Does L.A. Kings left winger Ryan Smyth want to return to the Edmonton Oilers, the club where he spent most of his NHL career?
TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the story on Monday evening, citing a source who claimed Smyth had told Kings management he’d prefer to return to the Oilers if a trade could be worked out.
McKenzie noted no deal was in place and it would be difficult to move Smyth, given his current contract, which will pay him $4.5 million next season, but comes with a cap hit of $6.25 million. McKenzie also suggested Oilers management would be lukewarm to the prospect of bringing back Smyth, though he would be a good mentor to the young players on the team.
Smyth subsequently denied he was seeking a trade, telling the Edmonton Journal he had no idea where this was coming from, but the Los Angeles Times and LAKingsInsider.com cited sources confirming McKenzie’s report.
Whether or not Smyth requested a trade, it doesn’t make sense for the Oilers to acquire him when he’s still carrying a hefty cap hit, let alone the assets they’d have to part with to land him.
If Edmonton is seeking veteran leadership – and there’s no indication that’s part of their plan this summer – they would find more affordable options via free agency.
They could also wait until next season’s trade deadline to pursue Smyth, when most of his salary would be paid by the Kings, or wait until next summer, when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent and considerably cheaper to sign.
SEMYON VARLAMOV HAS INTEREST FROM KHL
The Washington Post recently reported the Kontinental League’s SKA St. Petersburg is believed to have interest in Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov and could send him a multi-year offer worth around $4 million per season, but Varlamov’s intent is to remain in the NHL.
His first choice is to re-sign with the Capitals, but they’re unlikely to offer up the kind of contract he could get from a KHL squad. With Michal Neuvirth having wrestled away the starting goalie job this season and promising Braden Holtby ready to challenge for a spot in the Capitals’ goaltending tandem next fall, it’s possible Varlamov will be dealt this summer.
If Varlamov is sincere about staying in the NHL, even if he’s paid less than what is being offered from the KHL, being traded shouldn’t be an issue, provided he goes to a team where he’ll have the opportunity to prove himself.
SETOGUCHI TRADE RUMORS GOING NOWHERE
San Jose Sharks right winger Devin Setoguchi has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the season, but it appears the club has no intention of dealing him.
The San Jose Mercury News recently spoke with Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who confirmed contract talks with Setoguchi were ongoing and that progress was being made.
Skeptics would suggest Wilson will try to pull a “sign-and-trade” with Setoguchi, but those kinds of deals rarely occur and the Sharks GM appears keen on keeping him in the fold.
TANGUAY TO TEST FREE AGENCY?
It’s not looking good for the Calgary Flames in their efforts to re-sign left winger Alex Tanguay.
The Calgary Sun reported Tuesday the two sides remained far apart in negotiations, with money being the main issue.
GM Jay Feaster expressed his hope of re-signing Tanguay, but that won’t be possible if the winger’s salary demands are too expensive for a cap-strapped club such as the Flames.
Last season, Tanguay earned $1.7 million on a one-year contract, but had a bounce-back campaign, netting 69 points playing on Jarome Iginla’s line. Those numbers could push Tanguay’s salary as high as the $3.5 million bracket.
The Flames currently have more than $57.2 million invested in 19 players for next season and even with the salary cap rising to $64 million next season, a contract in excess of $3 million per season for Tanguay would take a big bite out of the Flames’ remaining cap space and would likely lead to him testing the UFA market.
DEALING IN DENVER?
The Colorado Avalanche have lacked a franchise goaltender since Patrick Roy retired and Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla recently suggested the club should shop center Paul Stastny in hopes of addressing that need.
Kiszla suggested peddling Stastny and his expensive contract ($6.6 million per season) to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier, believing that move would not only resolve the Avs’ goalie issue, but would provide the Kings with the top forward they’re believed to be after this summer.
True, the Avalanche are deep with young talent at center, led by Matt Duchene, but Statsny is not yet a proven playoff performer, something the Kings will undoubtedly be looking for in their pursuit of a top-line star.
The Kings are also not in any hurry to trade one of their goaltenders and while Bernier is promising, he’s yet to prove himself as a quality starter, so it would be a huge gamble on the Avs part if they were to make such a move.
The Post‘s Adrian Dater, meanwhile, reported the Avalanche are keeping mum on the medical and contract status of left winger Tomas Fleischmann, who missed half of last season to a pulmonary embolism. Dater suspects Fleischmann won’t be re-signed and instead will become a UFA.
RED WINGS STILL SEARCHING FOR HELP ON DEFENSE
The Detroit Red Wings received good news on Monday when team captain and Norris trophy-nominated defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom announced he’ll return for another season, but GM Ken Holland still needs to find a replacement for recently retired blueliner Brian Rafalski.
It’s believed Holland will turn his focus to the upcoming UFA market to address that need, where Joni Pitkanen, Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, James Wisniewski, Ian White, Tomas Kaberle and Anton Babchuk could be available.
Holland, however, may also consider making a trade, perhaps during this weekend’s entry draft, to address that need.
The Detroit News recently reported forwards Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula are trade candidates.
Holland would prefer to move Hudler and retain Filppula, but the latter would have more trade value.
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 Foxsports.com and Eishockey News.