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Rumor Roundup: Legwand, Moulson, Blackhawks trade buzz

Will the Nashville Predators move pending UFA David Legwand? Is Buffalo Sabres winger Matt Moulson a good fit for the Ottawa Senators? And will the Chicago Blackhawks sacrifice a D-man for forward depth?

The Nashville Predators’ struggle for a playoff berth resulted in yesterday’s trade of defenseman Kevin Klein to the New York Rangers for puck-moving blueliner Michael Del Zotto.

Other moves could be coming for the Predators before the March 5 trade deadline. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims Predators management is listening to offers for center David Legwand, who would attract considerable interest from playoff contenders.

Legwand, a hard-working two-way pivot with solid faceoff skills, is currently on pace to exceed the 50-point mark for the third time in his career. He’s on a contract paying him $4.5-million per season and is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.

Legwand could prove an expensive re-signing for the cost-conscious Predators. With the salary cap projected to jump by more than $7 million, to $71 million, for 2014-15, he could earn a considerable raise via free agency. Plus, after spending his entire career in Nashville, the 33-year-old could decide to sign with a Stanley Cup contender.

Despite the Del Zotto acquisition, the Predators still lack scoring punch among their forwars. If they move Legwand before the March trade deadline, they could seek a promising young scoring forward in return.

Trading Legwand, however, would weaken the Predators’ already anaemic offense and hamper their playoff hopes. It probably won’t sit well with their fan base, which could interpret that move as management giving up on the season.

Buffalo Sabres left winger Matt Moulson remains a hot topic for trade gossip among NHL pundits. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun includes him (along with Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri and the New York Islanders’ Thomas Vanek) on the Los Angeles Kings’ wish list of rental players.

LeBrun also cites a source claiming Ottawa is interested in the 30-year-old Moulson, but Senators’ GM Bryan Murray must decide if he’ll be a buyer leading up to the deadline. Murray has stated he’s in the market for a scoring winger. LeBrun believes if the Senators continue their recent improvement, Murray would be compelled to make a pitch for Moulson.

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A number of teams are in need of scoring depth and, with the February Olympic break fast approaching, interest in Moulson will surely increase. The Sabres will attempt to exploit that for the best possible return, seeking at least a good young player and a draft pick in return. The Senators depth of young players and prospects could give them an edge in a possible bidding war for Moulson.

The Chicago Blackhawks could be in the market for a center before the trade deadline. In an interview with CSN Chicago, Sun-Times columnist Mark Lazerus said he wasn’t sure if Bowman would pursue a second-line center, but feels they need help down the middle.

Lazerus notes Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman acquired Michal Handzus before last season’s trade deadline, which paid dividends during their Stanley Cup run. He thinks Bowman should make a similar affordable acquisition this year. Lazerus said it could cost them a roster player, suggesting Bowman draw upon his blueline depth for trade bait.

Possible trade candidates could include Nick Leddy, Sheldon Brookbank and Mike Kostka. Of these, the 22-year-old Leddy has the best trade value, though he’d have to be packaged with a pick or prospect to land a second-line center.

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.).

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