NHL Trade Deadline: Stephen Weiss, Brad Richards Lead Rumor Mill On Hockey's Big Day

Deadline day is finally here. Check up with all the news, speculation and rumors right here as we near the 3 p.m. trade deadline.

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NHL Trade Deadline Rumors Roundup: Jason Spezza Staying With Ottawa Senators

Another quick check on the rumors and speculation around the NHL:

- Jason Spezza is not going to be traded by the Ottawa Senators, says team GM Bryan Murray. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN passed along that news. Spezza has four years and a no-trade clause remaining on his deal, worth $7 million against the cap each season.

- The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for some help on defense and could be looking at Radek Martinek of the New York Islanders or Ladislav Smid of the Edmonton Oilers, reports Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. They're also still looking for a center.

- The Anaheim Ducks are in on Zenon Konopka of the New York Islanders, but it seems like they're only one of several teams. According to Katie Strang of Newsday, Konopka is on the ice at Isles practice this morning on Long Island, so as of now, no deal is complete. 

- Bob McKenzie of TSN said on the network's TradeCentre special that the Nashville Predators could be in on Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers. The Preds are right on the cusp of the Western Conference playoff picture (well, who isn't?) and could use Hemsky's playmaking ability, but his $5 million cap hit is traditionally a little rich for the tastes in Nashville. 

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NHL Trade Rumors: Chicago Blackhawks To Be 'Aggressive' On Trade Deadline Day

Trade deadline day 2011 is here, and if Stan Bowman has his way, the Chicago Blackhawks will have a different look after 3 p.m than they did when we all woke up this morning. 

Via the Chicago Sun-Times, Bowman says he's "aggressively" trying to improve the team with additions on defense and some depth at forward.

"In a perfect world, you'd like to have a defenseman and a center," Bowman said. "Does that come to fruition? It's unlikely you're going to hit both of those. We're working it on both fronts because you don't know which one is going to [land] in your lap at the end."    

After waiving Nick Boynton over the weekend, the Blackhawks cleared a bit of space for today's deadline. They now have about $1.85 million in acquisition space to play with as Bowman attempts to make those improvements. 

It seems as though defense would be the first priority, although like Bowman said, it's unclear what's going to fall into the lap by the 3 p.m. deadline. Defenseman Jordan Hendry was injured on Sunday, the day after another defenseman, Boynton was claimed on waivers by Philadelphia, leaving the 'Hawks with a small void there.

There's no real word on how much time Hendry will miss, but the question marks could lead Bowman to specifically target that spot. 

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NHL Trade Rumors: Tomas Vokoun Likely Staying With Florida Panthers

There had been some speculation that Florida was possibly looking into trading their all-star goaltender in Tomas Vokoun. That idea has been quickly squashed by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

Panthers source says zero traction on Vokoun at this point.... still early thoughless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

Anything is possible at the right price, but it will likely be an expensive price for anyone looking to acquire the goaltender. At the same time, suitors have the upper hand a bit considering Vokoun would be a rental player. 

The Panthers only other option in goal, should they trade Vokoun, would be Scott Clemmensen. There's also young prospect Jacob Markstrom. 

The market for a goaltender seems to be slim, and it could be thanks to last year's Stanley Cup Final. The two teams that advanced to the Final, the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks, got there with less-than-stellar goaltending in Michael Leighton and Antti Niemi.

Since a Cup can be won with those guys in net, teams with strong defense seem comfortable to stick with what they have at this point. 

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NHL Trade Rumors: John-Michael Liles Trading Options Slowly Dwindling

The rumors surrounding John-Michael Liles have usually centered around the Toronto Maple Leafs, but those rumors are now dead. Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke reportedly thinks that the price is too high for Liles, only leaving a few teams left in the possible race for the Colorado defenseman.

A team to keep an eye on is the Columbus Blue Jackets. From Columbus beat writer Aaron Portzline:

RT @LoneStranger19: @Aportzline Are TOR / CBJ only 2 teams known to have been/be in on Liles sweeps? / Think BUF is too, and possibly others via TweetDeck

 

The Buffalo Sabres are the other team that could be in play for Liles as they are looking for a true powerplay quarterback. Jordan Leopold has 17 of his 41 points on the powerplay and three of his six goals. Liles has another year left on his contract as well, worth $4.2 million against the cap. 

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NHL Trade Rumors Roundup: Jason Arnott Willing To Waive No-Trade Clause

It's a busy rumor mill on this 2011 NHL trade deadline day, and while we don't expect the 30 deals that we saw last year on this day, we do expect some activity. Let's quickly round up all the speculation we can handle.

