Tag:2012 Trade Deadline
Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:38 pm
 

Ducks believe in miracles, their shirts show it

It would certainly be a miracle for Anaheim to make the playoffs. (Twitpic)

By Brian Stubits

Do you believe in miracles?

The Anaheim Ducks' answer is Yes!

Not long ago, the Ducks were playing so poorly that their general manager Bob Murray first fired well-respected head coach Randy Carlyle then threatened to trade anybody not named Saku Koivu or Teemu Selanne. The most discussed player was Bobby Ryan.

Since then, the Ducks have been one of the hottest teams in the league. They recently went through an 8-1-1 stretch. Still, they are 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff spot with four more teams between them.

You'd have better odds fielding an Olympic hockey team from Brazil than you would the Ducks do of making the playoffs. Too extreme? OK, I'll just go with what Orange County Register columnist Jeff Miller who compared the Ducks' chances of making the playoffs to Ron Paul earning the Republican presidential nomination.

But don't tell the players who, as plainly seen above, still believe.

Don't get your hopes up, fans. Oh sure, you can hope all you want they pull of a miracle down there in Disney land that could inspire the next Mighty Ducks movie. I'm referring to the getting your hands on the shirt. Sorry, it's only for the players. Because, you know, they have to make sure everybody knows they believe, maybe they'll convince themselves it can happen.

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

Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:30 pm
 

Trade deadline primer: Will Jackets move Carter?

The Jackets might move Carter, but can they? (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

There's no time quite like the present. Isn't that what they say?

The present now just happens to be trade deadline month in the NHL. The actual day isn't for another few weeks, Feb. 27, but the whole month will be full of he said/she said, rumors that make you say hmm and others that make you say huh?

It seems like it's been a while since there were some real blockbuster deals looming in the NHL. It's not often there are teams willing to move the big names, the star players. That doesn't mean there weren't some key trades made, evident after the fact. In all, there were four players traded last February that were in the All-Star Game this season -- Joffrey Lupul to the Maple Leafs, Brian Elliott to the Avalanche, James Neal to the Penguins and Dennis Wideman to the Capitals.

There were certainly other moves that were crucial too. Just look at what the Bruins did, acquiring Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley last February, all important to their run to the Stanley Cup last season and in the case of Kelly and Peverley, the Bruins' push this season.

But none of those really stole the show. Not the way this year has the potential to. Or at least had until recently.

A little more than a week ago it looked like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Tim Gleason and maybe even Shane Doan were possible targets to move. Circumstances have changed or the teams have reaffirmed those guys aren't on the move.

Because of parity across the league partly as a byproduct of the points system in place today, there are a lot less sellers. Despite the odds of teams being five or more points back making the playoffs being long, clubs often times refuse to give in and admit they should reshuffle their organization.

It ends up with teams that should be looking to add, teams that shouldn't be looking to do anything and some teams that should probably be looking to sell all thinking the same: Let's add.

"Right now there are different teams trying to make a trade, but the problem is there are only two or three teams that are even willing to make a trade for a draft choice or prospect, meaning they don't think they are going to make the playoffs," Nashville GM David Poile told NHL.com. "What I want now versus what I can later are two different things because of the parity you have in the NHL.

More Trade deadline

One team that is painfully aware it doesn't stand a shot this season is the Columbus Blue Jackets. They are 11 points out ... of 29th place in the league. It's 23 points to the eighth seed in the West. After an offseason that saw them acquire Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, that's a horrible disappointment. You know what that means ...

Yes, the Jackets will be sellers. And, even though they acquired him just seven months ago, all indications are that they would like to part ways with Carter. It's really been a wash of a season for him, fighting through injuries but still only scoring 10 goals with seven assists in 30 games.

“There’s talk about a lot of guys [in here] right now. Our team, with the way the season has gone -- the injuries, the standings, and stuff -- I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anybody on our team if they end up [in rumors],” Carter told the Columbus Dispatch.

The massive hurdle with Carter is figuring out how movable he is. His contract runs through the 2021-22 season with an annual cap hit of $5,272,727 (courtesy of Cap Geek). For a player that's been snake-bitten by injuries this season and hasn't seemed to want to be where he is at all this season, that becomes a tough sell, especially when you consider what the Jackets will want in return. They need everything, but primary concerns are in net and getting better on the blue line.

Still, he's only 27 and has shown with his time in Philadelphia that he can contribute a lot offensively. This will be the first season since 06-07 he didn't score at least 29 goals and more than 50 points. There could be some GMs out there willing to take the risks for the potential, which is still high.

