With the NHL trade deadline a little more than a week away, here’s a look at some of the notable players kicking around the trade rumor mill.
Rick Nash (RW) and Jeff Carter (C), Columbus Blue Jackets
They’re the best players available, but the combination of their expensive, long-term contracts and the Blue Jackets asking price of young talent and high draft picks will make them difficult to move by the deadline.
Ales Hemsky (RW) and Nikolai Khabibulin (G), Edmonton Oilers
The 28-year-old Hemsky, a pending UFA, is a smooth play-maker, but his numbers are down significantly and there’s concern about his injury history. He and the Oilers are talking contract, but unless he accepts a short-term deal for less money, he is a prime candidate to be moved by deadline day.
Khabibulin has another season remaining on his contract, but the 39-year-old has no long-term future in Edmonton. Oilers GM Steve Tambellini would be wise to see if there’s any interest in the ageing ‘Bulin Wall.’
Derek Roy (C) and Drew Stafford (LW), Buffalo Sabres
Along with most of their teammates, Roy and Stafford have struggled, making them whipping boys for fan and media discontent over the Sabres poor performance. If management opts to rebuild, one or both could be shopped in cost-cutting deals.
Mike Ribeiro (C), Dallas Stars
Though Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk claims he’s not a “seller,” he’s hinted at being active at the deadline seeking deals to improve his club. Ribeiro has another season left on his contract at $5 million and a limited no-trade clause, but his name has popped up of late as a trade candidate.
Andrei Kostitsyn (LW), Travis Moen (RW) and Chris Campoli (D), Montreal Canadiens
All are eligible for UFA status this summer. Kostitsyn had expressed a willingness to remain with the Habs for less than market value, but his reduced ice time of late could change his mind.
Moen, though day-to-day with an upper body injury, will still attract interest from clubs in need of a checking forward.
Campoli would be an affordable pickup for those seeking depth at defense.
Marek Zidlicky (D), Minnesota Wild
Zidlicky was apparently willing to waive his movement clause to go to the New Jersey Devils, but Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wants to field offers from other teams for the disgruntled defenseman before deciding if he’ll move him at the deadline or wait for the off-season.
Johnny Oduya (D), Winnipeg Jets
Recent reports suggest the New Jersey Devils – Oduya’s former team – would be interested in re-acquiring the 30-year-old if the Jets become sellers by Feb. 27.
Bryan Allen (D) and Jaroslav Spacek (D), Carolina Hurricanes
Both are UFAs come July and could be dealt to playoff contenders seeking experienced blueline depth. Right winger Tuomo Ruutu would also have made this list, but he’s currently in contract talks with the Hurricanes and sidelined for the next three weeks.
Teemu Selanne (RW) and Lubomir Visnovsky (D), Anaheim Ducks
Selanne and Visnovsky were bandied about as trade bait when the team was 20 points out of a playoff berth, but going 14-2-4 in their past 20 games leaves the Ducks only seven points out. Barring a complete collapse between now and deadline day, Selanne and Visnovsky won’t be moved.
Rumor Focus appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 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.