Having lost out to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli continues shopping for roster depth.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reported the Bruins were tracking San Jose Sharks winger Ryane Clowe, but claimed the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers also had interest, as could several Western clubs, including the Vancouver Canucks.
LeBrun stated the early price for Clowe was reportedly “a first round pick and another young asset”, and doubted the Canadiens would part with a first-rounder. Chiarelli could be just as reluctant. As for the Rangers, they dealt their first-rounder to Columbus last summer in the Rick Nash trade.
CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty reported Chiarelli is also in the market for a puck-moving defenseman, suggesting Mark Streit of the Islanders or Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes would a perfect fit. The Isles, however, hope to re-sign Streit, while prying Yandle away from the Coyotes would be expensive.
Other options include Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester and San Jose's Dan Boyle, but Haggerty noted each has an additional expensive year remaining on their contract.
An affordable option is Edmonton's Ryan Whitney, a Boston native who skated with several Bruins during the recent NHL lockout. Haggerty cited a scout who acknowledged Whitney's declining mobility but praised his puck-handling ability, believing the Oilers blueliner could be a good fit with the Bruins.
The St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes could also have interest in Whitney, so Chiarelli would be forced to move quickly or risk losing out again on another trade target.
Haggerty also cited “whispers” claiming the Bruins could consider Oilers right winger Ales Hemsky as a fall back option after losing out on Iginla.
Hemsky, however, lacks a physical edge to his game, has a lengthy injury history and another season at $5 million on his contract. Chiarelli should consider other alternatives.
BUZZ ABOUT BOZAK
It’s been more than a week since Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis told Prime Time Sports he was prepared to retain Tyler Bozak and the Leafs other unsigned free agents, but Bozak's name keeps popping up in the rumor mill.
Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun noted Bozak was part of the Roberto Luongo trade talks between the Leafs and Canucks last year, but those discussions didn't go far.
MacIntyre believes Bozak is “now considered one of the prime rental players” leading up to Wednesday's trade deadline.
Conflicting reports, meanwhile, emerged Thursday from the Toronto Star. Mark Zwolinski claimed the Leafs’ focus appears to have shifted from shopping Bozak to seeking either a veteran goalie or defenseman.
Damien Cox, however, reported the Leafs and Canucks quietly reopened talks, though it doesn't mean a Luongo deal is imminent. Cox believes the Canucks are no longer seeking Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner, but could still have interest in Bozak.
Zwolinski and Cox agree the Leafs have more goaltending options than they did the last time they spoke with the Canucks about Luongo.
Cox listed Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff and Phoenix's Mike Smith as two possibilities. Zwolinski acknowledged rumors linking the Leafs to Kiprusoff, but suggested a more affordable short-term alternative is Florida's Scott Clemmensen.
Though Toronto remains interested in adding a veteran goalie, Cox and Zwolinski also cited the possibility Nonis could stick with the current tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens.
The Canucks desperately need a skilled center, but management has so far resisted scaling down their asking price on Luongo. They want a return that helps them now and in the future and those deals are rare at the trade deadline.
It's unlikely they'll get a big package from the Maple Leafs, whose improved performance gives Nonis little reason to swing a blockbuster move. He'll keep his options open and could make a move or two, but it's unlikely he'll risk upsetting team chemistry.
J.J. TO N.J.?
The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday the Stars have opened contract talks with Jaromir Jagr. That doesn't mean he's off the trade market, but could make him tougher to pry away from the Stars by deadline day.
It's rumored the New Jersey Devils would target Jagr as a short-term boost to their scoring lines. Ilya Kovalchuk is currently sidelined two to four weeks with a shoulder injury, forcing GM Lou Lamoriello to shop for a scoring forward.
Lamoriello cautions, however, he's unwilling to tear apart his roster for a scoring star. Jagr, who's slated to become an unrestricted free agent, could be the right fit in New Jersey if he and the Stars fail to agree to a new contract before the deadline.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).