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Brandon's back

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

• New York Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky’s recent contract holdout gave rise to rumors last week the team might peddle him for an experienced puck-moving defenseman, should he prove difficult to sign.

Of course, that possibility is off the table with Dubinsky’s re-signing over the weekend. However, the Post did note unrestricted free agent center Dominic Moore was on GM Glen Sather’s radar as a third or fourth line option.

Concern over the performances of veteran blueliners Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival, however, is very real. If they fail to improve, it’s entirely possibly Sather will go shopping for blueline help.

• Finding a way to fit veteran center Michael Nylander into the Washington Capitals lineup might be a problem for coach Bruce Boudreau and GM George McPhee this season.

With the emergence of young Nicklas Backstrom as a proven first line center and the summer signing of veteran Brendan Morrison, it’s possible Nylander will be relegated to the checking lines, not the most desirable place for an offensive-minded center.

This has cast his future with the club into doubt. The Washington Post reported last week Boudreau acknowledged Nylander and management were seeking a deal that would send him to Europe this season.

Subsequent reports, however, appeared to contradict this, as Nylander said he looked forward to playing in the NHL this season.

What complicates the Nylander situation is his no-movement clause, which remains in effect until the end of the 2009-10 season. If he wants to play in the NHL this season he likely won’t sign-off on a loan to a European team.

Trading Nylander to an NHL team of his liking also won’t be easy because of his $4.875 million cap hit, so it is possible the Capitals will be stuck with Nylander for one more season.

• The Columbus Dispatch reported the Blue Jackets have a glut of forwards heading into this season, something GM Scott Howson attempted to address in the summer via trades, one of which reportedly included left winger Jason Chimera.

It remains to be seen if Chimera will be part of a future trade by the Jackets this season, but the club has a need for a puck-moving defenseman, which Howson might try to bring in, using his depth in wingers as bait. Recent pre-season injuries to Chimera and Fredrik Modin might rule out attempts at an early-season move.

• Forget about the Vancouver Canucks welcoming back Mats Sundin.

The Vancouver Province recently reported GM Mike Gillis has decided to move on, which could open the door for either Kyle Wellwood or Mason Raymond to step up into a second line role.

Considering his agent claims Sundin hasn’t even been skating yet, the possibility of retirement looms large.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays 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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