Are the Maple Leafs shopping for a veteran goalie? Could they move defenseman Cody Franson? Which goalies are being discussed in the rumor mill? What’s the latest on Kyle Turris? Read on to find out! Hoo-haa!!
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reported in the past 36 hours Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said he has no interest in UFA goalie Marty Turco, but suggested Burke might have some interest in Florida’s Scott Clemmensen, San Jose’s Antero Niittymaki and Evgeni Nabokov of the NY Islanders. It’s uncertain when James Reimer will return from concussion-like symptoms.
TSN’s Darren Dreger and SPORTSNET’s Tony Ambrogio reported via Twitter yesterday the Leafs have received calls from rival teams interested in defenseman Cody Franson. Dreger reported one team offered up a player and a second round pick for Franson, and SPORTSNET’s Mark Spector speculated the Edmonton Oilers might’ve been one of the teams interested in Franson, but Ambrogio reported Burke, while acknowledging he’d been “deluged with offers” for Franson, said he had no plans to move the blueliner.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan also reported on the Franson rumor mill, as well as Burke’s unwillingness to move the young defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke might not be willing to move Franson right now, but one wonders how long he’ll maintain that stance if his club’s recent struggles should worsen and threaten to send them tumbling out of playoff contention. It’s also possible he could hang onto Franson in hopes his trade value could increase as the season progresses. Yes, I understand Burke values defensive depth, and I don’t doubt the sincerity of his comments, but the Leafs lack second line offensive production, and that could become an issue which could need addressing as the season progresses. As for Burke shopping for a goalie, his options certainly seem limited right now. I never underestimate his ability to pull off deals which seem almost impossible to do, but there’s really not a lot of teams with available goalies they’re willing to move. Nabokov has a “no-trade” clause, and he might only waive it to go to a genuine playoff team, which the Leafs have yet to prove they could be this season.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun and Craig Custance reported on the recent speculations to arise from the latest NHL GMs meeting in Toronto. To recap: The Coyotes still have no intent to move Kyle Turris (“For the 15-hundredth time, we have no intention of trading him, regardless of the offer, at all whatsoever,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney told ESPN.com”); the Columbus Blue Jackets have intensified their search for a goaltender; San Jose Sharks currently sidelined netminder Antero Niittymaki has received interest from several teams wondering if he’ll be available when he returns to action sometime in December; the Flames, Islanders and Hurricanes could be shopping for help if they haven’t already begun, while the Winnipeg Jets could be a team to watch as the season progresses, for if they should become sellers, pending UFAs Chris Mason and Johnny Oduya might become available. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff blamed Twitter for the recent unsubstantiated rumors claiming Jets winger Evander Kane is unhappy in Winnipeg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I scoffed when “Eklund” first raised the possibility of teams having interest in Niittymaki over a week ago, because quite frankly, I didn’t believe any team had interest in a goalie who has been recovering from hip surgery since training camp, but these recent reports suggest undeniable interest in the sidelined Sharks goalie, which goes to show how desperate some teams have become, and the slim pickings for goalies in the trade and free agent market. As for the Flames, Islanders, and Hurricanes, their GMs may have to move soon if they’re to do any potential moves to save their respective seasons, but again, there’s not a lot of options available to them right now. As for the Jets, it may be premature to suggest they’ll go into sell mode, but their performance over the next six weeks could become a determining factor in potential moves by Cheveldayoff. And no, Evander Kane won’t be dealt. And for the love of Buddha, how many times does Maloney have to deny Turris is available? My guess is frequently until December 1st, the deadline for the young center to be under NHL contract for this season.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have placed forward Rostislav Olesz on waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect there to be any takers.