If it does happen, it will be a not-so classic case of buy high, sell low for Columbus -- granted, low with Carter is probably still kind of high. That's not the best way to move on up in the world.

A good chunk of the rest of the Columbus roster will be available if anybody wants to take a shot, too. They'd probably love to move Steve Mason, but it's tough to envision anybody wanting him at this point. Rick Nash and Wisniewski are probably untouchables, Nash being the heart and soul of the otherwise faceless franchise and Wisniewski being the biggest player at their position of need. But the other guys like Antoine Vermette, Vaclav Prospal and more? Take your best shot.

The Blue Jackets aren't the only team known to be exploring the market. Tuomo Ruutu is a hot candidate to be moved from Carolina with the Hurricanes last in the East.

"I've heard rumors I'm going to every team in the NHL," Ruutu told Chip Patterson of the News & Observer this week. "I must be really playing well."

Obviously Ruutu isn't going to get people's gears going, but he could be a good addition for somebody, assuming the price is right. It's unlikely he's going to give any team top-six production, but he's not worthless either. One of the concerns is that he becomes a UFA this offseason, so it could be a rental situation.

The potential is endless, though. The Canucks have some expendables in their quest to bolster the roster for this year's push. Mason Raymond is a target of many. Some still think they should move Cory Schneider, perhaps the hottest backup goalie in the league. The Stars have to decide what side they're on, and if it's the seller side, Brenden Morrow could be up for grabs. The Canadiens have Travis Moen, Hal Gill and Chris Campoli. The Oilers could move Ryan Smyth again. It goes on and on.

Of course we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brian Burke always seems to find a way to get in the big trade action.

But it will probably all come back to the biggest, most obvious seller of them all in Columbus.

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

Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:00 am
 

Wild's Zidlicky 'can't be quiet' about scratches

Zidlicky has no goals and 11 assists this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Is the writing on the wall that Marek Zidlicky's time in Minnesota done?

The defenseman has been a scratch in each of the last three games. Mind you, he's healthy. Healthy scratches don't usually sit well with guys who are you used to playing. That's pretty obvious.

Zidlicky is no exception. You know a guy is fired up when he seeks out the reporter, in this case Wild beat writer Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“I can’t be quiet,” Zidlicky began during our sitdown, which you can read more details about in tomorrow’s Star Tribune. “I think three games healthy scratch, it’s more than just like a healthy scratch. [Yeo’s] put me in this position that I am in right now. It’s not easy for me. It’s good for team probably because the guys played pretty well the last two games, but for me, I did everything what he wants me to do. I played like 17, 18 minutes ice time, I play just third, fourth line, I stood on the blue line, I didn’t do anything what I did years before. He said everything I do with the puck and without the puck, it’s wrong. So I have a little different opinion.”

Zidlicky said that since he doesn’t get out with top guys, he spends most his shifts in the defensive zone and “if you spend most time in our zone, you can’t do anything. It can be anybody.” He said he has tried to tell Yeo twice what’s wrong with the power play and who can play the power play, but Yeo told him it wasn’t his business.

“He doesn’t like what I’m doing,” Zidlicky said. “If I’m an offensive player, I’m supposed to play with the top guys. He should show me, ‘You are that guy, and you will be out there the last minute when we need to score.’ There was a lot of times when I just laid on the bench and just wait for my chance. We had a couple meetings about that after 10, 15 games in the season, and I can’t change my style. That’s what I know. That’s for sure. He wants to play easy hockey. I tried everything what he wants, but apparently it doesn’t work.”

He went on to say that he hasn't gone as far as to request a trade from the Wild, but he didn't sound like a guy that would be opposed to it either.

As you might expect, his decision to go to the media to vent his frustrations didn't go over very well with Wild head coach Mike Yeo, who took the time to talk to Russo before Tuesday night's game to help defuse the situation.

“One thing for sure, we’re going to talk. This is not the right way to handle it. Much the same as I wouldn’t want a player to pick up the newspaper one day and read something like, ‘Woah, I didn’t know the coach thought that.’ Like, come into talk to me if there’s a problem. There’s always more than enough communication from our side. It’s got to go both ways.”

On not being told the first time he was a healthy scratch the first time? “The lineup was written on the board [before the skate]. I think if anything he’s confusing not being told with not being told what you want to hear.”

