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Senators need help on defense

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Erik Karlsson's season-ending injury (lacerated Achilles tendon) has Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray calling around in search of an affordable defender who can help the club make the playoffs.

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch listed five defensemen – the Islanders' Mark Streit, Carolina's Joe Corvo, Montreal's Tomas Kaberle, Phoenix's Keith Yandle and Edmonton’s Ryan Whitney – he believed were available in the trade market.

As long as the Isles remain in playoff contention, Streit won't be moved. Corvo's previous tenure with the Senators went poorly. The asking price for Yandle would be too high and Kaberle is a spent force.

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal believes Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has probably contacted Murray about Whitney, but also questioned if Tambellini would be ready to part with the blueliner right now.

The decline in Whitney's mobility is why his name has shown up in the rumor mill, so Murray may be considering other options.

The Senators GM was also quick to dismiss speculation he would shop Craig Anderson and call up promising Robin Lehner from the minors.

However he attacks the situation, Murray is not dealing from a position of strength, which makes finding an affordable short-term replacement for Karlsson that much harder.


Speaking of Kaberle, it wasn’t that long ago when he was a hot commodity leading up to the NHL's 2011 trade deadline. How times have changed.

Since being dealt on Feb. 18, 2011 from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Boston Bruins, Kaberle's stock has plummeted. Though he was part of the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup, his performance was disappointing and he was not re-signed.

On July 5, 2011, Kaberle inked a three-year, $12.75 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, but by November was acquired by a Montreal Canadiens team desperate to plug gaps on their injury-ravaged blueline.

Kaberle has tumbled down the Canadiens depth chart and since Feb. 3 has been a healthy scratch.

Though frustrated over his current situation, Kaberle said he hasn't approached management about a trade and remained hopeful of earning a regular spot in the lineup.

If the Canadiens were to shop him, they won't find much of a market for a declining 34-year-old blueliner with another year at $4.75 million left on his contract.

Expect them to use their remaining amnesty buyout this summer to shed Kaberle's contract.


Now that the Columbus Blue Jackets have hired Jarmo Kekalainen as their new GM, observers wonder what his first moves will be to start turning around a franchise long mired in mediocrity.

The Blue Jackets are once again wallowing at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The presence of 19 NHL scouts at Nationwide Arena on Monday when the Jackets hosted the San Jose Sharks prompted Columbus Dispatch columnist Michael Arace to suggest “the vultures are circling.”

Prior to Kekalainen's hiring on Wednesday, CBC's Elliotte Friedman reported center Derick Brassard was rumored to be available.

Friedman also noted the Blue Jackets hold three first round picks in this year's draft, the result of trades last year with the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. He doubted the Jackets would move their own pick “for anything less than a superstud,” but suggested the other two would prove invaluable in what's expected to be a deep draft this year.

Kekalainen, the former director of amateur scouting for the St. Louis Blues, will need time to evaluate the Blue Jackets before making any significant moves. Those could come by this year's trade deadline.


Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster raised some eyebrows by plucking goaltender Joey MacDonald off waivers Monday from the Detroit Red Wings

With Miikka Kiprusoff sidelined by a knee injury, Feaster had signed minor leaguer Danny Taylor to a one-year, two-way NHL contract. It was expected Taylor would back up Leland Irving, who took over the starting goalie role in Kiprusoff's absence.

The Flames GM moved quickly to silence speculation the MacDonald pickup was a long range preparation for moving on without Kiprusoff. Feaster had long coveted MacDonald and claimed him when the opportunity arose.

MacDonald's NHL experience also made him a better backup option for Irving, who has surprised critics by his strong performance filling in for Kiprusoff. Taylor has since been returned to the minors.

It remains to be seen what Feaster has planned for his goaltending when Kiprusoff returns to action. Given how well Irving has played, it's unlikely he'll be demoted or dealt.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).


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