With December just around the corner, teams looking to make trades are going to be wary of the NHL’s Christmas trade freeze. There could be significant action on the trade market before the freeze as teams try to go into the new year ready to compete.
While anticipation over possible moves by the floundering Edmonton Oilers dominates the NHL rumor mill, others clubs could become active in the trade market between now and the NHL Christmas trade freeze, which commences at midnight on December 19.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would like to add “heaviness” to his roster to bolster his club’s size and strength on the puck. In a recent response to reader e-mail regarding possible trade targets, Haggerty lists Winnipeg’s Evander Kane and Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle as options, though the asking price could be more than the Bruins are willing to pay.
Haggerty suggests Columbus’ Nick Foligno as a fallback option, citing his eligibility for unrestricted free agency in July. With 10 goals and 21 points in 20 games, Foligno’s on pace for a career-best 86 points. The 27-year-old winger is among the few bright spots in an otherwise miserable season for the Blue Jackets, which is all the more reason why they’ll attempt to re-sign him. Foligno probably won’t become available until the March 2 trade deadline, if at all.
Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart is another option for the Bruins, but other clubs appear to be looking him over. Sportsnet’s Luke Fox cites a report by St. Louis hockey reporter Andy Strickland claiming the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks also apparently have interest in Stewart. Fox also notes the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins were linked to the 27-year-old winger.
Just because these teams are looking at Stewart, however, doesn’t mean he’ll be joining one of them in the near future. In 22 games Stewart has only three points, hardly an attractive selling feature for clubs in need of a top-six winger. Factor in his $4.125-million cap hit, and his value further declines.
Earlier in the season it was rumored the Sabres were seeking at least a high draft pick or top prospect for Stewart. Unless his production significantly improves, they’ll be lucky to move him by the trade deadline for a late-round pick.
Speaking of the Penguins, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Joe Starkey reports GM Jim Rutherford was looking for a top-six winger prior to winger Pascal Dupuis being sidelined by blood clots. Unless the Penguins go into a tailspin, Rutherford will remain patient and await the right deal.
NO RUSH TO MOVE NOLAN
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports of “considerable interest”, particularly from Eastern Conference teams, in Los Angeles Kings’ winger Jordan Nolan. NBC Sports’ Dhiren Mahiban points out Nolan has appeared in only 13 games this season, missing two to suspension and several more as a healthy scratch.
Mahiban cites McKenzie claiming the Kings aren’t in any hurry to deal Nolan, but could listen if offered a defenseman. Such a move, however, could get dicey salary-wise. Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times reports the Kings have received cap relief for suspended blueliner Slava Voynov, but GM Dean Lombardi isn’t in a rush to utilize it.
Elliott claims one reason is Lombardi must ensure sufficient cap space if Voynov returns from suspension later in the season. Another is ensuring leaving a sufficient cap cushion for the bonuses they could end up paying Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, who are on entry-level contracts.
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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