- The Tampa Bay Lightning seem happy with their team and we probably shouldn't expect much from them, reports Damian Cristodero in the St. Pete Times. A deal for depth could be made, but with Ryan Malone on the path to return, they won't be making much of a splash today.

- It's evident that Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia Flyers value Cup experience as they look to make their own run this spring. After acquiring Kris Versteeg and Nick Boynton, each of whom beat the Flyers in the Cup Final with Chicago a year ago, Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that they could be in on a so-called "character winger" to replace the troubled Nikolay Zherdev.

- Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford, via the News & Observer: "I do not think it will be an overly active day for us. If we're going to add anything, it would be ... adding depth to our defense."

- The Los Angeles Kings aren't expected to trade away prized prospect Brayden Schenn, and definitely not for Edmonton's Ales Hemsky. The Kings are interested in Hemsky, says Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times, but not if Schenn is the price. 

- Jason Arnott will waive his no-trade clause to leave the Devils if it's a deal to go to the right team. You know, like a playoff team. That's the report via the Star-Ledger.

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Zenon Konopka Generating Interest, NHL Trade Rumors As Teams Search For Faceoff Man

You don't often think about the market for a tough guy on NHL trade deadline day, but Zenon Konopka finds his name in the headlines this morning. The New York Islanders enforcer is more than just a bruised and battered face, though.

He's one of the best faceoff men in the entire NHL.

Several teams, including the Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks are rumored to be interested in Konopka, who ranks fifth in the league in the faceoffs department. That comes via TSN's Darren Dreger and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

He has just seven points in 63 games this season with the Islanders on top of 224 penalty minutes, but those faceoff numbers are certainly good enough to get somebody to bite. 

It's not as though he's useless, either. He was essentially a point per game player in both the ECHL and AHL, so while he's made his living in the NHL as a pair of hired fists, he could certainly figure into the goal scoring a bit if given the opportunity. 

For more on the Islanders, visit SB Nation's Lighthouse Hockey.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Brad Richards Only Going To New York Rangers, If He's Going Anywhere

The big player of the day is Dallas center Brad Richards. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and is coveted by a handful of teams. Richards has a no-trade clause and the Dallas Stars have stated that they really aren't interested in moving Richards at this moment.

TSN's Darren Dreger is reporting, though, that if Richards were to be moved today, only one team has a shot at him:

a good guess on which team Richards would waive to join....NYR.via web

 

Apparently the asking price for Richards is still fairly high: a current player, a pick, and a prospect.

The asking price may go down as the day continues and with this news out there, the Rangers might have a bit of leverage. Also of note is the fact that Richards hasn't returned to the ice with concussion symptoms. A timetable is unknown at this point.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Will Stephen Weiss Or David Booth Be Moved By Florida?

The Florida Panthers are currently eight points out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, but the rumors are swirling that their two leading scorers are part of trade rumors all over again.

Stephen Weiss is the leading point scorer with 40 points while Booth is the leading goal scorer with 17. Our Panthers site, Litter Box Cats, has some thoughts on the likelihood of the deal though:

It's hard to imagine two high-end skilled players - who wish to stay in Florida - not being part of GM Dale Tallon's "blueprint". However, if the plan as Assistant GM Mike Santos said is to turn around the team in 3-4 years, it's not completely inconceivable to think that Booth and Weiss just don't fit into the long term plans-- after all, in 4 years time Booth will be 30 and Weiss 31; in the "New NHL", young kids rule.

Both Weiss and Booth are going to be hard players to move. Weiss has a no-movement clause in his contract which has to be waived before he can be moved. Reports are out there, especially from Darren Dreger, that Toronto would be a likely spot but the Maple Leafs may not be interested:

Weiss likes Toronto, however, at the moment the Leafs are not planning on making an offer. That may change as day evolves.via Twitter for BlackBerry®

 

Booth's issue is that he is signed until the 2014-15 season with a cap hit of $4.25 million. That could be tough for several teams to manage. If either player moves, it will likely be one of the bigger deals of the day. 

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NHL Trade Rumors: Will Tim Connolly Now Stay In Buffalo?

We speculated a few days ago that Tim Connolly's days in Buffalo were going to be short lived as he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. That may not be the case though with this nugget from the Buffalo News' John Vogl on Sunday

At least one team has been rebuffed in its attempt to acquire Sabres center Tim Connolly, with a source saying GM Darcy Regier told the club he has no plans to move the pending unrestricted free agent.

