Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province recently reported the Vancouver Canucks were making “one final push” to trade Roberto Luongo before the trade deadline.
Botchford claimed the Canucks resumed talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who apparently offered a second round pick “and maybe a prospect.” The Canucks, seeking depth at center, want Tyler Bozak as part of the return.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the Leafs would like to add a veteran goalie with playoff experience “under the right circumstances,” having held talks with the Calgary Flames for Miikka Kipusoff as well as with the Canucks for Luongo.
Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis last week told the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons he wasn't working on any major deals, but didn't rule out a move by the trade deadline.
Though Cory Schneider has played better of late, his meltdown on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers suggests the Canucks must retain Luongo as insurance to clinch a playoff berth or demand a decent backup as part of the return for ‘Bobby Lu.’
Nonis' desire for an experienced veteran goalie is understandable, but Leafs goalies James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have a combined record of 20-12-4, a 2.55 GAA, .919 SP and four shutouts. They're one reason the Leafs, with a month remaining in the regular season, are poised to clinch their first playoff berth in eight seasons.
If the asking price for a veteran netminder proves too expensive, it won't hurt the Leafs to stick with their current tandem.
Where There's Smoke, There Are Flames
Calgary Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester recently admitted having conversations with management regarding a trade. He declined to elaborate, adding it wasn't anyone else's business.
With Jarome Iginla dealt to Pittsburgh, Bouwmeester and Miikka Kiprusoff have become obvious targets for Flames trade speculation.
Throughout this season, trade chatter linked Bouwmeester with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers. CBC's Kevin Weekes suggested the Tampa Bay Lightning could also have interest in the 29-year-old blueliner.
Despite the interest from those clubs, the remaining year at $6.7 million on his contract remains a significant problem.
If the salary cap were to remain at (or exceed) $70.2 million next season, the Flames might have an easier time shopping him. But with the cap dropping to $64.3 million, rival GMs remain leery about adding his salary.
It could be easier for the Flames to move Bouwmeester by absorbing part of his salary, but it remains to be seen if they'll consider that option.
Ryan Miller Rumor Mill
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller recently denied a report claiming he'd submitted to management a list of eight clubs to which he wouldn't accept a trade.
Miller also didn't read much into comments by GM Darcy Regier suggesting he was open to trade offers for “any and all” Sabres players as an indication Regier was planning a roster overhaul by the deadline.
Trade Talk in Tampa
Still, there's anticipation Miller could be shopped by the deadline or in the off-season. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch cited sources claiming the Tampa Bay Lightning could be interested in the 32-year-old netminder, but Miller might prefer a move to a west coast team.
The Lightning currently have over $62 million invested in 20 players for 2013-14, providing little wiggle room to absorb Miller's $6.3-million salary, assuming he'll waive his no-trade clause to go to Tampa Bay.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman could get some extra cap space if defenseman Mattias Ohlund ($3.6 million cap hit) goes on long-term injury reserve or his surgically repaired knees force him into retirement.
Another measure could be compliance buyouts to shed a couple of expensive contracts, but it remains to be seen if Yzerman employs that tactic.
What Yzerman won't do is trade winger Martin St-Louis. He recently told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun the 37-year-old St. Louis “is not going to be traded,” claiming his talent, experience and leadership made him “an extremely important player to our team.”
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).