Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Rumour Mill: A puck-moving defenceman

We've heard all off-season that Sens' GM Bryan Murray is looking for a mobile, puck-moving defenceman to help get the team out of trouble in the defensive end, and to add a little bit to the powerplay. So far this season, Filip Kuba has done a noble job stepping up, but most people believe Murray's hunt is still on. And late last week, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported that Murray has ramped up his efforts to land that elusive puck-mover, and is now willing (not not anxious) to get rid of a roster player to do so. With that in mind, here are a few possible candidates, some of whom have been reported/rumoured, and some who haven't.

  • Cam Barker, CHI: Barker hasn't quite panned out for the Blackhawks, and that's why rumours are circulating that he might be on the market. At only 22, he's still got potential, but the Hawks seemed to have moved on to bigger and better things: Brian Campbell (think they'll consider trading him?). Depending on Chicago's position at the time of the trade, they might consider a role-player (like Chris Neil, if he's on the market), prospect, or draft pick in exchange for Barker.
  • Jay Bouwmeester, FLA: It sure doesn't look like Bouwmeester is very excited at the prospect of another season with the Florida Panthers. Although he might be happier under new head coach Peter DeBoer, J-Bo might be on the move. On the TEAM 1200 Monday morning, Pierre McGuire suggested the Sens look into the availability of Bouwmeester, because the Panthers certainly can't lose him to free agency for nothing. If the Cats make the playoffs--or appear poised to-- all bets are off. The asking price wouldn't be cheap; looking at last year's Marian Hossa trade, the Panthers would likely be looking for a roster player, decent prospect, and pick. Is he worth it? Well, he skates really well, but his point totals aren't great: 38G, 126A, 164P in 400 career games played.
  • Trevor Daley, DAL: This name comes from HockeyBuzz, that ever-reliable source of hockey rumours. Due to Daley's relative anonymity, though, I have a feeling this rumour might be based on actual information. Personally, I'd never really heard of Daley before; he's certainly not a proven commodity. And he's not going to shoot the lights out, either, with 15G, 45A, 60P in 276 career GP. Doesn't really seem like the player who would fill the Sens' void, but maybe Murray sees something there. He just signed a three-year extension with Dallas at a cap hit of $2.3M per season, which is decent, but who knows what Dallas' asking price is. With Sergei Zubov's health in question, I doubt Dallas is in any hurry to get rid off a defenceman.
  • Pavel Kubina, TOR: I'm not sure if Kubina is any more likely to be traded than Tomas Kaberle (who is much more of a powerplay specialist) or any of the other Leafs' defencemen, but Cliff Fletcher isn't hiding the fact that the Leafs are rebuilding. If he can get a solid asset--say, a high draft pick or prospect--for Kubina, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, then he will likely do so. And with Luke Schenn staying with the Leafs this year, they definitely have room to move. It remains to be seen if Fletcher would deal with a divisional and provincial rival, however.
  • Mattias Ohlund, VAN: Ohlund's been in the rumours for a while, I believe his name surfaced initially in the Sun. He is actually a top-flite defenceman, which is positive. He's scored 89G and 216A for 305P in 700GP. He's got one year of $3.5M left on his contract, and rumours are that discussions with the Canucks aren't progressing. The Canucks need offence, so the asking price would likely be roster player in the mould of Antoine Vermette. I doubt they'd give up Ohlund for anything less than a roster player unless they're obviously out of the running for a playoff spot. (EDIT: It's worth noting that Ohlund has a no-trade clause, and that the Canucks GM has said he's not interested in trading him.)
  • Darryl Sydor, PIT: Not right now, obviously, but when (if?) Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney return from their injuries, the Pens will have nine NHL defencemen. With younger players like Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski poised to step up, and Sydor on the last year onf a $2.5M contract, he might be on his way out. Hard to say what the Penguins would want in return, but it would have to be something to help the team out right away, like a roster player--a draft pick isn't likely to cut it.

I'm not sure how likely any of these acquisitions are; some of them I made up, and some were based on rumours from other sources--which were probably made up by someone else. There really aren't (m)any upper-echelon offensive defencemen available at the moment, so if the Sens do pick someone up, it might have to wait a little while. Any moves coming soon will probably be for B-list offensive defencemen.

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