We really have no idea what this ultimately mean. It seems that General Manager Darcy Regier feels that the center can add some value to the team with his play on the ice. It could also mean that Connolly is a piece of a bigger trade that hadn't gone down yet and he couldn't be moved until the other team really wasn't going to move the player in question. 

For more information on Connolly and the Buffalo Sabres in general, please visit our Sabres site Die By The Blade

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Chris Phillips, Senators Still Talking As NHL Trade Deadline Approaches, Rumors Circle

Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and with the Ottawa Senators in full rebuild mode, he seems like a logical trade option for Bryan Murray and the Sens. 

But Phillips is an Ottawa lifer, playing in his 925th game with the team on Saturday night against Philadelphia. Murray would like to keep him around as a veteran presence as the team gets younger on the blueline and beyond, but only, of course, at the right price.

Via the Ottawa Citizen:

The Senators would be happy to find a spot for Phillips, but likely at only half the $3.5-million U.S. salary he's making this year. Otherwise, he'd be considered too expensive for their salary grid.

But the cut Murray's offering is too deep for Phillips, which is why the talks have stalled.

The ball is certainly in Phillips' court at this point. The Senators are only willing to take him at a certain price beyond this season. He holds a no-trade clause so he must sign off on any move, and if he's hoping for more money than the Senators are prepared to give him, he might be wise to waive that clause and help another team down the playoff stretch instead. 

We don't know if Phillips will be traded or where he'll be heading if he is sent packing, but we do know that the talks between the 14-year Senators veteran and the only team he's ever known will continue as the trade deadline continues to near. 

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NHL Trade Rumors Roundup: Adam Foote, Paul Stastny Reportedly Staying In Colorado

Adam Foote has been the subject of trade rumors for several weeks as the Colorado Avalanche have fallen far and have fallen hard out of the Western Conference playoff picture. According to the Denver Post, however, he won't be going anywhere at Monday's NHL trade deadline.

Another player staying in town, according to the Post, is Paul Stastny. Adrian Dater puts the odds of a Stastny trade at "zero", but he doesn't rule out the possibility of the Avalanche trading away defenseman John-Michael Liles.

Let's get to some of the other rumors on this Deadline Eve.

- The St. Louis Blues have already made a huge splash in the 2011 deadline trade market, when they sent Erik Johnson and Jay McClement to the Avalanche last week. They've also traded away defenseman Erik Brewer to the Tampa Bay Lightning. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we shouldn't expect any more moves from the Blues. 

- It's a competitive market at the center position this deadline, and you can add the Columbus Blue Jackets to the list of teams that are interested in adding depth there. General manager Scott Howson told the Columbus Dispatch that since Derick Brassard is out of the lineup, the Jackets are definitely looking in that area. It's not going to be easy though, since there are several other teams looking for centers as well.

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Will Jason Arnott Ask For Trade From New Jersey Devils?

It's been a miraculous run in the second half of the season for the New Jersey Devils, but after just one loss on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jason Arnott is contemplating his options as the trade deadline approaches. That goes to show just how fragile the Devils' hopes of making it to the postseason are. 

Is Arnott thinking about asking general manager Lou Lamoriello for a trade? Via the Newark Star-Ledger:

"Maybe a little bit," Arnott admitted Saturday. "Seven points away would've been a lot better than 11. But we'll see what happens. It's really hard to decide what to do. It's a long shot being 11 points out at this time. Then again, we've been through so much as a team. It'll be a tough decision."

...

"I've thought about [tonight being his last game with the Devils]," he said. "It will be disappointing, but it's part of the game, part of the business because of the hole we dug ourselves at the beginning of the year."

Nothing like last minute, right? The Devils visit the Florida Panthers at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sunday evening, just 22 hours prior to Monday's trade deadline. It's a definite reality that tonight could be Arnott's last game with the Devils.

A lot of that will have to do with the team's standing at the end of the night, as a win would bring the them back within nine points of the eighth place Hurricanes.

For more on the Devils, visit SB Nation's In Lou We Trust.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Bryan McCabe Heading To The Rangers?

Bryan McCabe of the Florida Panthers is definitely on the trading block, and a new marriage with the New York Rangers would certainly make sense. According to Arthur Staple of Newsday on Twitter, McCabe has agreed to waive his no-trade clause only to go to the Rangers.

