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Barking up the trade tree

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Blackhawks recent re-signings of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith doesn’t mean the club has to move salary at this point in the season to comply with the NHL’s ‘tagging’ rule, but it does mean GM Stan Bowman will face that prospect in the off-season.

Bowman’s club is pressed tight against this season’s salary cap of $56.8 million, meaning he cannot bring in any more salary via trade or waiver wire claims. More troubling is he cannot even add another player via call-up should someone on his current roster get hurt, especially one on contract for next season.

If the injury bug should start to present itself, Bowman might have no option but to try to dump salary to make room for a call-up.

Brent Sopel was reportedly being shopped prior to the Kane, Toews and Keith signings, but it’s believed rival GMs who expressed interest wanted something else thrown into the deal, like a draft pick or prospect.

Bowman may be unwilling to toss in deal-sweeteners now, but he might have to reconsider should the need arise.

The other option would be to trade more notable players like left winger Patrick Sharp or defenseman Cam Barker. Although either player would attract considerable interest without any add-ins, their loss could have an adverse impact upon team chemistry.

Bowman will be undoubtedly hoping his roster can stay healthy for the remainder of this season.

• Ducks GM Bob Murray recently told the Orange County Register his acquisition of center Kyle Chipchura from Montreal didn’t mean he was planning bigger moves.

However, Murray made those comments prior to veteran right winger Teemu Selanne’s suffering a broken bone in his left hand, sidelining him for four-to-six weeks.

For now, Murray’s called up right winger Dan Sexton from the Manitoba Moose, but losing one of his best goal-scorers is a serious blow for a Ducks team struggling to overcome a sluggish start that has them mired in the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Don’t be surprised if the rumor mill starts churning out more Ducks trade speculation in the coming weeks.

• After a strong start to this season, the Rangers have slumped badly and currently find themselves battling for one of the final playoff berths in the East.

That’s given rise to talk of GM Glen Sather shopping around for help. The Ottawa Sun reported Sunday he’s interested in acquiring oft-injured Canucks center Pavol Demitra, who’s hoping to return from off-season shoulder surgery sometime after Christmas.

The thinking behind this one is Demitra is a friend and former Wild linemate of Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik, so if Demitra can return healthy he’d be a good fit.

Regardless of Demitra’s injury history or his friendship with Gaborik, the fact remains the Rangers are pressed for salary cap space. They cannot afford to take on Demitra’s $4 million salary – or any other player of consequence carrying a significant salary – unless they can first dump or trade comparable cap space.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis might be willing to peddle Demitra, but he’s also lacking significant cap space, so he’ll not only want the dollars to fit, but also decent talent in return.

Forget about the Rangers moving the struggling Ales Kotalik and his $3 million per season salary or doghouse-dweller Enver Lisin, whose $790,000 cap hit wouldn’t free up enough space unless he’s part of a package deal.

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



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