The 2013 NHL regular season is just starting, but the rumors about possible trades and contract extensions have started to envelop the sport just as they do every year.
With turnover this season already—the Flyers didn’t waste any time cutting ties with head coach Peter Laviolette, according to Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News—all of the following rumors will have hockey fans ready for more deals.
Anaheim Ducks Looking to Make a Trade?
The Anaheim Ducks may be 2-1 on the season, but the team has allowed 11 goals (third-worst in the league). That is a serious problem for the Stanley Cup contenders, and the lack of elite defenders may force the organization to make a move for help on the blue line.
According to TSN insider Darren Dreger, the Ducks have been looking to add defensive help and three teams are reportedly involved in the discussions:
Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray is looking for a defenceman and its believed Toronto, Pittsburgh and maybe Philadelphia are involved. They want a young defenceman and may give up a young forward in return.
While there is no discounting the talent of defenders Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin, the rest of the defensive unit isn’t worthy of being on a second pairing. Anaheim has a strong core of young forwards, and the team must move one of them to acquire another defenseman before it’s too late.
Joe Thornton Staying in San Jose?
Joe Thornton is one of the best centers in the NHL, and he been for more than a decade. While the impending unrestricted free agent could sign elsewhere, Thornton is reportedly looking to re-sign with the San Jose Sharks.
TSN insider Pierre LeBrun spoke about the veteran’s contract status and if an extension should be expected:
Not nearly as much attention - maybe because of the market he plays in - but there's Joe Thornton, also a high profile UFA at the end of the season. The expectation is that his camp will circle back to the San Jose Sharks in the very near future to start that process. But it's not expected to be something that's going to be a distraction for Thornton or whether there's a deadline to this thing. They'll get it done during the season.
San Jose needs to get this deal done or fear losing one of the most dynamic players on its roster. With impressive size, unmatched ice vision and the ability to steal the show on the power play, Thornton is the heart and soul of the Sharks.
The organization must do whatever it takes to bring him back next year and beyond.
Pittsburgh Penguins Not Interested in Ilya Bryzgalov?
Pittsburgh Penguins veteran backup Tomas Vokoun will be out three to six months with blood clots, but according to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the team is not interested in free-agent starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov:
Just spoke with a very reliable source who made it clear that the Penguins are not currently interested in Bryzgalov.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) September 30, 2013
That leaves Pittsburgh with just Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff in net. While Fleury is the unquestioned starter and will get all of the offensive support he can handle, he has stretches during the season where he plays flat-out terrible.
Instead of turning to a veteran like Vokoun, the Penguins will be forced to turn to the unproven Zatkoff.
If Zatkoff doesn’t play well when given the chance to shine, look for Pittsburgh to reach out to Bryzgalov—he is currently working to become a member of the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) starting lineup, according to Dave Isaac of the USA Today—and consider signing him to a short-term deal.
Whether the franchise admits it or not, there has to be genuine concern about the goalie position.