Goaltender Marty Turco’s days with the Dallas Stars could be drawing to a close.
Inconsistency in recent weeks has led to reports that Turco, an unrestricted free agent in July, could be dealt at the trade deadline.
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News recently observed that it won’t be easy moving the remainder of Turco’s $5.4 million salary by the trade deadline.
Turco’s performance has slipped the past two seasons and, even if he were willing to accept a pay cut, it’s doubtful the now cost-conscious Stars would re-sign him. The combination of poor play and high salary might not attract much interest by the trade deadline.
Expect the Stars to be shopping for a goaltender via trade or free agency in the off-season.
• The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson is “willing to bet $20 that Carolina Hurricanes winger Ray Whitney, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will wind up in Pittsburgh, playing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, at the deadline.”
I’m willing to take that bet.
Matheson suggests “maybe there could be some reciprocity” from the Hurricanes considering that in 2006 the Penguins dealt Mark Recchi to Carolina and he went on to help the ‘Canes win the Stanley Cup.
Over the past two seasons, the Penguins made significant moves around the trade deadline to bolster their roster for consecutive runs to the Stanley Cup final. But this year, Pens GM Ray Shero doesn’t have as many assets he’s willing to part with as in the past.
• It didn’t take long for Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton to respond to a recent Ottawa Sun report claiming the New York Rangers were trying to acquire Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier.
“It’s complete B.S. and nobody ever calls me or even asks me,” said Lawton, adding he hasn’t spoken with Rangers GM Glen Sather in weeks.
Any Lecavalier trade rumors are ridiculous given his expensive, multi-year contract and no-movement clause, but that won’t stop some folks from dreaming up trade scenarios involving the Bolts captain.
• The Columbus Blue Jackets’ fading playoff hopes could press GM Scott Howson into shopping some of his impending UFAs by the trade deadline.
Columbus Dispatch columnist Michael Arace listed Raffi Torres, Milan Jurcina and Fredrik Modin as possible trade candidates, suggesting Torres might fetch the best return.
Torres has been hampered by injury in recent seasons, but this season he avoided serious injury and is on pace for 26 goals and 40 points. His physical style of play will make him an attractive option to playoff-bound teams.
• Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller is eligible for UFA status this summer and will double or triple his current salary of $1.3 million.
Hiller sees himself as a starting goaltender, which will impact his talks with the Ducks, who also have J-S Giguere costing them $6 million per season on the salary cap. Hiller told the Orange County Register his agent and Ducks GM Bob Murray have had conversations, but any progress on a new deal could depend on what decisions Murray makes in the coming months.
In addition to Hiller, Saku Koivu, Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne are also scheduled to become UFAs, while goal-scoring leader Bobby Ryan is a restricted free agent and, like Hiller, will be in line for a big raise.
The Register noted the Ducks currently have more than $35 million committed to 16 players next season. Re-signing Hiller and Ryan could cost up to a combined $10 million, leaving little room for other key players.
Giguere has been a frequent topic of trade rumors this season, but with another season remaining on his contract and a no-trade clause, he’ll be almost impossible to move.
However, one option could be buying out his contract in June. He’ll make $7 million next season and a buyout would significantly reduce the cap hit.
At two-thirds of the remaining value spread over twice the remaining tenure, the cap hit to the Ducks would be just more than $1.33 million next season and $2.33 million for 2011-12, reflecting the escalation of Giguere’s salary over the course of his contract.
That might prove a more attractive option than retaining Giguere for another season and would probably be much easier than trading him.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays 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.