An Early Look at the NHL Trade Rumors Set to Dominate the Offseason
The NHL 2013 trade deadline has come and gone, and that means players are staying put for a while. Some players—Cory Conacher, Marian Gaborik and Martin Erat among them—will have to find themselves homes in new cities.
And while the deadline offered plenty of action, it also left many questions unanswered. Once this offseason arrives, players go back up on the block, and the negotiations begin again.
So, what should we expect once the offseason arrives? There's bound to be plenty more surprises, but a few rumors can be expected to resurface.
Roberto Luongo Is Going... Somewhere
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Roberto Luongo is bound to leave the Vancouver Canucks at some point. The goalie was signed to a monster 12-year, $64 million contract beginning with the 2010-11 season but quickly found his starting position challenged by Cory Schneider.
At this point, Schneider has earned himself the regular starting job. Though Luongo's name has been thrown around consistently, no deal has ever made it through. Luongo expressed his frustration by stating, "My contract sucks" (per The Calgary Herald).
As soon as possible, expect trade talks to arise again around the Canadian goaltender. His value remains low, and the team wants to move him. It's simply a matter of time.
The Maple Leafs Want an Experienced Goalie
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The Maple Leafs actively pursued both Roberto Luongo and the Flames' Miikka Kiprusoff on deadline day and actually came pretty close with the former.
In the end, the team stuck with the tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, and it's entirely possible that will work out for them.
Right now, the Maple Leafs are fifth in the Eastern Conference with 44 points. The team is ready to compete now and needs a goalie that can keep up and play big in important games. Maybe that goalie will be Reimer or Scrivens, but if the Leafs struggle in the playoffs, expect the team to be back on the market for a more experienced netminder.
The Penguins Could Start Selling off Talent
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At first in the East, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently the team to beat in the conference. After acquiring Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jussi Jokinen, the team's management has shown its commitment to winning now.
The next few offseasons will be difficult for the Penguins. After this season, Iginla, Morrow, Murray, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Matt Cooke and Mark Eaton will all be unrestricted free agents, and the team will have to make some decisions on who to keep. But more importantly, the team has to plan for the following offseason.
After the 2013-14 season, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Jokinen, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen and Tomas Vokoun will be UFAs. Brandon Sutter will also be a restricted free agent. This class of free agents includes a number of key Penguins, and many of them will be earning raises.
In order to prepare for the upcoming free agents while also negotiating with this year's, Penguins management may need to trade one of the 2014 UFAs to clear some space. Is it going to be Malkin or Letang? Most likely not. But depending on how contract negotiations go, some very talented players could be hitting the trade block.