The NHL rumor mill was abuzz with the news the Bruins were quietly gauging the trade value of Zdeno Chara. However, sources on the Bruins said there was no truth to the speculation.
The NHL rumor mill was abuzz earlier this week when reports out of Boston claimed the Bruins were quietly gauging the trade value of stars like Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand. TSN’s Darren Dreger, however, reports his sources on the Bruins said there was no truth to the speculation.
Dreger didn’t disparage the original source of the speculation or the accuracy of the reporting. While suggesting it’s too early in the season for such trade chatter, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of Chara being on the move later in the season.
TSN’s Scott Cullen was also skeptical about the Chara rumors. However, if the Bruins eventually decide to shop their captain this season, Cullen suggests the Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers as possible trade destinations.
Chara is an aging star whose best seasons are behind him. He’ll be 39 in March and carries a $6.916- million annual average salary through 2017-18. The cap hit alone eliminates the Penguins and Blue Jackets as destinations, as they simply cannot afford to carry that salary without shedding considerable cap space to accommodate him.
If Chara was in the final year of his contract, perhaps the Avalanche and Islanders would look at him as a rental player. With two more seasons beyond 2015-16 remaining on his deal, that’s too long for their comfort zone.
Chara emerged as a star with the Senators, and it was Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli who brought the big blueliner to Boston in 2006. However, the Senators are a budget-conscious club building with affordable young talent, and it’s unlikely the Bruins will deal with their former GM by sending Chara to Edmonton.
All of this, of course, assumes Chara is willing to waive his no-movement clause. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claims there’s no evidence the Bruins approached their captain about doing so.
SABRES IN NO RUSH TO FIND GOALTENDING HELP
With starting goaltender Robin Lehner on the shelf six-to-10 weeks with a high-ankle sprain, it was assumed Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray would waste little time shopping for help between the pipes. However, he’s taking a more patient approach.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports Murray intends to give backup Chad Johnston an opportunity to fill in for Lehner, plus he’s called up Nathan Lieuwen from their farm club in Rochester. LeBrun also speculates promising Linus Ullmark could also see some action.
Murray claims it would be crazy to trade for a goalie without first seeing how those in his system can perform, but LeBrun thinks he could change his tune if those netminders struggle. He notes the Calgary Flames currently carry three goalies (Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio), while the Colorado Avalanche could part with one of their backups. Hiller is seen as the odd man out with the Flames, while the Avs could peddle Reto Berra to make room for Calvin Pickard.
Recently-demoted Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens is available, but LeBrun reports Murray isn’t interested. Friedman claims the Sabres GM won’t make a nonsensical, short-term acquisition. If so, Murray could pursue a longer-term option like Ortio, but the Flames see him as part of their future plans. Berra still hasn’t proven himself as a reliable backup with the Avs, meaning Murray could focus on Pickard.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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.).
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