Tag:Columbus Blue JAckets
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:05 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:06 pm
 

Nash watch: Agent speaks, Preds trying to get in

Will Nash have a new jersey on Monday afternoon? (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

In the last day or so I went from being not so optimistic that Rick Nash would be traded before Monday's deadline to being at the point of a coin flip. That's what one little statement from an agent can do.

For the first time since the Nash trade talk picked up a few weeks back, his agent Joe Resnick shared his thoughts on the situation. And they put a little pressure on Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson.

"We're hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets," Resnick told TSN. "However, if a deal is not reached, then the list of acceptable teams will not change at a later date."

So much for the idea of summer opening up the market.

It already seemed like a good idea to get a deal done before the deadline passes for Columbus. You knew once the word spread they were willing to listen to offers his days in Columbus were done. There was just no backtracking from how far things had gone. Especially now. It's to the point where Nash's camp is "hopeful" for a trade before the deadline? Talk about a lame duck if he sticks around.

The question then becomes who backs down for a deal to get done? Scott Howson has maintained his high asking price while teams like the Rangers and Maple Leafs haven't backed off their insistence to not include certain players (see: Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Jake Gardiner).

All the while, the Rangers remain the favorite if Nash is to go in the next 26 hours. Here's the latest from Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

One informed source told The Post that Sather has held firm in his refusal to send 2009 first-rounder Chris Kreider, the Boston College winger who is regarded as a can’t-miss prospect, to the Blue Jackets for Nash. Neither will the general manager agree to move young blue-line chips Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto.

A second source told The Post that Sather has agreed to include 21-year-old defenseman Tim Erixon in the package that would go to Columbus in exchange for Nash, who has indicated a willingness to waive his no-move clause for a deal to a select number of big-market teams.

It is unclear whether Sather is willing include 2012 first-rounder J.T. Miller in the package for Nash that would include Brandon Dubinsky, a future first-rounder, and likely at least another well-regarded prospect.

But there is another team at least trying to enter the conversation. The Nashville Predators are as big of buyers right now as they ever have been. They are trying to prove to their defensive Stars Ryan Suter and Shea Weber that they are committed to winning it all in Nashville so they'll re-sign.

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And they have reportedly put forth a pretty good looking offer for the Jackets to consider. They apparently have a standing offer on the table for the Jackets and Nash and Predators beat writer David Boclair speculates it would likely include Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis or Jonathon Blum, a first-round pick and maybe a little more.

Keep in mind that Nash has a no-trade clause and at no point have the Predators been rumored to be on that list. If you are to gauge based on the teams that are thought to be on it -- Rangers and Leafs for starters -- Nashville doesn't seem to fit that bill, either. Oh, and the Predators play in the same division as the Blue Jackets. So there's that.

The odds of getting a deal done with Nashville seem so remote from two fronts. But still, Section 303 points out that perhaps it could all be too much for either the Jackets or Nash to say no.

The Predators are willing to give up a Stepan-type (Wilson), a young blueliner with the same offensive upside (if not moreso) as Del Zotto and McDonagh (Ellis), a little insurance in Laakso and a first round draft choice for the same player that those other GM’s are saying no to.

If you’re Columbus, this is the best deal on the table right now by far. This is when the motivated parties come together and do what’s best for everyone involved and make the deal.

Howson goes to Nash’s camp and says “Look, you want out by Monday. This is your chance. Nashville has offered far and away the best deal. Take it or stick around until the summer.” At that point, Nash and his agent have a decision to make. Accept the trade to Music City where Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne and future Norris Trophy winners Weber and Suter await or stay in the Buckeye State with the likes of Steve Mason between the pipes and an overpaid mediocre defense corps.

Wishful thinking to be sure, but there is some soundness to the conversation. I just can't see Howson dealing within the division even if Nash agreed to a move to Nashville.

So this all sets up for a very interesting final day of the Nash trade deadline sweepstakes. The heat is on Howson to move now, nobody likes a lame duck. It becomes a question now of who blinks first. Or if anybody will blink.

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:15 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 2:04 pm
 

Is Kings captain Dustin Brown now on the block?

