Ben Kuzma of The Vancouver Province reports that there are some hot and heavy rumours running around that Tomas Fleischmann is going to be traded for a defenceman.
Fleischmann had been a healthy scratch in mid-November against the Sabres and will be a UFA at the end of this season. The rumours have him going to Vancouver for Kevin Bieksa, but there were also some rumours that he is moved to Los Angeles.
I think the trade to Vancouver favours Washington too much. Bieksa is a solid defenceman, could even play on the top pairing with Mike Green in Washington. Fleischmann, on the other hand, has not shown he has the ability to be a top six forward, especially on a team as deep as the Canucks.
Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal reports that Kyle Cumiskey could be trade bait. The Avalanche are looking to add some grit and leadership.
This is a great idea. The Avalanche have a lot of young players, but nobody really to lead them. They need some veterans, and if dealing Cumiskey can get them a solid leader it would be a great idea.
Jim Matheson continues that Evgeni Malkin is having another average season, and the Penguins may deal him away for a king's ransom and go with Jordan Staal as their No. 2. centre.
This is one of the most ridiculous ideas I have heard in a while. Why would the Penguins deal away a player of Malkin's caliber? He calls Malkin's season another average season. Last year's "average season" had Malkin getting 77 points, which is amazing even if you ignore he played only 67 games. This year he's on pace to get 25 goals and 45 assists. If this average, I would take it. There is no way the Penguins deal Malkin.
Matheson also speculates that the Stars are not willing to give Brad Richards a deal in the six- to eight-year range. They prefer a three-year contract. If they cannot agree to a contract then expect them to deal him, and the Kings will be very interested.
I don't expect Richards to get a deal longer than three years. Joe Thornton, a player who is almost the same as him but more talented, got a three-year $21 million contract. So don't expect the Stars to offer much more than three years in the $19.5-$21 million range.
If he rejects it, the Kings and anybody else making a run at the Stanley Cup will have interest. He is the premier playmaker available, so there will be a lot of demand. With that in mind, I expect him to sign in Dallas for three years, $20 million.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post wonders if the Devils will trade Martin Brodeur. Lou Lamoriello would never approach Brodeur about this, but if Brodeur approaches Lamoriello, expect the Capitals to be interested. Brooks cites a package of John Carlson/Karl Alzner/Mike Green, a young goaltender and a young centre.
This is ridiculous. There is no way that Martin Brodeur is moved from New Jersey. Lamoriello knows he's not going to find a better goaltender. Even if he could, there's a lot of uncertainty. It's the Devil he knows versus the Devil he doesn't know. However, if the Capitals approach him with a package like that after Brodeur approaches Lamoriello, he should pull the trigger because he's not going to get a package like that for a player that old again.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun notes that the production of Tyler Bozak makes him the 316th best forward in the league and wonders if the Leafs should send him down to the minors.
That's an interesting idea, but who do the Leafs replace him with? They've already called up Nazem Kadri, Keith Aulie and Luca Caputi. It's hard to believe there's anyone left in the Marlies who deserves to be called up.
Simmons also stated that Grabovski's value may never be higher than it is now and wonders what the Leafs can get for him if Burke threw his name into trade discussions.
Burke will make a trade if it improves the team. It does not matter to him whether or not the team or player is doing well. So if any teams inquired about Grabovski, they did not offer an adequate package...yet.
Everyone noted the line changes in Toronto's practice yesterday. Ron Wilson put Nazem Kadri at centre, to go along with Phil Kessel and Clarke MacArthur on the first line. This puts Kadri at centre, which is his natural position, but it entails a lot more defensive responsibility.
This is the beginning of the formation of the top line. I always envisioned Kadri there, with Kessel. However, MacArthur seems like a bad fit. All three of these forwards are small. They need to put someone like Nikolai Kulemin onto that line with Kadri and Kessel. However, time will tell what the Leafs long term plans are for the first line.