- It appears a trade may be brewing between the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both teams scouted each other regularly in December and reports out of both cities last week suggested a deal – possibly a multi-player one – could be close.
Plenty of names from both clubs have been bandied about in the press. One report out of New York claimed the Rangers were trying to land veteran blueliner Adam Foote, but that was subsequently denied by Jackets management, who reportedly hope to re-sign Foote to a contract extension.
Media consensus suggests veteran Blue Jackets forward David Vyborny and young Rangers winger Petr Prucha could be part of the deal.
It remains to be seen if the two sides will swing a trade and if it could be as substantial as anticipated, but the two clubs appear to have had more than just cursory trade discussions.
The Blue Jackets aren’t the only team the Rangers are believed to be talking to. A report in the Montreal Gazette suggested they might be interested in Canadiens winger Michael Ryder.
- Ottawa Senators netminder Ray Emery’s unhappiness over his lack of playing time this season reached critical mass last week. A headline-making temper tantrum in a recent practice incurred the wrath of head coach John Paddock, who banned Emery from the following day’s practice.
Emery appeared to emerge last season as the Senators de facto starter after backstopping them to the 2007 Stanley Cup final, earning a three-year, $3.167 million per season contract extension last summer.
But he was slow to recover from off-season wrist surgery and in his absence Martin Gerber seized the opportunity to make amends for a poor performance last season. Gerber presently leads all Eastern Conference goalies in wins this season and has taken over the starter’s role in Ottawa.
The few games Emery played this season have been forgettable, leading to speculation he hasn’t worked hard enough to get back into proper game shape.
It’s also led to talk of management shopping Emery, but finding no takers due to his behavior and contract.
In the pre-salary cap world the odds of moving Emery might’ve been better, but nowadays cap constraints mean few GMs are willing to gamble on a talented “problem child.”
That means Emery probably won’t be leaving Ottawa anytime soon.
- The NHL careers of Tampa Bay goaltender Marc Denis and Chicago winger Sergei Samsonov might be coming to an end.
Both have struggled since last season and were recently waived by their respective teams. Denis is midway through a three-year contract paying him $2.867 million per season while Samsonov is in the final year of his contract earning $3.525 million.
A rival team could claim them for half those salaries if they’re placed on re-entry waivers, but that might be a long shot. Of the two, Denis perhaps could have the best chance of getting claimed as Lightning GM Jay Feaster recently said his name came up in talks with rival GMs.
- Two clubs worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks are the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes. Both are in the market for blueline depth, specifically a puck-moving defenseman.
Ottawa’s Joe Corvo, Los Angeles’ Tom Preissing and the Rangers’ Paul Mara have been frequent fixtures in the rumor mill this season, but all earn more than $2.5 million per season and only Mara is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.
Since cap space is a concern for the Bruins and Hurricanes, they might pass on the aforementioned and shop around for more affordable options.
A potential trade partner for those clubs is the St. Louis Blues, which have considerable depth on their blueline and might be willing to part with a defenseman for depth elsewhere. Barrett Jackman and Christian Backman are believed available.
- Teams in need of help between the pipes might want to give unrestricted free agent Curtis Joseph a call.
CuJo’s strong goaltending carried Team Canada to a perfect 4-0 record en route to winning the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland on New Year’s Eve.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins are rumored to be in the market for an experienced netminder and Joseph could be an affordable signing for those clubs.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, www.spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.