USA Today’s Kevin Allen recently reported contract talks were going well between the Thrashers and Jay Grossman, the agent for superstar left winger Ilya Kovalchuk, although to date they don’t appear any closer to a deal.
Allen also dismissed recent trade speculation GM Don Waddell was entertaining offers for Kovalchuk, claiming Waddell has neither shopped the sniper, nor received a single call from another club.
While it’s possible the Thrashers could trade Kovalchuk later this season if he’s still unsigned, there appears a willingness on both sides to get a deal in place. The talented Russian could be waiting to see if the Thrashers remain a strong club in the second half of the season before committing to a deal.
Kovalchuk has been loyal to the franchise, but given the club’s history, undoubtedly wants assurances they’re heading in the right direction – both this season and the future.
• More of the Devils’ injured veterans are making their way back into the lineup, which has the New York Post’s Mark Everson wondering if GM Lou Lamoriello might be considering some moves.
Everson points out a “bevy of scouts” have been in Newark lately, which suggests a possible trade is in the works. According to the report, Lamoriello could either shop a couple of his young call-ups or move a veteran for additional depth elsewhere.
Given how well the Devils have played so far this season, their GM probably isn’t in any hurry to make any trades, barring an eye-popping offer from a rival club.
If Lamoriello does decide to go shopping, it’ll likely be in the weeks leading up to the mid-February Olympic break, as the odds of getting a good return are better around that period.
• Despite recent speculation the Columbus Blue Jackets are shopping for a defenseman, it appears they’re not anywhere close to landing one.
GM Scott Howson recently told the Columbus Dispatch a trade can provide a short-term jolt for a struggling roster, but unless it’s the right deal it won’t help over the long term, suggesting his current roster will just have to play through its current slump.
In other words, Howson probably hasn’t found the right deal to land either a short-term replacement for injured blueline stalwart Rostislav Klesla or another player who’ll snap the Jackets out of their current funk. And he’s probably not going to find one at this time of year.
• The recent decision by Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice to make team captain Rod Brind’Amour a healthy scratch has some concerned over the veteran center’s future with the club.
Maurice insisted the move was a hockey decision, while GM Jim Rutherford said it wasn’t part of a long-term plan, adding he hasn’t approached Brind’Amour about retirement or giving up his captaincy.
Brind’Amour, 39, is renowned for his high fitness level, but age and years of wear and tear have finally caught up to him. The less ice time he gets this season the more likely his name could become a fixture in the NHL rumor mill.
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.