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NHL Trade Buzz: Lineup could be first of changes for Hurricanes

Nash gives no-trade list to Rangers; Maple Leafs facing decisions with van Riemsdyk, Leivo

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Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 21 days remaining until the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET, Feb. 26). Are lineup changes the first step in a shakeup with the Carolina Hurricanes? Could the New York Rangers be getting ready to move Rick Nash? It appears the Toronto Maple Leafs won't trade James van Riemsdyk, but what about Josh Leivo?

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

 
Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters moved farther down the path Monday of making the lineup changes he promised after a 3-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Peters said after practice that the three players who were healthy scratches on Sunday, forwards Phillip Di Giuseppe and Josh Jooris, and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck, are options to play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, NBCSP, NHL.TV), but the Hurricanes probably won't call up anyone from Charlotte of the American Hockey League.

Although Peters will likely change the line combinations, he said the change that is needed most is in the players' effort.

"The answer's not in putting the lines, changing guys around," he said. "When the Titanic went down, they re-organized the deck chairs. It still sunk. It did. So it's not the deck chairs. There's more to give. There's more. We'll get more. It will be good [Tuesday]. It will be a fun game."

Video: Bill Peters: "It's time to be desperate"

Peters wasn't in as much of a fun mood after the game Sunday.

"I'm not happy," he said. "I'm very disappointed in some of the guys you count on. Very disappointed. This lineup has been together a little bit here. Maybe there's some complacency there. [The lineup] will be different Tuesday. … You can't put that group out again after that."

Whether general manager Ron Francis is satisfied with the deck chairs being moved around will be evident in his actions leading up to the deadline. The Hurricanes could use some help offensively. They are 24th in the League at 2.64 goals per game. Teuvo Teravainen leads the Hurricanes with 41 points (13 goals, 28 assists), one more than Sebastian Aho, who has a Hurricanes-best 19 goals.

Goaltending also continues to be an issue. The Hurricanes signed Scott Darling, 29, to a four-year, $16.6 million contract ($4.15 million average annual value) on May 5 after acquiring him in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on April 28. But he has struggled, going 9-14-6 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in 30 games.

That's pushed Cam Ward (15-7-2, 2.68 GAA, .909 save percentage, 26 games) back into the No. 1 job. Ward, 33, will start for the sixth time in seven games Tuesday.

 

New York Rangers

The Rangers, who are 1-5-0 in their past six games and 3-8-0 in their past 11, appear to be preparing to become sellers. Forward Rick Nash said Monday that he has given the team the list of teams he can't be traded to without his permission on Monday. The list contains 18 teams.

That leaves 12 teams that Nash can be traded to, unless he waives the no-trade clause in his contract. Nash can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Although Nash, 33, has had a disappointing season with 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 52 games, he has 73 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience in his first five seasons with the Rangers. That would be valuable to a contending team interested in a rental player.

Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported Saturday that the Winnipeg Jets might be interested in adding a top-six forward such as Nash to play left wing on their top line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.

The Jets entered play Monday first in the Central Division with 71 points, two ahead of the Nashville Predators.

Video: Dan Bylsma on a potential Rangers rebuild

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Although it appears unlikely Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk will be moved before the trade deadline, as a potential unrestricted free agent July 1 he's aware that the deadline is approaching and what it might mean to his future.

"We're all human," van Riemsdyk told the Toronto Sun. "Things usually work out the way they are supposed to, but that doesn't mean there are not moments where you are thinking about it more than other times."

General manager Lou Lamoriello has a track record for holding onto potential unrestricted free agents when his team is in contention for the playoffs. During Lamoriello's tenure with the New Jersey Devils, he opted not to trade big-name potential unrestricted free agents such as Scott Gomez (2006-07), Brian Gionta (2008-09) and Zach Parise (2011-12), and often looked to add players at the deadline to aid the team's pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

With the Maple Leafs third in the Atlantic Division with a 15-point lead on the fourth-place Florida Panthers, they are likely to qualify for the playoffs for the second season in row. So trading van Riemsdyk, who is second on the Maple Leafs with 20 goals, would make little sense.

The Maple Leafs might have more difficult decisions to make on their other potential unrestricted free agents: Forwards Tyler Bozak, Dominic Moore and Leo Komarov, and defenseman Roman Polak. They also must decide what to do about forward Josh Leivo.

Kypreos reported Saturday that Leivo, who signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs on Nov. 17 but hasn't played since Dec. 31, has asked the Maple Leafs for a trade. The 24-year-old responded to that report Monday, saying, "I just want to play hockey. I do want to play for the Maple Leafs, that's why I signed for another year, but at the same time I just want to play."

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman also reported that the Maple Leafs might be looking to trade forward Nikita Soshnikov, 24, who is on a conditioning assignment with Toronto of the American Hockey League.

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