Here's what SB Nation's Blueshirt Banter has to say about the possibility:

If the Rangers can obtain McCabe at cost it will be a good move. He can certainly help the Rangers now and gives them a better chance at the playoffs. Matt Gilroy and a mid-round pick would be okay. Gilroy likely won't be tendered a contract this summer so he would have been a free agent anyways. Anything more than that though and the Rangers overpaid. 

McCabe, the captain of the Panthers, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. He earns $5.75 million against the cap this year. If it's true that he's only willing to go to the Rangers, Glen Sather clearly has the upper hand in negotiations.

Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet also reported the rumor via Twitter, but he wasn't all that happy with his, um, colleagues at TSN. For more on the Panthers, visit Litter Box Cats.

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Dallas Stars' Asking Price In Potential Brad Richards Trade Is Reportedly Really, Really High

There's no debate that Brad Richards is a really good hockey player, hence the trade rumors circling him and the Dallas Stars non-stop at this 2011 trade deadline.

There's also no debate that Stars' general manager Joe Nieuwendyk doesn't want to get rid of his best player unless he gets a sizable return in a potential trade. At least, that's what he said yesterday. What does he think a "good deal" consists of, though?

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, it's a whole lot of crazy.

The Post has learned Nieuwendyk told Rangers GM Glen Sather on Tuesday that it would cost the Blueshirts three young studs off the roster, believed to be Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan, for the privilege of renting Brad Richards.

Yes, Brooks is correct. Richards is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He's a rental. He has a no-trade clause, too, so he'll decide where he goes. To ask a team to sell basically their entire young core for a rental player is just... well, adjectives are tough to come by. 

As Defending Big D said, "I know we all love Brad Richards, but if the Rangers even contemplated making such a deal then I would fly to Dallas and pack Richards myself."

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NHL Trade Rumors Continue To Circle Brad Richards, Dallas Stars

Joe Nieuwendyk wants to keep Brad Richards with the Dallas Stars, but that doesn't stop the NHL trade rumors from circling around his club and his best player. Nieuwendyk went on NHL Live! this afternoon and discussed those rumors. Our quote comes via Defending Big D:

All options are in play here. It's certainly not my first choice. I've maintained all along that we'd like to keep Brad as a Dallas Star for a long period of time. There's a lot of uncertainty with our side as far as ownership that are a concern for them. But, all options are open. It's certainly going to have to be a good type of deal in order to pry him away from us because we are sitting tied for eighth right now and have a lot of home games coming up in March.

So, to summarize: he wants Richards to stay, but other concerns, as well as the current standing of the team in the NHL will play into a final decision. The "it has to be a good deal" thing can't be overlooked, either. 

Defending Big D's Brandon Worley got into the particulars on this a bit earlier today, saying that the Stars risk losing Richards in free agency over the summer for nothing if they don't ship him out now. With the shaky ownership situation in Dallas, the Stars aren't sure what they'll be able to offer Richards in the summer. At the same time, the sale of the team could complete and then they would be able to add Richards and then some other parts as well.

There's a lot up in the air here, and what it comes down to, according to Worley, is this:

It's very important to realize just how big these next few games are for the future of the Dallas Stars. If the Stars win against Detroit and then again on Saturday, then the Stars are still right in the mix for the playoff hunt and keeping Richards makes sense. Two more losses, however, and the Stars sink further and further away from the playoffs and the idea of keeping Richards makes less and less sense.

That's how insane the Western Conference playoff picture is right now. Two games before the trade deadline could essentially hold the future of a team and its best player in the balance. 

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NHL Trade Rumors Roundup: Tim Connolly's Days In Buffalo Over?

Two years ago at the trade deadline, Sabres forward Tim Connolly signed a two-year contract extension. Now in 2011 as the deadline approaches, that extension might spell the end of his Sabres career. He's been underwhelming since signing that contract and the natives in Buffalo have become restless with him. 

As a result, it's unlikely that the Sabres entertain him when he hits unrestricted free agency in July. If he'll walk for nothing in July, it would behoove Darcy Regier to try and get something for him now. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News speculates that several teams could use Connolly's assistance.

He's an unrestricted free agent after the season and could be the kind of third-line center and special teams player that a club like Pittsburgh, Washington or Los Angeles might be interested in as the NHL trade deadline looms next Monday.

For more on the Sabres, check in with SB Nation's Die By The Blade. On to the rest of the day's rumor news...

