The NHL trade winds continue to blow a little under a month into this lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and were on full display during this week's activities.
The Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings pulled off a minor trade for defenseman Keaton Ellerby on Friday, just three days after the defending champs sent Andrei Loktionov to New Jersey for the draft pick that now belongs to Florida.
Former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is also on the move, but his trade to the New York Islanders appears to be purely contractual. There's no indication that he will return to the league after vowing to spend the 2012-13 campaign with family in Colorado.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla are two of the biggest names still on the block, but they aren't the only ones that are garnering attention across the NHL.
Here's a look at some of the latest buzz about where top names could land in the coming weeks—if they'll be on the move at all.
The long-time Canuck is one of the best goalies of all-time and his abilities are not going unnoticed across the league after team management suggested he was available in a trade earlier this season.
However, the team is off to a hot start this season (first in the Northwest Division), both Luongo and Cory Schneider are playing well in the net and the ability to have two trustworthy goaltenders in a lockout-shortened season is a luxury that Vancouver might not want to afford to another club.
At least, that's the sentiment from Vancouver Sun reporter Brad Ziemer, who reports that Canucks general manager Mike Gillis is in no hurry to trade his All-Star-caliber goalie to another team.
According to Gillis, it's going to take quite a price to pry Luongo out of his current post (via Ziemer's report):
There is a lot of talk going on, Gillis said. But there is this presumption that you pick up the phone and make a trade. Well, it doesn't happen that way and there is usually a long process building up to it and I think Roberto has come in here and has continued to show what a quality person and quality goaltender he is. And if you want to acquire that, you have to pay a price for it.
Kevin Allen of USA Today echoes that sentiment, and thinks it wise that the team take its time in determining both Luongo's trade value and Schneider's ability to lead an NHL team.
Either way, it appears Luongo is safe—for now.
The Calgary Flames' winger is 35 years old, but he's still a proven player with a lot to offer a playoff team in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun first reported that the Philadelphia Flyers might have interest in the long-time captain and trade speculation continues to swirl around the Flames as they are a few points off the pace in the Western Conference.
Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports suggests that Iginla might not make sense to the Flyers, but could be a fit in the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup:
I was asked on Calgary 960 Radio about the Flyers being interested in Jarome Iginla. The big question is, 'Would Iginla be interested in them?' If he goes anywhere, he's going to take a run at the Stanley Cup. Ninety-nine years out of 100, Philadelphia is in that race. This just might be a case of awful timing for both of them. You can see the opening in the Penguins lineup, though.
Iginla just scored his first goal of the season this week and the trade talk appears to be quieting for now. Don't let that fool you, though, as the Flames will likely monitor his value for now and see where they stand in the rankings when the trade deadline approaches.
His goal-scoring prowess and leadership are well documented and that won't go unnoticed as other teams start to gear up for the rest of this shortened season.
Stephen Weiss and Phil Kessel are both names on the trade market that continue to pop up. Kessel also netted his first goal of the season, but James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail is reporting that trade rumors concerning his name are being blown way out of proportion.
The Toronto Maple Leafs may be interested in shopping him, but Mirtle notes that he's a fan favorite and there's no rush to trade him with depth currently an issue in Toronto.
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney got some press this week in the Edmonton Journal, as the publication pontificated that he could be on his way out of town after uninspired play this season. Local journalists agree:
That poor play, and fears that Whitney won’t rebound to previous levels, has prompted many fans to suggest a trade as a possibility. The possibility was even discussed by a pair of veteran reporters – Robin Brownlee and Terry Jones – on Twitter; both agreed that he was likely on his way out of town.
Although Whitney has a no-trade clause in his contract, he might be open to a trade if the Oilers are not in the playoff picture near the deadline.
Finally, Ottawa Citizen writer Ken Warren suggested that Senators' goalie Ben Bishop could be on the move in any deal that the team tries to pursue. The iron is hot right now in the NHL trade rumor department and will only continue to heat up as we inch closer to the heightened importance of this year's trade deadline.