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 injury situation is pretty grim in the Steel City, but trader Ray is on the case and we can only assume that by 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 28 the Penguins' GM will have acquired either a scoring winger or a big center to counter the loss of Evgeni Malkin for the season and the unknown of Sidney Crosby's return.
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review wrote Monday that multiple sources are telling him that Crosby won't be back until at least March. Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma nodded in his approval Sunday when asked if he doesn't expect to have Malkin (knee) back until next fall.
So, Ray Shero is on the clock.
TSN's Bob McKenzie mentioned Alex Kovalev and PA Parenteau as names associated with Shero and the Penguins.
Kovalev would certainly be an interesting acquisition considering he had some of his best years in Pittsburgh and he's having some of his worst in Ottawa. There's no reason why the Senators wouldn't look to unload him either. He hasn't meshed with coach Cory Clouston and the team is not winning or going anywhere this season.
He comes with a $5 million cap hit, but the Penguins have the relief created by putting Malkin on long-term injured reserve and Kovalev would only be a rental since his contract is up at the end of the season.
Parenteau, currently with the Islanders, is having a breakout season with 32 points in 51 games. There is less concern with his contract since he's making only $600,000 this season and is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
TSN's Darren Dreger on Tuesday wrote about San Jose's Devin Setoguchi and Florida's Stephen Weiss as potential candidates to join the Penguins by the deadline. Dreger speculates that to acquire a player like Setoguchi or Weiss the Penguins would likely have to part with a package of prospects and/or draft picks and perhaps even a current roster player.
Defenseman Alex Goligoski is the name Dreger mentioned and it's also the name we've heard on many accounts regarding potential trade bait for the Penguins. Goligoski is seen as expendable since he doesn't play in the Penguins' top four (Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek). He's a power play specialist, but Letang and Martin are more than capable of playing the point.
Goligoski has another year on his contract at a reasonable $1.83 million cap hit, so any team that acquires him can look at him as a longer term investment that will help their power play.
Devils center Jason Arnott's name has also come up in rumors involving the Penguins. He's a big center that would likely be looking to make a run at winning another Stanley Cup to match the one he won with the Devils in 2000.
With Marc Savard now officially sidelined until the fall at the earliest, the Bruins have the necessary cap relief to go searching for another a forward to replace him. Savard was making about $4 million.
Dreger, though, is reporting Tuesday that the Bruins have a strong interest in Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle. It makes sense only if, as Dreger writes, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli really does firmly believes that Blake Wheeler can take on Savard's role in the middle.
The Bruins could use a puck rushing blue-liner like Kaberle, but more than anything they need to bolster their blue-line depth as a whole as they head into the stretch run.
Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe writes Tuesday that Chiarelli should reach for the stars, or rather call the Stars, to find out the availability of Brad Richards, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Richards would be the Ilya Kovalchuk or Marian Hossa of this year's trade class, but it's hard to see Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk looking to deal him now.
The Stars are still first in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference. They've been able to stay in those positions despite losing three in a row and five of their last six.
Thashers GM Rick Dudley told Ben Wright of the team's website that he is actively seeking a top-six forward. Dudley appears willing to deal with anybody right now because he knows how important it is for his team to make the playoffs.
Atlanta has only gotten in one time (2007) and it hasn't won a playoff game in franchise history. The Rangers swept the Thrashers that season and since then the team has had to trade away stars Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk.
We haven't seen any names associated with the Thrashers as of yet, but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted earlier Tuesday that he was told the team had two scouts at Monday's game between the Oilers and Predators.
Terry Jones of the Edmonton Journal wrote last week that basically several players off the Oilers' current roster could be had, including Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky. They're both top-six forward material.
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