  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in the wake of the Penguins' trade for James Neal and Matt Niskanen, Ray Shero is still interested in acquiring Alex Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators. 
  • Kevin Paul Dupont at the Boston Globe says that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli might want to add some depth to his blueline as the team gears up for the playoffs. He also might want to add a scoring center to help offset the loss of Marc Savard, but Chiarelli himself admits that a big deal is likely not in the cards, especially after the trade for Tomas Kaberle last week. 
  • Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times says that the Kings are still looking and that they've inquired about Edmonton's Ales Hemsky and Florida's David Booth, but that a deal doesn't seem imminent or even likely. Dean Lombardi won't part with prized prospect Brayden Schenn. Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail confirms much of Elliott's report.
  • Ville Leino of the Philadelphia Flyers personally pushed aside his own contract negotiations so that Paul Holmgren could go out and acquire Kris Versteeg, reports Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News.
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Maple Leafs Rumored To Be Interested In John-Michael Liles

The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to acquire a defenseman, reports TSN's Darren Dreger. He says that five defensemen have been targeted, but the only name he reports directly on is Colorado's John-Michael Liles.

David Driscoll-Carignan at SB Nation's Mile High Hockey says that this might indeed be the year that Liles goes at the deadline. The Avs don't have a lot of strengths, but if there's any place they are strong, it's in the offense-from-the-defense department.

Ironically, I think Liles would get a huge boost from playing with Erik Johnson, but I fear that PP union may be short-lived. The list of teams who would be interested in Liles' services at the deadline is a fairly long one, but I think he'd be a terrific fit in Nashville, where he and Shea Weber could be a devastating point combo.    

With some shuffling bound to happen in Colorado thanks their likely low finish in the standings, Liles would be able to fetch the best return among current Avs defensemen. For that reason alone, it would make sense for the Avs to ship him out. He does have a pretty expensive $4.2 million cap hit, though, which might scare away potential suitors. 

For more on the Leafs, check in with SB Nation's Pension Plan Puppets.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Penguins' Alex Goligoski To Be Traded For Stars' James Neal?

In a potential move that might not please many folks in Dallas, Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins have discussed a deal that involves defenseman Alex Goligoski and forward James Neal.

Rob Rossi, who covers the Penguins for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, confirmed the report from the Pens' perspective, saying that Goligoski is on the table in talks with Dallas.

Stars fans have grown fond of Neal in his short time in Dallas. He's become a 20-30 goal scorer just three years into his NHL career, and the perception is that he's not anywhere near his full potential just yet. Goligoski, meanwhile, is a nice young defenseman, but as SB Nation's Defending Big D writes, he's not necessarily the right fit.

The confusing thing about such a possibility is that the Stars need help on defense from players who help keep pucks out of the net, not ones more interested in putting them in the opponents (not that that hurts...). Taking a 20-30 goal guy in James Neal, who has not yet reached his full potential in this league for a defenseman with some offensive upside but issues in his own end doesn't sound like a home run hit to us.

The Penguins are in desperate need of some offense thanks to injuries to, well, seemingly everybody, and Neal would be a fantastic fit there. Goligoski has become expendable thanks to the organizational depth of Ray Shero's organization, and it's expected that he's the guy who will head out as the Pens look for that offensive help. 

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NHL Trade Rumor Roundup: Zach Bogosian Likely Staying In Atlanta

After a wild day of trading that lasted all of Friday and stretched into the wee hours of Saturday morning, things are considerably more calm this Saturday. Two young defensemen find their names in the rumor mill today.

Beginning in Atlanta: the Thrashers will probably not be trading Zach Bogosian, if one is to believe GM Rick Dudley. As quoted by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"People ask me that all the time. I say the same thing. Wayne Gretzky was traded. There are no untouchables that I know of. Certainly not in Atlanta. I'm not actively looking to trade Zach and I don't expect to trade him."

You have to assume that if Dudley was blown away by a trade offer, he'd budge and send Bogosian packing. 

Elsewhere, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review discussed rumors around Penguins' defenseman Alex Goligoski, saying that he's become such an integral part of the team's defense this season. At the same time, Goligoski might be seen as expendable simply because the Pens are so deep at the position.

If they could get a great deal at the deadline in a year where defensemen have a lot of value, wouldn't it make sense for Ray Shero to try?

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Should The Nashville Predators Claim Defenseman Sheldon Souray?

2Sheldon Souray is on re-entry waivers and it's expected that somebody will claim him between now and Monday afternoon when the waiver period ends. Could one of the teams that places a claim be the Nashville Predators? Dirk Hoag at SB Nation's On The Forecheck raised the question.

After a contentious dispute with Oilers management, Souray was placed in the AHL this season, but not with the Oilers' affiliate in Oklahoma City, but rather the Hershey Bears, in order to keep him away from their own prospects. By all accounts, Souray is a well-respected, good team guy, and he's played in 3 NHL All-Star Games.

