Archive for January, 2012

State of the Chicago Blackhawks: NHL Trade Deadline Edition

Today is the 1st installment of our expanded NHL Trade Deadline coverage. We’ll be posting team outlooks leading up to trade deadline over the next couple weeks from a variety of contributing writers.

Written by Tab Bamford of and can be found on twitter at @The1Tab

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the mix for the best record in the Western Conference, but are equally close to fourth place in the Central Division. With a good, young core locked up and over $5 million in cap space, the Blackhawks will be buyers at the deadline.

What will be the Blackhawks wants/needs?

1. Top-four defenseman

The Hawks have one of the best top pairs in the league with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, but have been searching for the right formula all season in the wake of Brian Campbell being traded to Florida during the draft.

Nick Leddy’s developing nicely, but has been better when held under 20 minutes per game over the last month. Meanwhile, Niklas Hjalmarsson appears to have peaked as a number 4-5 defenseman who excels at blocking shots and killing penalties, but has not taken the next step in his development yet.

Some players the Hawks might target include Tim Gleason in Carolina, Hal Gill and/or Chris Campoli in Montreal, and, if Brian Burke puts him on the market, Cody Franson.

Read the rest of this entry »

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No one has heard that Subban is availabe … Friendman’s 30 Thoughts rumors … Nothing imminent for Leafs … Coyotes update … Hedman hopes for next week

  • Pierre LeBrun via twitter: LeBrun clarifies his comments on RDS. LeBrun talked with several teams yesterday and NONE have heard Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban’s name being available. What LeBrun said on RDS was that a team suggested it could be a possibility, though they hadn’t talked to the Canadiens. Louis Jean via twitter: All the Subban trade talk is “completely ludicrous.”
  • Elliotte Friedman of CBC: If the Canadiens end up looking for a new GM at some point, don’t count out former Avalanche GM Francois Giguere. After the Blues signed Brian Elliott to a 2 year deal, AHL goalie Ben Bishop’s name hit the rumor mill. GMs have now said that Elliott’s trade value has now gone up with his affordable deal. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is “pulling back” in his quest for a goalie and defenseman.

    “He’s made it clear that he’d rather wait than rush through a trade,” said another executive. Yzerman, via email, said, “We aren’t in a position to trade draft picks or young players for rentals.”

    Blue Jackets forwards Derick Brassard is off the market. R.J. Umberger might get some interest. A couple teams have heard that Ryan Suter is off the market. The Predators are not interested in a Ryan Ellis or Jon Blum/1st round pick for Ales Hemsky. Sabres Paul Gaustad could be a nice fit in San Jose. One GM thought Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky would fit well in San Jose. One of the reasons the Maple Leafs could be looking to move an NHL defenseman is to create room for Korbinian Holzer. Friedman has heard the Maple Leafs could consider moving Mikhail Grabovski, they are listening to offers. He’s a pending UFA and the Leafs could see the dollar amount an issue. They are also listening on Nikolai Kulemin.

  • David Alter via twitter: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said last night that nothing is imminent on the trade front, lots of listening. Burke added that he doesn’t have a problem keeping pending UFA Mikhail Grabovski past the trade deadline without a new contract.
  • Lisa Halverstadt of the Arizona Republic: Glendale City Council met yesterday for an update on the Coyotes situation. The mayor wonders if the NHL is asking price will force the Glendale to pay more. The NHL is trying to get $170 million for the Coyotes, Forbes says they are worth about $36 million less.

    “I think it has kept other potential buyers out of the process of trying to purchase the team and I think it is definitely impacting the financial burden that’s being asked of the city of Glendale,” she said.

    Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly:

    “We bought this franchise out of bankruptcy when no one else would, and we and our owners have jointly supported its operation for more than two years now,” Daly said. “We and the city of Glendale have a joint problem and we are jointly trying to fix it.”

  • Erik Erendsson of the Tampa Tribune: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who has been out since Dec. 27th with a concussion, practiced yesterday in a no-contact jersey. He’s hoping to return next Tuesday against the Capitals.
  • John Vogl via twitter: Sabres forward Jochen Hecht has a concussion. He skated yesterday but felt awful after and headed to the doctors.
  • David Staples of the Edmonton Journal: TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Oilers GM Steve Tambellini will likely get a 1 or 2 year contract extension. McKenzie said during last night’s Oilers telecast:

    “I think he’ll probably get one (a new deal). I think the way the team finishes from now to the end of the season might not make it completely ironclad.”

