The NHL Olympic roster freeze lifts at midnight tonight. Check out the latest rumors making the rounds on the final day of the Sochi Olympics.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance, responding to readers’ e-mail, believes if the St. Louis Blues make a significant move by the March 5 trade deadline moving winger Chris Stewart and his $4.15 million cap hit makes sense. If Stewart isn’t moved by the deadline he could be moved in the off-season…He believes it’s in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ best interest to move Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline…After speaking with Ryan O’Reilly, Custance believes the Colorado Avalanche intend to retain him…The NY Islanders will be busy trying to get top value for Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald…He feels Oilers center Sam Gagner is all but assured to be moved…Custance considers the ideal situation for the Carolina Hurricanes to address their logjam in goal is trading Cam Ward, but notes his big salary and injury history makes him tough to move…He also wondered if the Vancouver Canucks might try to move defenseman Alexander Edler for a young center, though he acknowledged Edler has a no-trade clause.

Could the Jets move Andrew Ladd at the trade deadline?

Could the Jets move Andrew Ladd at the trade deadline?

ESPN.COM: Tim Kavanagh recently listed NY Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd, Carolina Hurricanes winger Tuomo Ruutu, Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer and Dallas Stars winger Erik Cole as the top five grinder/grit forwards rumored on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stewart’s name popped up quite a bit in the rumor mill heading into the Olympics. The problem is finding a club with cap space willing to take on that salary. It will probably have to be almost a dollar-for-dollar deal as the Blues are supposedly “buyers”…The Jackets could retain Gaborik to bolster their playoff hopes, but if the right offer was made they’ll likely listen…The Avalanche hope to re-sign O’Reilly, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. He won’t be traded…Vanek and MacDonald are among the most likely to be dealt by March 5, it just remains to be seen what the Isles can get for a return…Gagner’s been a fixture in the rumor mill over the past three years.  Remains to be seen if he’s actually moved…I don’t expect Ward to be trade at the deadline. If it’s to happen it’ll be in the 0ff-season, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause. Ditto for Edler…As for the grinders it’ll depend upon where their teams are in the standings by March 5. I still think the Rangers will hang onto Callahan for the playoffs. I don’t believe the Jets intend to move Ladd. Ruutu’s contract (over $4 million per season) won’t be easy to move.  I think the Capitals intend to keep Brouwer. Cole still has a year (at $4.5 million) with a no-trade clause.

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes Buffalo Sabres winger (and former LA King) Matt Moulson would be a good fit with the Kings. The Sabres could seek at least a first round pick for Moulson…If Jaroslav Halak fails to improve following his poor showing at the Sochi Olympics, Blues management must seek an upgrade. Shinzawa notes Buffalo’s Ryan Miller is the top goalie available in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings certainly need something to bolster their scoring punch, but is it worth giving up a first round pick for a potential UFA? Given the Kings’ rumored pursuit of Sam Gagner, they appear more interested in a player with term remaining on his contract. The problem is their limited cap space. They’ll have to move salary to make a deal work…It’ll be interesting to see what moves, if any, the Blues make by the deadline.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo wonders if Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher pursues a goaltender near the trade deadline. Josh Harding remains sidelined indefinitely, Niklas Backstrom is a shadow of himself and Darcy Kuemper has played well but is still inexperienced at the NHL level. Pursuing Buffalo’s Ryan Miller only makes sense if the Wild intend to re-sign him. Russo suggests Fletcher look into the availability of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who’d be a more affordable acquisition than Miller.

NJ.COM: Rich Chere wonders if Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is willing to trade Martin Brodeur and captain Bryce Salvador.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regarding Brodeur, he appears to be awaiting Lamoriello to approach him about a trade. If he feels his Devils still have a chance to make the playoffs, Lamoriello could retain Brodeur as insurance down the stretch.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari looks at possible playoff rental targets for the Penguins. He lists the Islanders Andrew MacDonald, Sabres left wingers Steve Ott and Matt Moulson, along with defenseman Henrik Tallinder, Panthers’ right wing Brad Boyes and center Marcel Goc, Flames right wing Lee Stempniak and Oilers winger Ales Hemsky among the options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap hit and the health of his roster will determine possible moves by Penguins GM Ray Shero. He’s believed in the market for a left wing to replace Pascal Dupuis. He could need a defenseman if Kris Letang and Paul Martin are sidelined indefinitely but he does have depth in young defensemen.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports Capitals GM George McPhee wouldn’t rule out adding a defenseman if the right deal came along but insists he likes his current blueline corps.

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17 Responses to Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 23, 2014.

