This year, the NHL rumor season feels as though it has started far earlier than usual.
It hasn't, of course—it's simply that the season itself was delayed due to the NHL lockout. But it still feels strange to be talking about trade rumors with most teams having only played 10 or so games this season.
Normally, we get to build speculation and trace rumors back to logical needs and holes on NHL teams. This year, it's more of a free-for-all, with teams needing to anticipate where they might need help moving forward.
Still, the rumor mill never stops turning, and thus, we never stop bringing you those rumors that shake free. With that in mind, let's break down a few of those players generating buzz of late.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the Move?
It's no secret that both players are unrestricted free agents after the season and that there will be interest around the league for both players. But will the Anaheim Ducks move either one?
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun looks to answer that question:
While [general manager Bob] Murray has maintained publicly he wants to keep both players in the fold, he’s going to have cough up [sic] a lot of cash from the Ducks’ bank if Perry and Getzlaf are both going to stick around Anaheim past this season.
The belief is to keep Perry and Getzlaf, Murray is going to have to ante up with big, front-loaded contracts for both. You know, the ones that were a “hill to die on” during the CBA negotiations before the league decided it couldn’t afford to lose the season.
Many don’t believe—of the two—Getzlaf is going anywhere because he’s settled into Anaheim. There was talk before the lockout the two sides were close to a long-term agreement in the $60-million range. That hasn’t materialized yet.
Meanwhile, contract talks with Perry have never advanced to the level that Getzlaf's apparently did before the lockout. That doesn't bode well for Perry's future in Anaheim, as The Fourth Period writes:
Perry, however, could be much more difficult for Anaheim to sign, which could result in the team trading him closer to the April 3 trade deadline or around the June 30 NHL Draft, if Murray feels he has no chance as signing him before the free agent market opens.
Then again, maybe he's just the new Bobby Ryan, a player the team seems likely to trade but decides to keep around instead. It might be difficult for the Ducks to round up the money needed to keep Perry in the fold, however.
I tend to agree with Garrioch here—Getzlaf probably isn't going anywhere, but it's hard to imagine Perry remaining in Anaheim beyond the trading deadline.
Devin Setoguchi on the Block?
Meanwhile, Garrioch ponders if the Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher might send winger Devin Setoguchi packing:
Acquiring RW Devin Setoguchi from the Sharks before hasn’t worked out as planned and he could be moved. The 26-year-old was moved to the club’s fourth line last week because he hasn’t been living up to coach Mike Yeo’s expectations. There is talk Setoguchi is available, but he does have one year left at $3 million. Many believe part of the issue is the Wild overhyped the signings of LW Zach Parise and D Ryan Suter
Setoguchi just has a goal and an assist on the season, a far cry from the player who has scored at least 19 goals in four straight seasons. For Setoguchi, the drop in production might be easily diagnosed—he simply isn't surrounded by the talent he once played with for the San Jose Sharks.
If Setoguchi could raise his play and find himself on a top line with Parise and Mikko Koivu, the production might come. Until then, however, expect him to be rumored in trade talks this season.