You trying to change him? “One problem for me is when he says I can’t change. 1) One it speaks to the buy-in for me, but 2) I don’t want him to change. I don’t ask Cal Clutterbuck to change. I don’t ask Matt Cullen to change. I don’t ask Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, any of these guys. I haven’t asked Marek Zidlicky to change either. I want them to be themselves, to play their game, but to do it within the team concept. That’s it. No. 1, that way works, wins hockey games. No. 2, like for a guy like that, I’ll point to guys like Kris Letang. He’s playing the same way, the same system, same way. Sergei Gonchar, played the same way, same system. It worked for these guys. So, not only would it be beneficial to him, but it would also be beneficial to the team. But it’s about buying into it. There are very, very clear expectations for every player. As a team, we knew three years in a row we haven’t made the playoffs, so we knew we had to change the culture here. We knew we had to change the environment either. So in order for that to happen, the players No. 1 had to know what was expected of them and No. 2 everybody has to be held accountable. That even means Marek Zidlicky. But with that, like, it also tells me that we’re not there yet. I’m willing to do that. I owe that to Craig, to Chuck, to the fans, the players, the players that are out there battling and doing everything they can for each other. I owe it to them. But I will know that we’re there when the players start holding themselves accountable to those standards.”

Well it sure seems that nobody is quite on the same page here, now does it?

The Wild started this season off so well but have really tumbled since. They are hanging on to the eighth spot in the West and any kind of friction like this can't do much to help.

When you look at Zidlicky as a trade asset, you wonder how much the Wild could get in return. He's just about to turn 35 and this season he has yet to score a goal, recording just 11 assists. For a player who it typically scoring in the 40s in regards to points in a season, that's a massive drop. It's clearly part of the reason why he has been a scratch recently.

In his career, Zidlicky has been his most productive on the power play. Of his 60 career goals, 42 have come on the man advantage, so therein could like some of his value to any team out there. At this point he probably won't be a difference-maker, but perhaps a new locale could help him find his game again.

No matter, things are coming to a head in Minnesota with Zidlicky and the Wild, so you can expect to hear more about him down the line.

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

Posted on: January 31, 2012 10:11 am
Edited on: January 31, 2012 10:21 am
 

Report: Devils not trading Parise at deadline

Parise becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

What was looking like one of the better trade deadlines in years in the NHL is shaping up to be a lot less exciting.

According to Mark Everson the New York Post, the Devils are not going to trade their star forward Zach Parise this season. Instead, if they can't sign him before next season they will trade his rights before free agency begins.

He joins Ryan Suter and Tim Gleason as names that seemingly have come off the market in the last couple of days. Suter let it be known at the All-Star Game that he wasn't going to sign an extension in Nashville before the trade deadline.

The Devils didn't actually have anybody at the All-Star Game but they still had some news coming out. Essentially confirming reports of the team's financial troubles, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has been helping the Devils financially but is not propping the franchise up or running it the way it has been the Coyotes.

Naturally the two seem connected, Parise and the financial outlook that is. Parise is still a young star who is going to command a large salary over many years. The timing just isn't good for the Devils as you have to wonder if they could even afford right now to re-sign Parise as much as they'd like to. And you know they'd like to.

But like the Predators and Suter, if they are going to have a good chance to re-sign their star, they need to win this season. Granted for Parise money might play a little bigger factor -- specifically, do they have it? -- but the Devils are in the thick of things for a playoff berth in the East this season. One thing Parise would like to see before re-signing is that he can win in New Jersey.

It's a risk for GM Lou Lamoriello no doubt. But it isn't an incredibly big risk. If the Devils aren't able to find the finances to keep Parise (or he just doesn't want to stay in New Jersey) then there will be a lot of teams trying to get those exclusive negotiating rights. Typically, those kind of deals don't net big returns and I'm not saying Parise would either, but if push comes to shove, the bounty for those rights should be decent to good based on how desirable Parise would be.

His numbers are down a little bit this season with 15 goals and 25 assists, but it was only two years ago that Parise was coming off a 38-goal season, his fourth straight season with more than 30 goals.

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

Posted on: January 30, 2012 6:31 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Report: Predators unlikely to trade Ryan Suter

Odds are Suter will stay with the Preds at least through this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Drooling over your team's chances of getting their hands on Ryan Suter at the trade deadline? According to Frank Seravali of the Philadelphia Daily News you shouldn't get your hopes up.

There wasn't much actual news that came out of the All-Star weekend in Ottawa, but that doesn't mean there was none. Suter, the Nashville Predators star defensemen who is in line to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, caused a little bit of a ripple on media day when he said that he didn't want to sign an extension with the Preds before the trade deadline on Feb. 27.

The rationale, which didn't make much sense to me, is that he doesn't want it to be a distraction. I would think signing a new deal -- if that's indeed what he wants to do -- would eliminate the distractions, saying you won't sign before the deadline doesn't do much to quiet things down. Instead, people everywhere start clicking on Cap Geek's trade calculator to figure out how they can make it work.