  1. Bill Placzek says:

    I actually think the summer where cap space opens (and increases) is when all but a half dozen of the above move.
    Matt Moulson to anybody for a only contender first round pick seems to good to be true for any team with the let alone the Kings. Last year’s draft was so think and you could in the mid-second get a prospect with as much potential as the kid drafted on or about the slot 18 they are presently sitting in. seems like too little to rent Moulson. (Still scratching my head on why snow moved him in the first place unless Matt said he was set to make X dollars or was moving on for sure.)
    And why would the Blues use the deadline to send Stewart packing NOW unless it brought an upgrade? You go back to 2010 and see the Chicago Blackhawks knew after the dance they were gonna have to do a huge purge, but keep all around until after the run and used the draft meetings to do business. I just don’t think the Blues are gonna weaken their bench by sending Stewart away because the playoffs recent past history shows you need lots more than your regulars (and he IS a regular!).
    Interesting that guys like Ladd and Ruuttu can actually help most teams instantly, but they just get paid so much more than so mnay other players that do the same for less. Again the Cap space of teams limits their destinations, and don’t understand why Ladd would be on the market when he is the perfect example of what you want your youngtsers to see, if not a “boring” lunch pail guy who will never eb thought of as a star just as the type guy you need to win, and instill winning.

    • Aki Berg says:

      One scenario where Stewart makes sense to move is if they are bringing in miller. Cap wise and value wise he’d would be a part of the package going to buffalo.

  2. Shticky says:

    Finally thats over…not sure what everyone else was watching but thats not a real l competitive competition and ended with little excitement. The gap in 4 years I believe will be worse (Stamkos Duchene Crosby,Taveres,Towes Mckinnon McDavid, the defense might be even better aging Finland and Sweden …) quit sending nhl players. Good to see team Canada win dont get me wrong, but a lot of those games were like watching paint dry it doesn’t make sense to stop a season for that and risk your business. So glad the NHL is back.

    • alforducks says:

      Yep
      Let’s get back to normal
      1) Trade Deadline Deals
      2) Stretch run to playoffs
      3) Playoffs
      4) Draft
      So who is going to blink first and make a significant rental deal ?

    • JR says:

      If you don’t want professionals at the Olympics, who would you like Canada to send there? Most junior players are also professionals, since they are already under contract with the NHL anyway.

      • shticky says:

        Juniors do not receive money while in Jr. hockey the teams would be more even Im saying at least no NHL ers or it might as well be womens hockey with really only 2-3 teams capable of winning. It dosent sell the game to have a medal round that ends in a 3-0 game and a 5-0 game. look beyond that a 1-0 game and Finland and Sweden’s game you could sleep thru it was so bad. Stacked teams that play not to lose (trap) then don’t show up once they do is terrible hockey. guaranteed younger players and the world Juniors is a better tournament than that one. Vancouver wasn’t bad but besides the gold medal game it was pretty much the same.

        • Shticky says:

          In 4 years the fins will have no stars on their Olympic team the Sweds will be re building, the Czechs and Slovaks will be a mess The Russains wil probably be with out Datsyuk and Kovalchuck will be a shell of him former self if he is not already, leaving team Canada with probably at least as strong if not stronger of a D corps Price in his prime Crosby Taveres Duchene Stamkos McKinon McDavid etc. the US will still have a strong team…the odds of the tournanment will only get worse from here if its played with NHL players plus as we seen its not worth the injuries to their respective teams. The NHL going to the Olympics is a joke. It doesn’t do anything for the game. If you want to sell the game it is better if a team like Latvia beats Canada, which might be a little more possible if they have a chance to touch the puck. Even with a goalie standing on his head and a trap game working to near perfection they still lose. If they didn’t have 6 all star d men an all star goalie and 4 lines full of probably top 20-25 players in the sport to deal with they might be able to upset them. JRs and non pros would make it a little more evenly balanced you see it in world Juniors and Spengler cup there are a lot more upsets and players compete more no matter if they win or lose. Look at the past few years of the JR tournament. 4 different winners over the past 5 and knowing that it could affect how they are seen by professional teams you know player will play harder than say the US did once they were defeated by Canada.

  3. moe says:

    Absolutely not. Vanek nor MacDonald to the Pens. Mark my words

    • Shticky says:

      size to the pens…need third line type guy harder to play against.

      • Aj says:

        Thats where I am at too. Makes more sense to bring in an Ott who has leadership, skill and grit, can take faceoffs and play the wing. Exactly the type they could use and probably get at a good price.

  4. Len says:

    Moulson would possibly be an easy resign for the Kings considering his brother-in-law is Jonathan Quick.

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