Brown has 15 goals and 17 assists on the season for L.A. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Almost as soon as the Los Angeles Kings snagged Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick, the buzz picked up about another Kings trade. This one would actually be the team moving out one of their better scorers. And their captain, no less.

TSN's Bob McKenzie -- whose word is about as good as gold in these matters -- reported late on Thursday night/early Friday morning that the Kings were looking to trade Dustin Brown.



Of course things in the hockey rumor world are never that easy. Several hours after the water cooler talk heated up around Brown being available, CBC's Elliotte Friedman reports that Brown is off the trading block. 


So, it might be easier to list the teams who aren't interested in Brown. Here, I'll put my insider use to work and take care of that right here. These are the teams who don't want Brown: ........ (*crickets) .....

Who wouldn't want Brown, anyway? He has one of the most team-friendly contracts in the entire NHL. He is signed through this season and the next two for a cap hit of $3.175 million per season. For a guy who is a captain and who, until this season, had consistently been in the mid-to-high 20s in goals throughout his career with a high of 33 in 2007-08? Sign me up.

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It does beg the question, then, of why would the Kings want to get rid of him? If everybody else would like him, that should be a sign you have somebody worth keeping around.

Well there are a couple of theories. McKenzie hypothesizes that the Kings do like Brown as a player but he leaves something to be desired as a captain and that Mike Richards is going to assume that role. Seems to me it would be a lot easier to just take away the C, but hey. Another thought is that he could be shipped to get draft picks back after the Kings have unloaded a few.

This much is certain: The trade market just got a whole lot more interesting. I'm not going to say that Brown has the same upside that Nash does, but he's a pretty darn good player. And he's less than half the price of Nash. Both guys are having subpar seasons, so they're kind of a wash there.

That's where it adds some skepticism for me. as mentioned, Brown is having a poor season. It would be selling low instead of high and that's not usually a good business strategy. However if they can still get a high return, then I suppose it doesn't much matter. Everybody on the team is having a down year, that has to be taken into consideration by everybody.

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson can't like this. All of a sudden there has become a much cheaper alternative to his highly coveted forward. That's not going to help the asking price remain high.

If there is serious traction to this Brown talk, then that only decreases the chances that Nash is traded in the next couple of days, I'd say. Teams will focus on Brown first would be my guess and then once that card is played it will be too late and the Nash sweepstakes will have to reopen in the summer. I already thought the chances for Nash actually being dealt this month weren't great and this doesn't do much to help.

And this, by the way, is obligatory. Any post with Brown must include the following video. From what I've been told, that's a blogger's requirement.

More from Eye on Hockey

Kings acquire Carter from Columbus
How L.A. reunited Carter and Richards

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:07 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 1:42 am
 

How the Kings reunited Richards and Carter

CarterRichardsKings

By: Adam Gretz

Between 2005 and 2011 Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were two of the cornerstone pieces of the Philadelphia Flyers organization.

They were both drafted by the team in what turned out to be one of the best draft years the NHL has ever seen (2003). They made their debuts during the same season (2005-06). And for the better part of six seasons they were two of the best players in Philadelphia, until they were both traded last summer in separate deals on the same day, with Richards going to the Los Angeles Kings and Carter being sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

On Thursday night, the two were reunited once again in Los Angeles as the Kings continued to do their part to seemingly move the Flyers westward one player at a time.

In the end, it took three separate transactions involving three teams, six players and four draft picks to make it happen. And here is how it all went down.

June 23, 2011: The Flyers started their massive roster overhaul by trading Carter to Columbus for forward Jakub Voracek, Columbus' first-round pick in 2011 (No. 7 overall, which the Flyers eventually used to select Sean Couturier), and a third-round pick in 2011 (which the Flyers used to select Nick Cousins).

June 23, 2011:Not long after Carter was shipped to Columbus, the other shoe dropped in Philadelphia with the bombshell that Richards, their captain, would be sent to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn and the Kings second-round pick in 2012.
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February 23, 2012: The Kings reunited Carter and Richards by sending defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick to Columbus in exchange for Carter, just eight months, 39 games and 15 goals after the Blue Jackets acquired him.

