With the NHL’s April 3 trade deadline less than two weeks away, now’s as good a time as any to puncture some trade rumors.
The Winnipeg Jets could trade Evander Kane. The 21-year-old winger is among the Jets leading scorers. He also leads them in shots, hits and game-winning goals. Last summer, Kane re-signed a six-year, $31.5 million contract. Yeah, the Jets are totally shopping him.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is available. Good news, ladies, Big Buff is available! Oh, wait, you mean available in the trade market. Well, that’s a different story, and no, it’s not happening. Look, I don’t doubt some teams have made enquiries about Byfuglien, but unless he’s demanding a trade (and he isn’t), the Jets aren’t moving him.
The San Jose Sharks are interested in Florida’s Brian Campbell. The Sharks have over $53 million tied up in 13 players for next season. They’ll have to dump at least the equivalent of Campbell’s $7.142 million salary to obtain him (provided he’s willing to waive his movement clause). It would still leave them with well over $50 million invested in about a dozen players, with half the roster to fill. Ultimately, it resolves nothing for the Sharks.
Ryan Miller or Roberto Luongo or Miikka Kiprusoff to the Philadelphia Flyers. I realize a number of Flyers fans aren’t impressed with Ilya Bryzgalov, but he’s been among the few bright spots in this otherwise miserable season for the Flyers. Their biggest need right now is a skilled puck-moving defenseman and a scoring forward. Bryzgalov’s critics will have to wait until this summer or next, when he could be a compliance buyout candidate, and then only if they land a more affordable upgrade. Hey, mebbe they could go after Ryan Miller? I hear Roberto Luongo’ available, and Miikka Kiprusoff might want out of Calgary…
Jonathan Bernier in a package offer for Jarome Iginla. As the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek pointed out, the Kings previous interest in Iginla was two years ago, before they acquired Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Given Jonathan Quick’s inconsistency this season, Duhatschek believes the Kings will retain Bernier as insurance this season, and I agree with him. Bernier will eventually be dealt, but in the off-season, not now.
The Maple Leafs are shopping Phil Kessel. No, they’re not. I know some Leafs fans aren’t enamored with Kessel, and remain pissed at former Leafs GM Brian Burke giving up two first round picks to Boston (which became Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) to land him. Kessel, however, has consistently been the Leafs best offensive forward.
He’s being challenged by young Nazem Kadri this season for the Leafs scoring lead, but Kadri had the benefit of spending the lockout in the AHL. After a slow start, by March 20th, Kessel was tied with Kadri for the scoring lead, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up finishing the season once again as their top scorer. Kessel haters don’t like to hear the truth, which is the Maple Leafs need Phil Kessel if they’re to clinch their first playoff berth since 2004.
The Senators could trade Sergei Gonchar. If Erik Karlsson wasn’t sidelined for the season to a sliced Achilles tendon, this rumor would have more credence. Without Karlsson, Gonchar’s filled the void, with fifteen of his 20 points this season coming in March. With the Senators still in playoff contention, Gonchar isn’t available.
The Blackhawks could move Ray Emery. Corey Crawford is the Blackhawks starter, but he’s started 19 games this season, while Emery has appeared in 14. He’s been as vital to the Blackhawks amazing performance this season as Crawford, and thus is unavailable.
Dany Heatley to the Penguins or Devils. This one popped up around late-February, before the Wild began their slow, steady climb up the Western Conference standings into first in the Northwest Division. The rumor apparently had Heatley, unhappy over his playing time, requesting a trade. It made the rounds via Twitter and a few message boards, but there’s nothing to it. Who knows where it originated, but it certainly didn’t come from Heatley, let alone the Wild, Penguins or Devils.
Mike Smith appearing on a list of pending UFAs who could be dealt. Yes, Smith is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and it’s possible he could test the market if the Coyotes ownership situation isn’t satisfactorily resolved, or they fail to pony up big bucks to keep him. In the meantime, the Coyotes are battling for a playoff spot, and need Smith if they’re to make it.
The Lightning should offer up Vincent Lecavalier to the Montreal Canadiens. Prior to Lecavalier’s recent foot injury, a Tampa Bay scribe – who believes the Lightning should dump Lecavalier’s salary – actually suggested peddling him to the Canadiens.
Two things. First, Lecavalier has a no-movement clause and no interest in leaving Tampa Bay. Second, if he were willing to go, the only way the Canadiens might (emphasis on “might”) consider it is if the Bolts agree to absorb half of his remaining $45 million over the next seven years. Even then, the Habs won’t bite. The previous management had interest in Lecavalier four years ago. New ownership and management have since taken over, and their focus is rebuilding from within.