He's good a monster shot from the point and plays the left side, where the Preds have really needed some more offensive punch, particularly on the power play. 

The team that claims Souray, if a team does, will only be on the hook for half of his $5.4 million salary. The Edmonton Oilers would pay the other half.

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Oilers Place Sheldon Souray On Re-Entry Waivers; Who Will Claim Him?

Defenseman Sheldon Souray has been placed on re-entry waivers by the Edmonton Oilers, likely in the hopes that some team will claim him. He's been playing with the Hershey Bears of the AHL since initially clearing waivers earlier in October. 

Since it's the weekend, the waiver period lasts 48 hours, meaning teams have until Monday at 12 p.m. Eastern time to place a claim on Souray. Just like regular waivers, the team lowest in the standings gets priority. 

Bob McKenzie of TSN reports that no pre-arranged claim has been made, so it's not as if the Oilers know for sure that Souray will be claimed. It'd be shocking if a team didn't claim him, however, since he's available to other teams at half his $5.4 million salary cap hit.

If a team claims him, they'd be on the hook for $2.7 million while the Oilers would be on the hook for the other $2.7 million. All dollars in this case count against the cap and those terms last for the remainder of his contract, meaning the Oilers would be paying half of his salary, against their cap, until the end of next season. 

So, who will be the team that places a claim? Well, we know that the New York Rangers are looking for defense, and Souray's ability to blast a shot from the point could help their struggling, 26th ranked power play.  If not the Rangers, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal speculates that it could be the Dallas Stars, who could also use that shot from the point. 

We'll find out on Monday afternoon. 

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NHL Trade Rumor Roundup: Rangers, Sharks Looking To Bolster Defense

The New York Rangers defense is an extremely young group, and if they're going to make any noise in the playoffs this season, it's pretty clear that Glen Sather is going to have to upgrade the defense. According to the New York Post, Filip Kuba might be on his radar. 

The Post has learned the club has at least some interest in Ottawa's 34-year-old, 10-year veteran Filip Kuba, who played for Tortorella in Tampa Bay in 2006-07 and 2007-08 after spending four years in Minnesota with Marian Gaborik.

Kuba played well under Coach John Tortorella in those Tampa years, but SB Nation's Blueshirt Banter doesn't think he'd be much of an upgrade, instead hoping that Sather can land somebody like Fedor Tyutin of the Blue Jackets.

Elsewhere, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Sharks are close to a deal for a defenseman. 

Unless something falls apart at the last minute, this likely will be the right-handed shooting defenseman that GM Doug Wilson reportedly has been seeking since last summer. And while (cap) space needs to be cleared, don't expect the departing player to be someone from the everyday lineup.

The Sharks have been searching for offense on the back end for some time now. Last week, SB Nation's Fear The Fin discussed the possibility of trading for Alex Goligoski of the Penguins, but he's a left-handed shot and wouldn't fit in with the Mercury News report. We shall see.

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NHL Trade Rumor Roundup: Capitals In The Market For A Second-Line Center

It's not a secret that the Washington Capitals need a second-line center. They've used guys like Marcus Johansson in that spot this season, but acquiring a bonafide No. 2 could be a huge boost to their chances in the postseason. 

According to Katie Carrera at the Washington Post, the Caps are indeed working the phones. Jason Arnott of the New Jersey Devils seems to be their top choice, although she reports that GM George McPhee is also fond of Buffalo's Tim Connolly. Arnott has a no-movement clause and would have to agree to a trade while Connolly might be off the market since the Sabres are making a playoff push.

Carrera also speculates about the possibility of the Caps acquiring Stephen Weiss from the Panthers, but that depends on how McPhee feels about guys like Johansson feeling out that role next season. If they feel confident in guys already with the team, they aren't going to acquire a player with a contract beyond this year. For the record, SB Nation's Litter Box Cats expects a big return for a guy like Weiss, should he be traded.

Cap space and assets aren't a huge issue for Washington in a potential trade, but other competition might be. The Pittsburgh Penguins, without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, are also in the same market, as are the New York Rangers. 

Some other rumor news and speculation on this Thursday...

  • The Red Wings are not expected to make any moves at the deadline, according to Ansar Khan at Mlive.com. They are slowly building back up to health, so frankly, they don't need a trade. Getting players off the injured reserve is their deadline.
  • SB Nation's Silver Seven sees the likelihood of the Senators trading Alex Kovalev as "high," saying that he's unhappy in Ottawa and that he would likely waive his no-trade clause. ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun talked about the "tradeability" of Kovalev today, and it's clear that there's no set market value for rental players yet this deadline.
  • Broad Street Hockey says the Flyers should trade Nikolay Zherdev while he still has some value. 

