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

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2013

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 03:  Stephen Weiss #9 of the Florida Panthers skates against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on February 3, 2013 in Buffalo, New York. Florida won 4-3.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

While it's still relatively early in the NHL season, the rumor mill has been going full blast.

With the shortened season, it's important for teams to try and make their moves early so they don't bury themselves so deep any trade will be ineffective.

Here's three such moves that might or might not be happening before the April 3 deadline.


Ben Bishop Not the Man to Replace Miikka Kiprusoff?

Miika Kiprusoff is starting to get up there in years. He's 36, and his problems this year could be a sign of things to come.

For the first time in nine years, the Calgary Flames need to start thinking about a new goaltender. Kiprusoff is not completely done, but now would be the perfect time to begin grooming his successor.

Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reported earlier in the week that the Ottawa Senators' Ben Bishop could be an option. Francis wrote:

If a significant move needs to be made -- and the Flames still have room for three more contracts -- perhaps the most obvious trade partner is the Ottawa Senators, where big Ben Bishop is a distant third on the depth chart behind Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.

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.

Since Bishop has fallen so far down the depth chart, the Senators might be willing to drop whatever trade demands they have, thus increasing Calgary's desire to make something happen.


Phil Kessel's Asking Price Too High

Phil Kessel is one of the more confounding players in the league. While he has all the tools you'd look for in a very good hockey player, Kessel has struggled to play at the level you'd expect of him.

This year in particular has been a struggle for him. He's scored only one goal and notched six assists in 11 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that trading Kessel might be an option for Toronto but ultimately probably won't happen:

Trading Kessel might make the Maple Leafs worse in the short term, but should they reel in a nice haul, moving him could pay massive dividends in the long term.


Stephen Weiss to the Senators?

With Stephen Weiss becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, it does make a certain amount of sense for the Florida Panthers to cash in on him while they still can.

He's been the subject of trade rumors throughout the season.

Hockey insider Howard Berger tweeted that the Senators have apparently taken the next step in trying to acquire the center:

It's a move that makes sense for Ottawa. Weiss scored 20 goals and notched 37 assists last season. He's the kind of player who can push the team over the top in the Stanley Cup playoffs.