One day after Montreal Canadiens left winger Mike Cammalleri publicly criticized the way his team was performing, he was pulled from the ice mid-way through Thursday's Canadiens-Bruins game, sent back to the team's hotel and subsequently informed he'd been traded to the Calgary Flames.
The deal saw Cammalleri, Kontinental League goalie Karri Ramo (whose rights were owned by the Canadiens) and a fifth round pick in 2012 head to Calgary, while left winger Rene Bourque, prospect right winger Patrick Holland and a second-rounder in 2013 went to Montreal.
This swap should put an end to the trade rumors dogging Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
Iginla and Cammalleri had terrific chemistry when Cammalleri played with the Flames in 2008-09, a year in which the now-29-year-old had a career-best 39 goals and 82 points.
Cammalleri has struggled this season and was hampered by injuries over the previous two, but it's apparent GM Jay Feaster believes the sniper can rediscover his offensive touch.
The Flames made this move to take a serious run at a playoff berth. No way they move Iginla, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester or goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff now.
As for the Canadiens, Gauthier claims the trade will make them a better team, but the best that can be said about this deal for the Habs is they freed up significant cap space. Cammalleri is earning $6 million per season, Bourque $3.3 million.
Bourque is a physical winger with a decent scoring touch, but he's not a dynamic offensive player like Cammalleri who, when healthy, is capable of putting up big numbers. Cammalleri has also shown he can elevate his game in critical situations, especially in the playoffs.
Gauthier claimed this deal had been percolating since December (and Feaster said it had been in the works for a long time as well), but one wonders if Gauthier could have found a better deal had he aggressively shopped Cammalleri. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun claimed one GM told him he would've made an offer if he'd known Cammalleri was available.
LEAFS OPEN TO OFFLOADING DEFENSE?
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has a tendency to make moves well before the trade deadline, which has raised speculation he’ll pull the trigger on a deal soon, perhaps before the end of January.
Burke was interviewed on Toronto Fan 590 radio Wednesday, where he indicated he wouldn’t be content with just making the playoffs because he wants his club to at least advance beyond the first round.
Burke said his Leafs remain “a little small up front” and lack playoff experience, which suggests he's looking for a big, experienced scoring forward.
The Philadelphia Flyers are a potential trade partner and one the Leafs have a lot of rumor history with. A recent report in the Philadelphia Daily News observed that Flyers director of player personnel Don Luce had been scouting Leafs games.
The Flyers are believed to be in the market for blueline depth, leading to rumors of interest in Leafs blueliners Luke Schenn and Cody Franson. Philadelphia is deep at forward, which would catch Burke’s interest.
Left winger Scott Hartnell would be a perfect fit for the Leafs, but he's too valuable for the Flyers to move.
Right winger Wayne Simmonds has size, decent scoring touch and some playoff experience, but one wonders if GM Paul Holmgren would be willing to part with him after landing him only last summer in the Mike Richards swap with the Kings.
Left winger James van Riemsdyk is of interest to Burke and is a lethal scorer. Like Hartnell, however, van Riemsdyk is likely too valuable for Holmgren to part with.
SENATORS SEEK A PUSH
The Leafs aren't the only Ontario team that are anticipated to be buyers.
Senators GM Bryan Murray has hinted at a desire to bolster his roster near the trade deadline, provided his team remains in playoff contention.
If Murray goes shopping, he’ll seek a scoring forward, as he's reportedly happy with his current defense corps.
The Ottawa Sun listed Edmonton's Ales Hemsky and Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu among the forwards believed to be available. They could be targets for Murray, who will be able to offer up prospects and/or draft picks in return.
NO ROOM FOR SCHULTZ
Teams interested in blueline depth should contact the Washington Capitals.
Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com reported Wednesday that Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz, a healthy scratch in 12 of the past 14 games, is “discouraged” and wondering about his future with the club.
Schultz, 25, is in the second year of a four-year, $11-million contract worth $2.75 million per season.
He told Gormley he hasn't requested a trade, but wants to be on the ice. If he's not traded, he could be demoted to the minors.
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 Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.