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Afternoon notes: Ovechkin, Kulikov, MacArthur, Hurricanes, Bergeron, Connolly … Sabres, Flames and Isles lines … Starting goalies

  • Chip Alexander via twitter: Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said that Chad LaRose will be out for 7-10 days due to a cut. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen (concussion and knee surgery) is likely out until the beginning of March. Rutherford said that Pitkanen’s injury status won’t inhibit any potential trade. He added that he’s not making calls and pushing for trades. Rutherford added that he’s interested in hockey deals that make financial sense and not just looking to move UFAs.
  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: They don’t need to decide until the trade deadline, but McKenzie doesn’t think they’ll send Brent Connolly back to the WHL.
  • John Vogl via twitter: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller left practice early after taking a high slap shot from defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani. Mike Morreale via twitter: Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff returns to the lineup tonight. Brad Boyes (flu) is practicing. John Vogl via twitter: Sabres lines: Vanek-Roy-Pominville, Leino-Boyes-Stafford, Gerbe-Hecht-Kaleta, Ellis-Adam-McCormick.
  • Roger Millions via twitter: Projected Flames lines: Comeau Jokinen Stempniak-Cammalleri Backlund Iginla-Tanguay Jones Kostopoulos-Morrison Horak Jackman. Projected defensive pairings and goalie: Butler – Bouwmeester, Giordano – Hannan, Brodie – Sarich … Kiprusoff.
  • Scott MacArthur via twitter: Islanders lines: Moulson-Tavares-Okposo, Grabner-Neilsen-Parenteau, Martin-Bailey-Rolston, Wallace-Pandolfo-Niederreiter. Defensive pairings: Streit-Jurcina, Hamonic-MacDonald, Eaton-Reese. G: Nabokov (Montoya backs up.)


A couple trade lists … 3 scouting notes … Sens may tweak … Stuart undecided about next year … Benn’s contract will wait … Crawford to start

  • TSN – Insider Trading video link: They list the Top 6 forwards that are potentially available: Jeff Carter (CBJ), Mikhail Grabovski (Tor), Ales Hemsky (Edm), Derek Roy (Buf), James van Reimsdyk (Phi), and Ray Whitney (Phx).
  • Craig Custance of ESPN: Custance lists 5 Blue Jackets that could be moved: Jeff Carter, Vinny Prospal, Derick Brassard, Antoine Vermette and Samuel Pahlsson.
  • Dennis Bernstein via twitter: There were 2 Maple Leafs scouts at the Kings – Senators game. Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier was there as well.
  • Kevin McGran via twitter: There were 13 scouts at the Leafs – Islanders game last night, including 2 from the Oilers and Flyers Don Luce.
  • Chip Alexander via twitter: The Lightning, Capitals, Canadiens, Stars and Blackhawks were scouting the Hurricanes – Jets game.
  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: The Senators are sticking with their rebuilding plan, but if they are buyers at the deadline, it will only be a ‘tweak.’
  • Ansar Khan of the MLive: The Red Wings haven’t started contract talks with defenseman Brad Stuart because he’s unsure if he wants to stay in Detroit or head back to the West Coast. He’s wife, 2 son’s and stepdaughter must remain in San Jose.

    “It is going to be a tough decision,” Stuart said. “It’s not going to be all based on hockey and what I want for my career. It’s going to be a little bit (about) family, which is important. Those are things I still have to kind of sort out, try to figure out what’s going to be best for everyone.”

  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Lightning forward Jamie Benn is expected to be able to play in the All-Star game. GM Joe Nieuwendyk said that Benn’s contract extension will likely have to wait until after the season.

    “We’ve had discussions, but there won’t be any more discussion, I don’t thnk,” Nieuwendyk said, “His is a different situation because he’s still entry level and doesn’t have rights that maybe Alex has. We’ll have further discussions with him at the end of the season.”

