As the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season drags on, the trade rumors are buzzing around some of the perennial contenders in the league.
Hockey-crazed cities like Ottawa and Philadelphia may be on the brink of becoming sellers as the trade deadline approaches, and this development could result in blockbuster deals.
All of the following rumors have a chance to come to fruition over the next month, and if the lockout taught the fans anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
The Ottawa Senators are still in the midst of the push for a playoff spot, but injury concerns have forced the organization to consider the possibility that they could be sellers at the trade deadline.
No matter where the team is in the standings, Ottawa’s depth at goaltender could yield a big return at the trade deadline if the franchise would be willing to make a deal.
According to Eric Francis of The Calgary Sun, the Senators have a hefty asking price for their star backup goaltender Ben Bishop, but are willing to make a move:
Still, it's hard to believe the Flames have the appetite or depth to send a second-rounder to Ottawa, which is what the Sens are reportedly asking to replenish the pick they gave the St. Louis Blues to acquire Bishop last year.
Bishop is still one of the most promising young goaltending stars in the NHL, and a team with nothing to lose in net would be foolish to pass on the possible starter.
Ottawa will get whatever it wants for the valuable prospect.
The Florida Panthers have vehemently denied the rumors that the team would consider trading center Stephen Weiss (h/t CBC), but there is still a strong contingent of insiders that say the franchise is still willing to make a deal.
ESPNBoston.com’s Jim Murphy is reporting that despite the Panthers’ attempt to dispute the rumors, the team is still listening to trade offers:
Panthers deny it but hearing more & more Panthers F Stephen Weiss is available. If so and I'm Peter Chiarelli, I'd go after him.— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) February 5, 2013
Florida is not getting the production out of Weiss that the team would have like this season—just two assists through the first five games—and while moving him now will yield less in return than if he was playing well, there are plenty of teams looking to add quality depth.
As the Panthers continue to move toward out of contention, expect to see Weiss moved before the trade deadline.
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to struggle, and as the issues with injuries and underperformance continue to rear their ugly heads, the rumors that the team could be looking to make a blockbuster trade continue to circulate.
While the market is very quite now, Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun is reporting that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is ready and willing to make a deal:
The #NHL trade market is quiet. GM's aren't ready to make moves ... yet. Nobody is out of it. That being said Paul Holmgren working phones.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 5, 2013
Holmgren has never been afraid to make a trade—sending both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards out of town in one of the wildest days in franchise history in 2011—and the likelihood that the team will make a deal when they are struggling this bad is through the roof.
It’s not a matter of if a deal will get done; it’s a matter of when a deal will get done.