But it might be a moot point. Sources told Servali that don't expect Preds GM David Poile to move Suter.

“The consensus among us is that Nashville will be hanging onto him, even if they know the odds are not in their favor of re-signing him,” one Eastern Conference GM told the Daily News on condition of anonymity. “If he does decide to trade him, [David] Poile has the market cornered. There are very few defensemen of Suter’s caliber in the league and Nashville has two of them.

“You have to wonder whether the Predators can continue to trade away their top players for prospects because they can’t afford to pay them.”

I've been on the limb all season long that I believe the Predators will re-sign all three free agents (Pekka Rinne already taken care of, Shea Weber will be a restricted free agent again) and I think Poile is still believing the same thing.

To answer one of the obvious questions here; why is this coming from Philadelphia? Well the Flyers have been one of the names mentioned with Suter for some time, particularly since Chris Pronger was shut down.

Adding to that intrigue, Suter was paired with Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen in the All-Star Game and of course Timonen took the chance to talk to Suter a little bit about Philly.

“He’s going to take his time and see what’s going to happen,” Timonen said. “If he gets the money he wants, obviously he will stay there. You don’t know what’s going to happen, how much they’re going to spend, if they want to keep both of those two guys. He’s been there so long, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t want to stay there.”

The Predators don't historically spend a lot of money, that's why people don't think they'll keep all three. But the reverse side of that is it means they have a lot of money under the cap to spend. With the franchise at the highest level it has ever been at the moment, this is the time to spend the money.

The risk in it all obviously is seeing Suter walk for free. If he goes all the way to the free-agent period without a deal, he will get big-time bucks thrown his way as one of the biggest free agents in years.

That's why it's hard to envy Poile right now. His two star defensemen he needs to sign, Suter and Weber, need to see a team committed to winning. But what better way to do that than re-sign their two best players? It's a catch-22, so the best he can do at this point is take a chance on the team winning this season, and with how the Preds are playing, you like the odds they can make some noise.

The Nashville fans have already seen the team lose one stellar defenseman for nothing in return when Dan Hamhuis left a few seasons ago. Obviously they don't want to see that happen again. I don't think Poile wants it to happen again either, this would clearly signal he thinks they can sign Suter.

More from Eye on Hockey

Suter doesn't plan to sign before trade deadline
Trade Deadline coverage

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

Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:06 pm
 

Tuomo Ruutu could soon be on the move

By: Adam Gretz

Less than a month away from the NHL trade deadline and rumors are quickly starting to fly.

One of the busiest teams this year is expected be the Carolina Hurricanes, as they're currently near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and have a number of players eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. One of those players is forward Tuomo Ruutu, and he could be on the move as early as this week according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and TSN's Darren Dreger.

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford has always been aggressive when it comes to making moves, and has already made a couple this season.  A couple of weeks he sent upcoming free agent Alexei Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Joe Sova and a fourth-round draft pick, which came just weeks after he shipped disappointing defenseman Tomas Kaberle and the remainder of his contract to the Montreal Canadiens for Jaroslav Spacek. And there could soon be more where that came from.

Ruutu should be able to bring the Hurricanes a better return. In 51 games this season he has 15 goals and 11 assists, and over the past four years has scored at a rate that would average out to nearly 20 goals per 82 games. Any team that trades for him will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary cap hit, which for this week would come out to about $1.3 million for the rest of the season.

There is no shortage of contenders that could be interested, but keep an eye on Pittsburgh, Nashville or Boston, all teams that would Ruutu seem to be an excellent fit for given his aggressive forechecking and the fact at least two of those teams, Pittsburgh and Nashville, could use some an upgrade when it comes to secondary scoring on the wings.

Still, at this point it just seems to be a matter of when and where rather than if. Once that shoe falls the focus will then surely shift to Carolina's other upcoming free agents.

Also at Eye On Hockey

Gleason signs four-year deal with the Hurricanes
More Carolina Hurricanes news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 10:47 am
 

Jackets owner in email: Action will be taken

McConnell talks to Chris Clark in 2010. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Talk about being reactionary.

A couple of days after it was announced that fans of the Blue Jackets were going to rally this Saturday outside of the arena in downtown Columbus for the firing of general manager Scott Howson and team president Mike Preist, the owner of the franchise decided to send out an email.

Majority owner John P. McConnell sent out the message to season-ticket holders, talking them through the tough time, more or less. Matt Wagner of Blue Jackets blog The Cannon just so happens to be a season-ticket holder and was kind enough to share the letter he received.

It has the usual stuff about how important the franchise is to the city, they are just as unhappy as the fans about the lack of success, yadda yadda yadda. But here is the most interesting excerpt for me; if you want to read the whole thing visit the link above.

