Despite playing above expectations early on, Calgary is still believed to be ready and willing to deal many of its assets as it continues a rebuild. But who will be the first to go?
Sportsnet’s Roger Millions recently reported Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster admitted he’d had discussions with other clubs regarding possible moves. Millions believes some teams covet those Flames veterans with “workable deals”.
Those could include forwards Mike Cammalleri, Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak, who are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer and might not fit into the Flames rebuilding plans.
Cammalleri is making $7 million this year, with only $6 million counting against the cap, and Stajan’s $3.5 million cap hit could prove difficult to move unless the Flames offer to pick up part of their remaining salaries. The pair also has modified no-trade clauses.
Stempniak’s $2.5 million cap hit is more affordable and he lacks a no-trade clause. His offensive consistency is a concern, though he’s off to a good start this season with nine points in 10 games. He’s currently week-to-week with a foot injury.
Earlier this month it was reported the Philadelphia Flyers had interest in gritty winger Curtis Glencross.
Glencross carries an affordable annual cap hit of $2.55 million, but he also has a full no-movement clause. His leadership and physical style could prove too invaluable to move.
Winger Jiri Hudler’s off to a good start, scoring 13 points in 11 games, but his $4 million-per-season salary through 2015-16 and previous inconsistency hurt his trade value.
Mark Giordano’s broken ankle will likely have him out six-to-eight weeks and could prompt Feaster to shop for blueline depth. The GM believes the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend in late-November is the likely time frame for players to start moving around the league.
RYAN MILLER TO FLYERS, WILD OR BLUES?
Following the Buffalo Sabres trade of Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders, several pundits have begun speculating over the trade market for Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.
Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean believes the Philadelphia Flyers should make a pitch for Miller, though he believes Miller must agree to sign a long-term contract with the Flyers to make the deal work.
The Flyers, however, are getting superb goaltending from Steve Mason, who has a 2.25 goals-against, average and a .928 save percentage. Scoring is their primary concern as they attempt to gain ground in the standings.
MacLean also considers the Minnesota Wild as a destination, suggesting they’re getting nervous about the health problems of current tandem Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.
The Wild signed Backstrom in the summer to a three-year, $10.25-million contract extension and have Harding under contract through next season. One or the other would have to be moved to make room for Miller.
MacLean’s colleague Nick Kypreos claimed Miller wouldn’t accept a move to Canada, which rules him out as a trade option for the Edmonton Oilers.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, meanwhile, believes the St. Louis Blues looked at Vanek prior to his trade to the Islanders, adding he “wouldn’t be surprised if they’re looking at Miller”.
The Blues, however, are playing well with Jaroslav Halak, 7-1-1, 2.15 GAA, .917 SP, as their starter. They also have more than $5.5 million in payroll invested in Halak and backup Brian Elliott. With only $860,000 of cap space, the Blues would have to shed considerable salary to take on part or all of Miller’s $6.25 million stipend.
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.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.