    Heika thinks they may wait until after the new CBA. Current CBA expires on Sept. 15th.


Ovechkin suspended 3 games for his hit on Michalek

Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin was suspended for 3 games for his hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek.

Ovechkin leaves his feet and makes contact with Michalek’s head. He was suspended over a ‘charging’ violation.

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Afternoon notes involving: Goligoski, Flyers, Oilers, Bishop, All-Star replacements, Horton, Backstrom, Ehrhoff, Toews, Sharp, Whitney, Malone, lines and starting goalies

  • Dallas Stars via twitter: The Stars have signed defenseman Alex Goligoski to a 4 year contract extension worth $18.4 million, a $4.6 million cap hit.
  • Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal: Oilers GM Steve Tambellini seems to have earned himself a contract extension. It doesn’t look like head coach Tom Renney will be getting an extension at this time. Both are in the last year of their deals.
  • Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times: Cristodero thinks the Lightning should consider trading for Blues minor league goalie Ben Bishop. It would cost them a prospect or a high draft pick that Yzerman prefers to keep.
  • Michael Russo via twitter: Wild center Mikko Koivu won’t play in the All-Star due to his shoulder injury and will be replaced by Jordan Eberle. Chris Johnston via twitter: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was added to the All-Star game. (replacing Dustin Byfuglien)
  • Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe: Bruins forward Nathan Horton left last night’s game with an apparent head injury. “I guess we’ll find out in the next few days here,’’ Julien said. “But we certainly didn’t allow him to come back and play this game.’’
  • Buffalo Sabres via twitter: Christian Ehrhoff will be back in the lineup tomorrow according to coach Ruff. Brad Boyes has the flu and his status is unknown.
  • Adam Jahns via twitter: Blackhawks Patrick Sharp skated today and is targeting to return after the All-Star break.
  • Mark Stepneski via twitter: Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said that center Mike Ribeiro will return tomorrow night and that Jamie Benn should be able to play in the All-Star game. Stars Lines at practice: Eriksson-Ribeiro-Ryder; Ott-Wandell-Buish;Nystrom-fiddler-Dvorak; Fraser-Dowell-Vincour.
  • Rich Chere via twitter: Devils lines: Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk; Sykora-Elias-Zubrus; Ponikarvisky-Josefon-Clarkson; Boulton-Carter-Janssen.
  • Dave Molinari via twitter: Penguins lines: “Dupuis-Jeffrey-Kennedy, Cooke-Park-Sullivan, Tangradi-Vitale-Adams. No one in Malkin’s spot with Neal, Kunitz.”
  • Erik Erlendsson via twitter: Lightning forward Ryan Malone suffered an upper-body injury on Saturday and he isn’t expected to play on Tuesday.
  • John Vogl via twitter: Sabres winger Tyler Ennis is practicing today on a line with Ville Leino and Drew Stafford.
  • Arthur Staple via twitter: Looking like it’s Evgeni Nabokov in net for the Islanders against Jonas Gustavsson and the Maple Leafs.


Rumors involving the Oilers … List of forwards that could be available … Ovie, Michalek have hearings … Rangers need Dman … Benn to IR

