At this time of year, general managers can be on the look-out for players who can help their team via trade. General managers are either satisfied with their moves of the off-season and let the assembled teams enter training camp as is, or they go into training camp looking to improve their teams already.
While rumors are slow this time of year, some rumors still persist of deals that could happen in the coming weeks. While blockbuster trades don't happen often at this time of year, some have happened in the past, mainly with the Phil Kessel trade in 2009.
This year, it doesn't seem that a blockbuster trade is on the horizon. However, some trades of importance are still being rumored.
So here are some names that are rumored to be on the verge of moving in the near future.
Rumor from Eklund on Hockeybuzz:
Most of my information will come from Eklund, the anonymous blogger.
While Eklund has a history of being wrong a majority of the time on the rumors he produces, he is right often enough where his rumors have to be respected. Just be warned.
After being a major piece in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, Oduya has not blossomed as Atlanta had hoped. Now a member of the Jets, Oduya may be an expendable piece.
Oduya has one year left on his contract at a cap hit of $3.5 million before he hits the open market. At 29, Oduya has probably reached his potential. If Winnipeg is out of the playoff picture by the trade deadline, Oduya will probably be traded at that point if he hasn't been traded this off-season.
As for the team that he has been rumored with, the Montreal Canadiens have an interest in Oduya. Montreal would be willing to give up this next player.
Even Eklund is skeptical of this one (kind of old, from August 27).
Gomez was traded by the Rangers on June 30, 2009 (every Ranger fan should remember this date and where they were when they found out about it) for Ryan McDonagh, Chris Higgins and Pavel Valentanko.
Gomez's $7.5 million salary is one of the most immovable contracts in the NHL because his production is nowhere near that cap hit. Montreal would be lucky to move his contract. There have been rumors (see here, down on the page) that Montreal is planning on burying Gomez in the minors.
Winnipeg is said to be the team to have interest in Gomez by Eklund.
This would be a total salary dump by Montreal, and I would imagine they would pick up Oduya's $3.5 million cap hit. Winnipeg has $16 million in cap room, so taking on Gomez would not hurt them as much as it is hurting Montreal.
Still, as much as Canadiens fans are hoping for Gomez to be moved, I wouldn't bet on it.
Although Johnny Boychuk was on the Stanley Cup winning Bruins last season, he may be the Bruins' least reliable defender at this point. With his contract coming to an end and the Bruins about to come into a cap situation (Marchand still un-signed, Rask a RFA next season), they may try to get pieces for Boychuk.
Boychuk's low cap hit of $1.875 million makes him easy to deal and he could be a reliable second or third pair defenseman for a contender next season. Defensive depth is an asset that a team cannot have enough of, so the market for Boychuk should be vast, especially after playing 25 playoff games last season.
While it's hard to separate what is rumor and what trades seem likely to happen, I respect these rumors, although they might not be true.
The teams involved may have improved in ways besides from on the ice, particularly the Canadiens if they can unload Scott Gomez's contract.
With training camp around the corner, general managers need to decide whether their team needs another addition or will start the season with the team that has been constructed.
Only time will tell.
On a side note, the tragedy of the Russian hockey team whose plane crashed was just awful. My condolences go out to all of their family members and members of that organization.
Thanks for the read and feel free to comment.
Keep the military in your thoughts and prayers.
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