Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney could face a significant decision over pending UFA right wing Mikkel Boedker early in the new year. Boedker, who turns 26 on Dec. 16, is on a one-year deal worth $3.75 million. He's also among their leading scorers and in line for a lucrative new contract.
The Coyotes are currently within striking distance of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. But if they decline to where they could be in line for a lottery pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, ESPN.com's Craig Custance believes Maloney could put Boedker on the block by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
That will likely depend upon what Boedker wants for a new deal. It could be a long-term contract worth over $5.5-million per season. He could also decide that he's spent enough time on the rebuilding Coyotes and opt for a playoff contender in July.
However, if Boedker is keen to stay, it could be worthwhile for Maloney to re-sign him. With Shane Doan facing retirement, losing Boedker to free agency would leave the Coyotes weak at right wing next season.
With Vancouver Canucks right wing Radim Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis eligible for UFA status in July, it's anticipated one or both could be shipped out by the trade deadline. However, TSN's Bob McKenzie doesn't consider that a certainty.
Appearing on Vancouver's TSN 1040 on Tuesday, McKenzie pointed out the competitiveness of the Canucks front office and coaching staff. If the club remains in playoff contention by the trade deadline, they could be unwilling to move out assets for future considerations.
If the Canucks decide to move either guy, they're unlikely to get much back in return. The 35-year-old Vrbata is currently on pace for a 45-point campaign, well below last season's career-high of 63 points. He also has a middling playoff record (18 points in 42 games), which could dampen enthusiasm. Prior to Hamhuis suffering a facial fracture on Wednesday against the New York Rangers, his performance was on the decline.
Before Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor Daley suffered an upper-body injury on Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets, he was still a subject of interest in the trade rumor mill.
Since joining the Blackhawks last summer in a trade from the Dallas Stars, the 32-year-old Daley struggled to adjust to his new club. With the Blackhawks reportedly seeking a top-four defenseman since mid-November, it's believed they'd like to ship out Daley.
Before Daley was injured, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported the Blackhawks' asking price was a second-round pick and a prospect. Given his struggles, however, they'll be fortunate to receive one or the other.
Daley's contract ($3.3-million annual cap hit through 2016-17) is another sticking point. It could take until the trade deadline for the Blackhawks to find a willing trade partner.
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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