ANAHEIM: When the Ducks were languishing near the bottom of the League standings, GM Bob Murray said anyone on his roster was available with the exception of Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, who have no-movement clauses. There have been stories written since about whether or not Selanne might be willing to waive his NMC to go a contender like Detroit for one more chance at a Stanley Cup.
Now the Ducks have made a big move, and are within six points of a playoff berth, and the idea of Selanne changing addresses is an afterthought.
Nash to NYR: The case for and againstBy Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer
Dave Lozo's attempt to talk himself into the merits of the Rangers' acquisition of Rick Nash, as well as the arguments against such a move. READ MORE ›
The Ducks are 4-1-2 on their current eight-game road trip, and are 15-3-4 since Jan. 6. If Selanne doesn't want to leave Anaheim and the Ducks don't make the playoffs, his backup plan would likely be to play for his native Finland in the World Championship -- especially because Finland is one of the host countries.
"We all knew that this trip is going to be do or die and so far we have played so well here that I don't even have to think about any other options," Selanne told Stephens. "So that's a good thing and I'm very happy about that.
"I know it's my call. This road trip has helped me a lot."
EDMONTON: With Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu off the market, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky might be the top forward available who doesn't play home games in central Ohio. Hemsky and the Oilers have reportedly had talks about a contract extension as well, but have not reached a deal.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal thinks Hemsky could ink a contract worth $5 million per season or more this summer, and the Oilers should move him now if they can't come to terms with the pending unrestricted free agent.
"[Hemsky] is a rental and the going compensation for those players now is a second-round draft pick (Pavel Kubina, Nicklas Grossman, both with the Flyers now, and Dominic Moore) and a prospect or another draft pick.
"Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini is likely looking for a first-round draft pick and a young defenseman who can play with the Oilers right away, not a blueliner who needs seasoning in the American Hockey League."
Matheson lists Los Angeles, Boston, San Jose, Nashville, Detroit and possibly Washington as potential suitors for Hemsky. Some of those teams could view Hemsky as Plan B if they don't win the Rick Nash sweepstakes.
The Oilers did get a first- and second-round pick and prospect Colton Teubert for Dustin Penner last season, but he also had another year left on his contract. Hemsky has the same number of goals this season as the much-maligned Penner, but he does have 8 points in his past nine games.
If the Oilers could get even a second-round pick and a near-NHL ready defenseman for Hemsky, that should be enough to do the deal. A first-rounder makes it a no-brainer.
N.Y. RANGERS: In the latest chapter of the Nash saga, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the next two games could influence whether or not a deal happens with Columbus and the Rangers.
SOG: 100 | +/-: 12
Now, this should not be enough to get a deal done. It is unlikely the Rangers will be able to get away with not parting with any of their top three prospects or one of their young defensemen to obtain Nash.
Brooks writes that Sather's willingness to include his prized assets could change.
"Sather may feel compelled to sweeten the offer if the Rangers, who have been a step and a thought behind lately, don't re-elevate their game against the Islanders and Sabres," Brooks writes. "It will be fascinating to see how much impact the 27 hours between 7 p.m. tomorrow and 10 p.m. Saturday will have on Sather's pursuit of Nash.
"To believe it will have no impact is foolish."
SAN JOSE: The Sharks have lost four straight games, and have lost control of the Pacific Division race. They're still on top because they have two games in hand, but the Sharks are also only four points ahead of ninth-place Calgary.
GM Doug Wilson has been reported to be one of the suitors for Nash, but he also told David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News that the current slide will not impact his decisions this week.
"In the big picture, one or two games is not going to impact any decisions we make," Wilson told Pollak. "You can get tricked by playing really well as well as you can by playing a poor game.
"It's OK to have emotions and be passionate and hate losing, which we do. But then you've got to make your decisions based on common sense, research and work -- and not be flavored by that."
"In the big picture, one or two games is not going to impact any decisions we make. You can get tricked by playing really well as well as you can by playing a poor game."