When you get right down to it, the Kings traded what amounts to Schenn, Simmonds, Johnson, a second-round draft pick and what very well could be a mid-to-late first-round draft pick for Carter and Richards. That doesn't seem all that outrageous of a price for two big-time, two-way forwards that should be able to provide above average offense and strong defensive play for the foreseeable future. While also being signed long-term (in the case of Carter, very long-term. Through 2022).

Go back one year, Kings fans, and ask yourselves if you would have taken that deal to land both players. It's very possible, if not likely, that none of the players given up will ever be as good as Carter and Richards currently are, and it didn't involve them giving up any of their own franchise players (Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown). 

Of course, that's not to say things haven't worked out OK for the Flyers, as Simmonds is having a breakout year in Philadelphia and Couturier (acquired as part of the original Carter trade with Columbus) looks as if he has a shot to be a really strong player in the future, already playing a decent role for the Flyers as an 18-year-old rookie.

But the team that appears to come out on the short end of it all is the Blue Jackets.

Over the past eight months Columbus has essentially traded Voracek and the draft picks that turned out to be Couturier and Cousins and come away with only Johnson and the aforementioned draft pick from the Kings (which, again, may be at the back end of the first round). With eight months of Carter thrown in the middle. General manager Scott Howson said on Thursday he doesn't regret the initial trade for Carter, just that it didn't work out. And perhaps Carter deserves some (or a lot) of the blame for it not working out better than it did. But at this point, it's hard to look at Columbus and not see a ship that's aimlessly floating around without any real direction.

Also at Eye On Hockey

Carter traded to Kings
Blue Jackets trade Vermette to Coyotes
Lates Nash Dash: Would he fit with Sharks?

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 5:07 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 5:15 pm
 

Nash Dash: How would Nash fit with Sharks?

What Nash would look like in San Jose. 

By Brian Stubits

In the days leading up to the trade deadline (Monday, Feb. 27) we're going to keep tabs on the biggest name on the block, Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.

The list of teams rumored to be in on Nash isn't incredibly long and it's the usual suspects that you'd expect to be in on a big-name, high-priced star like Nash. His wish list -- put into song so wonderfully -- was supposedly five teams long with possible Wild cards in the mix too.

We're going to take a look at each of the rumored wish-list teams and how Nash would fit, looking today at the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks were on Rick Nash's rumored wish list from the moment it was first reported and speaking only for myself here, I didn't anticipate they'd be in the conversation much. It was holding true with most all of the talk surrounding the Rangers and Kings.

Then TSN's Darren Dreger reported not only that the Sharks were definitely in the conversation, they were making a push.

At the heart of the matter, one of the driving forces in the connection of Nash and San Jose is his relationship with Joe Thornton. Nash and Jumbo Joe are good friends. Not to mention they'd make a pretty damn good pairing on the top line. Remember, Thornton helped Jonathan Cheechoo to some ridiculous numbers in San Jose, imagine what he could do for Nash.

The Sharks are still in first in the Pacific, but it's not unfair to say they could withstand for some reinforcements. They are now tied with the surging Coyotes and are only three points up on the offensively inept Kings. With the Canucks and Red Wings pulling away from the pack atop the West, the Sharks are going to need to find a way to go toe to toe if they want to get back to the Western Conference finals and go further.

What it would do is give the Sharks another left winger, a position where Patrick Marleau resides. But that's not a problem, no team will ever complain about having too many left wingers who could play on the top line. As I touched on yesterday, the Kings would love to have that problem.

As is the question with every team that could potentially land Nash, though, is what would it take to get him? Dreger reported the Jackets asked for Logan Couture but were immediately rebuked by the Sharks on that request. Hey, no harm in asking if you're Scott Howson.

It was speculated from Andy Strickland at True Hockey that they could ask for Joe Pavelski too. I said yesterday that I'm not sure even straight up that would be worth it for San Jose, so let me explain a little more here.

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I'm a big Pavelski fan. I really like his game and he's taking it to a new level this season, already at his career high in goals for one season. He is excellent in the face-off circle. Digging into the advanced stats, Pavelski is second among Sharks forward in Relative Corsi behind only Thornton. He's a valuable player. That's not to say all 30 GMs wouldn't pull the trigger on a Pavelski-for-Nash swap, it's just that I was saying you're already starting at a very high price with Pavelski and we aren't talking about a slouch here.

