NHL Rumors: Latest on Stephen Weiss, Phil Kessel and More Buzz

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2013

TORONTO,CANADA - FEBRUARY 4:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on February 4, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Hurricanes defeated the Leafs 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Now that the rumor mill is becoming more active, NHL fans know the season is officially in full swing. With about 20 percent of the shortened season in the books, teams are beginning to get a read on where they stand and if they want to make any moves.

It's a sprint to the playoffs. So every team is looking for a spark that can send them on a winning streak that could make a big difference in a 48-game season. There are a couple ways to do that, but making a trade is often the most effective.

With that in mind, let's look at the latest buzz from around the league. It's only a matter of time before general managers start wheeling and dealing.


Stephen Weiss

A slow start combined with a contract that runs out at season's end has put Weiss in the spotlight. The center, who missed some time with a groin injury, has tallied just one goal and two assists in six games. He also sports on minus-five rating.

Although the Florida Panthers are trying to steer clear of talk about a potential trade involving one of their main assets, Jimmy Murphy of ESPN Boston reports Weiss is on the block. He suggests the Boston Bruins as a possible landing spot.

If Weiss is indeed available behind the scenes, there would likely be plenty of interest. Despite the slow start, he's a solid player in his prime at a key position. That combination of factors makes it a situation worth watching, especially if Florida continues to struggle.


Phil Kessel

Kessel is under a lot pressure to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs offense. He finally netted his first goal on Thursday night, but his overall production is still below last season's point-per-game pace.

In other words, things could get interesting in Toronto. Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey passes along a report that teams are inquiring about Kessel as a trade target and the Leafs are listening. No deal is imminent, however.

Teams are clearly trying to capitalize on the frustration surrounding Kessel's play and making an attempt to buy low on him. It would be a surprise if the Leafs decided to move him, but anything is possible if he doesn't pick up his goal-scoring pace.


Ryan O'Reilly

O'Reilly still hasn't made an appearance this season due to an ongoing contract dispute with the Colorado Avalanche. Progress in talks has rivaled the lockout in terms of quickness, and it leaves the talented 22-year-old center in limbo.

Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports the sides have reached a stalemate, which brings more options into play, including a trade or offer sheet. He says teams are interested in O'Reilly, but Colorado might not be willing to move him.

It's a difficult situation for the Avalanche. O'Reilly is obviously the type of player they would like to keep given his potential. But they can't afford to have a valuable asset that isn't providing them with any production. Something needs to give.