Saturday, February 1, 2014

NHL Trade News, Notes and Just Plain Rumors

USA Today recently looked at the ten most intriguing players approaching the trade deadline this season (they also note the artificial trade deadline of Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. ET, which starts the NHL roster freeze for the 2014 Olympics).  They specifically note the "rental" players, or those who are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2014.  On the list are two New York Rangers, two Buffalo Sabres and two Florida Panthers.  

In other NHL trade news and rumors:

  • Matt Moulson, who has been traded once this season, will be out through the Olympic break according to the Buffalo News.  So any trade prior to the February 7 roster freeze is most likely ruled out, due to a recent upper body injury.  With the Sabres likely out of the playoff race, and Moulson becoming a UFA on July 1, he was certainly one of the offensive players to consider when assessing the trade market for Buffalo.  
  • Trade talk continues to swirl around Ryan Callahan and the New York Rangers.  According to TSN and Darren Dreger, at least one team was given permission to speak with Callahan's agent recently.  The St. Louis Blues are rumored to have interest in Callahan.  But there is also a camp of thought that believe Rangers' GM Glenn Sather, while keeping his options open, wants to sign Callahan sooner rather than later, but not necessarily at the asking price of $42 million over seven years.  
  • The Ryan Miller trade talk continues to swirl as we approach the Olympic break and the trade deadline.  Teams that are in playoff contention, who have also been mentioned as serious suitors for Miller's services include:  the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild.  The Blues have been going with Jaroslav Halak as their number one netminder, and they have been performing very well, closing in on Chicago for the Central division lead.  Halak currently sits tenth overall in GAA at 2.22, while Miller is 25th at 2.59.  But the Blues are known to have one of the best defensive corps around, and the GAA is not purely indicative of each netminders skills, particularly in high stakes contests.  The Washington Capitals have played three goaltenders this season (Holtby, Neuvirth and Grubauer), but could be looking for a netminder with Miller's resume to solidify their chances at a playoff spot this season.  And the Wild have two fairly strong netminders, but neither have been in net on a consistent enough basis to call them a bona fide number one.  
  • As noted on the ECHL website, New York Islanders' defenseman Andrew MacDonald could be a coveted asset as the NHL trade deadline approaches.  The 27 year-old left-handed defenseman has a strong 23 points in 57 games for New York this season.  His skill in setting up teammates to score, as well as his very affordable (by NHL standards) contract will have several cup contending teams looking for his services.   

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