We're still a number of weeks away from the NHL trade deadline, but the rumor mill is a-buzzing with plenty of potential moves. One trade in the hockey world can prove to be a difference maker, and some of the names being tossed around this year are of an epic scale.
In Calgary, longtime team star Jarome Iginla could soon be on the way out. The Flames' captain and high volume scorer has gotten off to a sluggish start this season, and the team is four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Granted, it's still kind of early, but every game counts in a lockout-shortened season, and team management could soon opt to go younger in trading the 35-year-old.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, the Ryan O'Reilly restricted free agency saga continues. He and the Avalanche have yet to agree to a new contract, and chances are he could soon be traded if no progress is made.
Oh, and did I mention that the Pittsburgh Penguins could be on the verge of making a move?
There's a lot of ice that needs to be covered, so fasten your seatbelts and prepare for the league's latest dish.
Pittsburgh "Actively Shopping" For Forward
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently rank fourth in the Eastern Conference, but that isn't stopping team management from scouring the trade market to see if any potential good fit is available. According to Mike Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, GM Ray Shero was seen at the Minnesota Wild's game against the Colorado Avalanche on February 14.
Russo speculates that the Penguins could be looking to make a deal with Minnesota for a forward, and mentions Devin Setoguchi and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Setoguchi as possible targets.
Seeing as how Russo recently reported that Setoguchi was on the trading block, this rumor definitely holds some water. Granted, Setoguchi appears to be working his way out of his funk, but Shero could blow Minnesota away with an offer so good that the trigger is automatically pulled.
Throw in that Pittsburgh is a team that likes to score goals at a fast pace, and the idea of a deal becomes all the more realistic.
The Continuing Saga of Ryan O'Reilly
It seems as though the drama between the Colorado Avalanche and center Ryan O'Reilly will never end. The 22-year-old entered restricted free agency following a career season in which he scored 18 goals and registered 37 assists, both career highs, but money continues to be an issue.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, in an appearance he made on TSN Radio, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a team very interested in O'Reilly's services. However, Toronto will definitely have some competition.
The Fourth Period is reporting that the Buffalo Sabres also have some strong interest in O'Reilly, but not at the cost of moving dynamic youngsters like Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson, among others. The magazine is also reporting a handful of other teams like the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers are interested in O'Reilly.
I hate to say it, but this is a rumor fans should expect to be at a standstill for most of the immediate future. The key issue appears to be money, though Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports that the bigger issue may be personal, and O'Reilly's restricted free agency only further complicates the matter.
A trade is definitely possible, but teams are definitely going to be reluctant to give up a great deal of young talent and prospects in exchange for a player who is coming off of one good season. For all we know, O'Reilly may not put up numbers like that ever again.
Thus, until more major developments come through, this is a story to put on the back burner.
Iginla Flaming Out in Calgary?
Ever since he made his NHL debut for the team in 1996, at age 19, Jarome Iginla has become a staple for the Calgary Flames. Not only did he lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, but he has been the captain since 2003.
Iginla is also the Flames' all-time leader in goals scored with 517, and in points with 1,081. Despite that, he could soon find himself on a new team.
This season, Iginla has tallied just one goal and seven assists in 11 games. Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun spoke to Rhett Warrener, an ex-teammate of Iginla who thinks that the future Hall of Famer has lost his "fire" and should be traded since it is a contract year.
The Boston Bruins are a team that have rumored interest in Iginla, but ESPN's Pierre LeBrun does not believe the team will land him, nor do they have much interest.
Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman of CBC names the scoring-needy Philadelphia Flyers as a team that could be interested, but that a deal can only happen if Iginla is ready to move on from Calgary and is interested in playing in the City of Brotherly Love. Friedman also named the Penguins as a potential suitor.
All in all, this really comes down to a decision that needs to be made by Flames GM Jay Fearster. Iginla could just be in a funk, but Calgary can only put up with it for so long, especially when the No. 8 spot in the conference is within reach.
This is something to look at with a wait-and-see approach, but expect more rumors to start circulating if the Flames' struggles continue.
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