For all the latest rumors surrounding the 2011 NHL trade deadline, stick with this StoryStream.

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Boston Bruins Could Trade Mark Stuart To Chicago Blackhawks, Report Says

The Boston Bruins need to shed cap space to acquire their trade deadline prize, Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It made sense that a forward would be the one to go, considering the Bruins' recent acquisition of Chris Kelly from the Senators. It might be a defenseman, though.

According to Joe Haggerty at CSNNE.com, Mark Stuart could be heading to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The B's are discussing sending rugged defenseman Mark Stuart to the Chicago Blackhawks, who are looking for a little more toughness around their net.

The Stuart deal would net the Bruins a draft pick, and would be strictly for salary cap relief rather than instant roster improvement.

Stuart earns $1.675 million against the salary cap this season. According to the numbers at CapGeek.com, swapping out Stuart and moving in Kaberle wouldn't be compliant with the cap, even despite the Bruins' long-term injury cushion. It would bring them close enough, though, that a minor deal could get them under the cap. 

For all the latest rumors surrounding the 2011 NHL trade deadline, stick with this StoryStream.

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NHL Trade Rumors Circle Tomas Kaberle, Boston Bruins

It looks like Tomas Kaberle is close to heading to the Boston Bruins. Yes, for really real.

He's the mobile defenseman the Bruins need and he's been courted by Peter Chiarelli for several years, and the Toronto Maple Leafs seem set on selling him while they still can. His contract expires at the end of the season.

Here's the always-plugged-in Darren Dreger of TSN.

Failing a complete meltdown - which has scuttled at least one previous trade involving the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tomas Kaberle, and the Boston Bruins - there's strong belief that Kaberle will be traded to Boston.

It's unlikely the deal gets done today, but sources say it's close and say the deal doesn't hinge on Kaberle signing an extension with the Bruins.

The Bruins will surely have to make another move to clear some cap space, since according to CapGeek.com, they're currently only cap compliant thanks to the LTIR cushion. Their acquisition of Chris Kelly earlier this week led to speculation that they could trade another forward to make room for a defenseman like Kaberle. 

Considering it's doubtful that Tyler Seguin or David Krejci or any of the other forwards on the team that earn more than $4 million are on the move, the likely target seems to be Blake Wheeler. He earns $2.2 million a year against the cap and is a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Dreger mentioned his name as a possibility as well.

For all the latest rumors surrounding the 2011 NHL trade deadline, stick with this StoryStream.

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Intrigue Builds As Carolina GM Jim Rutherford Places Doubt In Ian White Trade Rumors

It looked as though Ian White was all but gone, but then, sweeping in at the end of the day was Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford. He told reporters late Wednesday that there is no complete deal in place for the defenseman, although there is an offer on the table.

Stringing together a few tweets from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer, quoting Rutherford:

We had an offer and decided to pull (White) back for a day or two and put [Brett] Carson in the lineup. We have something to consider but that doesn't mean it will go one way or the other. He could be back in the lineup this week. There are teams out there looking at different things and we have something to consider.

The potential for White to leave town is still there, but it suddenly doesn't seem as definite as it did earlier today. For more, head over to SB Nation's Canes Country and stick with this StoryStream for all the latest news and rumors in the run-up to the NHL trade deadline.

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Ian White Trade Rumors Heat Up As Hurricanes Defenseman Skips Practice

Ian White of the Carolina Hurricanes wasn't on the ice at practice on Wednesday morning, leading to trade rumors that he's on his way out of town. Chip Alexander at the News & Observer reported that he wasn't at practice and that "something is in the works" with regards to a trade for the forward. 

White has played well this season for the Hurricanes, according to SB Nation's Canes Country, but he hasn't been "necessarily spectacular" in his own end. Considering his contract ends at the end of the current season, it would make sense for Carolina to deal him if something right came over the horizon.

So who is the other team here, since something is indeed "in the works"?

The Vancouver Canucks were rumored for much of the afternoon thanks to former player Brad May falsely saying so, but since Carolina is likely hoping for defense in return for White, it didn't make much sense. Vancouver has dressed 12 defenseman this year thanks to injury. Canucks GM Mike Gillis has since shot those rumors down.

We'll see where he ends up, but it does look like White's time in Carolina is up. 

