When it comes to NHL trade rumours, there’s a lot of waiting involved. That seems to especially be the case this year, with so many teams still refusing to bow out of contention and join Colorado and Arizona as the league’s only two sure-fire sellers.
Many general managers are waiting to see how their team performs in the coming weeks leading up to the March 1 deadline—take Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, for example, who said last week on Hockey Central that he didn’t see Detroit being a buyer.
“If we think we have a chance to make the playoffs, we’ll probably stand pat,” explained Holland. (Watch the video at the top of this post.) “And if we think we’re too far back then we’ll explore the market.”
Here’s a look at a few rumours and whispers we’re looking at today, beginning with the Red Wings.
Mike Green & Thomas Vanek
If playoff-bound teams are looking for a right-shot defenceman who’s more than just a rental, they might look to 31-year-old Mike Green.
Green has one season remaining on his three-year, $18-million deal, and has had some success this year, registering nine goals and 15 assists in 42 games.
“I’m curious to see if they would move him, and what the interest would be,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman told Sportsnet 960 The FAN Friday morning, while also mentioning Thomas Vanek as a player worth watching in the coming weeks. “I think [Green]’s definitely going to be a guy who’s talked about.”
Jarome Iginla made plenty of headlines early this week when he expressed his desire to be traded by the deadline, adding his name to the growing list of Colorado Avalanche players on the trading block.
“I would like to, at the deadline, go somewhere,” Iginla told Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy blog on Wednesday. “I would like to be in the playoffs. I would hope that there is some opportunity to go and play in the playoffs. Those are the best games, the most fun for sure, and you have a chance to win. So no, I haven’t given up on that chance to win.”
Iginla is currently in the final season of a three-year, $16-million deal and would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to be moved. While he’s still got some gas left in the tank, the 39-year-old hasn’t been as productive this season, registering six goals and a dozen points in 48 games.
Still, he could prove to be a depth asset for a contender looking for a little more size and support up front as a third-liner on a team like, say, the Montreal Canadiens or Washington Capitals.
“He and Shane Doan, to me, are very similar in that if you pick him up, you pick him up for experience, you pick him up for leadership, and you’re picking him up for a third-line role,” Doug MacLean said during Hockey Central on Thursday.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon agreed, saying both Iginla and Doan are all about the intangibles.
“They’re not going to play every game in the playoffs,” Shannon said. “They’re going to help you as much in the room as they are on the ice. Every team talks about building depth for the playoffs, that extra forward…
“That’s what we’re talking about with Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan. Are they going to help a team possibly win the Stanley Cup? Yeah. But they’re not going to be major contributors. They’re going to be role-players. That’s something that neither of them ever have been at any time their career.”
But the 22-year-old hasn’t exactly thrived in Ottawa lately, even spending some time down with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators earlier this season after injury issues slowed his progress.
Friedman suggests Lazar’s lack of playing time could be what’s feeding the rumours.
“He’s not playing a lot, and when he does play, he’s getting not a ton of minutes, and he’s way down the lineups,” Friedman told Sportsnet 960 The FAN on Friday morning. “Anytime that comes up, you start to hear talk and conversation. And I think they are being asked, ‘what are you thinking here? What are you doing there? What are your future plans?’
“I have no doubt teams are calling them and asking them that. He’s fallen further down the lineup, he just can’t seem to get going, he had some injury problems at the beginning of the year, which affected him, and he wasn’t at his peak when the season began. He’s playing catchup. I just feel that as the Ottawa Senators have gotten going in the last little bit, he just can’t find his way.”
Lazar missed training camp due to mononucleosis, and didn’t make his NHL season debut until Nov. 19. In 28 games this year, the winger has registered just one assist and has surpassed 10 minutes of ice time just once in his past 16 games.
“I do get the sense, at least internally in Ottawa, they feel that he’s not going to be the offensive point player that they hoped for him when they drafted him,” said Friedman.
But just because he’s been struggling of late, it doesn’t mean the Senators are willing to lower the price on the 17th overall selection from 2013.
“I think the Senators are wary about that. You don’t want to see a guy get traded and find his life somewhere else, so from everything I understand, his price is still high, and they’re not treating him like just a regular depth player.”
Pittsburgh’s crease has been the target of plenty of questions this year, with Fleury and Matt Murray both seeing starts.
“My preference is to keep both these goalies here this year,” GM Jim Rutherford told Trib Live.
Of the two goalies, Fleury has seen fewer starts and looks to be the backup at this point. Per the Trib Live, the GM said he will listen to his veteran goalie.
“The one thing I’ll have to watch for and keep the lines of communication open with the player is, is he OK with the situation that he’s in?” Rutherford said. “Going back to last year and to this point in time, he has handled it like a true pro. No issues at all. It may play out that we may be able to go right through having two top goalies on our team. We just have to keep an eye on what direction Marc wants to go here in the next few weeks.”
This one’s more whispers than rumours, but Mike Ribeiro is another name we’ll include on this list for now.
Could be a situation worth watching in Nashville.