Thanks in part to Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the Anaheim Ducks are among the top teams this season in the Western Conference.
The pair are eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, creating uncertainty over their futures in Anaheim. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun recently reported contract talks with the Ducks could resume shortly.
LeBrun believes Getzlaf will be re-signed, but is uncertain about Perry. If he’s still unsigned by the April 3 trade deadline, LeBrun thinks the Ducks could move the right winger regardless of their position in the standings.
Given the Ducks’ strong performance, trading Perry seems absurd. LeBrun, however, suggested Ducks management wants to avoid losing the 27-year-old for nothing to free agency.
By moving Perry at the trade deadline, the Ducks could land at least a good young player, a first round pick and a prospect. That move, however, could not only hurt their hopes for a lengthy playoff run, but send the wrong message to Anaheim fans.
Since their Cup championship in 2007, the Ducks’ attendance has steadily declined, dropping from 15th overall in ’07-08 to 25th so far this season.
A long playoff run could provide a much-needed boost to their attendance and revenue. Their chances are better with Perry in the lineup.
Anaheim fans will be disappointed if Perry departs via free agency, but the sting could be lessened if he helps them go deep in this year’s playoffs.
The Ducks position in the standings a month from now could prove the determining factor. If they fade by the end of March, it’ll be easier to justify moving Perry.
ALAS, ALES ISN'T SAFE AFTER ALL
It was thought the trade rumours which dogged Ales Hemsky in recent years would subside when the Edmonton Oilers signed him last season to a two-year, $10-million extension.
A number of Oilers fans, however, still consider him trade bait. In a recent online poll asking Oilers followers to pick which current forward the club should trade for “a tough two-way forward,” more than 52 percent voted for Hemsky.
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples concurred with the results. Despite Hemsky’s defensive weaknesses and $5-million cap hit, Staples believes the 29-year-old has much to offer teams in need of offensive help.
The Oilers won’t base roster moves on fan polls, but if they should fall out of playoff contention by late-March, Hemsky could pop up again in the rumour mill.
MANY EYES ON RON
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reported Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey could attract considerable attention near the trade deadline
An unrestricted free agent this summer, Hainsey logs nearly 24 minutes per game and is among the league leaders in blocked shots. He has a modified no-trade clause in which he designates up to 15 teams he would accept being dealt to. Garrioch believes the Jets asking price would be a second round draft pick.
Despite his $4.5-million cap hit, Hainsey would be an attractive playoff rental player. If the Jets remain in the hunt by the deadline, however, they won’t move him.
DEVILS NEED FIREPOWER
Two weeks ago, the New Jersey Devils were 9-2-3 and jockeying for first overall in the Eastern Conference.
They’ve since lost four of their last five games, having been outscored 18-8 during that period, and dropping to sixth in the standings.
The Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere recently reported Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will try to acquire a top-six forward, possibly using a defenseman as trade bait.
Henrik Tallinder could be available. He’s appeared in just 10 games and Chere reported there’s talk scouts are following the 34-year-old blueliner whenever he’s in the lineup.
Tallinder lacks a no-trade clause, but his $3.4-million cap hit through next season won’t be easy to move. On his own, he’s unlikely to fetch a scoring winger.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).