Here's a look at some of the chatter around the NHL as we countdown to the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline. We'll try to do this most mornings between now and the deadline.
The Bruins boast one of the deepest sets of centers in the NHL -- or at least they did before Marc Savard was hurt again. Savard is dealing with another concussion, and Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald writes that Savard missing the rest of the season cannot be ruled out. He missed the beginning of this season after returning in the 2010 playoffs from a concussion.
"We’ll meet with him and see where he’s at,” general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Herald. “I know he’s still suffering from post-concussion symptoms headaches, irritability and it’s been over a week now. So we’ll get him reassessed, re-evaluated. As far as shutting him down for the rest of the year, that’s a possibility. We have to see where he’s at."
Boston is atop the Northeast Division and a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup with Vezina Trophy favorite Tim Thomas in net and plenty of depth at forward even without Savard. If Savard is deemed out for the season, the Bruins go beyond the salary cap to add another player with Savard on LTIR.
Given the amount of talent up front, the Bruins could still turn their attention to the defense corps. One possible addition up front could come from within -- 2007 first-round pick Zach Hamill has 28 points in 44 games for the Providence Bruins.
"The last 5-6 weeks the reports have been very positive, and I saw it for myself,” Chiarelli said to the Herald of Hamill. “I think he’s turned a corner and he’s playing with confidence. So you may see him at some point."
The Hurricanes have played their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference and currently sit one point behind Atlanta for eighth place. The franchise also has built some momentum in the community with a successful All-Star weekend creating plenty of good vibes.
But will the Hurricanes be able to be buyers in the coming weeks? Luck DeCock, columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer, pondered that very question.
"After putting on a great show to convince the world of the Triangle's hockey credentials, financial reality set back in for the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday," DeCock wrote. "This may be a good hockey market, but it's still a small one, and the budget is as tight as ever."
DeCock says the Hurricanes current projected payroll of $47 million is about $3 million more than owner Peter Karmanos, Jr. wanted to spend this season.
It should be noted Carolina already added to the payroll this season when the Hurricanes trade for Ian White from Calgary. Given how tight the race is, one addition could be the difference in making the playoffs.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
The Lightning have already made a key acquisition during the season, grabbing goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the New York Islanders. His addition has created a logjam at the position, though, and there could be a move to be made in the near future.
Roloson has posted four shutouts since joining the team and is the clear No. 1 guy. Mike Smith is back from injury, so he and Dan Ellis are vying for the No. 2 spot. The options appear to be a trade, or sending one of the two veterans netminders to the minors.
"I'm talking to teams every day, exploring options to see who has an interest or a need," GM Steve Yzerman said to Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times. "At some point goalies need to play. I don't want to keep guys around who aren't playing so at some point we're probably going to have to make a decision on what we want to do."
The guy who is No. 4 on the organizational depth chart, prospect Cedrick Desjardins, is out with a shoulder injury so the Lightning don't have to worry about taking away playing time from their top young guy at the position if Ellis or Smith is sent to Norfolk of the AHL. Teams looking for goaltending insurance could inquire about Smith or Ellis, but both have had their share of struggles this season.
UPDATE: Tampa Bay has placed Smith on waivers. Looks like he is going to be the odd man out. Smith is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He is due a little more than $792,000 for the rest of this season if a team puts in a claim, according to capgeek.com.
The Canucks are atop the Western Conference and could be the most complete team in the NHL. They are also pretty tight against the salary cap and aren't likely to have much wiggle room this month, depending on the health of some of their injured defensemen.
Like the Bruins, they could call upon a top prospect to provide some help down the stretch. Cody Hodgson, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, made his NHL debut for the Canucks last night.
"Obviously, it has been a long time waiting for this," Hodgson said to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun. "I just have to make the most of it with the chances I get. I'm happy to be here and happy to get going."
Hodgson has been slowed by injuries, including a back problem that was misdiagnosed and a broken toe, but he was a star at the 2009 world junior championships and considered one of the best prospects in the world before the injuries. He has 10 goals and 16 points in 28 games for Manitoba this season.