NHL Trade Rumors: Tomas Kaberle, Ales Hemsky and the Latest NHL Buzz
Another day, another round of NHL trade rumors, as we continue to close in on Feb. 28 and the trade deadline.
The Ian White trade bonanza has died down considerably, when he went from not participating in the morning skate, to reportedly a Vancouver Canuck to now possibly staying in Carolina, all in 24 hours. But there has been other news to take his place.
Tomas Kaberle continues to dominate the trade news, as the on-again, off-again trade is possibly on again between the Maple Leafs and Bruins, while other players like Chris Neil, Alexei Kovalev and Jason Arnott wait out their own fate come next week.
Ales Hemsky continues to drive his stock price up, while there's more news involving the Dallas Stars and Brad Richards, and it's not good for either side. Meanwhile, teams like Columbus and New Jersey wait to make decisions on whether or not each respective team will be buyers and sellers.
And in trades that actually got done today, there's already one deal done and another deal reportedly done, both involving the Anaheim Ducks and an Eastern Canada team. So if you want the latest news involving the NHL trade deadline and rumored players on the move, this is the place to be.
Read on for the very latest.
Jarkko Ruutu, LW, Anaheim
The Senators have made it pretty clear they're open for business, and anyone who thought otherwise was proved wrong as another piece was sent off.
According to Ian Mendes of Rogers Sportsnet and sportsnet.ca, Ottawa has reportedly sent Ruutu to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2011 Draft Pick he later confirmed to be a sixth-round pick. It's the second deal involving the Anaheim Ducks already today, and it's the third deal the Senators have made in the last couple of weeks.
For the Ducks, it's a nice move. Ruutu is a player in the same vein as a Maxim Lapierre: a third-line pest who can kill penalties and add offensive upside and a sandpaper game. But for both sides, this trade means two different things.
In Ottawa, it's a sign the fire sale and the rebuild is on. Bryan Murray, to his credit, turned three contributing players into a first-, second- and sixth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012. He's finally making the commitment that it will take a rebuild, or at least a retool, to get things turned back around.
Meanwhile, the Ducks have made it very clear they think they can win the Pacific Division right now. As of this posting, they're part of that five-way tie for fourth that's collectively holding the final playoff spots, but also only one point out of first place. The Ducks have clearly overachieved and even despite their position, they wouldn't make moves like this if they didn't feel they could make a run.
Paul Mara, D, Montreal
The Ruutu trade was just one deal the Anaheim Ducks made today. The other came earlier in the day when Anaheim sent Paul Mara to Montreal for a draft pick.
Now that seems like a pretty vanilla trade right off the bat, until you consider Mara was a Canadien last season and the Ducks got in return the pick they gave up back in December for Maxim Lapierre.
So if you wanted to oversimplify, they traded Paul Mara for Maxim Lapierre. Basically.
It was more a move of need for the Canadiens, who according to reports were in the market for a defenseman and a forward. With this move they got the defenseman, and one who can move the puck and play the power play if need be. So it's not a bad move for Montreal.
Anaheim gets rid of Mara, gets a pick back and also clears his salary, which doesn't do a bunch but frees up more room for another possible deal should the Ducks decide to do something. And if the status of Jonas Hiller is any indication, then another goaltender might be in the cards for the Ducks as insurance.
Tomas Kaberle, D, Toronto
The Tomas Kaberle drama continues to play out, with nothing done yet and the puck-moving defenseman still hanging in trade limbo.
Although encouraging signs came today that the soap opera may finally be writing its last chapter. Darren Dreger of TSN reported today that sources said the deal is close, although nothing's expected to happen today. Dreger then reported the deal is contingent on the Bruins making another deal to free up the cap room, possibly involving Blake Wheeler and/or Mark Stuart.
