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Some rumors plausible, many puzzling
The fast-approaching NHL trade deadline not only has given rise to speculation over possible trades between now and Monday, but also to some wild rumors, fueled no doubt by the unusual spate of significant trades in recent weeks.
Denver Post reporter Adrian Dater noted this week one rumor had the Colorado Avalanche shipping center Paul Stastny, winger T.J. Galiardi and another player or draft pick to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson, backup goalie Jonathan Bernier and center Jarret Stoll.
Dater didn't express much confidence in the rumor, calling it just one example of how crazy things have been of late around the Avalanche.
A better reason would be how obviously one-sided in the Avalanche's favor this move would be, as well as the fact the Kings recently signed Johnson to a multiyear extension.
Vancouver Canucks backup goalie Cory Schneider's name has popped up on occasion in the rumor mill. He would definitely be a player of interest if general manager Mike Gillis were to shop him. But with the Canucks gunning for a Stanley Cup this season, that's not likely to happen.
The Canucks could use an experienced fourth-line center, but they're certainly not going to move such a promising player as Schneider for such little return.
Recent reports say McCabe, who has a full “no-movement” clause, has made his first priority re-signing with the Panthers. If so, he won't be going to the Rangers or any other club unless Panthers management can get him to change his mind.
It's also believed the Panthers could be shopping veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun, like McCabe a pending unrestricted free agent with a “no-movement” clause, except he might be willing to waive it to go to a playoff contender.
Vokoun has been linked to the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, but his salary (a cap hit of $5.75 million for this season) would be difficult for those clubs to absorb.
Of those teams, the only one that could be in the market for a goalie is Anaheim if starter Jonas Hiller remains plagued by vertigo. But there are far more affordable options available to the Ducks, including calling up Ray Emery from the minors.
The recent disclosure by Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk he's considering all his options, which includes entertaining trade offers for star center Brad Richards, merited plenty of attention.
It has been suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs could be a potential trade destination, but it's hard to believe Richards would waive his movement clause to go to a rebuilding team with little chance of making this year's playoffs.
Speaking of the Leafs, their recent sell-off of veteran talent (Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim, Kris Versteeg to Philadelphia, Tomas Kaberle to Boston) sparked rumors GM Brian Burke was quietly shopping winger Phil Kessel, who has been a disappointment for demanding Leafs fans since the club parted with two first-round draft picks and a second-round pick in September 2009 to acquire him from Boston.
Burke denied the rumors, however, claiming he has no intention of shopping Kessel.
The Calgary Flames' recent improvement has some wondering whether general manager Jay Feaster might make a move to further bolster his club's depth and playoff hopes down the stretch. However, Feaster is reluctant to move any current roster players because he doesn't want to upset the club's solid chemistry, and he's certainly not moving any of his core players.
Perhaps the silliest rumor was one claiming the Ducks and Canadiens were discussing a multiplayer deal that would see Ducks forward Bobby Ryan swapped for Canadiens winger Mike Cammalleri. Whoever started that one is dreaming in Technicolor. The Ducks aren't moving Ryan.
Don't be surprised if even crazier NHL trade rumors surface between now and the 3 p.m. deadline on Monday.