With the NHL’s Wednesday 3 P.M. ET trade deadline fast approaching, the rumor mill is cranking full time and bodies are starting to fly. Here’s what we are finding through various sources in social media. We’ll update the page throughout the day as more grist flows in. For now, though, some updates on notable names that have been in the news of late. And we have some early deals and at least one stunner:
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Anyone who has heard Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito on Sirius/XM’s NHL Network Radio knows that he’s willing to work a little blue on occasion to make a point. It’s all part of his rough-hewed charm.
But earlier this week, Espo found an online outlet that offered him the leeway to express himself in a less guarded fashion. And the results are certainly soiled, if not solid, gold.
Asked for his take on the reports that Martin St. Louis will be traded to the Rangers, the former Lightning GM, who’s now an on-air Tampa Bay analyst, let loose with an expletive-filled rant, ripping the source of the rumor — New York Post writer Larry Brooks — before admitting that there might be some basis to the story. St. Louis had reportedly requested the trade after being snubbed for the Olympic by Team Canada and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. What Esposito’s screed lacks in adherence to the Socratic Method, it makes up for with frothing vitriol.
WARNING: Esposito’s oratory is wildly not safe for work or small children or nursing mothers. But it is pretty amusing. Listen here if you dare.
It was just two days ago that Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis told reporters that he was approaching next week’s trade deadline as a buyer, with an eye on adding a player to complement second-line center Ryan Kesler.
Now he may have to put the Team USA star up for auction instead.
Jean, a reporter with Canada’s French-language TVA network, tweeted shortly afterward that it might be tough to move Kesler before the deadline and that a deal might be easier to construct around the NHL Draft in June.
I am hearing that it is not likely that Ryan Miller will be traded by the Deadline and Sabres are turning attention towards re signing him.—
Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) February 25, 2014
By Allan Muir
A well-known NHL agent says that the Sabres have decided not to trade goalie Ryan Miller and instead will focus on re-signing the pending free agent.
Brian Lawton, the former general manager of the Lightning, passed that rumor along early this morning via his Twitter account.
The Kings have established themselves as one of the toughest, stingiest teams in the league, but with just 12 goals in their last 10 games, they have a pretty clearly defined need heading into the March 5 trade deadline.
Prior to the Olympic break, it seemed as though they’d found a potential partner in the Oilers, a team that was willing to deal skilled center Sam Gagner for a package of young talent.
But a report out of Los Angeles suggests that the Kings’ ardor for Gagner, a former first rounder, has cooled. “Things always have a way of changing, but it now appears doubtful that the Kings will resume their pursuit of Gagner,” Lisa Dillman writes.
The Washington Capitals have another disgruntled player on their hands.
After being recalled from the AHL five times this month without once seeing NHL action, defenseman Dmitry Orlov is demanding a trade.
“It’s becoming increasingly hard for Dmitry to continue with this shuttle without any hope of playing a game,” Orlov’s agent, Mark Gandler, told Katie Carerra of The Washington Post. “The coach can’t see him in the lineup. He’s been around. Everybody knows what he can bring, there’s no question marks here. I think that the team can get something for him at this point and move forward. I think that would be the best solution for everybody.”
Martin Erat wants out of Washington. The question is, does anybody else want him?
Erat, who was acquired from Nashville at last season’s trade deadline to bolster the Capitals’ offense, has been a failure. In his 13 games after the deal, he recorded one goal and two assists and rarely made much of an impression. He started this season on the fourth line, but injuries to other players allowed him to play a top-six role for much of the past month. His production remained dismal–just six assists despite the increased role–leading to him being scratched on Saturday.
He made it clear following today’s practice that the scratch was the last straw.
By Allan Muir
Jason Pominville got while the gettin’ was good.
At least, that seems to be the way Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller are looking at the deal that sent their captain to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, leaving them to bail water for the final 11 games of the season in Buffalo.
John Vogl of the Buffalo News wrote this afternoon that the two stars plan to speak with Sabres GM Darcy Regier about his plans for the franchise moving forward.
That doesn’t sound like code for, “We’re so thrilled to be part of this that we can’t wait to sign long-term extensions.”
Both players were diplomatic, but blunt about their futures.
The latest trade news and rumors. Check back for daily updates. And on deadline day itself, track all the latest updates with our live blog.
By Allan Muir
Davis Drewiske: Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the Canadiens have acquired the young defender from the Kings for a 2013 fifth-round pick. Solid depth move for Montreal.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Chris Johnston of Sportsnet says the Leafs are still in hot pursuit of Miikka Kiprusoff and also are in the market for a defender.
Boston Bruins: An NHL source told SI.com that Peter Chiarelli is still in shopping mode. “He’s looking for a defenseman for sure, possibly another bottom-six forward.”
Ryane Clowe: With Jaromir Jagr going to Boston, it’s thought the Bruins are out of the running for Clowe. Several sources put the Rangers as the favorites to acquire the scoreless winger from San Jose.
Nate Schmidt: Not a trade, but multiple sources reporting the Caps have signed the offensive-minded defender that most ranked as the second-best of this season’s NCAA free agent class.
Jaromir Jagr: Mike Heika reports a done deal. Jagr to Boston for two prospects and a pick. Details to come.
Derek Roy: Multiple sources have the Stars dealing the veteran center to Vancouver for a second rounder and a prospect. More to come.
Jaromir Jagr: Renaud Lavoie of RDS reports the Stars have told Jagr he will be dealt today. Frontrunners appear to be Boston and Montreal.
Marc-Andre Bergeron: Renaud Lavoie of RDS says defender Marc-Andre Bergeron is not on the ice at morning skate and should be traded today. Bergeron is useful as a power-play specialist, but not much else. UPDATE: Bergeron has been dealt to Carolina for the previously waived Adam Hall and a seventh-round pick.
Miikka Kiprusoff: Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun reports the Leafs have been given permission by the Flames to speak with Kipper in an effort to convince him to come to Toronto.
By Allan Muir
In theory, things could get worse for Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. Jonathan Huberdeau could decide that the shootout’s not really his thing anymore. Alexei Kovalev could have signed a five-year deal. Those freaking quarter-sized mosquitoes could set up shop around the ticket windows at the BB&T Center.
The way things are going for Tallon this season, it’s just a matter of time before the next little black cloud appears over the head of hockey’s answer to Bad Luck Schleprock.
Tallon took another kick in the pants today when he learned that speedy forward Kris Versteeg would need season-ending knee surgery following an awkward collision with Tampa Bay defender Radko Gudas on March 12. Versteeg, who had just returned after missing 13 games with a chest injury, was expected to be shipped off at the trade deadline in exchange for some much-needed futures.
Unlike unrestricted free agents Stephen Weiss and Jose Theodore, Versteeg is under contract for three more seasons, so he won’t walk for nothing this summer. But this was considered the window that would allow the Panthers to maximize the return on the veteran winger, and with Florida’s other key chips off the table, Versteeg was Tallon’s last chance to make a splash before the deadline.
It’s another tough break for a team that’s had more than its share this season.