Concern the Boston Bruins will miss the veteran presence of retired right winger Mark Recchi has spurred speculation linking Boston to a veteran left winger in Phoenix.
The Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont tweeted Friday he'd heard “lingering chatter that Ray Whitney could be a Bruin.”
Dupont followed up in his Sunday column by suggesting the Bruins would target the 39-year-old Coyote, who netted 57 points last season, if their offense was negatively affected by the retirement of Recchi.
Whitney is in the final season of his current contract and will earn $3 million against the cap, a sum Dupont believes the Bruins can afford after center Marc Savard's $4 million salary comes off the books when he's placed on long-term injury reserve.
While Dupont suggested it would be better for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to “pull the trigger early” rather than have to compete with other playoff-bound clubs at the trade deadline for Whitney's services, he's neglected to address two key questions: Why would the Coyotes wish to move Whitney so early in the season? And would Whitney agree to be dealt?
Not to mention the fact the Coyotes would have to take back some salary or bring up an American League prospect to stay above the NHL’s salary floor.
The new season begins Oct. 6, so it seems premature to suggest the Coyotes would want to dump Whitney at this point; after all, he was their third-highest scorer last season.
Whitney also has a no-movement clause in his contract, meaning he'd not only have to agree to be dealt, but also approve any destination.
To date, there have been no reports in the Phoenix sports media suggesting the Coyotes are shopping players or that Whitney is even available.
Perhaps if the Coyotes are out of the playoff race by February they’ll consider peddling veterans who won't be re-signed, but if they're still in the chase, and if Whitney plays a significant role, they won't move him, regardless of his pending UFA status.
LEAFS LOOKING FOR SCORERS?
Reports continued to circulate this weekend claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for more offensive depth.
TSN's Darren Dreger and the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons recently reported the Leafs are in the market for an impact forward with size and would be willing to part with a couple of younger depth players.
No deals appeared imminent, but Dreger reported Leafs management will be patient and expected it would take until November before such a player becomes available.
There was no mention of which players the Leafs would be willing to part with, though a report on ESPN.com last week cited defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and center Tyler Bozak as potential trade pieces.
There was also no word on which teams or players the Leafs are targeting because, at this point in the season, there aren't any “sellers” in the trade market.
One player who would fit the bill, though, is Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell, who was the subject of trade rumors last week. The Flyers may still need to juggle cap space to make room for promising forwards Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier if the eighth overall pick in 2011 earns a roster spot in camp.
Hartnell has a no-trade clause in his contract and might not be willing to go from a potential Cup contender to a rebuilding team.
A RADULOV RETURN? NOT LIKELY
Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo Sports recently reported right winger Alexander Radulov's recent clashes with the new coach of Salavat Yulaev of the Kontinental League has given rise to suggestions he’ll return to the NHL and the Nashville Predators.
For now it appears Radulov, who signed a three-year extension with Salavat last summer, will be staying in the KHL this season and he is reportedly seeking a trade to another KHL team.
Radulov bolted for the pro Russian league in the summer of 2008 following a contract dispute with the Predators, who still own his NHL rights.
It appears extremely unlikely Radulov will decide to return to the Predators this season, but if he's harboring that notion, he'll have to do so before the NHL season opens.
If he continues playing in the KHL after the NHL season begins, he'd have to pass through waivers before joining the Preds. Since there is likely another NHL team that would be happy to steal him away, Nashville has no incentive to try and bring him back after Oct. 6.
Chesnokov also reported Radulov apparently has a “gentleman's agreement” with his KHL team that allows him to return to the NHL next summer if he wished. Keep in mind, that lines up with the end of the current NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining agreement.
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.