Tag:Scott Howson
Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 4:16 pm
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Coyotes acquire Vermette from Blue Jackets

Vermette had been with the Jackets since being traded from Ottawa in 2009. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Blue Jackets fire sale has begun with the trading of center Antoine Vermette to the Phoenix Coyotes. Bob McKenzie of TSN broke the news of the deal.

Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports that the return to Columbus is a second-round draft pick, a fifth-round (possibly fourth) and a goalie too in Curtis McElhinney.

Columbus GM Scott Howson told the Dispatch on Tuesday that the team was getting closer to a deal. No kidding.

The Coyotes get themselves a good center who had hit a rough spot in Columbus this season. He has just eight goals and 19 assists this season but it was only two years ago that he scored 27 goals while recording 38 assists for the Jackets. There isn't any reason to think a change of scenery and the jolt of joining a playoff race could spark him back to those bigger offensive numbers.

“We are extremely pleased to acquire Antoine,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney said. “He is a smart, skilled, two-way center who will be a great addition to our lineup.”

What makes the deal a bit more interesting for Phoenix is that Vermette, 29, isn't a rental player at all. In fact, he's kind of pricey, and for a team that is being run by the NHL, you don't necessarily expect that. Vermette still has three years left on his contract after this for $3.75 million per season.

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It also makes it very clear that the Coyotes believe this recent hot streak of theirs can last. They have won eight of nine and vaulted into a tie with the Sharks in the Pacific Division. Now they want to make sure it can last and acquire Vermette to help.

Really, it's another shrewd move for one of the better GMs in the game, Maloney. Considering the high prices that players have been going for or rumored to be going for, this is a reasonable price for Vermette. The fifth-round in the draft can often just be a crap-shoot and the second round surprisingly can be too, as Adam Gretz detailed.

The Jackets get those two draft picks but also get McElhinney, an AHL goalie for the Coyotes who has spent some time in the NHL. Spanning five seasons, McElhinney has played 69 career games with a career save percentage of .899 and a 3.10 goals against average. Not a whole lot to inspire Columbus fans that he can be their next starting goaltender.

Of course with the season Vermette is having, Howson likely wasn't going to be able to get a big bounty, so in that regard it's not bad. He gets three assets and maybe more importantly gets Vermette's contract off the books as the team looks like it is heading toward scrapping the organization and starting over.

"This gives us more flexibility," Howson told the Dispatch. "It's never fun trading anybody. I don't think any GM enjoys that. But this is about us moving the team forward."

Maloney talked about the trade a little later on Wednesday and sounds like one pretty happy GM.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:24 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:32 am
 

Report: Sharks stepping up in Nash sweepstakes

By Brian Stubits

And here you were thinking that it was mostly a two-team race in the Rick Nash sweepstakes between the Rangers and Kings.

Well make some room for the Sharks in this equation too. One of the teams who was reportedly on Nash's wish list, San Jose is lurking in the conversation too and could have a say in matters if Nash is dealt this week.

From TSN insider Darren Dreger:

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The San Jose Sharks are emerging as a strong contender for Rick Nash. Sources say Columbus initially targeted Logan Couture, but was quickly told that was a non-starter. But, make no mistake; San Jose will stay in the mix until Monday's deadline.

Nash and Sharks veteran Joe Thornton are good friends and have shown an impressive chemistry when playing together internationally that isn't being overlooked. The Sharks would prefer an off-season deal to avoid the in-season disruption, but San Jose is keen.

Boy, Scott Howson is really shooting for the moon, isn't he? Not that I blame him one bit but Couture and then some? The Sharks were right to balk immediately at that one. So who would it take? It's been made pretty clear that Howson is asking for one high-end player on top of everything else.

Andy Strickland of True Hockey says that could mean Joe Pavelski would be the target. Even if it were straight up Nash for Pavelski, would you be convinced the Sharks were getting the better end of the deal? I wouldn't be.

However Howson has to be liking this whole scenario that's playing out. The more teams that enter the bidding the better, more leverage to get the price he wants in return.

Still, I don't think any team is going to give up what the Jackets are looking for right now. If Nash is going to be traded before Monday's deadline, which is no guarantee, the price will have to come down but still be good enough for Howson to show to the fans and brass in Columbus.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:06 am
 

Latest on Rick Nash, other trade deadline rumors

Is Columbus closer to a Nash deal? (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

We've not come down to the final week of the NHL's trading season and we've had so little action so far that you'd be forgiven if you mistook the deadline for a Kings game.

The only thing keeping this trade deadline interesting with all the non-action has been the discussion of Rick Nash's future in Columbus, which doesn't seem to be much anymore. That's because this season the Blue Jackets are the only real seller. Every other team is close enough to the playoffs to convince themselves they might still have a shot except for the Oilers, who don't really have many more players they would trade.

