Having matched the Calgary Flames offer sheet for center Ryan O'Reilly, the Colorado Avalanche must decide which line he'll play on over the course of his two-year contract.
If the Avalanche still intend to trade O'Reilly by next Feb. 28 (one year from the date they matched his offer sheet), Adrian Dater of the Denver Post believes the best way to bolster his trade value is to play him on one of their top two lines.
Dater suggests they either demote Matt Duchene or Paul Stastny to their third line, move Duchene to the wing, or bring in better wingers for whoever ends up on the third line.
Another solution would be shopping Stastny, who has only one season (at $6.6 million) remaining on his contract. Dater acknowledges that salary would be difficult to move, but so would O'Reilly's $6.5 million for next season.
The decline in Stastny's production since his career-best 79 points three years ago has made him a fixture in the rumor mill, but the Avalanche have shown little inclination to move him.
That could change with unrestricted free agency beckoning Stastny after next season, especially given the big jump in O'Reilly’s salary next season.
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero told Dan Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there's “nothing imminent” regarding trades for his club, though like any good GM, he's not about to tip his hand to the press.
Molinari speculates a top-six winger or a physical veteran defenseman could end up on the Penguins shopping list as the trade deadline nears.
Some pundits believe Shero has targeted Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, provided the Flames are finally willing to move him and Iginla agrees to be dealt.
Iginla's been linked to the Penguins in the rumor mill going back to when he and Sidney Crosby were linemates on Canada's 2010 Olympic gold medal team. It remains to be seen if the Penguins would pay a potentially expensive asking price for a rental player like Iginla.
KOMI KOMI KOMI KOMI KOMI CHAMELEON
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis clarified the status of little-used defenseman Mike Komisarek, claiming the blueliner wouldn't stand in the way of a trade that could benefit the Leafs, but preferred to work his way back into the lineup.
Komisarek holds a partial no-movement clause in which, each June, he provides a list of teams he'd accept being dealt to. The Globe & Mail's James Mirtle speculates Komisarek would provide Nonis with more trade options if he's willing to play anywhere in the NHL.
Though Komisarek's declining performance and $4.5 million cap hit for next season could hamper his trade value, a desperate club might take a chance on him.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer reported the knee injury to Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward would put them in the market for more physical blueline depth.
DeCock suggested Komisarek might benefit from a change of scenery and a reunion with Kirk Muller, who was an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens during Komisarek's final season there.
Komisarek's actual salary is $3.5 million for this season and next. With the new CBA allowing teams to absorb a portion of a player's salary to facilitate a trade, DeCock speculates the Leafs would consider that option.
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.).