Is there anything to the recent Kyle Turris trade rumors? Are the Blue Jackets close to shaking things up? What’s the latest on the Flyers Scott Hartnell? Read on to find out!
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports the recent trade rumors claiming the Phoenix Coyotes have had “significant” offers for Kyle Turris comes as news to Coyotes GM Don Maloney, who remains adamant he won’t trade Turris if he’s unable to re-sign him prior to December 1st, the due date for the young center to be under contract or become ineligible to play the remainder of the season. Maloney insists if Turris hopes to play in the NHL this season, it’ll be with Phoenix or no one…Colorado Avalanche GM Greg Sherman said he’s comfortable waiting under season’s end to negotiate contract extensions for defenseman Erik Johnson and center Matt Duchene, who’ll be restricted free agents on July 1st.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for all the talk from rumor bloggers claiming the Canucks are closing in on a deal to land Turris, or that the Leafs and Islanders have made pitches. Yeah, yeah, I know, what do you expect Maloney to say, he’s not going to admit he’s shopping Turris, blah, blah, blah. Lemme put it this way: I will take the word of the most connected and respected pundit in hockey over a rumor blogger any day of the week…As for the Avs stance with Johnson and Duchene, it’s understandable. Last summer there was talk of Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty, who are more talented players, getting offer sheets from rival teams if they were unsigned by July 1st, yet none materialized. With the current CBA set to expire in September, and uncertainty over what the next one could contain, Sherman feels confident that, if Johnson and Duchene are unsigned by next July 1st, he won’t have to worry about a rival team attempting to poach one or both away with offer sheets.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli reports Flyers winger Scott Hartnell has lost some ice time to younger players like Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds, which has left him feeling frustrated. Hartnell acknowledged he’s also heard the trade rumors swirling about his name in recent weeks, but Seravalli points out Hartnell also holds a full “no-trade” clause. He also reports injuries or slumps by other players could see Hartnell regain his lost ice time as the season progresss.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: What also helps is that Hartnell’s style still makes him a good fit with the Flyers, plus the club is off to a good start and therefore aren’t feeling any pressure to make any significant roster changes. Management continues its ability to creatively manage its tight cap space, so there’s also no pressing need to shed a $4.2 million per season salary like Hartnell’s. That’s not to say Hartnell couldn’t be shopped at some point this season, and could certainly waive his clause if he feels his services are no longer welcome with the Flyers, but I don’t believe they’re at that point yet, and it remains to be seen if they’ll reach that point at all this season.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace suggests Blue Jackets management might not be willing to be patient for long if the club fails to snap out of its current funk soon. Arace believes it might be time for a shakeup, either of management, coaching staff or the roster via trade, if the club fails to win two of its next three games, as they cannot afford to “drag their feet” as they did in 2009-10, when another slow start doomed their season. Aaron Portzline meanwhile reported an injury to first line center Jeff Carter has resulted in second line center Derrick Brassard being promoted to the first line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I mentioned Brassard’s promotion as his name has popped up among rumormongers of late. If Carter is to miss significant time, Brassard likely won’t be moved if he’s now back on the first line. The next several games could be critical to the Blue Jackets future, for if they continue to struggle, changes could come before Halloween. What they are – be they front office, behind the bench, or on the roster – remain to be seen.