That's the price of parity in the NHL. At this point no team in the Eastern Conference is more than seven points out of the playoffs. That's pretty crazy.

So the only real blockbusters waiting to happen out there -- that we know of -- involved Nash or his teammate Jeff Carter.

It's just a matter of time before the Jackets swing a deal or deals. GM Scott Howson says he is getting closer but nothing is pending or anything right now. Here's what he told the Columbus Dispatch.

"We're waiting for the right deals," Howson said. "We're getting closer. But we're not there yet."

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN and the NHL Network, that "right deal" for Nash would involve a high-end player, two elite prospects and a draft pick. No word if the kitchen sink is part of the asking price as well or not.

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Whether or not it happens this week or this summer, it certainly seems like the Nash and Columbus marriage has hit an end.

The trade deadline is also massively important for Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who could see his marriage with Los Angeles end with this trade deadline, too. The Kings need so badly to make a deal for an elite scorer and only Nash and Carter seem to fit that bill right now of available players. The fan base has reached the point of expectation to deliver with high hopes all around entering this season.

It's really not an exaggeration to say that Lombardi's job is on the line with this trade deadline. That's what Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times believes.

I'm of the belief that the Kings should take to upgrading the offense this offseason. I don't foresee any addition this season that's going to do any more for the Kings than get them to the playoffs, perhaps. It's not like they will transform into a true contender this season with Nash.

But if Lombardi isn't guaranteed a job, then I get the urgency to do a deal now from his standpoint. Desperate men will do desperate things.

With all of that said, don't expect the trade deadline to remain dull. There will be some deals and McKenzie has the latest on the buzz, including a few teams who are slipping into selling mode and the other hot names of the season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:25 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 11:10 pm
 

Pavel Kubina traded to Flyers

LightningFlyersBy: Adam Gretz

For the second time in less than a week the Philadelphia Flyers made a move to add to their blue line.

On Saturday evening, just a few hours after their 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh, the Flyers completed a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning by acquiring defenseman Pavel Kubina. The Lightning will receive a second and fourth round pick, as well as forward John Kalinski.

The deal was reportedly held up because Kubina would have given the Flyers 51 contracts. The NHL limit is 50, which may have led to the inclusion of Kalinski, a forward that had been playing for Adirondack Phantoms in the American Hocke League, scoring nine goals to go with three assists in 40 games.

It's been expected for a few days now that Kubina would be moved, and the Lightning, having now established themselves as sellers, were holding him out of the lineup until a trade could be completed.

In 52 games this season the 34-year-old Kubina has scored three goals to go with eight assists and has logged nearly 20 minutes of ice-time per game. He will be eligible for unrestricted free agency following this season.
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Earlier in the week the Flyers made another move in an effort to solidify their defense, acquiring Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars in exchange for two draft picks. Philadelphia has apparently been one of the busiest teams in the NHL as we approach the Feb. 27 deadline and have been the team most commonly referenced in Rick Nash trade rumors. Helping to fuel that fire was the word that Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren were speaking to one another in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Given that the Flyers are currently the highest scoring team in the league and are once again struggling to keep pucks out of their own net, a very common problem in recent years, defense should seemingly be a much higher priority than adding another goal-scoring forward.

For the Lightning, it's also their second deal of the week as they also traded center Dominic Moore to the San Jose Sharks for a second-round pick.

After their 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, the Lightning have a 26-26-6 record, which has them in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference with 58 points, six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for what would be the eighth playoff spot.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Nash reportedly down to five possible teams

Nash reportedly has a wish list of five teams. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Look what the Columbus Blue Jackets started. Now every few hours there is a new Rick Nash update after word leaked they'd consider trading their captain.

Then again, we can thank them for what they jump-started, too; the NHL trade deadline.

Nash is available at the right price ... for a couple of teams. Five to be exact. Because of his no-trade clause, the Jackets had to ask Nash for a list of team's he'd waive it for to approve a deal. Who's on it? Would he put any big-market teams on there considering he's seemed to enjoy playing in the smaller Columbus market?

Thanks to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch who has been all over this story like the league's discipline offices on Matt Cooke, we have the teams that are believed to be on the approved side.

Boston, Los Angeles, the Rangers, San Jose and Toronto are believed to be on the approved list for Nash — he would have to waive a no-movement clause in his contract before he could be traded — but the return the Blue Jackets seek could vary widely from club to club.

