Toronto’s blueline blues

• After months of denying rumors he’d waive his no-movement clause, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe may consider a trade after all.

Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher recently claimed McCabe “may be softening” on accepting a trade, adding he’d wait for the blueliner to tell him which teams he’d be willing to waive his no-movement clause for.

Last February, Fletcher attempted to persuade McCabe to waive the clause prior to the NHL trade deadline, but the defenseman steadfastly refused, leading to speculation Fletcher might try to ban McCabe from reporting to training camp in September.

Fletcher denied this, but his determination to move McCabe undoubtedly has been a factor in the defenseman’s apparent change of heart.

McCabe’s preferred destinations will significantly limit where Fletcher can shop him and there’s no guarantee teams on that list will have interest in him, particularly given the difficulty of being able to comfortably absorb his $5.75-million cap hit.

That’s not to suggest a McCabe trade won’t happen, but it could take longer than Leaf fans expect.

• Another Leafs defenseman often mentioned in trade rumors could be staying in Toronto.

Pavel Kubina has a no-trade clause, but because the Leafs failed to make the 2008 playoffs a stipulation in his contract provided Fletcher with a two-month window to shop Kubina to any team without his consent.

Several months ago it was widely speculated Kubina, who’s being paid $5 million per season, would be as good as gone this summer especially after, apparently, having a last-minute change of heart on accepting a potential deadline day move to the San Jose Sharks.

Fletcher has since praised Kubina’s strong overall performance after returning from an injury at mid-season. Newly hired Leafs coach – and former Sharks bench boss – Ron Wilson has also spoken highly of the rearguard.

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The deadline to move Kubina without having his consent is Aug. 15.

• Despite expectations the Chicago Blackhawks’ signing of goaltender Cristobal Huet last month spelled a trade for Nikolai Khabibulin, management insists that’s not the case.

In introducing Huet to the Chicago media last week, Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon claimed the team would start next season with both players splitting the goaltending duties, although he didn’t rule out the possibility of a trade later on.

Khabibulin has one season remaining on his contract at $6.75 million and with the Blackhawks now well over the $56.7-million salary cap, speculation has been rampant Tallon will shop ‘The Bulin Wall,’ possibly to the Ottawa Senators or Los Angeles Kings.

If Tallon doesn’t trade Khabibulin before the start of the season, he’ll have to consider other trade – or even demotion – options to get under the cap.

• Forget about the Dallas Stars signing former Minnesota Wild winger Mark Parrish. Stars co-GM Les Jackson recently told the Dallas Morning News their depth at right wing and a lack of cap space means there is no room for Parrish on the roster.

• Internet speculation suggests Parrish will return to the New York Islanders where he had his best NHL seasons, but so far there are no reports in the New York media suggesting the Isles are interested.

• The Nashville Predators reportedly contacted Parrish’s agent last week, seeing the winger as a potential replacement for Alexander Radulov should the young Russian winger play in the KHL this season.

Rumor Roundup will return August 19.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for and Eishockey Magazine.