, though another source said they were “listening on a lot of guys.” LeBrun pointed out there’s a difference between shopping a player and listening to offers.
He cited another league source claiming the Carolina Hurricanes inquired about Ryan, but doubted the budget-conscious Canes could afford his $5.1-million cap hit.
LeBrun believes it would take a big package “involving two or three pieces,” like a young defenseman, a young forward and a draft pick, to land the 24-year-old.
Ryan would be a tempting trade target, but that salary could prove difficult to move. The dollars not only have to fit under the cap of supposedly interested teams, but given the Ducks’ rumored budget constraints, the return can’t exceed his salary.
Sportsnet listed six teams – the Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs – that “could make a serious play” for Ryan.
Leafs GM Brian Burke is the former GM of the Ducks and has dealt with them before. Last season he swapped defenseman Francois Beauchemin for right winger Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth round pick in 2013.
Problem is, the Leafs are bumping against the cap ceiling and while they have several players on long-term injury status, the additional cap space created is only temporary, vanishing once those injured players return to action.
With the Leafs performing well, Burke might see no need to make a deal at this time.
Like the Leafs, the Flyers and Rangers have limited cap space and no reason at this time to make major moves.
With Chris Pronger and Andreas Lilja currently sidelined, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren’s more pressing need would be for a defenseman, not a scoring winger.
Sportsnet suggested the Flames could offer up a defenseman like Jay Bouwmeester or Mark Giordano, but GM Jay Feaster won’t move Giordano, while Bouwmeester’s $6.7-million cap hit is too rich for the Ducks.
The Devils ownership is experiencing money problems and while the assumption is to offer Zach Parise straight-up for Ryan, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and Parise have repeatedly stated their intent to get a contract done.
Parise is also eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, which would make the Ducks leery about dealing for him.
Sportsnet suggested the Panthers, with $10 million-plus in cap space, could easily afford Ryan, but the reason they have that much available space is they’re a “budget team,” meaning they’re not spending up to the cap.
Like the Leafs, Rangers and Flyers, the Panthers’ current performance indicates they have no pressing need to make a major move.
If the Ducks deal Ryan, or another notable player, it will only be for a return that can help them now and in the future. They won’t make a trade just for the sake of doing so.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal recently claimed “we keep hearing” Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, who’s currently sidelined with a concussion, wouldn’t mind if the Sabres dealt him.
Miller’s wife is California-based actress Noureen DeWulf, but Matheson doubted he’d be a fit with the L.A. Kings, Anaheim Ducks or San Jose Sharks, who appear set with their current goaltenders.
ESPN’s LeBrun contacted Miller, who denied the report, claiming he’s never made any comment regarding his status with the Sabres.
Miller’s performance has dipped a bit since his career-best 2009-10 season, when he won the Vezina Trophy and carried Team USA to the silver medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and prior to his injury was being outplayed by backup Jhonas Enroth.
Still, Miller remains among the league’s top goalies and while Enroth has played well, he’s yet to prove himself ready to unseat Miller long term as the Sabres starter.
Miller has two more seasons at $6.3 million per remaining on his contract, as well as a limited no-trade clause in which he lists eight teams he wouldn’t accept a trade to, making him difficult to shop if the Sabres were to put him on the market.
BRASSARD ON THE BLOCK?
The Ottawa Senators may be turning their attention away from Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Turris and looking at another option in Columbus.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun claimed the Senators, and everyone else around the league, had “closed the book” on Turris since he ended his contract holdout, but were among four teams with interest in Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard, a healthy scratch in six of the Jackets’ eight games since Nov. 12.
Garrioch believes “the stumbling block” is Brassard’s contract, which has two years remaining at an annual cap hit of $3.2 million, but doubts the Blue Jackets would want much in return.
The Senators could use depth at center and Brassard could be had for a prospect or pick at this point,. But that cap hit is expensive and after shedding considerable salary to rebuild with affordable youth, GM Bryan Murray would likely prefer a more affordable option.
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.