The Rangers and Kings have been the first two teams mentioned with Nash since the rumors began. So it's interesting they're on the list. The Maple Leafs are involved with every big name available in some capacity, so this will only stoke that fire. The Sharks have good friend Joe Thornton. And the Bruins? Well that'd just be unfair.

It goes without saying that this is just one small step for the man. There is still a giant leap or two to go.

It's going to take a lot to get Nash from the Blue Jackets. The good news for the suitors: there isn't really a position the Jackets couldn't use help at. A goalie will be at the front of all the talks, but they need defensemen and help scoring, particularly if they trade Nash and Jeff Carter. Plus, you can never really have enough scoring regardless.

Portzline speculated on what it would take to get the GM Scott Howson to trade Nash, looking specifically at the top two contenders.

The Blue Jackets are said to want at least one young roster player along with a combination of top prospects and quality draft picks. Using that criteria, the Rangers seem to make the most sense, and the New York Post reported on Tuesday that the two sides have had preliminary discussions.

The Rangers have a player the Blue Jackets have pursued for years in forward Brandon Dubinsky, but they’re also stocked with young defensemen — Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Tim Erixon, among others — and forward Chris Kreider, currently playing at Boston College.

The Blue Jackets play on Sunday at the Rangers.

Los Angeles could provide something the Rangers cannot — a top goaltending prospect. Jonathan Bernier, the No. 11 overall draft pick in 2005, has spent the past two seasons as the seldom-used backup to Jonathan Quick. However, the Kings don’t have young prospects to match the Rangers.

Well it sure sounds like a certain President's Trophy contender is in the cat bird's seat here, now doesn't it?

My concern about the Rangers trading for Nash -- aside from the heavy cost -- is the fit. Not that I would foresee any problems with Nash jelling with the Rangers, it's just being wary of messing with a good thing. Obviously the Rangers have that part down pat. They have the best points percentage in the league and are seven points up on everybody else in the East while no team has played fewer games than them.

No doubt adding a little more scoring would help the Rangers this season. If they have an Achilles' heel, it's probably still the offense. I'd just be leery of fixing something that's not broken.

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For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:24 am
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Reports: Nash not untouchable for Columbus

Nash's numbers are slightly down with 18 goals this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Is Rick Nash on the block or not in Columbus? That is the question this morning.

Well it appears we have a case of semantics being played. Whatever verbiage you want to use, Nash sure as heck sounds available and that's all that matters.

His name has been lobbed around just a little with Blue Jackets teammate Jeff Carter being mentioned a lot. But the conversation erupted again on Monday night when Renaud P. Lavoie of RDS in Canada tweeted "2 NHL sources told me that #bluejackets Rick Nash is on the market. Nash have a no-movement clause and will controle his destiny."

Columbus GM Scott Howson, who was reportedly in Philadelphia over the weekend for the Rangers and Flyers Saturday matinee, declined to comment on the report to the Columbus Dispatch. The Dispatch continued:

NHL sources -- from Columbus and beyond -- took issue with the suggestion that Nash is "on the block", but only the terminology. He is not being shopped by the Blue Jackets, they insist, and the club is not intent on moving him, as it is with Jeff Carter and perhaps others.

But the Blue Jackets, by far the worst club in the NHL this season and resigned to missing the playoffs for the third straight season, have reached a point where every player on the roster could be had if the price is right, and that includes Nash.

Again, semantics.

And a swirling rumor mill. The New York Rangers keep being mentioned with every Nash discussion out there, including from the New York Daily News' Pat Leonard.

Nash is in just the second season of an eight-year, $62.4 million contract carrying a $7.8 million annual cap hit. The Rangers only have $6.95 million left under the cap, so they would need to make room.

Nash (18 goals this season) would give the Rangers (36-13-5) -- who have struggled at times to score -- an established threat who could take pressure off Marion Gaborik and Ryan Callahan.

Huh. Here I thought that's what Brad Richards was supposed to do.

What would it take for the Rangers to get Nash? The flavor of the day seems to be a package of Brandon Dubinsky, super prospect Chris Kreider and the Rangers' No. 1 pick, which at this rate will barely be better than Columbus' second-round pick. Clearly that's a high price.

The part that seems to be the toughest for New York and its fans to swallow is parting with Kreider, currently playing with the Beanpot champion Boston College Eagles.

More on the Rangers, this comes from the New York Post's Larry Brooks, who confirms that the Rangers have talked to the Blue Jackets regarding Nash. But he also puts the brakes on a little.

The Rangers have had preliminary discussions with the Blue Jackets regarding the availability of Rick Nash, The Post has learned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the 27-year-old power winger is en route to Broadway.

Indeed, an individual familiar with the situation told The Post that the chance of completing a trade before the Feb. 27 deadline is “a longshot.”

