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POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 4:27 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Lightning adding to defense?

TSN is reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired St. Louis Blues defenseman Eric Brewer. Brewer had a no-trade clause, but he's apparently waived it to move from the West's 13th-place team to the No. 2 team in the East.

Brewer has 8 goals and 14 points in 54 games, and has been St. Louis' captain since the 2007-08 season.
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POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 4:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Looking at the Senators

Much attention has been focused on the rebuilding going on in southern Ontario, but there's another reconstruction effort that's taking shape in the eastern part of the province.

As the Senators have sunk to 15th in the Eastern Conference, GM Bryan Murray has begun to dismantle his team. He's said there are very few players off limits, a list that likely includes All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson, rookie goalie Robin Lehner and team captain Daniel Alfredsson.

In the last eight days, he's bid farewell to forwards Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Jarko Ruutu, and today goalie Brian Elliott. In return, he's gotten first-, second- and sixth-round picks in the 2011 Entry Draft (plus a conditional 2012 pick) plus a goaltender Murray thinks could start for the team next season in Craig Anderson.

And with 10 days left before the Feb. 28 deadline, he might not be done.

When Murray made the Fisher trade, he said he wanted to start moving out veteran players to make room for a number of youngsters he expects to be arriving on a full-time basis next season.

"I feel we have some real top young players coming," Murray said then. "Robin Lehner, Erik Karlsson, Jared Cowen, David Rundblad, a couple forwards I could mention. We are going to have to open the door for some of these younger players to play come September. To do that, the hard part of the business is saying goodbye to some of the veteran players."

Other veteran players rumored to be on the move are forwards Alex Kovalev and Chris Neil and defenseman Chris Phillips, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, but will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com and follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 3:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Frequent partners?

The San Jose Sharks and Carolina Hurricanes already have made one trade today; could another be coming?

The Sharks sent defenseman Derek Joslin to the Hurricanes earlier this afternoon, but a bigger move for a blueliner reportedly is being talked about, which would involve veteran Ian White going west to San Jose.

TSN is reporting a deal is in place that would send White to the Sharks, but there's no word on what might be going back to Carolina.

A trade involving White shouldn't be a surprise. GM Jim Rutherford alluded that he was considering an offer for White, and he was held out of Wednesday's game against the Devils.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com and follow him on Twitter @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 1:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

More Boston moves?

According to TSN, it's shaping up to be a pretty busy day for Boston GM Peter Chiarelli.

He's already got the Tomas Kaberle deal with the Leafs about to happen. But in order to keep some salary cap flexibility, he's apparently got another trade brewing.

The Bruins would send forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers, in return for forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik.

Wheeler and Peverley are near-washes, stat-wise. The Bruins would get the older player in 28-year-old Peverley, vs. the 24-year-old Wheeler.

Stuart has just 5 points this season, his second straight subpar season, but he's just 26 and two seasons removed from a 17-point season and back-to-back 82-game seasons.

Valabik, the 10th pick of the 2004 Entry Draft, has yet to earn a full-time NHL job. However, he could be another Zdeno Chara -- he's 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds, and hails from Slovakia. He had 2 points in 23 NHL games last season, but has spent all of 2010-11 in the AHL, where he has 9 points and 165 penalty minutes in 49 games.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com or follow him on Twitter @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 12:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Could this be the time for Kaberle?

Tomas Kaberle has been pretty steadfast in the past few seasons about not wanting to waive his no-trade clause. However, as he nears the end of the final year of the deal, and with the Leafs on the fringe of playoff contention, could he have softened his stance?

TSN and the Boston Globe are reporting that he has, and a trade of the blueliner to the Bruins is imminent.

Going back to the Leafs, if the rumors are true, would be top prospect Joe Colborne and the Bruins' first-round pick. For clarity's sake, it's the Bruins' own pick, not the one they got last season from the Leafs in the Phil Kessel deal.

If that's truly the deal, it would be a win/win deal. Boston gets an elite offensive defenseman that will bring desperately needed punch to their blueline -- Kaberle has 38 points this season; only Zdeno Chara has more than 25 among Bruins defensemen.

In return, the Leafs would get a real solid center prospect in Colborne, the 16th pick of the 2008 Entry Draft currently playing with AHL Providence. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder has 26 points in 55 games in his first pro season.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 11:46 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

UPDATED: Kaberle deal Bruin?

It seems like Tomas Kaberle goes with trade-deadline rumors like peanut butter goes with jelly, but could this be the time a move actually happens? TSN's Darren Dreger is reporting today that barring "a complete meltdown," the talented defenseman will move from Toronto to Boston prior to the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

There's no report on what the return to the Leafs might be, but according to Dreger, the Bruins are not requiring Kaberle -- who can become unrestricted free agent on July 1 -- sign a new contract to consummate the deal.

At 32 years old, Kaberle is having one of his typically strong seasons, with 38 points in 58 games. One place the Bruins are lacking is offense from the back end, as Zdeno Chara is the only Boston defenseman with as many as 25 points.

Dreger is reporting it's doubtful the deal happens today, and that the Bruins might have to make another move to settle any salary-cap issues. However, Kaberle would have to waive his no-trade clause for the deal to go through, something he hasn't been amenable to doing in the past.

Will he do it this time? We'll find out for sure some time in the next 11 days.

UPDATE: Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com confirms Dreger's report that Boston is close to adding Kaberle, and also reports defenseman Mark Stuart could be on his way to Chicago to open up some salary cap space. Haggerty said the package for Kaberle is believed to be young forward Blake Wheeler and a draft pick, while Stuart would only bring a draft pick (and more importantly cap space) in return.

