The New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets each have a veteran goaltender who no longer fits into their future plans. Moving them, however, could prove difficult.
Newsday's Arthur Staple reports Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak hasn't requested a trade yet. The 31-year-old added he's not interested in that.
However, the relationship between Halak and GM Garth Snow remains strained, as the netminder told Staple it's up to Snow to decide “whether he wants to talk to me or I want to talk to him.”
During the off-season, there was talk Snow wanted to trade Halak in order to give more playing time to Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube. The trade chatter resurfaced Saturday when agent Allan Walsh, who represents Halak and Berube, took to Twitter criticizing the Isles' wisdom in carrying three goaltenders for the second consecutive season.
Snow subsequently informed his peers around the league of Halak's availability via trade. While several clubs (Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings) need to bolster their goaltending depth, TSN's Darren Dreger reports of little interest in Halak.
Despite Halak's stellar performance for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey, his contract ($4.5-million salary-cap hit through 2017-18), injury history and inconsistency makes him as difficult to move now as he was during the summer. Unless the Isles agree to pick up a chunk of his cap hit or take back a toxic contract, Halak could be in Brooklyn for a while.
The Jets, meanwhile, have former starter Ondrej Pavelec buried in the minors. TSN's Gary Lawless reports the state of the goaltending around the league has some clubs kicking the tires on the 29-year-old Czech.
Lawless believes whether they trade Pavelec depends upon how comfortable the Jets are with their young tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson. As of Nov. 1, the duo had a combined goals-against per game of 2.90, putting the Jets uncomfortably close to the league's bottom-third.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is maintaining a wait-and-see approach with Hellebuyck and Hutchinson. If they improve in the coming weeks, he could attempt to ship out Pavelec, who's an unrestricted free agent next July. Should the young duo struggle, the veteran netminder becomes valuable insurance for the Jets.
MAPLE LEAFS WILL HAVE VETERANS TO SPARE AT DEADLINE
While a full month has yet to pass in the 2016-17 season, it's not too early for some Toronto Maple Leafs fans to ponder their club's potential trade candidates.
Responding to a reader's question on that subject, the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran speculates recently demoted left winger Milan Michalek could get picked up by another team. He considers Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick as potential depth defensemen for a contending team. McGran suggests long-time Leafs Jake Gardiner and Tyler Bozak could also become trade candidates at some point.
McGran believes getting Michalek, Bozak and demoted left winger Colin Greening to waive their no-trade clauses could be a problem. For demoted players such as Michalek and Greening, however, going to a team where they'll get NHL playing time is better than toiling in the minors. Bozak might be willing to do so to join a playoff contender.
Should the Leafs decide to trade any of those players, those moves will likely occur near the March 1 trade deadline.
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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