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The defensemen market

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

NHL teams interested in adding some blueline depth should contact the New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes or Buffalo Sabres.

These clubs have a surplus of defensemen and are willing to move some for the right deal.

After losing long-time left winger Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild last summer via free agency and opting not to re-sign veteran right winger Petr Sykora, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is in the market for a scoring forward.

Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com doubted veteran D-men Anton Volchenkov, Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky or promising Adam Larsson would be available, but suggested Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Henrik Tallinder or Peter Harrold as potential trade candidates.

Greene likely has the most trade value, but not enough on his own to land a scorer.

Coyotes GM Don Maloney is also in need of a scorer and could use a defenseman as trade bait. He reportedly attempted to address this need leading up to the lockout, but his efforts fell through.

Trade rumors have dogged defenseman Keith Yandle since last June, but Maloney claimed he doesn't want to pick apart the core of his blueline, which also includes rising talent Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Maloney suggested Yandle was no different than any other player on the roster, but it would have to be the right deal to move him or any of the Coyotes’ core players.

Having reacquired Zbynek Michalek from the Pittsburgh Penguins last June, Maloney isn't about to peddle him away again. Rostislav Klesla has proven a pillar of strength since joining the Coyotes midway through the 2010-11 season and is considered a core part of their defense.

Veteran Derek Morris, who has one season after this left on his contract at an affordable $2.75 million cap hit with a limited no-trade clause, could be a trade candidate.

The Sabres, meanwhile, currently have nine defensemen on their roster and since they usually carry six, GM Darcy Regier may move a couple before the start of the season.

John Vogl of The Buffalo News doesn't expect Tyler Myers or Christian Ehrhoff to be shopped. That leaves Jordan Leopold, Robyn Regehr, Andrej Sekera, Alexander Sulzer, Mike Weber, Adam Pardy and T.J. Brennan.

Demoting someone like the promising Brennan means he'd have to clear waivers, which Regier would prefer not to attempt, lest he be claimed by another club.

A trade would be preferable. Veterans Leopold ($3 million) and Regehr ($4 million) are scheduled to become UFAs this summer, as are Pardy and Sulzer. Weber and Brennan are restricted free agents this summer.

It may prove difficult, however, for these clubs to find the right deal.

One potential trade partner was the Ottawa Senators, but GM Bryan Murray recently told the Ottawa media he's decided to wait and cited high asking prices for defensemen around the league.

If that trend continues, the Devils and Coyotes will be forced to wait until later in the season to find offensive help, while the Sabres might have to risk losing a defenseman via waivers.

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.

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