According to capgeek.com the Bruins have enough to acquire a player who carries a cap hit of just more than $2.5 million. Kaberle's deal has a cap hit of $4.25 million, but moving out Wheeler and Stuart would free up $3.875 million of acqusition space -- enough wiggle room to add Kaberle and still have a little space left.

Wheeler was the No. 5 pick in the 2004 draft by Phoenix, but didn't sign with the Coyotes after leaving the University of Minnesota and instead inked a deal with Boston as a free agent. He had 21 goals as a rookie, but only 18 last season and 10 in 57 games in 2010-11.
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POSTED ON Friday, 02.11.2011 / 4:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Smart move by Jensen

After spending some time with Oshawa Generals forward Nicklas Jensen, you learn two things. One, he had some really good English lessons growing up in Denmark, because he really doesn't have much of an accent.

And two, he knows where to go find the most exposure.

And it wasn't staying home in Denmark.

"In Denmark there's not that many scouts," he told me in an interview at the Top Prospects Game. "Over here there's scouts at every game. It's better for me, especially in my draft year, to be seen a little more."

And after talking to some scouts, they've liked what they've seen in Jensen.

You can read all about it by clicking here.
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POSTED ON Friday, 02.11.2011 / 4:27 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

U.S. continues to roll at Five Nations

Blake Pietila's second-period shorthanded goal snapped a 1-1 tie and sparked the U.S. to a 3-1 victory against the host Czech Republic on Friday at the 2011 Five Nations Tournament.

The U.S. improved to 3-0, with its final game coming Sunday against Finland.

"This was a tough win against a hard-working Czech team," U.S. coach Ron Rolston told USA Hockey's website. "We found a way to win, and I'm extremely proud of our guys."

Pietila, who plays for the U.S. National Team Development Program, is No. 112 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft.

Travis Boyd passed to Pietila, who broke in alone, deked to his backhand and deposited the puck behind the Czech goalie Patrik Bartosak.

Reid Boucher and Nicolas Kerdiles also scored for the U.S., and goalie John Gibson, Central Scouting's top-rated netminder, picked up the win.

For more on Gibson's season, take a look at this profile Mike Morreale wrote on him earlier this season.

Rocco Grimaldi assisted on Boucher's goal, giving him a team-leading 8 points.

In three games at the tournament, the U.S. has outscored it's opponents 19-7.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.10.2011 / 1:35 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

U.S. 2-0 at Five Nations

The U.S. won its second straight game at the Five Nations Tournament early today, blasting Russia 10-4 in a game played in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.

Rocco Grimaldi, who had a hat trick in the Team USA's opening-game win yesterday, had 2 more goals plus an assist in the win. Grimaldi is No. 25 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term ranking for the 2011 Entry Draft.

At just 5-foot-6 and 163 pounds, Grimaldi doesn't let anything get in his way, as staff writer Mike Morreale learned earlier this season when he talked to Grimaldi.

Cole Bardreau and Reid Boucher each had 2 goals and an assist, and Tyler Biggs, No. 5 on Central Scouting's list, had a goal.

Matt McNeely, No. 5 on Central Scouting's mid-term ranking of North American goaltenders, picked up the win in net.

"It is not often we beat a quality opponent like Russia 10-4," said Scott Monaghan, senior director of operations for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. "Our challenge now is to come prepared to play the host country, the Czech Republic, on national television tomorrow."

The U.S. next faces the host Czech Republic on Friday.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Trade Deadline Day

Ducks bolster defense with Beauchemin

Many general managers believe you never can have enough experienced defensemen, and you certainly can put Ducks GM Bob Murray in that group.

Murray today brought Francois Beauchemin back to Anaheim, a move that bolsters their defensive depth with a big, strong, experienced, puck-moving defensemen who can play big minutes.

Beauchemin has just 12 points in 54 games with the Leafs this season, but he had been used in more of a defensive-oriented role. He's a minus-4, but was second on the team with 23:45 of ice time per game, including 2:48 per game shorthanded.

Beauchemin's durability should take some of the ice-time pressure off the Ducks' top-four defenders, Lubomir Visnovsky, rookie Cam Fowler, Toni Lydman and Paul Mara, all of whom average more than 20 minutes per game.

And while Beauchemin's offensive numbers might be down, he does have a strong shot from the point, one that allowed him to score 8 goals in 61 games in 2005-06, and in his four previous seasons with the Ducks, he had 21 goals and 88 points in 234 games.

He also has a Stanley Cup ring to his credit, which he won while putting up 4 goals and 8 points in 20 playoff games en route to the 2007 championship.

To get Beauchemin, the Ducks had to surrender top defense prospect Jake Gardiner. The 17th pick of the 2008 Entry Draft, Gardiner has been fine-tuning his play at the University of Wisconsin. Now in his third season, he has 30 points in 30 games this season, and he also has a gold medal to his credit from the 2010 World Junior Championship.

Gardiner is renowned for his skating and speed. At 6-foot-1 and 173 pounds he needs to get bigger and stronger, but with top-end skating skills, he's a definite prospect.

In Joffrey Lupul, the Leafs receive a top-six forward who's just 27 and has scored at least 20 goals three times in five full NHL seasons.

However, Lupul has been plagued by back problems and a blood infection that limited him to just 23 games last season and kept him out of action until this past December. He has just 5 goals in 26 games -- and 1 goal in his last 14 -- but if healthy, the talent clearly is there.

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery