NHL Insider: Toronto Maple Leafs Target Turco, Flyers Set On Souray

Steve McSweenSenior Analyst IJanuary 30, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Marty Turco #35 of the Dallas Stars in action during their game against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on December 11, 2009 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Heading into the NHL's Olympic roster freeze February 12th, there is speculation that there may be a fury of activity.

With many of the leagues players heading to the tournament, it is the theory among numerous hockey observers that Atlanta GM Don Waddell will likely move Ilya Kovalchuk before the games begin, rather than run the risk of him being injured.

Meanwhile, the Leafs have let teams know they are interested in taking on some salaries as long as they get some decent picks or prospects in return as well, and with Jamal Mayers and Garnet Exelby requesting trades earlier this week it is only a matter of time before Brian Burke starts pulling the trigger.

Out West, the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle, though one of those teams can break out of that tonight, there is little doubt that both will make some drastic changes in the coming weeks to try and improve their hockey clubs long term.

On that note, I decided to take a look at some more rumors that have been swirling of late and if you're a fan of the Leafs, Flames, and Oilers that is about all we can talk about these days.


Toronto Maple Leafs interested in Marty Turco and Peter Mueller

It has been rumored over the last few weeks that the Dallas Stars want to part ways with soon to be free agent 33-year-old Marty Turco, since Alex Auld has apparently taking over the role of No. 1 goalie in the Lone Star State.

And if this is indeed the case, than the Leafs Brian Burke is very interested. And why wouldn't he be, Turco isn't having a horrible season by any means. His 15-14-8 record with a 2.88 goals against average is better than any Leafs netminders this season.

This is just another case of Marc Crawford going with his guy, and believe me if the Leafs can obtain Turco it will come back to bite him in the ass. Auld has had numerous chances to be a starter over his career, and come up short, Turco is a proven No. 1 and at 33-years-old he is far from being done.

As good as Jonas Gustavsson has been, he has had two minor heart surgeries and is not ready to put the weight of Leafs nation on his back just yet. If the Leafs can swindle Turco away, Burke will solve his problems in net for the next five years, check the statistics people; Marty Turco is still a No. 1 goaltender he just needs a change of scenery.

Along with interest in Turco, there is also speculation that Toronto would like to acquire the distraught Peter Mueller from the Phoenix Coyotes. But if the asking price is anything more than a player off their roster and a prospect then Burke won't pull the pin.

Mueller has been on the downward spiral since his brilliant rookie season that saw him score 22 goals and 32 assists, but at 21-years-old the tremendous upside may indeed have the Coyotes asking way too much. It has also been rumored that the New York Rangers would like to acquire the youngster.


Philadelphia set on Souray

With Sheldon Souray waiving his no-trade clause, and giving the struggling Oilers a short list of teams he would like to go to, speculation is that he will be gone by the deadline and that Philadelphia is very interested.

The Flyers have been middle of the pack on the powerplay in the NHL most of the season, and could use another puck moving defenseman, and Souray fits that bill.

This team is going to have to compete with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in order to get out of the Eastern Conference playoffs and to do so they know their powerplay has to be firing on all cylinders.

It just may be tough to make room for Souray's contract, and moving one of their top two youngsters in Mike Richards or Jeff Carter may turn out to be their only option as the already small Edmonton Oilers probably would have no interest in Daniel Briere.

Either way, Sheldon Sourays days in Edmonton are quickly coming to an end.


Flames may play the waiting game for free agents

With all the ups and downs the Calgary Flames have had this season it is a wonder Darryl Sutter isn't suffering from motion sickness. And while the team has been rumored to be in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes, along with the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks, it is looking like they will sit stagnant until seasons end.

With Olli Jokinen, Rene Bourque, Craig Conroy, Eric Nystrom, and Brian McGratton all becoming free agents come July 1st, the Flames may have an entirely different look next season.

While Kovalchuk is the best available player headed to free agency, there are still a few names that could improve this club offensively like Patrick Marleau, Milan Hejduk, and Alexander Frolov.

There is a good chance, since it is highly unlikely anybody would want to take Jokinen off Sutters hands, that they will have to wait and see who may be available come free agent time. Unfortunately for them that means they may miss the playoffs for the first time in five years.


Scott Niedermayer set to retire

In all likelihood the Anaheim Ducks Scott Niedermayer will hang up his skates after the season finishes. With nothing left to prove or win for that matter, the chances aren't too good to see him return, unless he wants to be reunited once again with his brother Rob in New Jersey.

As a Flames fan I'd love to see the two brothers come to Calgary and try and win a Cup there, but that has about as much chance of happening as me dating Megan Fox.

Hopefully it isn't the last we see of the brilliant blueliner, but all signs point towards him calling it a career at season's end, which is a loss for the Ducks and the entire NHL.