A collection of trade and free agent rumors from the Ottawa Sun, Edmonton Journal and Buffalo News, plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Kings.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Canadiens surprise acquisition of Tomas Kaberle had better work out for the Habs, or it could cost GM Pierre Gauthier his job…The Capitals would love to move Alexander Semin, but there’s “no market for a struggling, underachieving winger making too much money these days”…Don’t expect Martin Brodeur to be moved at the trade deadline. He’s already got three Cup championships under his belt and doesn’t have to prove anything…If the Bruins fail to re-sign Chris Kelly, his former team, the Ottawa Senators, might be interested in bringing him back…Leafs GM Brian Burke could be in the market for a center once his self-imposed holiday trade freeze of December 9 to 27th is over. Garrioch suggested Columbus’ Derick Brassard might be a target, reports Blue Jackets GM was spotted at a Toronto Marlies game last Saturday…Kings GM Dean Lombardi is reportedly working the phones trying to find help for his struggling team. The Kings would move Dustin Penner in a second.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaberle had a good debut with the Habs, setting up both goals in their 2-1 win over the Devils…If Semin were to be dealt, it would have to be at the trade deadline, when over half of his $6.7 million salary will have been paid out by the Capitals…Any talk of Brodeur moving on, especially to win another championship, is absurd. Brodeur will retire a Devil and likely become a right-hand man to GM Lou Lamoriello…It’s believed Bruins management is keen on re-signing Kelly…If the Leafs were to take on Brassard, they’d have to ensure they’ve got the cap space to absorb that $3.2 million per season cap hit. Right now, they don’t. Sure, they have over $2 million on LTIR, but they’d have to clear cap space when those injured players return to action…Penner’s poor play and big salary make him tough to trade, but hey! If the Hurricanes could find a taker for Kaberle’s contract, which had two more seasons on it, the Kings might be able to find someone desperate enough to take a chance on Penner, perhaps as the trade deadline nears.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Red Wings, with $5.6 million in available cap space, could add a top-six forward later this season, and suggested they might have interest in Oilers winger Ales Hemsky. The Wings would also like a physical defenseman…Matheson also panned the Canadiens acquisition of Kaberle…He also wondered if the NY Islanders might shop defenseman Steve Staios if they’re not in the playoff hunt by the trade deadline, or if playoff-bound teams would have more interest in Calgary’s Cory Sarich
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky’s value, however, could be hurt by his history of shoulder injuries. I’ve suggested Carolina’s Tuomu Ruutu might be a better fit on the right side for the Red Wings, as he brings a more physical edge to his game…Wouldn’t be surprised if the Isles shop Staios by the deadline if they’re out of the post-season picture by then. Ditto the Flames with Sarich, who’ll be a UFA next summer and might have value as a rental player.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Bucky Gleason reports Oilers center Sam Gagner has been on the trade block since last summer, and they’re listening to offers for Hemsky, but teams aren’t lining up for either player…Gleason also suggested the Buffalo Sabres should make inquiries into the trade status of Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny, who sources say is available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers can stay in playoff contention in the next couple of months, they probably won’t move Gagner or Hemsky. Stastny might be available, but at $6.6 million per season, he’s an expensive addition, one which might not be movable until the off-season, when teams have more cap space and willingness to spend.
ESPN.COM: Jesse Rogers reports Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has been in contact with his peers, saying if he sees an opportunity to add a forward or defenseman which could help them, he’ll look at it. Rogers suspects Bowman would look for help on defense, as his team “ranks 21st in the league, giving up three goals per game; additionally, their penalty kill is 27th.” They could also use a good second-line center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman has over $5.5 million in available cap space, so don’t be surprised if he makes a move or two over the next couple of months to address his needs. We’ll likely need another month or so to determine which players might be the best targets for Bowman, though I suspect he’s got his eye on a few candidates.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lisa Dillman wondered if a major shakeup, either via trade or a coaching change, might be coming for the struggling Kings, who’ve lost four in a row.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Management could point to the loss of Mike Richards to injury as the prime reason for their slump, and try to stay patient in hopes they’ll ride this out, but one gets the sense this can’t go on much longer, which could force a move. This week could prove an interesting one for the Kings.