-- San Jose Sharks' GM Doug Wilson
"I'm not sure that we're not going to be in the market [for a goalie] before we're done," Burke said on TSN Radio. "It's something that we have to at least explore what the price tags are. The fact is we're losing games because we're not stopping the puck enough. … We've got to get our goaltenders to stop the puck."
If the pursuit of Nash was story No. 1 in Southern Ontario, what Burke might do in the next few days to acquire a goaltender has quickly become a contender for that distinction. The loss Tuesday to the New Jersey Devils featured some particularly grisly goaltending from Jonas Gustavsson, and it might have been the final act that springs Burke into action.
So who might the Maple Leafs be interested in? James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail listed seven potential targets: Cory Schneider, Jonathan Bernier, Josh Harding, Evgeni Nabokov, Curtis Sanford, Antero Niittymaki and Blues prospect Ben Bishop. During TSN's Insider Trading segment Wednesday night, Darren Dreger said Nashville backup Anders Lindback could also be a possibility.
Schneider is probably the least likely option, and Bernier would probably have to be a "hockey trade" that helps the Kings as well. Nabokov and Sanford might be the simplest additions, as both of those teams would likely accept much less than what Schneider, Bernier or even Harding could command. St. Louis might be a good fit because Bishop could be a long-term solution and the Blues could use a veteran defenseman (and the Leafs have a surplus in that department), but would Burke place his team's postseason hopes in the hands of a guy who's been in the AHL all season?
There hasn't been a lot of talk about teams looking for goaltenders outside of Chicago this month, but Burke has changed that in a hurry.
WASHINGTON: The Capitals were in danger of not making the playoffs for the first time in five years -- and that was before a disastrous road trip in which they were blown out in the last two games and looked downright feeble.
Washington was expected to be a consistent playoff participant for years to come, but this season has not gone as planned. GM George McPhee has reportedly been working to try and offer the current roster some help, but he has little cap space to work with. McPhee could also decide to move guys off the current roster and retool for next season.
Dan Daly of the Washington Times thinks the Capitals need more drastic alterations.
"Ted Leonsis, ever the romantic, has been trying to paint the Sistine Chapel. He doesn't just want the Washington Capitals to be successful in the business sense, he wants them to be a club that contends for the Stanley Cup year after year -- and is always part of the hockey conversation," writes Daly. "But building a dynasty -- like applying a brush to a ceiling -- can be a messy business. And as the trade deadline approaches, Leonsis and general manager George McPhee have a tough decision to make: Do they continue down the same path, which right now has them on the verge of missing the playoffs, or do they try another color scheme and begin a radical reshuffling of the roster?"
SOG: 211 | +/-: -9
Still, Daly suggests the changes on the Capitals roster need to start at the top, and that means trading Alex Ovechkin.
"As each month passes, I'm more and more convinced that only a change of scenery -- if that -- will ever bring back the Ovechkin of three years ago," Daly writes. "If he stays in D.C., 'wrapped up' in his 'rock star status' (in Olie Kolzig's words), he'll go right on scoring 30 to 35 goals a season, and the club will go right on being a disappointment.
"File that last paragraph, by the way, under: Words I Never Imagined Writing. But after watching the Capitals come apart against Tampa Bay in last year's playoffs -- and after seeing too many no-shows this season (like the 5-0 abomination Monday night in Carolina) -- it's hard not to come to the conclusion that something is rotten at the Caps' core."
Ovechkin means more to the Capitals and hockey in Washington than just goals and assists and playoff disappointments. There are financial implications off the ice that would probably preclude owner Ted Leonsis from ever signing off on such a deal.
He's also the highest-paid player in the League and looks like he's headed for a second-straight disappointing season. Washington cannot be successful on the ice without more from Ovechkin. Just the idea of trading him is controversial enough and trying to dream up the potential return for him would be pure speculation at this point.
The Rick Nash saga has dominated the headlines in the NHL of late -- imagine what kind of coverage Ovechkin being on the market would mean?