The 2014 NHL trade deadline is approaching fast, and fans across the league are buzzing about the latest rumors surrounding the biggest names in hockey.
With Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and Carolina Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward all reportedly on the market, the excitement surrounding possible deadline deals has fans across North America on edge.
Here are all of the latest rumors about the biggest names on the market.
Edmonton Oilers Interested in Andrei Markov?
The Edmonton Oilers have a strong core of forwards the franchise has drafted over the last several years, but the team has lacked an elite defender who can be the all-purpose leader the young group desperately needs.
The Oilers are looking for a big shot from the point, a captain on the power play, and a leader on the ice and in the locker room. The best option may be Montreal Canadiens veteran Andrei Markov.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Edmonton is interested in Markov’s services:
Here’s an interesting tidbit: I’m told Edmonton has made a pitch for Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov. The club would like a big veteran to stabilize its defence and Markov hasn’t been able to come to an agreement with the Habs on a new deal. The Oilers might be willing to ante up the three-year contract Markov wants. This may not happen at the deadline but Edmonton could make a pitch on July 1. If Markov is to be moved at this stage the Habs want a prospect and a pick.
Edmonton has such a serious need for a top-tier defenseman that the franchise should give up whatever Montreal asks for in return. The Oilers have a plethora of talent in the farm system, and giving up a player and a pick for a defender who could change the culture of the team would be an ideal trade.
There will be genuine concern about the health and durability of a player who has a history of missing games and is already 35 years old, but Markov has been a consistent force for Montreal this season and has avoided the injury bug.
Trading for Markov would be an educated risk, but it would fill several needs for Edmonton.
Minnesota Wild Targeting Martin Brodeur?
The Minnesota Wild continue to deal with questions about depth at the goaltender position while Josh Harding battles multiple sclerosis, and the franchise may be looking to add another netminder.
According to a report from the Minnesota Star Tribune, the Wild may be going for a veteran:
The Wild has talked to New Jersey about future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, who might be willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to Minnesota. Brodeur, who has two children at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, said after backstopping the Devils to a victory over the Islanders on Saturday that any team trading for him wouldn’t have to guarantee the No. 1 job. He just wants to play more than he does now.
At 41 years old, Brodeur would be the ultimate short-term answer for Minnesota. He would provide the team with experience and act a calming force in the locker room and on the ice.
There is no doubt Brodeur is not the same player he was when he led New Jersey to a Stanley Cup Championship, but he has plenty of talent and ability left to add the depth at goaltender the Wild need.
Carolina Hurricanes Putting Cam Ward on the Market?
The Carolina Hurricanes are struggling to stay in contention for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and the franchise is preparing for the fire sale that may inevitably come to fruition.
One player for whom the Hurricanes may be listening to offers is Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Cam Ward. TSNs’s Darren Dreger is reporting that Carolina may be willing to move almost anyone:
Tough decisions ahead for Hurricanes. Teams saying Carolina is open to trading any one of its 3 goaltenders, including Cam Ward.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 28, 2014
Ward is still one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and one of the most consistent players despite a lack of talent in front of him, and some teams would likely give up what the Hurricanes want.
The problem for Carolina is that Ward has a no-trade clause and an average salary of $6.3 million per year over the next two full seasons. If a franchise wants to acquire Ward, it will have to be able to shoulder the salary-cap burden.
*Stats via NHL.com.