Purely speculation on my end here, I haven't seen this even rumored, but you'd have to wonder if Thomas Greiss would be in the conversation. The Sharks obviously would like to have a good young goaltender around for many years, but Antti Niemi is their No. 1, the guy they have invested in and he's not necessarily an old guy at 28.

Not that there would be any concerns with how Nash would fit with any team, but it's hard to imagine a better fit than with San Jose considering the relationship with Thornton. The question is do the Sharks have the prospects and gumption to pull it off.

One thing that is important to remember in all of this is that Nash will have a serious decision to make. This is a matter of moving to a new home for many years, it's not something you decide on a whim (most of the time). And San Jose has prided itself in being a good home for hockey players. It's little wonder why not many guys seem to leave San Jose.

Here is what Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area.

“First of all, I didn’t read that story, I haven’t gotten into my clips yet. We don’t talk about other team’s players, and any conversation I do have with a fellow GM would be kept in confidence. Historically, though, one of the most important things we do is make this be a place where players do want to play, and make it an attractive destination for players.”

I've grown skeptical that any team will be able to pull the trigger on a deal before the deadline on Monday and this will drag into the summer. Either way, San Jose sure seems like it could fit well.

More from Eye on Hockey

How would Nash fit with Kings?
How would Nash fit with Blueshirts?
San Jose stepping into Nash talks?
Update on Nash, other rumors
Nash down to five teams?
Nash not untouchable for Columbus

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

Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:17 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 11:38 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Karlsson, Capitals, Ruutu



By: Adam Gretz

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

You know things are going bad for the Washington Capitals when the only way they can seem to generate some offense is when Mathieu Perreault has to get hit in the face with a puck, as shown in the above video. It was his 10th of the season, and probably the most painful goal he's scored in his brief career.

Unfortunately, that was probably the only highpoint of the night for the Capitals.

Winners

1. Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators: Over their past four games the Ottawa Senators are outscoring their opponents 21-4, and that includes their 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

It was also another huge performance for defenseman Erik Karlsson as he recorded another three more points, scoring a goal and chipping in two assists, to push his season total to 60. That's now a 20-point lead over the No. 2 scoring defenseman in the NHL, Florida's Brian Campbell.

That is absurd, folks.

The other big star of the night for Ottawa was Milan Michalek as he scored a highlight reel goal in the first period to open scoring, and added another later in the game when he deflected a Karlsson slap shot past Vokoun. Thanks to his two-goal performance he's now set a new career high with 27 goals.

[Related: Senators 5, Capitals 2 -- Karlsson's big year -- Michalek's goal]

2. Tuomo Ruutu's bank account: At this rate trade deadline day is going to come down to whatever the Columbus Blue Jackets do and not much else. For the second time in two weeks the Carolina Hurricanes took one of the most talked about players off the trade market with a long-term contract extension, signing the forward to a four-year contract with $4.75 million per season.

That's a hefty price tag for the Hurricanes, but for a team that's closer to the salary cap floor than the salary cap ceiling, it's probably not that big of an issue.

[Related: 'Canes sign Ruutu]

3. Paul Stastny and the Avs playoff push: Every game down the stretch is important for the Colorado Avalanche, especially when it's against a team that they're chasing in the standings like the Los Angeles Kings. Paul Stastny led the way for Colorado on Wednesday scoring a pair of goals in a 4-1 win to pull to within two points of the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is currently occupied by the Kings.

Stastny and the Avs managed to do what few other teams have been able to do this season, which is get the best of Jonathan Quick, chasing him from the net after the first period, scoring on three of their 11 shots.

[Related: Avs 4, Kings 1]

Losers

1.The Washington Capitals: Already without Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals had to hit the ice on Wednesday without Alex Ovechkin due to what was described as a lower body injury, and it goes without saying that those are two huge blows. But man, this team is quickly going in the wrong direction having won just four of its past 15 games.

Like the other two playoff contenders in the Southeast Division, the biggest thing keeping them in the playoff hunt at this point is the collective mediocrity of the division.