  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: The Oilers are taking calls for Ales Hemsky as half the league is looking for a top 6 forward. The Oilers need a puck moving defenseman more than a draft pick. It’s unlikely the Predators would give up Ryan Ellis for Hemsky. One scout thinks the Predators would rather have Ryan Smyth over Hemsky, but Smyth likely won’t waive his no-trade clause at the deadline. The Senators are a wild card for Hemsky. The Oilers have liked Drew Stafford. Matheson wonders if the Kings would be interested in a Jonathan Bernier for Magnus Paajarvi deal this summer. The Blackhawks might take a look at Chris Campoli for their 4-5 hole that they are looking to fill. The Predators may look at taking offers for backup Anders Lindback this summer.
  • Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Molinari lists some ‘rental’ players that could be available this year: Jason Blake (Ana), Josh Green (Edm), Nicklas Hagman (Ana), Adam Hall (TB), Ales Hemsky (Edm), Kristian Huselius (CBJ), Saku Koivu (Ana), Dominic Moore (TB), Frans Nielsen (NYI), Samuel Pahlsson (Ana), Jay Pandolfo (NYI), P.A. Parenteau (NYI), George Parros (Ana), Vinny Prospal (CBJ), Tuomo Ruutu (Car), Teemu Selanne (Ana) and Ryan Smyth (Edm).
  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: Capitals Alex Ovechkin will have a hearing today for his high hit on Michalek. Penguins Zbynek Michalek will have a hearing today for his elbow on Hendricks.
  • Larry Brooks of the NY Post: Rangers GM Glen Sather needs to add a defenseman that can handle big minutes down the stretch. They’ve always liked Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason. Stars Sheldon Souray is an interesting option given his ability on the power play, but there are questions about his ability to defend. Ryan Suter is a possibility if he becomes available and if they want to go that direction.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Heika wonders if the Stars may have to consider moving Stephane Robidas, Brenden Morrow or Nicklas Grossman to create roster room for younger players. Heika doesn’t think so, as it sends a message that they are giving up this year. If they fall out of the race though, they may do something.
  • Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press: Jets Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane didn’t accompany the team to Carolina for tonight’s game. They play the Rangers on Tuesday in NY. Byfuglien and Kane are not expected to play until after the All-Star break.
  • Aaron Portzline via twitter: Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger could play tonight after missing the last 5 games with a concussion. Predators defenseman Ryan Suter is expected to be back after missing 3 games with an upper-body injury.
  • Shawn Mitchell via twitter: Recently signed Brett Lebda will make his debut tonight, and will be on the top pairing with Fedor Tyutin.
  • David Alter via twitter: Leafs lines at yesterday’s practice: Lupul-Bozak-Kessel, Crabb-Grabo-Kulie, Lombardi-Connolly-Kadri, MacArthur-Steckel-Brown, x Rosehill,Armstrong,Boyce.

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NHL Sources Say video … HC Trade Tracker videos for Derek Roy and Ryan Suter

Sportsnet’s Sources Say Video: Talking Sidney Crosby and his concussion, Korbinian Holzer and the Leafs defense that may be available, and the CBA.

Hockeycentral Trade Tracker: Sabres Derek Roy. Possible destinations: Devils, Wild, and Blackhawks

Hockeycentral Trade Tracker: Predators Ryan Suter. Possible destinations: Flyers, Oilers, and Red Wings.

Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove video link:

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Sunday morning rumor roundup and injury notes

  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: The Rangers, Sharks, Bruins and Wings have made inquiries about Teemu Selanne. Sources say it’s up to Selanne if he wants to go to a contender or not. The Leafs have held talks with the Ducks about Ryan Getzlaf, be he’s off the market and may have not even been on it all. It would take 2 top prospects and a top pick for Bobby Ryan. Flyers are looking at Tim Gleason. The Flyers, Penguins, Panthers and Senators have interest in Hal Gill. The only way Rick Nash gets traded is if he asks for one. Don’t be surprised if Jeff Carter is traded by the deadline. The Sabres are likely to move other parts over trading goalie Ryan Miller. Teams are asking a lot for players at the moment, so there haven’t been many trades. The Hurricanes are asking for top prospects or 2 1st round picks for Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen, Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Gleason. (My interpretation of this last statement was they want a top prospect for Spacek and Allen. A 1st round pick for Ruutu and Gleason.) Lightning coach Guy Boucher may not survive the season as the teams head coach. The Rangers are looking for a high end forward, possibly making a run at Selanne or Hemsky. The Oilers could listen to offers on Nikolai Khabibulin. The Lightning could look at Khabibulin and many believe Burke should go after a goalie. The Canucks may be looking at add some grit, possibly George Parros. Don’t expect a Cory Schneider trade, the asking price is “Stupid high.” The Penguins aren’t the only team to be interested in Dominic Moore.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney will give his surgically repaired ankle one last shot .

    “I have to give it one more try to play again this season. Hopefully it lasts for the rest of the year. If not, I’m probably done until next season”

    “Maybe I can play before the all-star break. I think I’ll do the (fitness) test with Tom (coach Renney) Sunday and see how that goes,” said Whitney.

