NHL Rumors: Buying or Selling Latest Free Agent and Trade Buzz Around the League

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2013

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 14: Ryan O'Reilly #37 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on March 14, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. The Avalanche defeated the Sabres 5-4 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL rumor mill runs rampant with trade buzz around this time of year.

The April 3 deadline to make a deal is still a long ways off, but teams that are looking to improve their squad or cap situation won't hesitate to make a deal long before the deadline actually comes. Plenty of big names are rumored to be on the move as the season starts to heat up.

However, a lot of rumors turn out to be just talk. Regardless of how much buzz a certain move may garner, it isn't official until it happens.

So what buzz is likely to actually happen as rumored? What rumored moves are unlikely to happen as expected? Let's play a little buy or sell to find out with the latest buzz surrounding the league.


Ryan O'Reilly to Toronto?

According to The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta, the Toronto Maple Leafs are very interested in acquiring 22-year-old center Ryan O'Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche.

O'Reilly is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season and ongoing negotiations have not been fruitful for the Avs. As a young player with plenty of upside, O'Reilly is in a position to demand big money and it doesn't appear the Avs are all that willing to give it to him.

Verdict: Sell

The likelihood that O'Reilly re-signs with Colorado appears to be bleak, but that doesn't guarantee he'll be moved by the deadline. Even if he does, it's definitely too early to declare that Toronto will be his landing spot.

The number of teams interested in O'Reilly will be high. According to Pagnotta's twitter feed, there are a number of teams with interest and nothing is imminent. The price will be high, so it's going to take a team that really loves O'Reilly to bring him in.

O'Reilly may be dealt before the deadline, but to say that he's headed to Toronto for sure is definitely a reach.


Penguins Seeking "Top-6" Winger

According to the Star Tribune's Michael Russo the Pittsburgh Penguins are actively seeking a "top-six" winger and specifically have their eye on Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard or Devin Setoguchi.

Verdict: Buy

The Penguins currently sit at No. 4 in the Eastern Conference with a 10-5 record. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin holding down the center position, the Penguins are a dangerous team. If they are able to add to pair a strong winger with Malkin, they'll be lethal.

Bouchard and Setoguchi have both struggled for the Wild this season, but are proven wings that are in desperate need of a change in scenery.

A deal that would send one of those wings to the Penguins in exchange for some young talent would be beneficial for both teams. It's a deal that makes too much sense to not happen.


Kings' Dustin Penner on the Move?

Forward Dustin Penner has really fallen out of favor with Los Angeles Kings' coaching staff and according to Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports, that could lead to his exile from the defending Stanley Cup champions.  

Friedman writes:

Another player of interest is Dustin Penner. He's really in the doghouse with just three games played. If the Kings so desired, there would certainly be a market. He's on a one-year deal. Hard to pin down many more names. Some teams don't want to deal excess players because depth is critical. Very few teams are out of it, which prevents fire sales, and with the cap going down to $64.3 million US in 2013-14, you don't want to add a big salary if you can avoid it. Maybe things loosen up in the next week or so.

Verdict: Buy

As Friedman points out, dealing players may prove difficult—teams will be weary of taking on large contracts going into next season.

However, Penner is simply too good to waste away on the Kings bench. He played a key role in the Kings playoff run last season and with plenty of teams still in the race there's sure to be a market for the 30-year old wing.

The Kings already find themselves in 12th place in the Western Conference and could benefit greatly from a shakeup with the roster. Dealing a player that they aren't utilizing like Penner would be the ideal way to get things turned around.