NHL Trade Rumors: Jarome Iginla and 15 "Untouchables" Who Could Be Moved
NHL trade rumors haven't slowed down as the season has heated up.
Another week and the same names continue to float out there as possible trade bait, including Jarome Iginla as the Flames continue to lose and fall back in the West. Meanwhile, other teams continue to linger on the line between buyer and seller as the season moves along.
The players on this list might be labeled untouchable by management, and chances are most of these players probably won't be traded. But for some of these teams, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures.
And so, here are the 15 untouchables who could be traded.
Jarome Iginla, RW, Calgary Flames
We'll start with Iginla, who was told that he won't be traded, or at least won't be asked to waive his no-trade clause this season. It hasn't stopped the rumors and it hasn't stopped the talk about the chaos surrounding the organization.
And it's worth noting that if the Flames continue to lose and fall out of contention and more and more pressure surrounds Darryl Sutter, then it's hard to say what would happen.
If anything does change, whether there is a housecleaning at the top or otherwise (and the Globe and Mail podcast from last week prodded the issue of whether Iginla was getting frustrated), then you know Los Angeles will be in. The Kings somewhat settled on Marco Sturm before the trade fell through, and they will be pushing hard for any forward. The attractive cap room and the top-end prospects make it attractive for any team.
Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
The idea of trading Malkin isn't new. The idea of sending Sid the Kid's right-hand man has been thrown around for a few years since an Ottawa reporter reported that he had been offered to Los Angeles. But it was broached as recently as last May when Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook wrote the Penguins should at least think about it.
He wrote that the Penguins wouldn't be getting the best player in the deal, but they could be getting a lot of help, such as secondary scoring.
In the end, Malkin isn't going anywhere. But if the Pens wanted to help Crosby down the line and get some valuable assets in return, it might be worth at least listening. And if he were available, there would be a laundry list of clubs banging down the door to get him.
Jason Spezza, C, Ottawa Senators
There were rumors swirling around the Capital Region in the offseason about Spezza, almost as if he was the scapegoat for everything ailing the Sens the last few years. But, when no one really stepped up to take Spezza and his cap hit, he stayed in Ottawa.
Now the Senators are a mess. They can't score, there's still no true No. 1 goalie and the fans are passively-aggressively turning on the team by just not showing up, period.
We've heard for weeks that something major is in the works, and this would definitely be as big as it gets. He's by far their best trade chip, the player who could get them the most and the player who will get the most teams involved (Toronto, the Rangers and LA all need forward help).
Maybe this is the big shakeup.
Alexei Kovalev, RW, Ottawa Senators
Kovalev isn't as much untouchable as he is untradeable, given his declining statistics, age and infamous work ethic (or lack thereof). But, since no one seems to be biting hard on Brian Lee and there's not much else to sell, AK might be an option.
He's older, but he still shows flashes of that skill set that drives GMs, coaches and fans crazy. Someone who was desperate for frontline help (maybe a St. Louis) could come calling about Kovalev.
I wouldn't count on it, though.
Tomas Kaberle, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
Let me start by saying that there has been no indication publicly that Kaberle is available or that it's being considered. Brian Burke has come out and said he's staying put. But the Maple Leafs don't have anything else that could be considered desirable by other teams, save for a few prospects, that Burke would be willing to part with. I still feel that if he wants to rebuild the franchise, he at least has to listen or not be as aggressive with trying to move him if he does become available.
That being said, if he is on the market, look for a Columbus or other team that needs an offensive defenseman to be in on him, for the right price.
Francois Beauchemin, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
When it comes to trades and the Leafs, one of the next two players might be more realistic. With Dion Phaneuf on the way back, Bruce Garrioch of Sun Media reported that both Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek could be available. Let's start with Beauchemin, a solid defenseman who could be a good fit on a good team.
If the report comes to fruition and both are put on the market, expect San Jose to make a play for Beauchemin. He's strong both defensively and offensively, and the Sharks need blue-line depth. Washington could've been a destination, but the Caps got their man in Scott Hannan. San Jose would be a good fit and the Sharks could offer prospects in return.
Mike Komisarek, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
Komisarek would be harder to move because of his playing style (a.k.a., not quick) and his financial history (a.k.a., big cap hit). He's struggled being a top guy playing in Toronto and might return to form in a different system where he's surrounded by good defensemen and doesn't have to be the shutdown guy.
Carolina could use some defensive help, but they probably won't be a playoff contender this year and wouldn't want to part with some of the young talent.
