Get excited, folks. Some of the big names are starting to emerge in NHL rumors as the trade deadline nears. It would appear the juicy rumor season is finally upon us!
While teams have been cagey this year in the post-lockout world, on Monday I was able to dig up a few intriguing rumors that could seriously shake up the league at the deadline. It shouldn't be long now before the trade market starts really buzzing.
I'm excited, too.
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Jarome Iginla has become one of the biggest names in the NHL trade buzz, with the star forward set to become a free agent after the season. One team that has reportedly been inquiring about Iginla is the Pittsburgh Penguins, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:
It’s believed the Penguins—among other teams—have targeted Calgary Flames winger Jarome Iginla, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 5, as a possibility to play on a line with Crosby.
Flames GM Jay Feaster hasn’t decided what route he’s going to take with Iginla yet. If Calgary does put him on the market then the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks are all expected to make a pitch.
It really wouldn't be fair if the Penguins—who currently lead the NHL with 77 goals this season—added Iginla to bolster their offense. Of course, there's a very good chance Feaster is going to want a huge return for Iginla, so I think we can still put this one in the "unlikely" bin.
Well, at least that's what the rest of the NHL is hoping.
Mike Komisarek, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Komisarek hasn't played in quite some time for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's also earning $4.5 million against the cap, meaning speculation is bound to surface that the team would want to trade him.
According to Andy Strickland of True Hockey, Komisarek has made life easier for Toronto by compiling a list of teams he would prefer to be traded to:
As you might expect, Komisarek denied ever making such a list and presenting it to the team, according to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun (via the Ottawa Sun):
Komisarek has been a healthy scratch since Feb. 2, a span of 14 games. A report surfaced on Saturday that he had submitted to Leafs management a list of 12 teams to which he would accept a trade. That is part of Komisarek’s contract, something that can be modified by June 15, but it could be that he might be open to going anywhere if it means playing.
“I’m curious to see where you guys get your stuff,” Komisarek said. “We will see how it unfolds. Right now I am just taking it day by day. I’m sure you guys will be the first ones to know. It must be a slow news day.”
As Koshan notes, that cap hit will make Komisarek hard to move. Still, after being a healthy scratch for 14 games, it's hard to imagine him sticking around.
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
We keep it in Toronto and move to another veteran reportedly on the block. Phil Kessel has played well for the Maple Leafs in the past—he finished with 37 goals and 82 points last season for the team—but he has just four goals on the season and has mostly been a set-up man this year.
With that being said, Kessel may be on his way out for reasons entirely separate from stats, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe:
Meanwhile, rumors persist in Toronto that general manager Dave Nonis may unload Kessel (4-12—16 in his first 22 games) prior to the April 3 trade deadline. In three-plus seasons, the ex-Bruin has convinced many up there that he's neither a leader nor core performer. Add him to a deep lineup with a coach who emphasizes offense (say, the Blackhawks, or maybe Canucks or Ducks), and he could be that 60-, 70-, or even 80-point guy who helps deliver a Stanley Cup.
Ideally, a Kessel swap would bring the Leafs a franchise center. Of course, if they had a franchise center, perhaps they wouldn't consider dealing Kessel. Such is life in the salary cap world.
It's hard to imagine the already struggling Leafs dealing away a player that has scored 30 or more goals in four straight seasons, but as Dupont says, such is life in the salary cap world.
Stay tuned on this one. Kessel could definitely aid a team looking to add some punch to its attack near the trade deadline.