While the media focus in recent days has been on the Edmonton Oilers and their options to rid themselves of defenseman Sheldon Souray, another club is looking to move a veteran blueliner.
It’s expected New York Rangers defenseman Wade Redden will be dealt or demoted before the start of the upcoming season.
Redden’s situation isn’t similar to Souray’s in Edmonton as he didn’t badmouth the Rangers organization nor demand a trade. Given the choice, Redden would prefer to remain with the Blueshirts.
The problem is Redden hasn’t played up to the expensive, lengthy contract he signed with the Rangers two years ago and with the club currently sitting $4.059 million over the $59.4-million salary cap, he’s become a prime candidate to be moved before they open the season against Buffalo Oct. 9.
Like the Oilers with Souray, the Rangers won’t find it easy to move the 33-year-old Redden via trade.
He has another four years at a cap hit of $6.5 million per season remaining on his contract. His numbers have been in steady decline since his career-best 50-point performance with Ottawa in 2005-06 and he has a limited no-trade clause whereby he can list up to eight teams he won’t accept a move to.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks recently reported the Rangers might investigate the possibility of dealing for Souray, while online rumors suggest a swap of Souray for Redden.
That’d only work if Redden would accept a trade to Edmonton, but more importantly if Oilers GM Steve Tambellini would be desperate enough to move Souray to accept adding another $1.1 million per season to his salary cap over the next four years.
Another possibility for the Rangers is to loan Redden to a European team. Brooks reported agent Don Meehan declined to comment if he’d been in touch with clubs in Europe as possible destinations for his client.
COOL ON KOTALIK
Another player who may be dealt or demoted is Calgary Flames right winger Ales Kotalik, although this move is more likely to happen later in the season.
Kotalik, dealt to the Flames from the Rangers early last February, admitted he was a “broken player” at the time, having struggled with the Rangers prior to the trade.
His poor offensive numbers led to speculation the Flames would buyout the remainder of his contract (two years, $6 million) during the off-season, loan him to Europe, or demote him to the minors after he cleared waivers earlier in the summer.
However, according to Flames assistant GM Jay Feaster, Kotalik will be given a chance to make the roster.
The Flames are currently over the salary cap by nearly $2.5 million, but with center Daymond Langkow still recovering from a broken neck vertebrae and possibly starting the season on long-term injury reserve, they won’t have to make any cost-cutting moves at this time.
The problem, though, occurs once Langkow is ready to return as the Flames will have to clear space for his salary.
If Kotalik hasn’t regained the form that made him a four-time 20-goal scorer earlier in his career he will once again become a prime candidate for trade or demotion, although a poor performance would make the former an unlikely prospect.
Also, if Kotalik does re-discover his touch, he would then become too valuable for the Flames - who’ve struggled offensively for several years - to move, meaning someone else will have to be cut.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.