NHL Trade Rumors: Alex Semin, Kevin Bieksa, and the Latest NHL Trade Buzz
The 2011 NHL trade deadline is still over a month away, but the rumors are heating up on an almost hourly basis.
With so many names swirling around, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction, and get insider information through all the here-say and speculation. Names like Brad Richards, Alexander Semin, Kevin Bieksa, and Francois Beauchemin are the newest on the wires, but how much truth is there behind these stars?
Here is the latest on whether these players are actually on the trading block, or if they are the newest victims of trade deadline over—excitement.
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ESPN Insider reported this morning that the Dallas Stars are likely to hold on to Richards, rather than trade him like earlier reports had suggested.
Dallas Stars blogger 'Dallas Dave' tweeted that he talked to a Stars front office member, who told him, "We're not trading him."
While that same front office guy said contract talks are up in the air, it looks like the Stars are willing to risk losing Richards via free agency and get nothing. However, the Stars' recent success may help them in their efforts to re—sign the potential unrestricted free agent.
If the Stars really do keep Richards, it means several teams will have to wait until the summer to make their pitches to Richards in free agency. Teams like the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be interested.
This newest report seems to echo the sentiments across the board. The most prominent reports say Richards wants to stay in Dallas, and the Stars are ready to re-sign him, given his recent play improvement.
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It seems this possibility is dependent upon the return of Sami Salo. The Vancouver Canucks are certainly looking for change, but there are other players on the roster that the Canucks could move before Bieksa.
Keith Ballard would free up $4 million in cap space, and isn't a major factor for the team on a daily basis. One reason Ballard hasn't been shopped as much by Vancouver is the same reason Bieksa's name keeps coming up: price and skill comparison. Bieska is having a much better season, which has prompted the Canucks to move Ballard farther back in the rotation.
Bieksa would make a solid fit in Ottawa, and apparently the Senators agree. They have reached out to the Canucks to discuss Bieksa's availability, and it appears the Canucks are warming up to the idea. Although the Canucks would be weary of dumping another defenceman, having lost to the Blackhawks in the playoffs twice, that concept doesn't seem to be as important to the team as it is to analysts.
Bieksa could be on the move, and this rumor is certainly feasible and substantiated.
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It seems the Ottawa Senators are willing to shop a large number of their players, and Chris Phillips is drawing increased interest.
The San Jose Sharks seem to be the team most interested in his services. Multiple reports say the Sharks are searching for defensive standouts to support their offensive stars, and Phillips seems to be a nice fit. His salary isn't too large to max out the Sharks' cap room and Phillips isn't getting any younger..
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According to mynhltraderumors.com,
"If Capitals decided to move Semin, they’d want full rental value, a lot more than Jarret Stoll. Ovechkin won’t allow the Capitals to trade him anyways."
That quote pretty much sums up the Semin trade rumors. Contract extension talks between the Washington Capitals and Alexander Semin seem to be on the back—burner for now, but don't expect the team to trade him at the drop of the hat, or trade him for draft picks and secondary players just because his contract is expiring.
Semin and scoring star Alexander Ovechkin seem to be inseparable, and it wouldn't be wise for the Caps to deal Semin, if team chemistry still means anything in hockey.
Other than the idea of cap space and moving on, there are no major talks to trade Semin, and there really shouldn't be.
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Beauchemin seems to be included in several team talks, with the exception of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rumors have the defenseman going everywhere, but it seems to be the New York Rangers that would make the best fit—but there are some snags.
For one, the Rangers don't yet have the cap room to afford Beauchemin, so the next option would be Kevin Bieksa. However, Bieksa also is owed a substantial salary.
A team employing Beauchemin would have to make space in the cap, unless they were in a position to afford him already, such as the Islanders or Panthers. Neither of these teams have the trade weight to acquire Beauchemin.
Bloggers on the West Coast have expressed desires to bring him back to the Anaheim Ducks, but the All—Star snubbed Lubomir Visnovsky has provided a much needed backbone for the Ducks, who seem to be just a few minor pieces away from landing in the middle of the Western Conference pack when the playoffs begin.
In fact, the Ducks' division rivals, the San Joe Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, seem to be the front—runners for Beauchemin's services.
The Maple Leafs would certainly like to move Beauchemin, but it's going to be a tough sell with the size of his contract.
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The St. Louis Blues recently signed Kyle Wellwood, and are awaiting his arrival through waivers. They may not be done looking for new additions however, and have been linked to Ruutu in multiple rumors.
Ruutu would be a lasting fit with Blues, who need a left winger to help them rebuild. Ruutu's numbers aren't stellar this season, but he could be an investment acquisition at the deadline.
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Toronto GM Brian Burke is refusing to discuss MacArthur, as the questions come pouring in about the left winger. MacArthur will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the Maple Leafs could be waiting until the beginning of February to decide what to do with him.
MacArthur leads the Leafs in scoring at the moment, and if he continues to stay at this pace, he may be more valuable on the trade market as the deadline nears. Toronto's inactivity towards their star could be an indication they are ready to move on without him. However, it is unlikely they will retain him until the end of the season if the team doesn't see any movement in the standings.
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The Edmonton Oilers winger has been linked to the Los Angeles Kings several times in the last few days. The Kings are reportedly going after frontline targets to improve production, but they are also linked to several defencemen as well.
Robyn Regehr and Penner seem to be the Kings' top choices, and these moves could come in early February.
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Along with Chris Phillips, the Ottawa Senators are rumored to be shopping Mike Fisher as well. Fisher is perhaps one of Ottawa's biggest crowd draws, and the Senators have to consider the ramifications to fan morale if they were to part with him.
Teams looking for a third-line centerman would certainly be interested in Phillips, and those teams include the Anaheim Ducks, who are also interested in Phillips, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who flat out need scoring help.
The Toronto net-minder will be coming back from injury soon, but has expressed his notion that he isn't long for a Maple Leafs uniform.
The National Post discussed the future with the Goalie:
"Right now, I’m not in that type of situation, but if I can get back to playing at a good level before the deadline, it could be different,” Giguère, 33, said prior to last night’s Leafs-Kings game at the Staples Center. “If another team wanted me for the last part of the season and the playoffs, I would discuss the issue with my family and make a decision. But I’d be open to it."
Giguere was forced out of Anaheim by the play of Jonas Hiller, and it was apparent Jean-Sabastian would be moving on to make way for the younger goalie. Now in Toronto, Jonas Gustavsson has shown signs of a starting goaltender, and may be Giguere's replacement if the Maple Leafs decide to use him as trade bait when the deadline comes calling.