Recent reports out of Minnesota claim contract negotiations between the Wild and Marian Gaborik have stalled, stoking the trade rumors that have been swirling about the talented but injury-prone winger since the summer.
Wild GM Doug Risebrough hoped to have the sniper’s name on an extension by the start of the season and refuses to comment on the possibility of trading him. The Gaborik camp are apparently waiting for Risebrough to re-start contract talks.
Gaborik reportedly spurned a ten-year deal worth more than $8 million per season. While team owner Craig Leipold recently expressed hopes of re-signing Gaborik, it might not happen if the Wild are unwilling to come up in price.
The longer Gaborik goes unsigned the more his name will figure prominently in the rumor mill.
• The Brendan Shanahan watch continues in New York, where Rangers fans wait and wonder if the popular veteran winger will return.
Salary cap issues have prevented the Rangers from adding Shanahan to their roster and while he’s attracted some interest from other NHL teams, he continues to patiently await an offer from GM Glen Sather.
It was speculated the Detroit Red Wings might be one of the teams interested in Shanny, but given their own salary cap issues that seems a remote possibility. The Carolina Hurricanes were also rumored to be in the hunt, but GM Jim Rutherford denied having any contact with the Shanahan camp.
To sign Shanahan, the Rangers would have to dump salary, with forward Petr Prucha or Patrick Rissmiller considered potential trade candidates.
• It appears the Chicago Blackhawks efforts to move goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin have, for now, reached a dead end.
After spending more than a week attempting to trade Khabibulin or loan him to a KHL team, the Blackhawks were forced to take him back for the start of the season, demoting promising young goalie Antti Niemi and cutting defenseman Keith Carney and forward Kevyn Adams to get under the cap.
The options for the Blackhawks are limited. They can place Khabibulin on waivers again in hopes a rival club will claim him; demote him if he clears, taking his $6.75 million hit off the cap, but still forcing the Hawks to pay his full salary; place him on recall waivers in hopes another team grabs him at half price; or keep him as the backup and continue shopping him.
Given his expensive salary and the fact most NHL teams currently have little payroll room, it’s unlikely he’ll be claimed off waivers or traded this early in the season. It could take until at least mid-season before the Blackhawks find any takers for Khabibulin.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays 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 Magazine.