2. The Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are obviously sellers at this point, but the decision to trade Antoine Vermette, a skilled, very useful player having a down year at what his probably his lowest possible value for what amounts to a throw-in goalie and two draft picks --  a second and a fifth -- is just … bizarre.

Vermette still has a couple of years remaining on his contract and unless the Blue Jackets think the bottom is about to fall out on his career, there shouldn't have been any rush to trade him for such a small return. The most valuable asset they received in return was a second-round draft pick, and as I pointed out last week, the odds of such a pick turning into a useful NHL player at some point down the line aren't exactly high. Especially if it's a mid-to-late pick in the round.

[Related: Vermette traded to Coyotes]

3. The Kings (lack of) offense: If Jonathan Quick doesn't stop every single shot he faces, the Los Angeles Kings don't have a chance right now. After scoring just one goal on Wednesday they've managed to score just 15 goals in their past 10 games. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that they've won just two of those games.

[Related: How would Nash fit in with the Kings?]

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:04 pm
 

Nash Dash: How would Nash fit with Kings?

What Nash would look like in L.A. 

By Brian Stubits

In the days leading up to the trade deadline (Monday, Feb. 27) we're going to keep tabs on the biggest name on the block, Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.

The list of teams rumored to be in on Nash isn't incredibly long and it's the usual suspects that you'd expect to be in on a big-name, high-priced star like Nash. His wish list -- put into song so wonderfully -- was supposedly five teams long with possible Wild cards in the mix too.

We're going to take a look at each of the rumored wish-list teams and how Nash would fit, looking today at the Los Angeles Kings.

There aren't a whole lot of certainties in this Rick Nash trade saga. Who's really on the list of teams he'd OK a trade too? Is that list exhaustive? Would anybody actually pay the Blue Jackets' asking price? They go on.

But if there is one thing that we can pretty much say without hesitation it's that no team involved in this conversation -- except for maybe the Blue Jackets themselves -- need Nash more than the Kings. It's been argued that nobody needs to get Nash more than Kings GM Dean Lombardi. His job literally could depend on it.

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The Kings are an embarrassment to offense. Sorry Kings fans to put it so bluntly, but with 2.07 goals per game that's something you already know. The Kings are in the process of letting an exceptional season from goaltender Jonathan Quick go to waste. If they could have given him just a little more offense this season -- I'll be kind and say about half-a-goal more per game, which would put them in the middle of the league -- he'd be firmly in the Vezina conversation.

But they aren't scoring that man. And it's starting to increase the heat in L.A. Before the season this was seen as a team ready to make that jump, possibly compete. By so far falling short of those expectations, Lombardi's leash is getting tight.

In spite of it all, the Kings are still in the playoff picture, holding the eighth spot in the West. The postseason has to be the goal at this point to hopefully try and keep the momentum going. That's why Nash has L.A. hockey fans salivating.

The great thing about possibly going to L.A. is that it would give Nash the centermen he was waiting so long for in Columbus. He finally got one in Jeff Carter this season but injuries didn't allow them to play together for very long before the trade talk started up. But in L.A. he'd have a couple of quality centers in Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards to play alongside.

From L.A.'s perspective the fit is great. It's not just that Nash is a scorer, but he plays on the left wing. The assumption would be he would join Kopitar and Dustin Brown on the No. 1 line which all of a sudden doesn't seem so bad.

But of course it's all easier said than done. Because as we've noted, the Blue Jackets want a lot for Nash, as they should. The package from L.A. to get a deal done has long been rumored to be Jack Johnson, Jonathan Bernier, probably another prospect and a high pick.

As the Nash world turns, the indications are getting stronger that L.A. is a less and less likely landing spot for Nash at this time. There are other options that might pop up like Ales Hemsky or possibly even some of the Sabres. So as nice as he might fit and go a long way toward solving L.A.'s scoring issues, the asking price might prove too much for even a desperate GM like Lombardi.

More from Eye on Hockey

How would Nash fit with Blueshirts?
San Jose stepping into Nash talks?
Update on Nash, other rumors
Nash down to five teams?
Nash not untouchable for Columbus

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

Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 4:16 pm
 

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.

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