When the Anaheim Ducks visited Detroit last Friday, local reporters questioned Ducks veteran right winger Teemu Selanne about the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause to join a playoff contender like the Wings.
One reason why Detroit is an intriguing potential destination if Selanne decides to request a trade is the strong season being had by Finnish left winger Valtteri Filppula.
Selanne praised his countryman’s effort and suggested they’d have “good chemistry,” but insisted his main focus rested with helping the Ducks make the playoffs as the team fights through an eight-game road trip.
If Selanne were to go on the trade block, the Red Wings wouldn’t be the only team bidding for his services. It’s believed the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks would also have interest in him.
Ducks GM Bob Murray has long maintained his preference is for Selanne to retire a Duck and has left it up to the ‘The Finnish Flash’ to decide whether he stays or goes.
Until Selanne states unequivocally he’s staying with the Ducks, expect his name to remain in the rumor mill up to the trade deadline.
CAN KNUBLE BE HAD?
Washington Capitals right winger Mike Knuble has been a healthy scratch the past two games, which sparked rumors he could be on the move.
Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com suggested there are some Western Conference teams with interest in the 39-year-old Knuble, an eight-time, 20-plus goal-scorer with only three goals in 53 games this season.
Gormley cited the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks as two clubs in need of forward depth. He doubted Knuble on his own would fetch much of a return (perhaps a third round pick), but if packaged with defenseman Jeff Schultz and a pick or prospect, Knuble would help bring the Capitals a gritty forward.
Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com suggested any Sharks interest in Knuble makes sense as they could reunite him with center Joe Thornton. The two were linemates during their days with the Boston Bruins from 2000-2004.
Teams seeking scoring depth will look at Knuble, but he’d be a risky acquisition. It’s not so much he’s struggling to adjust to coach Dale Hunter’s system as age is finally catching up with him after 15 NHL seasons. A change of scenery at this stage of his career might not be enough to help him regain his offensive spark.
NO BLUELINE HELP NEEDED FOR ST. LOUIS
Jeff Gordon of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch scoffed at recent rumors the Blues were shopping for defensive depth by pointing out they’re doing just fine with Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Kris Russell, Roman Polak and brittle-but-effective Carlo Colaiacovo patrolling their blueline.
A quick peek at the stats shows the Blues lead the league in fewest goals-against per game and shots-against per game, so there’s no reason GM Doug Armstrong needs to be in the market for a blueliner.
St. Louis’ concern lies with its offense, which enters this week ranked 22nd in goals-per-game.
Armstrong, however, intends to address this area from within. With Andy McDonald and Alex Steen expected to return from their concussion spells soon, the Blues hope that will be the boost they need.
“Our goal is to get healthy and see where we fit in,” said Armstrong, who also suggested there are players on his roster capable of producing more.
That analysis would be aimed at right winger Chris Stewart and center Patrik Berglund, whose offensive totals are down significantly from a year ago.
Another reason Armstrong likely can’t make a significant move is that team ownership is in transition, so the Blues will be under a tight budget for the rest of the season.
TESTING THE TURCO WATERS
ESPN.com reported last week “a number of NHL teams” are keeping an eye on goaltender Marty Turco, who is currently playing in the Austrian League.
Turco has an NHL out-clause in his contract that allows him to return to North America should the opportunity arise. Teams seeking goaltending depth might have some interest in him, but they’ll have until the Feb. 27 trade deadline to sign him.
One stumbling block is he’d have to pass through waivers before joining an NHL team. Last season, Evgeni Nabokov was signed by the Detroit Red Wings, but was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders, where he remains to this day. The same risk exists for any club that wishes to sign Turco.
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.