With NHL GMs in Montreal watching the World Junior Championship, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch speculates Senators GM Pierre Dorion is taking the opportunity to talk trade options with his peers.
Garrioch reports Dorion's been working the phones but currently isn't close to completing a trade. The Sens GM seeks depth for his forward lines. With the Senators sitting among the league's bottom third in goals-for per game (2.46), a scoring forward probably tops his wish list.
Dorion's also probably having trouble finding a suitable trade partner. According to Garrioch, only the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche could be considered sellers. The Coyotes could be shopping pending free agent center Martin Hanzal and struggling sophomore Anthony Duclair. Garrioch claims the Avs are willing to listen to offers for anyone except center Nathan MacKinnon.
Sidelined left winger Clarke MacArthur (concussion) is expected to return soon. He could provide a much-needed boost to their production. Given his injury history, however, it might be worthwhile for Dorion to bring in an affordable, durable scorer.
With the trade market currently stagnant, Dorion likely has little choice but to wait for more clubs to become sellers. It could take at least another month for him to find a suitable deal.
MAPLE LEAFS WILL HAVE TOUGH DECISIONS TO MAKE IF THEY REMAIN IN CONTENTION
Approaching the midpoint of the schedule, the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves very much in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. A recent five-game winning streak gives them 42 points in 37 games, placing them only two points behind the third-place Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division.
That improvement has TSN's Darren Dreger pondering what Leafs management will do if they're still in playoff contention by the March 1 trade deadline. He wonders if they'll risk jeopardizing their post-season chances by shopping veteran forwards such as James van Riemsdyk, Leo Komarov and Tyler Bozak for assets to continue their rebuilding process.
Should the Leafs remain in the playoff chase by March 1, they could turn into buyers. They could retain those key veterans and seek rental players that are affordable in salary and return to boost their post-season hopes.
On the other hand, should the Leafs lose ground in the standings, they will probably become sellers. Still, they'll seek quality returns for those veterans.
Should van Riemsdyk hit the trade block, the Leafs could want a top-four defenseman in return. The asking price for Bozak and Komarov could be second-round draft picks.
If the Leafs can't find what they want before the trade deadline, they're under no pressure to move van Riemsdyk, Bozak or Komarov. All are under contract through 2017-18 and could be shopped in the off-season, when their trade value could improve.
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.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.