While the NHL trade deadline is fast approaching, Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal remains in limbo. A pending free-agent in July, there's been no reported progress in contract talks between Staal's agent and Hurricanes GM Ron Francis.
However, The News & Observer's Chip Alexander reports Francis still hasn't approached the 31-year-old Staal about waiving his no-trade clause. The Hurricanes captain isn't ruling out doing so, though he cautions it depends upon the deal and the destination.
Francis could be simply waiting until deadline day to move Staal, hoping to drive up his trade value. Despite the lack of news regarding Staal's trade status, speculation persists over potential destinations. TSN's Bob McKenzie wonders if the New York Rangers can resist the temptation to make a pitch to the Hurricanes, especially after dealing away future assets in recent years.
The Winnipeg Jets shipping left wing Andrew Ladd on Thursday to the Chicago Blackhawks could affect Staal's trade value. So too could the fate of other notable names in the trade market, like Boston Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson and Arizona Coyotes left winger Mikkel Boedker.
On the one hand, if those players end up moved before Staal, there could be fewer suitable trade destinations for him by deadline day. On the other, that could also improve his value among the remaining clubs still seeking a top-six forward.
Eric Staal isn't the only player yet to make a decision about waiving a no-trade clause. The Vancouver Province's Ben Kuzma reports Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is weighing the pros and cons. Among the factors is the potential separation from his family and giving the team sufficient time to move him.
If the 33-year-old Hamhuis is willing to become a post-season rental player, there will be clubs in need of experienced defensive depth seeking his services. TSN's Farhan Lalji reports hearing the Blackhawks have serious interest in Hamhuis, as well as Canucks right winger and fellow UFA Radim Vrbata. In the wake of the Ladd trade, however, they could be considering other options on defense.
The Canucks also released a list to the other NHL clubs of several players they're willing to move by the trade deadline, but Hamhuis and Vrbata weren't on it. Notables include demoted veterans Christopher Higgins and Brandon Prust. It's unlikely, however, the Canucks will get much interest in those players.
BUBBLE TEAMS SHOULD SEEK NON-RENTALS
It's customary around this time of year for GMs of playoff bubble teams to claim they're not interested in acquiring short-term help at the trade deadline. Earlier this month, New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero said he wasn't in the market for playoff rental players. This week, Bryan Murray of the Ottawa Senators and Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers voiced their aversion to parting with assets for quick-fix returns.
However, that doesn't mean they're completely out of the trade market. The Ottawa Sun's Ken Warren reports Murray will be of an open mind if he receives an offer that helps his club now and in the future. Hextall, meanwhile, told CSNPhilly.com if something comes up that helps the Flyers in the future, he'll at least consider it.
Those GMs might want to review TSN's Frank Seravalli's list of non-rental players potentially available at the trade deadline. Among the notables are Edmonton Oilers right winger Nail Yakupov, Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Scott Hartnell, Florida Panthers center Brandon Pirri, Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller and Vancouver Canucks winger Jannick Hansen.
All are under contract beyond this season. The salaries of some, like Hartnell ($4.75 million annually), Eller ($3.5 million) and Hanzal ($3.1 million) could be too expensive. However, those like Yakupov and Hansen could be more palatable, depending upon the asking price.
KADRI NOT LIKELY TO BE DEALT
Having kicked off their fire sale by shipping out Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak and Nick Spaling earlier this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to continue making deals leading up to deadline day.
Center Nazem Kadri's name recently surfaced in the rumor mill as a possible target for the St. Louis Blues. However, the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan reports the Blues were notably absent among the 20 scouts taking in the Leafs' recent tilt at home against the Nashville Predators. He believes that will put to rest any further speculation about Kadri, a restricted free agent this summer, going to the Blues.
One Leaf who might interest the Blues is goaltender James Reimer. Having placed Brian Elliott on injured reserve for the next four weeks, Koshan speculates they could be in the market for a backup. He believes the San Jose Sharks would be a better fit, as they need a replacement for the struggling Alex Stalock.
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Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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.).
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