  • Josh Koshman and Mark Everson of the NY Post: The NHL is talking with the Devils about advancing them money so they can operate through the season. Jeffery Vanderbeek would continue to run the team as they for a long-term financial solution.

    “We can presume if the advance has not happened, it is going to happen soon,” a source close to the team said.

    The Devils continue to lose money and haven’t been able to repay an $80 million loan that was due on Sept. 1st. Vanderbeek owns 47% of the team but can’t fund the losses. Billionaire Ray Chambers also owns 47% but he doesn’t want to fund the team. Vanderbeek has tried to sell Chambers share unsuccessfully. Chambers has tried to pay $24 million to lenders to get out of his financial guarantee.

  • Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun: The 33 year old Olli Jokinen wants to retire a Calgary Flame. His leadership and play this year may give management reason to re-sign the UFA. Jokinen said he’d accept less money for a no-trade clause as his family loves Calgary.
  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier was at the Avalanche – Kings game last night. Dater noticed him talking with GM Greg Sherman. Also scouting the game were the Leafs, Penguins, Bruins, Blues and Rangers.
  • Michael Russo of the Star Tribune: The Wild made defenseman Marek Zidlicky a healthy scratch last night. The Wild may look to deal him before the trade deadline, and there likely won’t be any issue with him waiving his no-trade clause. He’ll be 35 in a couple months and will make $4 million next year.
  • Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times: Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews left last night’s game with an upper-body injury. ‘‘We’ll see, and we’ll know more in the next day or so,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said.
  • Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun: It “looks like” Jets forward Evander Kane has a concussion according to coach Claude Noel. Neither Noel or Kane know when it may have happened.

    “Is it going to be a few days? Is it going to be a few weeks? You don’t know. But I’ll handle that the way I’ve had to deal with everything else. We have what we have.”

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Oilers would listen to Khabibulin offers … Round up of what some teams are looking for … Could Visnovsky be on the move? Glencross out 6 weeks

  • Darren Dreger of TSN: (mailbag) The Oilers would listen to offers on Nikolai Khabibulin (39). He has 1 year left at $3.75 million. They would need to get a goalie back if they dealt him. Hard to see the Oilers and Canucks doing a deal for Schneider. If the Oilers made it a big deal that included Ales Hemsky, a Jonathan Bernier deal could make some sense. The Flames are still looking to improve this year, and can use some of their upcoming UFAs for help. The Blue Jackets could dangle Jeff Carter, Antoine Vermette and Derick Brassard. Rick Nash’s name will come up at the deadline. The Capitals are expecting Mike Green to return just before the trade deadline.
  • Jason Brough of ProHockey Talk: Brough thinks that if the Blue Jackets were to trade Jeff Carter, it’s more likely to happen in the summer, maybe by a new GM. Would he get a package equal to what he gave up for him now? It cost them their 2011 8th overall pick, which turned out to be Sean Couturier, Jakob Voracek and a 3rd rounder. Carter is under contract until 2022 with a $5.3 million cap hit. The Maple Leafs have been looking for a 1st line center. The Rangers could use some scoring help. The Kings could also use some additional scoring, reuniting him with Mike Richards.
  • Kevin Allen of the Toronto Star: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke thinks it will be a busy trade deadline, but Burke hope to make moves beforehand as he’s “never liked the price tag at the deadline.” The Predators are looking for offensive help, and GM David Poile could deal Ryan Suter if they can’t re-sign him. The Sabres have to look at a roster shake-up. They could use a top-line center, and Drew Stafford could be bait. The Coyotes could use some help up front. The Wild are looking for some offensive help. The Oilers could trade UFAs Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth. The Flyers should be looking for a veteran blueliner. The Senators could use some more scoring help up front. The Ducks have Jason Blake heading to free agency. The Blue Jackets have Vinny Prospal and Samuel Pahlsson who’ll draw some interest. The Hurricanes will get interest in Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu.
  • Pierre LeBrun via twitter: LeBrun thinks that Beauchemin’s contract extension further raises the possibility that Lubomir Visnovsky could be dealt at the trade deadline.
  • Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider: Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier is under contract until 2012-13, but will the Kings trade him before then? Many teams regard him as a future #1 goalie. But is he playing enough to generate a strong offer? He’s on pace to play in 15 games.

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