Friday, December 5, 2008

Late Week Rumours

1) We are due for a good old fashioned rumor post today. Just a note of interest to start, The Christmas Trade deadline is December 19th. No trade can occur from that date until December 27th. Therefore the rumours will be fast and furious from the usual rumour mongers out there. Historically speaking there are very few block busters this time of year. Yes, its a deadline of sorts, but in the past it has not caused a big increase in deals like the trade deadline that occurs 6 weeks prior to the end of the season. (March 4th this year).

2) With all that out of the way these are the various rumours we have been hearing recently. First the easy ones; The ones with no chance of happening. Our (former) buddy Eklund put out a very funny post a few days ago. It sounds like he's getting some flack from some of his disciples. This strait from his blog "this rumour site would be great were it not for the rumours". Anyway, his premise is that a whole series of trades are contingent upon Mats Sundin signing somewhere. Once he is signed a number of deals will also magically also transpire within a few hours or days. "Dominos ready to fall" was how he put it. So we asked around to some of our well connected folks through out the NHL and flat out asked if Eklund's rumour held any water. The reaction was universal.....laughter! One of our favourite sources out west told us "If we waited for other teams to make a deal we'd never make a move.... He's (Eklund) a fucking idiot!" We took that as a resounding no to his trade rumours. LOL

3) Anyway, back to reality:

  • Mats Sundin: As we all know, he's a UFA, not a trade rumour, but since he is so often mentioned we had to ask around. The responses were basically the same as last time we inquired. We are being told that Mats is looking toward a post holiday return to a Canadian team although a return to TO is LESS likely now that Burke has been officially hired.

  • Martin Havlat: WE are being told that Chicago desperately wants to deal the 27 year old Czech forward who is in the final year of a deal that pays him 6 million. They would prefer to move him sooner rather than later because his salary cap anchor and his penchant for getting hurt!The team that keeps popping up are the Penguins, but right now they are in no position to take on that kind of salary unless they do some serious wheeling and dealing. If he does go there it wouldn't be until the deadline!

  • Mike Comrie: The NY Islanders center is still recovering from a hip surgery, but we're told will almost assuredly be dealt after the holidays and before the trade deadline. The team is simply looking for either a late 1st rounder (good luck!) or a 2nd/3rd (more possible)

  • Max Afinogenov: The Sabres' patience for the enigmatic Russian has run out. As will his current contract after this season. The Sabres have already offered him to any taker but with his 3.33 cap it and lack of production no serious takers could be found. He may be more late February/early March fodder, then a return to play in the KHL next season a near certainty.

  • Antoine Vermette and Christoph Schubert's names have both been floated throughout the league as possible trade bait. The Blue Jackets are the team we are hearing the most. However its unlikely they will be able to pry what they want (a goalie) away from Columbus with those two! Spezza might help. ; )

  • Michael Nylander: Not a FR exclusive obviously. However we can tell you that there is some validity to some of what was written. From his first day with the team Coach of the year Bruce Boudreau and Nylander have butted heads. Nylander, despite Boudreau's quick success, has never given the new coach any respect and it shows on and off the ice. The rumor that appeared in the paper was from NYLANDER's agent trying to push things along. Michael still has a home in Chicago so a move there would be an easy transition for he and his family. In fact we're told his car still has Illinois plates!

  • Jay Bouwmeester: The Panthers have all but give up trying to sign their star defender. We're told its a combination of Jay repeatedly declining lucrative offers, but also the team is no longer all that high on his play and think they could save the probable 6 million cap hit and spend it on 2 quality players instead. Jacques Martin is fielding offers, but to this point has asked for "way too much" for a deal to get done. Especially if Boumeester isn't first signed to a extension before a deal occurs. The Sharks have made serious overtures and have the young forwards and draft picks the Panthers will demand. The rumours of a Spezza-Bouwmeester swap are nonsense we have been told flat out. Martin knows all about Spezza and doesn't want any part of his lazy play in Florida. Don't expect any movement on this before January, and we've been told that "Martin's job hangs in the balance" based upon how he does here. "If he gets fleeced, he's toast".

  • Marion Gaborik: First, the latest pile of refuse from Eklund that Gaborik is being pursued by the NY Islanders is even stupid for him. If one is to believe the Islanders are trying to rebuild, then trading for/signing an injury prone player for big bucks and giving up big time draft picks/prospects would be more than a tad hypocritical. Marion is going to kick himself for declining the Wild's summer time offers of 8+ million for 6 years. Another injury plagued season is hurting his chances for big money/security. They will have little trouble finding a trade partner, but they won't get back what they thought they could.

  • Alex Kovalev: The Montreal forward is having a sub par season (for him) coupled with his impending free agency make the Russian star now available. Gainey won't part with him for loose change though. He and Chris Higgins have had their names bandied about recently. Now he IS one player the Islanders may have interest in obtaining. He's young,(25) but as important, he's a native Long Islander! One or both may have to be moved IF Gainey gets the inside track on Sundin.

  • Petr Prucha: Not a revelation to anyone who follows the Rangers that the Czech native will soon be moved. The only question is when and where. Most likely Sather would take back anything more than a 4th round pick, but so far that's the best he's been offered. Prucha's 1.6 million salary hit and lack of production this year is making him a hard sell.

  • Jason Spezza: As we alluded to earlier don't believe any Spezza to Florida rumours. In fact we're told to not listen to ANY Spezza rumours we might read/hear. One eastern conference exec told FR the other day that its [pure fantasy to believe anyone would take on Spezza's contract right now". He explained that with the salary cap to level off or shrink, players who make 7+ million and don't/can't carry their team will become difficult if not impossible to move. With an additional 4 years (after this one) Jason is as immovable as anyone in the NHL!

  • Nikolai Khabibulin: Anyone who has followed hockey for more than 24 hours knew he wasn't going anywhere soon once he cleared waivers and there were no takers even when a team didn't have to give up an assert to acquire him. We were told that even at 1/2 his enormous 6.75 salary he would be difficult to move before the March deadline, and that hasn't changed. The other fly in that ointment is that he has out played Cristobal Huet and his 4 year 5.625 deal signed this summer. Also don't believe for a second that Huet will be involved in any trade. The consensus among most inside hockey folks is that the Hawks will either just retain Khabibulin as insurance or not deal him until the latest possible time (March).

4) So there you have it, the players we have heard about the most recently. We don't expect a huge number of transactions between now and the 19th. Most likely if/when any of these players are dealt it will most likely not be until after the New Year (Like most seasons). Feel free to discuss. Look for our popular Hockey picks, the Week 9 edition tomorrow morning. As always keep it here for all the latest!

1 comment:

captain Aaron Maiden said...

are you kidding?
who is Marion Gaborik?

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