But the Rangers would hardly be the only suitor. The Los Angeles Kings would be interested in scoring help and the Washington Capitals will be mentioned, too. Over the weekend there were two Capitals scouts in attendance for a game in Columbus and the Jackets returned the favor with two on hand for Monday's Caps-Sharks tilt in D.C. They have some defensemen they could ship Columbus' way and you know that's a position of interest for the Jackets.

It's all a bit unbelievable it's come to this. Nash is the face of an otherwise faceless franchise. From all reports, he really does love playing in Columbus. Sometimes that makes a guy that much more valuable, a skilled player who wants to be in an otherwise undesirable market (sorry Columbus, lack of winning will do that). Right now the assumption is that Nash will be the player the All-Star Game is built around next season in Columbus. Who else will be the local hero?

“I love Columbus. I love being here. I love being a Blue Jacket," Nash said earlier this season. "The city of Columbus deserves a winner and deserves a good product on the ice. If it comes to that – like you said, all speculation – but if they don’t want me here, they want to move me? I’m not going to do something where it’s going to hurt the franchise just because I have that in my contract.”

The question is how much would it hurt the Jackets franchise if Nash were to leave. We might find out now.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:32 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 11:08 am
 

Blue Jackets re-sign Prospal for one season

Don't look so disgusted Vinny, it's only one more season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The trade market is growing staler by the day.

First there was Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford re-signing Tim Gleason, one of his players that was being talked about on the trade market and now Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson has done the same.

Howson announced on his Twitter account on Tuesday morning that he re-signed veteran Vaclav Prospal to a one-year contract. The 36-year-old Prospal, carrying a cap hit of $2.5 million this season, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming summer.

According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, not only is Prospal's new contract for the same $2.5 million, it also includes a no-trade clause. Surprising, to say the least.

Considering his age and the team's wreck of a season that they have endured, Prospal figured to be a trade chip for sure. Not that he was going to be the big name on the block -- the Jackets have a couple of others who have that covered in Jeff Carter and Rick Nash -- but you thought they might try to get something, be it a younger player or pick/s.

Admittedly, it's another move by the Jackets that leaves me scratching my head some. I never quite understand the concept of keeping veteran players when you are clearly embarking on a rebuilding phase unless said player is a franchise icon. Prospal isn't exactly Mr. Blue Jacket.

Prospal was a slightly intriguing potential rental player. He has scored nine goals with 24 assists this season while average 18:00 of ice time per game. He has also been one of the few Blue Jackets who has stayed healthy this season, playing in all 53 games thus far.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:09 pm
 

Report: Rick Nash would consider being traded

Nash has 17 goals and 17 assists this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Columbus Blue Jackets have made it pretty clear at this point that they will be sellers when the trade deadline comes around Feb. 27. What else would you expect from a team that's so far in the basement they can't see the closest team in the standings even with their high-beams on.

Jeff Carter has been seen as a clear trade target, assuming they can find a taker for him. But what about their captain, the true face of the franchise Rick Nash? They wouldn't trade him, a very talented player in his prime who really does enjoy being in Columbus.

The prevailing wisdom was no. But the thoughts, they are a changin'.

Here is some new gossip from John Shannon of Sportsnet.

I have received a couple of calls from friends of Nash, who claim that Rick is very unhappy with the way the franchise is going and realizes it will take five more years to rebuild, again. Nash is now telling people close to him that he would entertain being moved, but still will not be the one who asks for a trade.

Well isn't that interesting? For a player that is 27 now, the prospect of a Five-Year Plan (non-commie version, of course) wouldn't be that appealing.

While I'm skeptical Jackets GM Scott Howson will find it easy to get suitors for Carter, I doubt there would be any such issues regarding Nash. He's still signed for another six years, but that's easier to stomach than Carter's 10 years. The cap hit is very high at $7.8 million and that would cut down a lot of the contenders who are closer to the cap.

But it's more of the intangibles that make him perhaps more tantalizing. Nash has played fewer than 74 games in only one NHL season and that was in the first year post lockout. More importantly, he's a classic "character guy," one of those players that isn't carrying that stigmatizing baggage with him like a rain cloud in an Acme cartoon.

He's a guy that I can't help but like and feel for. He's been loyal to the Jackets (granted, that kind of cash thrown his way probably helps a bit), is a very good player and seems to be a quality guy. You wish he had experienced more than four playoff games at this point in his career.

If you are the Jackets, it's a tough call and clearly the return has to be right (see: incredibly high). Trading away Nash would be a tough one to sell to the fanbase that is growing ever more frustrated, especially if it's right for the rebuild.

What do you think, should the Blue Jackets even think about trading Nash away?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com