NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Jarome Iginla and Stars on the Move

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2011

NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Jarome Iginla and Stars on the Move

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    The NHL's trade deadline may not be for another couple months, but that doesn't mean that there is a lack of trade speculation. With many of the league's top players and teams struggling in the early going, there is certainly potential for some drastic changes to be made.

    While it is impossible to tell sometimes which rumors are smokescreens and which are actually legitimate, all of them are great conversation starters.

    With names like the Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla and the Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo possibly available, major shakeups could be in store.

    It is more likely that blockbuster deals will be made closer to the deadline since that tends to be the more common occurrence in the NHL's salary cap era, but the biggest trades can strike at the most unexpected times.

    Here is the latest on several stars rumored to be on the trading block.

Chicago Blackhawks Looking at Edmonton Oilers C Sam Gagner?

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    The Chicago Blackhawks made the decision to move Patrick Kane back to his natural position of right wing after an experiment using him as a center. While the move should boost scoring as he reunites with Jonathan Toews, it certainly leaves a hole in terms of a centerman for the second line with rookie Marcus Kruger as the only real option.

    Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal believes that one possible trade scenario would involve Chicago taking a look at Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner. While Gagner hasn't lived up to his lofty expectations since entering the league, he is the type of player who could produce with good linemates.

    Gagner has just one goal and seven assists in 20 games this season, but most of Edmonton's offensive load has been carried by Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Smyth.

    Seeing as Gagner and Kane played together for the OHL's London Knights, Matheson thinks it would be an ideal fit, and I would have to agree.

Ottawa Senators Interested in Embattled Columbus Blue Jackets F Derick Brassard?

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    Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard appears to have worn out his welcome in Columbus, but the question is whether any team would be willing to take him on as a reclamation project.

    There is no question that Brassard is an extremely talented player, but he has been in head coach Scott Arniel's doghouse all season long.

    Brassard has just four points in 19 games and has been a healthy scratch on a few occasions. It doesn't seem as though Brassard has much of a future in Columbus, so the best situation for him would be if a team would take a chance on his undeniable talent.

    According to Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun, that team could be the Ottawa Senators.

    Although the Sens may be reluctant to take on his $3.2 million cap hit, the move would make perfect sense. The Senators are a talented, albeit young team. Brassard would have a true opportunity to showcase his skills in Ottawa and could certainly mesh with some of the team's up-and-coming players. I consider this to be a perfect match.

Buffalo Sabres Winger Drew Stafford to Anaheim Ducks a Possibility?

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    Prior to the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle and hiring of Bruce Boudreau, there were tons of rumors regarding a big shakeup for the Anaheim Ducks. Among the players rumored to be on the move was forward Bobby Ryan, although that seems unlikely now.

    The hiring of Boudreau doesn't disqualify Anaheim from making a personnel move, however.

    According to Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, Anaheim reportedly has interest in winger Drew Stafford. Although Stafford hasn't lived up to the lofty standards he set last season by scoring 31 goals in just 62 games, he has all the tools to be the quintessential power forward in the NHL.

    Stafford has just four goals and eight assists through 25 games this season, and the fanbase is growing impatient as Stafford signed a four-year, $16 million contract during the offseason. Buffalo's mandate under owner Terry Pegula is to win the Stanley Cup at all costs, so the Sabres won't be trading Stafford for a package of draft picks and prospects.

    If they can get a return that helps them now, however, I wouldn't rule it out.

Are There Any Suitors for Vancouver Canucks G Roberto Luongo?

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    With backup goaltender Cory Schneider playing excellently between the pipes, it appears as though the Vancouver Canucks are very serious about dealing veteran goalie Roberto Luongo.

    While battling injuries, Luongo has been very mediocre this season, posting a goals against average of 2.82 and a meager save percentage of .899.

    Schneider is much younger and is clearly the better goalie at this point, so it makes little sense for the Canucks to keep Luongo around. As much as Vancouver may want to move Luongo, however, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun says that the Canucks have been unable to find any takers.

    That likely stems from Luongo's $5.3 million cap hit, which ridiculously lasts through the 2021-2022 season. Luongo is hardly an effective goaltender at this point, so I shudder to think how bad he'll be in 10 years.

    Perhaps this is just a rough patch for Luongo, but he has been trending downward since last season, so I think Vancouver should pull the trigger if it finds a suitor.

Could Dallas Stars Make a Play for Calgary Flames Winger Jarome Iginla?

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    While Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster has been adamant against it, rumors continue to swirl regarding the trade availability of Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

    This has been the case for the past couple seasons, but trading Iginla seems to have more credence now than it ever has as the Flames are near the bottom of the Western Conference and Iginla is scuffling a bit at the moment with just nine goals.

    Iginla's contract also expires after next season, so the Flames would be well-advised to deal him now while his value is still high. While it seems the Bruins are the only team to have a confirmed trade interest in Iginla, that kind of shakeup doesn't seem likely; Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun thinks the Dallas Stars would be interested, and that certainly does add up.

    The marriage would be a perfect one, as the Stars originally drafted Iginla and new owner Tom Gaglardi has a business relationship with Iginla.

    Both Gaglardi and Iginla own a stake in the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, so Iginla may be willing to waive his no-trade clause in a deal to Dallas. The Stars are looking to make a big splash and landing Iginla would be just that.

    From Calgary's point of view, it may be difficult to trade such an iconic player, but the Flames have to start looking to the future.