Since then, the rumors have flown about of the specifics of a deal. Joe Haggerty of CSN New England reported the package might be Wheeler and a draft pick for Kaberle, while the Bruins would send Stuart to Chicago. Brian Burke answered that by saying Kaberle going to the Bruins is inaccurate, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
The rest of the league has to be sick of hearing about Kaberle, who's been dominating news around the league and especially north of the border. But both sides know something has to get done. The Bruins have locked in on Kaberle and know he's a piece they need if they want to try and make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Meanwhile Toronto knows Kaberle is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the Leafs have to get something for him now before he walks away in free agency to the highest bidder.
Either way, it's a saga that just needs to end.
Ian White, D, Carolina
So Ian White was a Vancouver Canuck for about 30 minutes yesterday.
And what a memorable half-hour it was. So many memories.
Okay, so Ian White wasn't officially a Vancouver Canuck. The half-hour was about how long it took for GM Mike Gillis to refute the rumors that the team had acquired the defenseman. Now White is back with the Hurricanes and might not be going anywhere after all. According to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer's Twitter, Jim Rutherford said they were considering a deal for White.
If you haven't noticed, the NHL doesn't handle trade drama well.
Alexander went into more detail on his blog, writing that White was still "in the dark" about a possible trade.
If Kaberle gets traded, White probably becomes one of the hot names that could go now before the trade deadline. He does have trade value, and the apparent rumor that exploded yesterday is proof there has to be at least some interest in him.
But I still get back to what do the Hurricanes want in return for White, who's one of their more experienced and dependable defensemen? And what does it say to the fanbase that a key portion of the team is getting dealt off when you're smack in the middle of a playoff race?
We'll just have to wait and see.
Alexei Kovalev, RW, Ottawa
Alexei Kovalev won't be back in Ottawa next season. That's not so much opinion as it is fact.
He's an unrestricted free agent after the season, and he doesn't strike me as a guy willing to go through a rebuild. So it's a safe bet the Senators and Kovalev will have parted by the beginning of next season.
But the interesting question will be will it happen before that?
Kovalev could be one of the Senators on the move, although what the Senators could get for him is probably pretty limited. We talked about him earlier this week and the chances of him being a Pittsburgh Penguin.
Truth of the matter is, Pittsburgh might be the only place for him. They know what they're getting in Kovalev, he's played well there before (although that was a while ago) and the fanbase would welcome him with open arms. There's not a lot of other hockey fans that would, considering his history. The only other place he was ever unconditionally loved is Montreal, and I doubt the Canadiens are that desperate.
Kovalev plays best when he's motivated and on a good team—that's what makes him so frustrating to cheer for or have on your team. He could be one of the best players in the game—when he felt like it. But now he's disinterested and on a bad team, which is a dangerous combination.
Ottawa should just take whatever they can get for him. They're better off.
Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton
Ales Hemsky continues to be one of the hottest names surrounding the trade deadline.
The Oilers winger is by far their hottest trade chip, as the interest is Hemsky is through the roof compared to that for Dustin Penner, yet the Oilers haven't made an inclination whether or not Hemsky will move.
Jim Matheson, who seems to have news on Hemsky every day recently, opined in an article today that Hemsky's worth is more than Kris Versteeg and Mike Fisher, both of whom garnered first round picks in return. He suggests a first round pick and possibly a "good NHLer."
No one knows for sure what the Oilers are going to do or what they're thinking about with Hemsky. But if that's the case, then the Oilers might be well-served to at least listen to any offers.
The Oilers know what they have in Hemsky, he can be one of the most dynamic players on the ice (when he's healthy), not to mention one of the fastest. And if the reports about the Kings showing a lot of interest in Hemsky are true, then the interest is there and the Oilers have suitors looking to make a deal.
Edmonton's not going anywhere this year and we'll see what happens next year. If the Oilers want to keep Hemsky around, then that's their prerogative. But his trade value might never be higher than it is right now.
If they don't get an offer they like, then they should pass. But if a team comes in and blows them away, then they need to pull the trigger on Hemsky.