The fate of Winnipeg Jets winger Andrew Ladd remains the hot topic in the NHL rumor mill. With the trade deadline fast approaching, there's a feeling everyone's waiting to see where the Jets ship the 30-year pending free agent. If so, his eventual destination will have a considerable effect upon the rest of the trade market.
NBC Sports' Mike Halford reports Ladd's been linked to the Florida Panthers for some time. Citing a recent report from Sun-Sentinel.com, Halford notes Panthers co-owner Doug Cifu sang the praises of the Jets' captain, noting GM Dale Tallon knows Ladd well from their days with the Chicago Blackhawks. However, Cifu didn't say if Tallon is actively pursuing him.
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun also reports of the Panthers' rumored interest in Ladd. He believes the Jets' asking price could start with a first-round pick and go on from there as part of a package. LeBrun wonders at what point Ladd could prove too expensive for the Panthers.
If the Panthers fail to land Ladd, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman speculates Tallon could instead look toward Edmonton Oilers' winger Teddy Purcell. Eligible for UFA status in July, the 30-year-old Purcell is on track for a respectable 44-points this season.
The Blackhawks are also reportedly interested in Ladd. The Chicago Sun-Times' Rob Ogden reports Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman took in Tuesday's game between the Jets and Dallas Stars.
BLACKHAWKS AND CANADIENS COULD DEAL
Speaking of the Blackhawks, GM Stan Bowman was in Montreal on Monday watching the Nashville Predators play the Canadiens. Rob Ogden of the Chicago Sun-Times speculates Bowman was looking at trade targets on the Habs, suggesting veteran winger Tomas Fleischmann as one option.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports Habs center Lars Eller is being mentioned as a Blackhawks' trade target. With Eller carrying a $3.5-million annual average salary through 2017-18, Friedman doubts the 26-year-old can fit within the 'Hawks cap room.
Canadiens right wing Dale Weise is also believed to be available. However, the 'Hawks seek someone who can skate on their top two lines. Weise, a checking-line forward, won't address that need.
BOEDKER DONE IN THE DESERT?
Winger Mikkel Boedker's days with the Arizona Coyotes could be drawing to a close. TSN's Darren Dreger reports the club had pulled a contract extension offer to the 26-year-old, increasing the likelihood he'll be dealt before the trade deadlne.
Over the weekend, the Buffalo News' Mike Harrington reported of growing speculation the Blackhawks could pursue Boedker. While they and the Coyotes have a recent trade-deadline history (see last year's Antoine Vermette swap), the remainder of Boedker's $3.75-million cap hit could be a tight fit under the 'Hawks cap space.
If the Coyotes trade Boedker, they could be seek a short-term replacement to help keep their playoff hopes alive. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman speculates Vancouver Canucks winger Radim Vrbata could be shipped back to Arizona, where he played six seasons.
FLAMES, CANUCKS NOT DONE AFTER MINOR DEAL
The Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson reports Flames GM Brad Treliving could peddle pending UFA defenseman Kris Russell and wingers Jiri Hudler and David Jones. While there's talk the Flames GM hopes to re-sign the 28-year-old Russell, there's no indication a deal is coming soon. Treliving could be in the market for a starting goalie, though a long-term solution is hard to find right now.
It's widely assumed the Canucks will ship out pending free agents like winger Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis. However, they could also try moving out one or two veterans with term left on their contracts for younger, faster and more affordable players.
Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province claims Canucks winger Jannik Hansen is popping up on the trade radar. The speedy winger has 19 goals this season and an affordable annual average salary of $2.5 million through the next two seasons. Kuzma believes the Blackhawks would be a good fit for the 29-year-old winger.
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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