NHL Trade Rumors: Toronto Maple Leafs and 7 Teams Looking to Shake Things Up
After only a few weeks of playing hockey, seven teams are already looking to shake things up in some major ways. There have been a number of significant names being shopped around and there have been a number of scouts attending games in certain cities.
We may see some GMs picking up the phones sooner rather than later in order to help their hockey club.
Some of these teams haven't been able to win a game and really need to move some pieces around. Other teams have looked pretty good so far, but their GMs may feel that they need to trade some defense for offensive or vice versa.
Here are seven teams whose names have been cropping up a lot in the hockey rumor mill.
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The rumor is GM Jay Feaster really wants to move some contracts off the books for the Calgary Flames. For awhile, the two big names being thrown around were Niklas Hagman and Olli Jokinen.
Calgary is definitely in the hot seat for a trade right now. They have 12 skaters who will be free agents at the end of the season and they are 1-3 to start the season.
It's interesting that Jokinen and Bourque's names are being thrown around. Feaster could definitely bring in some quality return for either player, but especially Bourque. What Feaster needs to figure out, though, is what the team needs to get in return to bolster their chances of winning games.
Are players like Bourque, who can score a lot of goals, or a player like Jokinen, who has started out the year very well, the kind of guys the team needs to keep around to give Jarome Iginla and the Flames a chance to win? Or are these two guys players who need to be traded to bring a return that will help the team out in the here and now?
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It may come as a surprise to some but it may not come as a surprise to others—Vancouver is on the phones.
According to Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun, Vancouver is shopping around a defenseman. Garrioch thinks that it may be Keith Ballard..
Vancouver already has nine defensemen on the roster so it could make sense. Although, in all honesty, this kind of deal wouldn't make sense to me—what does Vancouver need to bring in specifically? And, also, why trade a quality defenseman when Vancouver already lost some of its defensive depth during the offseason.
Still, Ballard being shopped around makes a lot more sense than this unnamed reporter suggesting that Roberto Luongo be traded for Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavelier.
I don't see that happening.
Still, Vancouver is on the phones. So, if they can't get their winning percentage above .500, maybe we will see them make an early or mid-November trade.
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Also, the Ottawa Sun is reporting that Leafs General Manager Brian Burke is shopping Carl Gunnarsson and Tyler Bozak to feel out the interest for them in the trade market.
Craig Custance of ESPN is also reporting that Burke, should a trade go down, would want to offload some defensive depth in exchange for an impact forward.
Toronto is looking incredible so far this season but it seems that Toronto's GM wants to add some security in case Phil Kessel's phenomenal production begins to become a little less phenomenal.
New York Islanders
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Here's a big question everyone has been asking—is Evgeni Nabokov in the New York Islanders' orange and blue something we should get used to or not?
Certainly, last season after Nabokov was claimed off waivers by the Islander General Manager, Garth Snow, Nabokov didn't even want to picture himself in an Islanders' sweater, much less put one on. However, he has now officially played a game between the pipes for the Islanders.
One week ago, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun said that he believes that Nabokov will be traded by the trade deadline—even considering Rick DiPietro's condition. He acknowledged that Nabokov would need to get a few starts to show he could be showcased to other teams who might be interested.
Well, Nabby got the start and according to Lyle Richardson of TheHockeyNews.com, scouts were in attendance for the game.
All of the teams who had scouts in attendance will be playing the Islanders within a month—except for the Columbus Blue Jackets, for whom Steve Mason is a very large question mark.
Garth Snow could bring in some great return if he goes ahead and trades Nabokov. I doubt that Nabby would want to re-sign with New York after this season and so trading him and getting something in return would be wise.
It does, however, depend on whether or not the Islanders think they can make the playoffs.
Does Snow pull the trigger and trade Nabokov early on in the season or does he wait until February to see how his club is doing?
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The Carolina Hurricanes are off to an OK start but, even so, they are looking to stir the pot as well. Two big names on the Hurricanes' roster are spinning around the rumor mill.
Luke DeCock thinks that Pitkanen is a 'luxury the Canes can't afford,' as, they have nine defensemen on the roster and are a short a top-six forward, according to DeCock.
Lyle Richardson suggests that the Edmonton Oilers would be a good trading partner for Carolina.
To be honest, I don't know what DeCock is thinking. Carolina, first of all, has seven defesemen on their roster—not nine—which is the optimal number. Second, Pitkanen is currently leading the Canes in points, so trading him wouldn't necessarily be a great idea. The Canes could certainly do with some bolstering of their forward corps but trading Pitkanen is not the answer.
The Canes also have one of the lowest payrolls in the league, so they can definitely afford the luxury of having Pitkanen on their blue line.
Instead of trading a quality player like Pitkanen, Carolina could offer up some draft picks as they have a number of extras from all the trading they have done in the last two years. For example, for the 2012 draft, Carolina is in possession of an extra second-round and an extra fourth-round pick.
Although, if they were to offer up a roster player in a trade, on TSN Insider Trading, Darren Dreger suggests that Tuomo Ruutu is an option for Carolina to trade—he'll be an UFA after this season and hasn't started well with the Hurricanes this year.
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This one is quite simply—the Philadelphia Flyers have virtually no cap space, so they need to make a trade to open up some room for flexibility at the trade deadline. They also need to make room to Brayden Schenn to be able to play.
Five days ago, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Flyers were in no hurry to recall Schenn from the AHL. Paul Holmgren said, “When it’s the right time, he’ll be here," according to Carchidi.
Well, two days later, the time was right as Schenn was recalled to play in the big league.
If Holmgren wants to keep Schenn in Philly, he needs to offload some salary.
Columbus Blue Jackets
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According to Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports, 25 of the 29 NHL teams beside the Columbus Blue Jackets had scouts at a Columbus game last week.
Columbus is definitely up to something.
Being the worst team in the league after two weeks of play isn't good, nor is failing to win a single game in the six played so far.
I think a lot of people, myself included, thought that Columbus really looked like they were on the upswing after the offseason. The first six games of this season indicate otherwise. If there is a team that needs to shake things up, it is Columbus.
Perhaps they are going for a goalie in Evgeni Nabakov or perhaps they are looking for a forward or defesemen. I haven't seen any convincing evidence pointing in any direction but it is almost certain that they will pull the trigger on a significant trade soon.
Keep your eyes peeled.