A response by ESPN.com’s Jesse Rogers to a reader’s question about which players the Chicago Blackhawks should pursue this season will spark speculation of Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan joining the Hawks at the trade deadline.
Rogers said Doan was a player he liked a lot, noted the veteran right winger will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer and suggested the Hawks make a push for him if the Coyotes falter this season.
Doan might be available if the Coyotes are out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, but it’s not a certainty.
A recent report in USA Today noted Coyotes GM Don Maloney wanted to meet with Doan prior to training camp to discuss a new contract.
While the Coyotes still face an uncertain future in Arizona and lost veterans Ilya Bryzgalov, Ed Jovanovski, Eric Belanger and Vernon Fiddler in the off-season, they re-signed star defenseman Keith Yandle, while promising youngsters Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker are poised for breakout performances.
It’s also possible former Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith, signed as a free agent this summer, will get his career back on track in Phoenix, though many around the hockey world doubt it.
Doan has been very loyal to the Coyotes franchise dating back to his time in Winnipeg, so it shouldn’t be assumed he’s keen to test next summer’s UFA market.
Still, if Doan decides to wait until the end of the season to talk contract, or it appears the Coyotes are headed to another city following the season and they fall out of playoff contention by February, rumors of a deadline trade to a Cup contender – such as the Blackhawks – will run rampant.
WILL RINNE AND RASK BE THE ODD MEN OUT?
Interesting suggestion from NHL.com’s E.J. Hradek when asked by a reader which future Predators free agent – Shea Weber (RFA), Ryan Suter or Pekka Rinne (UFAs) – should be the odd man out in the club’s plans following this season.
Hradek believed it would be Rinne, claiming it’s easier to replace an elite goaltender than elite defensemen.
One reason letting Rinne go is a possibility is the play and promise of backup Anders Lindback, who performed well in his limited role last season (22 GP, 11-5-2, 2.60 GAA, .915 SP, two shutouts).
It’s been suggested Lindback will push Rinne for the starter’s job this season, which would raise the possibility of the latter being shopped.
More likely, Rinne’s future in Nashville – and Weber and Suter for that matter – will depend on how contract negotiations go over the course of the season.
If the Predators are unable to reach an agreement with Weber and/or Suter by next July, Rinne likely won’t be going anywhere.
Tim Thomas’ stellar performance last season had one Bruins fan asking ESPN.com’s James Murphy about backup Tuukka Rask’s future in Boston.
Murphy believed Rask not only still has a future with the Bruins, but it would take a significant, too-good-to-reject offer for management to consider moving him.
For the foreseeable future, Thomas will be the Bruins starter, but he turns 38 next April so it’s a good bet the Bruins will want to give a healthy Rask more starts this season in order to keep their playoff MVP and two-time Vezina winner healthy for the 2012 playoffs.
ISLANDERS WANT TO GIVE KIDS A CHANCE
It appears the New York Islanders won’t be making any more free agent veteran additions to their forward lines this season.
Earlier this month it was reported the agent for ex-Islanders center Alexei Yashin was in talks with the club. Around the same time, the Isles shipped veteran right winger Trent Hunter to the New Jersey Devils for left winger Brian Rolston.
GM Garth Snow, however, recently told the New York Post he had no plans to add to his current corps of forwards, saying he wanted to give young players, such as Nino Niederreiter, the opportunity to make the roster.
Snow may change his mind if Niederreiter fails to make the cut during pre-season, or if a wave of injuries strike the club again, but for now it appears Snow will evaluate his roster during training camp and determine his needs from there.
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.