Boston Bruins center Marc Savard’s recent return to skating is a welcome sign in his recovery from post-concussion symptoms, but it also has Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli stepping up efforts to cut payroll in anticipation of Savard’s eventual return.
The Boston Globe reported Saturday Chiarelli wouldn’t shy away from demoting a current roster player to the minors as one means of freeing up cap space.
A likely candidate is winger Michael Ryder, who earns $4 million this season. The Globe speculated he’ll be gone regardless of how he plays this season (he had five points in his first seven games), although a stronger performance would make it easier for Chiarelli to trade him.
Even by removing Ryder, however, Chiarelli would still need to move another player as left winger Marco Sturm ($3.5 million) is also expected to return from long-term injury status in the near future.
That’s led to speculation wingers Blake Wheeler or Daniel Paille will also be shopped.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reported Friday that sources claimed “a potential move to the Toronto Maple Leafs has been discussed at points and Chiarelli has held discussions with the Phoenix Coyotes over the last week on cap-saving moves.”
A possible trade of Wheeler to the Maple Leafs has been suggested in the past, though recent reports have also linked the Leafs with David Backes of the St. Louis Blues and Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers.
It is unlikely Backes or Carter will be available, making a Wheeler trade with Boston more of a possibility.
KABERLE TO DEVILS?
Speaking of the Leafs, Mike Brophy of Sportsnet.ca recently claimed he’d heard the New Jersey Devils contacted the Leafs about the availability of defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
Brophy acknowledged the pledge by Leafs GM Brian Burke not to ask Kaberle to waive his “no-trade” clause during this season, but wondered if Burke would put pressure on the blueliner to do so if the Devils were to offer up a top-six forward.
That’s unlikely now given the recent knee injury to Devils star left winger Zach Parise, but regardless of that there would have been a problem making the dollars fit.
While the Leafs have more than $3.5 million in available cap space, the Devils are squeezed to the limit. In fact, the only way they’re staying cap compliant is because Brian Rolston and Bryce Salvador are on LTIR.
The Devils would want to dump salary, not take on more. To comfortably fit in Kaberle’s $4.25 million for this season they’d have to move at least $5 million out in order to absorb his salary and still leave some breathing space under the cap.
And it won’t change if Parise goes on LTIR as Rolston and Salvador are expected to return to the Devils lineup in the coming weeks.
IGINLA A KING?
The Los Angeles Kings failed in their efforts last season and summer to land scoring winger Ilya Kovalchuk, but given their cap space it’s believed they’ll remain in the market for a veteran scoring forward by the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun suggested one possibility is Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla, based upon reports last week out of Calgary suggesting a possible rift between Iginla and coach Brent Sutter.
Iginla and Sutter both denied the rift rumors and LeBrun pointed out Iginla - with a $7 million per season salary and a “no-movement” clause - controls his destiny.
This isn’t the first time talk of an Iginla trade popped up, as the local media raised the issue in the days following the end of last season, when the Flames missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Iginla rejected that speculation then and as LeBrun pointed out there’s no indication now the Flames would consider moving him.
Still, if the Flames are struggling to make the playoffs by mid-season it could inspire more media-generated Iginla trade rumors.
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.