The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching, and several teams have some crucial decisions to make.
A condensed schedule has produced a condensed playoff picture. With just over a week remaining until the deadline, nearly every team in the league can still legitimately, with a straight look on their face, call themselves contenders for the postseason.
As a result, you may see more teams staying put than usual.
But that hasn't stopped the rumors from swirling through the league, as they tend to do. Let's take a look at the most recent buzz.
Miikka Kiprusoff and Other Flames
The Calgary Flames have 26 points through 29 games. They currently sit in a tie for last place in the West and are one of very few teams not on the aforementioned "staying put" list.
Instead, it's time to sell for Bob Hartley and company.
According to George Johnson of the Calgary Herald, Kiprusoff—along with captain Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester—is one of the hottest names on the block:
Along with captain Jarome Iginla and defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, Kiprusoff’s name is front and centre among the Calgary Flames on the trading block. This is, never forget, arguably the best puck-repeller of the world’s best league over the past decade.
Even at 36, he could be a difference-tipper for an ambitious organization looking to make a post-season splash.
Chicago is rumoured to be sniffing around. Toronto, too. Any team with Stanley Cup aspirations that needs shoring up between the pipes would be unbelievably daft not to at least inquire about the possibility.
There are concerns with Kiprusoff, of course. Not only is he 36 years old and in his 12th NHL season, but he also has a save percentage of just .866, which is both the worst of his career and the worst among all Calgary goalies.
Nevertheless, if a playoff contender is in desperate need of a boost between the pipes, Kiprusoff makes for a cheap option.
New York Rangers Want Dan Boyle
The Rangers are the prototypical unpredictable deadline team. They are currently tied with Carolina in points in eighth place in the East. As such, John Tortorella's team could potentially be buyers, sellers or somewhere in between.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, however, is hearing they will be closer to the former:
The New York Rangers have been on the lookout for a top-four, right-handed defenseman and a source told me Tuesday that the Blueshirts have interest in veteran Dan Boyle from the Sharks. There’s an obvious connection there, with Rangers head coach John Tortorella having coached Boyle in Tampa Bay when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004.
In his his sixth season with the Sharks, Dan Boyle has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) through 27 games. He is averaging right around 23 minutes per game on the ice and has a plus/minus of minus-eight.
The Rangers have been impressively stingy on defense this season, but adding depth (Boyle would tie Michael Del Zotto as New York's top-scoring defenseman) for a playoff run makes sense.
Dallas Stars Shopping Jaromir Jagr and Brenden Morrow
The Stars are just one point behind eighth-place San Jose and Columbus in the West, but according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, they aren't afraid to sell Jaromir Jagr and Brenden Morrow:
Jaromir Jagr and Brenden Morrow are possibilities as well, depending on what the Dallas Stars decide to do with both UFAs-to-be. At this point, I would suggest there’s a stronger chance Morrow moves than Jagr; the Stars, I hear, are undecided yet on what to do with No. 68 and lot will depend on the offers they get and where they are in the standings come April 3.
While Jagr, who continues to put up impressive numbers (22 points in 29 games) in his 18th season, will command more attention, Morrow is a valuable asset capable of instantly improving a contender.
Don't be surprised if either of these soon-to-be free-agent wings are moved for the stretch run.
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