Tampa Bay might be a destination if Steve Yzerman felt he needed insurance for his goaltenders and some defensive stability, though it's hard to say what Toronto would want coming back that could help them right away.
Brad Richards, C, Dallas Stars
The prevailing theme is that as long as the Stars are in the playoff hunt, then Richards stays put. It doesn't change the fact that he's the No. 1 free agent this offseason now and that the Stars are for sale, but it's a noble thought.
Should the Stars fall out of contention, however, then all bets are off and the bidding war (likely among, at least, Toronto, LA and the Rangers) is on. Los Angeles would be the best fit because of the reasons mentioned earlier, but the Rangers seem willing to part with young assets to land Richards or, at worst, wait till July 1.
Tomas Vokoun, G, Florida Panthers
For a goalie who's as consistently good (and consistently unnoticed) as Vokoun, it's hard to fathom why there isn't more trade buzz surrounding the Florida netminder. Yet there isn't right now, and so it would be somewhat surprising if the Panthers finally do decide to trade Vokoun.
If he is available, there will be a pretty strong market for him. Tampa Bay would definitely come calling, as could Columbus, possibly, with its unstable situation in goal. Either one would probably have to give up young prospects in return, including a goaltender, which could make Washington a player, though that's highly doubtful.
Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues
Pietrangelo would definitely not be moved in a voluntary sense; instead, he may have to be moved for the Blues to land a forward, or at least that's what Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote Tuesday.
With St. Louis desperately needing help at forward, would teams dealing with the Blues ask for Pietrangelo or possibly Erik Johnson? And would St. Louis make that move?
I would think that if push came to shove, they'd deal Pietrangelo and keep Johnson. In a perfect world, they'd keep both. But if they had to make a move for a forward, it might be a move they have to make.
Marc Savard, C, Boston Bruins
Now, as with Kaberle, I must stress that there is nothing definite on the table with Savard. But in an interview with CBC last week, he did admit that during the summer, he was asked to waive his no-trade clause to go to Toronto or Ottawa before he was told he was staying. But the truth of the matter is that the Bruins are in an awful jam with the cap, and a move has to be made. They thought they had something with Marco Sturm, but that fell through.
Savard wouldn't be moved to Toronto or Ottawa now. But perhaps St. Louis (bringing in Pietrangelo in return, perhaps) or a Phoenix or even Los Angeles would take a bite on the forward coming back from post-concussion syndrome.
Scott Gomez, C, Montreal Canadiens
Like Kovalev, Gomez isn't untouchable as much as he is untradeable because of his cap hit.
He can still be a good player in this league and has the ability to be such, but his talent gets crushed under the weight and expectations of that contract. I'm still surprised to this day that the Canadiens took him off Glen Sather's hands. And now, with him struggling, there are reports from Garrioch that they may be looking to move him.
It'll be a very hard sell, but someone who is desperate for offense might take a chance. Montreal probably wouldn't get prospects back, but rather NHL players in return. To make a big addition like a defenseman or a winger, they will probably have to deal prospects.
Patrik Elias, LW, New Jersey Devils
Elias would be a good fit for a team looking for secondary scoring that wouldn't mind his cap hit.
He's not a top-line offensive producer anymore, but he'd fit in nicely as a veteran. But do the Devils, who might be sellers for the first time in a long time, really want to part with one of the more popular players in team history? Furthermore, do they want to admit they are sellers?
Frankly, I won't believe the Devils are done until they are because I've seen the bad starts turn into division titles from them before. But if a Tampa Bay or a St. Louis comes calling, will the Devils answer?
Tim Connolly, C, Buffalo Sabres
Connolly hasn't been fantastic as a pro, but he's been decent when he's been healthy, which is always a big "if" with him. A playmaking center like him is a nice trade asset for the Sabres should they decide to deal. Since they've been playing better, the trade possibilities have probably been on hold.
But if the Sabres do decide to move him, a perfect fit could be Washington. The Capitals have $2.3 million of cap room and are looking for a second-line center, according to the Washington Post. They would have some room and some prospects who could be very enticing to Buffalo.
Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey Devils
Sorry, Devils fans, but I had to.
There are few others who are as untouchable as Brodeur, but if New Jersey continues to spiral downward, it's worth at least thinking about. Tampa Bay would jump at the chance, as would a couple of other teams. The Devils could get some cap room and possibly acquire the goalie of the future as well as prospects.
Will this ever happen? No. But there's something that Eric Duhatschek said on a recent podcast that should be very, very interesting to keep in mind as the deadline looms.
"If Wayne Gretzky could be traded to the Los Angeles Kings, then anyone could be traded."