I understand you want to know what we're going to do to fix this, but it is important for us to maintain a degree of discretion to prevent putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage. I can tell you action will be taken in the coming weeks and months, be it around the trade deadline, the entry draft and/or free agency that will be indicative of our direction.

Our goal as an organization is to build a team that wins consistently and competes for the Stanley Cup. Anything less is unacceptable! Everything we do in the coming weeks, months and years will be done to that end and everyone in our organization -- myself, management, staff, coaches and players -- will be held to that standard.

I am very thankful and appreciative of the dedication and passion you have shown as a Blue Jackets fan and I am committed to giving you a team of which you can be proud.

I will say this, I'm glad that he clarified action will be taken via trades, free agency or the draft. That's comforting. I was worried they might try and do something through less conventional channels like telepathy or voodoo.

But truth be told, what makes that interesting is that it reiterates that the Jackets will no doubt be a willing seller in the coming weeks. Rumors are still flying that Jeff Carter, acquired just this summer, could be on the move. That's great and all, but it's going to be very difficult to move his 10-year contract. However if they can find a taker, then he might already be gone.

Besides the canned statement in the email, McConnell also talked to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch with some more colorful and descriptive quotes.

“Every option you can think of is being considered,” McConnell said. “When the ‘nuclear’ option is mentioned, I cringe less now than I did two months ago. That doesn’t mean that’s what we’re going to do, but it certainly becomes a more realistic choice.

“It has to be pretty clear (by the deadline) which way we’re going to go. But one way or another, we are committed to improving. We thought we did this last summer; we didn’t, for whatever reason. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but we’re going to keep searching for the right answers.”

He also stated that neither Priest nor Howson are in trouble of losing their jobs, as far as he is aware (considering he's the majority owner, I hope he'd be aware of such a thing).

At this point the writing is on the wall, ceiling and floor that the Blue Jackets are going to be completely unrecognizable by the time next season starts.

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

Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:47 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 1:22 am
 

Sharks' Burns leaves game after knee-to-knee hit

By Brian Stubits

The San Jose Sharks took a tough loss in Edmonton on Monday night, dropping the game 2-1 in a shootout despite dominating the Oilers to the tune of a 45-18 advantage in shots.

What made it even tougher was the hit that star defenseman Brent Burns took in the third period, having a knee-on-knee hit from Ales Hemsky that knocked Burns out of the game. It also knocked Hemsky out of the game via a five-minute major (on which the Sharks scored their only goal of the game) and a game misconduct.

Here's a look at the play.

It can't be comforting at all seeing Burns having to be helped off the ice without putting much if any weight on his right leg, favoring the knee. It looked bad, really bad.

"It felt bad right away," Burns said after the game. "Almost threw up on the bench. He's [Hemsky] not that kind of player. Wasn't his fault."

In the good-news department, Burns reportedly walked onto the bus without assistance, including by the way of crutches. The upcoming All-Star break comes at a good time in that it gives them a few extra days off to further evaluate

But the mood wasn't overly optimistic after the game. From Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area:

“They’re still evaluating. I know he doesn’t feel good. I would doubt that he’s going to play for us tomorrow, and the doctors and the medical group have to really evaluate him to give us an update,” said the coach.

The Sharks have eight healthy defensemen, but [coach Todd] McLellan is still worried about San Jose’s prized offseason acquisition.

“Very high level of concern. It’s knee-on-knee, he doesn’t return, and you see him in there he’s not walking very well. I am concerned.”
The Sharks traded for Burns in the offseason, sending a pretty penny package of Devin Setoguchi, former first-round pick Charlie Coyle and a first-round pick in the last draft to the Wild for the defenseman. It was part of their summer objective to bolster the defensive corps in San Jose.

His numbers are down from the offensive production he put up in Minnesota, but he has been playing much better of late, raising his season total to seven goals and 10 assists thus far.

The question has to be asked if Hemsky, who is a target of a lot of trade speculation, will face any punishment from the league. Brendan Shanahan has punished players this season for knee-to-knee hits already. But to me it doesn't seem as bad as some of the others, seems more accidental than anything. I don't see Hemsky going out of his way to go knee-to-knee or leaving it out there long enough for the contact. I agree with Burns' assertion that it wasn't Hemsky's fault, it was more of an accident.

“For sure, he isn’t [at fault]," Burns reiterated about Hemsky. "I know that. It happens. It’s a quick game, and just a quick reaction. I’ve been on the other end. It’s quick, and it’s not his fault, I know that.”

The Sharks will hope it was nothing but a scare.

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