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Kris Versteeg Trade Raised The Price For Stephen Weiss, Others

The Philadelphia Flyers fetched forward Kris Versteeg from the Toronto Maple Leafs for late picks in the 2011 first and third rounds. It took a first round pick for the Boston Bruins to pry Chris Kelly away from Ottawa. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, these are the kinds of trades that raise the price on guys like Florida's Stephen Weiss.

There's no doubt teams are heavily scouting the Panthers - and for most of those teams, Weiss is at the top of their list.

However, in light of Toronto's return for Kris Versteeg (a first and third-round pick), it might take a mammoth offer to pull the 27-year-old centre out of Florida.

That was written before the Kelly trade, but it still applies in both cases. You can even make an argument that the Mike Fisher trade last week was the trend-setter here, the one that raised the bar on the Versteeg and Kelly trades.

Consider that Weiss is an integral part of the Panthers and that really ups the ante. As SB Nation's Litter Box Cats points out, anything less than a "stellar deal" would be unacceptable. Versteeg is a similar player to Weiss in terms of his stats, but in terms of his value to the Maple Leafs, it was nowhere near the level of value Weiss has in Florida. 

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Boston Bruins Looking For Defense At 2011 Trade Deadline

The reputation of these Boston Bruins is that they have great team defense, only bolstered by the fantastic goaltending of Tim Thomas. That's just not true, writes SB Nation's Stanley Cup of Chowder, and as a result, it's not surprising that the team is in the market for another defenseman. 

General manager Peter Chiarelli admitted as much on Tuesday night during a press conference.

"Well I've been pretty public in saying I'd like to get a defenseman, so that's still in the works," Chiarelli said. "I think it's just a solid defenseman that can log some minutes and there are some out there like that, solid two-way defensemen."

"There are other defensemen also, different types of defensemen. It's hard to find a match as far as a team that is willing to maybe trade just for futures. There are different routes to get to that defenseman but there are some decent options."

All signs seem to point to Tomas Kaberle of the Maple Leafs. Sportsnet.ca reported a bit prematurely on Tuesday night that Kaberle would waive his no-trade clause to go to Boston, and Leafs' GM Brian Burke admitted that he's been in discussions with Chiarelli. Still, it's not a lock, and there are other possibilities on the market.

Stanley Cup of Chowder says that it has to be a guy that fits the same mold as Kaberle, no matter who it is. 

If the Kaberle negotiations fall through, Peter Chiarelli will still be looking for defense.  Ideally, it would be someone with Kaberle's skill set of mobility, passing, power play excellence and competence in their own zone.  As you might expect, that's not easy to find, and sacrifices would have to be made.     

Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com threw out a few potential names, including disgruntled Zach Bogosian of the Thrashers and Joni Pitkanen of the Hurricanes. He says that Pitkanen is not yet available considering Carolina is firmly on the playoff bubble, but that he might be the best non-Kaberle option.

Non-Kaberle. It's not any secret that the Bruins have one guy in mind here. We'll see if it gets done. 

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NHL Trade Rumors Kick Start 2011 Deadline

With a little under two weeks to go until the 2011 NHL trade deadline, the moves have already begun. The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs seem to be among the sellers, although only one of them will actually admit to it, and as the deadline gets closer, we're sure to see a lot more moves and a lot more teams.

For now, let's recap the moves that have happened already at this deadline.

Now we sit a week and a half away from the deadline, and the rumors are only swirling faster and faster. The loudest ones come out of Toronto, where GM Brian Burke told sports radio in Boston that the Leafs are in discussions with the Bruins on the trade front. That, no doubt, makes B's fans salivate. 

SB Nation's Pension Plan Puppets summed up that conversation, but don't think that the Leafs will be trading their first round pick. Then again, Burke now has two first-rounders thanks to that Versteeg trade with the Flyers. 

Here's PPP:

Brian Burke was on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston yesterday in anticipation of the Maple Leafs' 4-3 win over the Bruins. This is the appearance that spawned the dueling rumours that Toronto was talking trade with Boston (true) and that Tomas Kaberle had waived his no trade clause to go to Boston (not quite true).

Some reports said late Tuesday that Kaberle had waived his no-trade clause to go to Boston, but those reports have since been knocked down, most recently by Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com.

Follow this StoryStream for all the rumors news surrounding the 2011 trade deadline in the NHL. The deadline is Monday, February 28 at 3 p.m. Eastern and we'll have full coverage between now and then here at SBNation.com and all around our network of 34 hockey blogs

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