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McKenzie: All the gabbin' about Gaborik

TSN.ca Talent Blog
11/18/2008 6:20:47 PM
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Over the course of any day or week in this business, you hear a lot of really crazy things.

So you check them out to see if there may even be a sliver of truth to them and, more often than not, you find nothing, forget you even heard the rumor and move on.

Which is probably what I should do with this latest one about Marian Gaborik.

There is a rumor out there that the Minnesota Wild are on the verge of trading Gaborik. As in any hour or day now, it's that close.

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be a reach.

Gaborik, after all, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Gaborik, thus far, has rejected all contract offers from the Wild and it doesn't look like he's about to put pen to paper in the Twin Cities any time soon.

So, for awhile there, earlier this season, it was fully expected that Gaborik would be traded. And I don't think any of us will be surprised if he's traded later this season sometime. When he's healthy.

But the reality is Gaborik hasn't played an NHL game since Oct. 14, the Wild's second game of the season, sidelined with the mysterious “lower-body” ailment, which for the finely-tuned Slovakian speedster means he's continuing to have issues with his musculature (quads, hamstrings, adductors, glutes, take your pick) somewhere above the knees but below the abdomen.

One would logically think being out that long, with no sign of him coming back to the Wild lineup in the immediate future, would be a major impediment, if not a total roadblock, to being traded at this time.

But I suppose stranger things have happened, although I'm not sure I could come up with a very long list, to be honest.

So I probably should have just stowed this one away and never let it see the light of day, but sometimes, for inexplicable reasons, you get a hunch or a feel or have enough credence in where or how you heard the rumor that you just throw it out there anyway.

So there it is. This one comes with enough disclaimers that if it doesn't happen, I'll disavow I even wrote this and tell you some cyberspace hockey geek hacked into TSN.ca, wrote this story and stole my identity. Of course, if Gaborik gets traded this week, I'll tell one and all how smart and prescient I am. That's how the rumor guys work it, don't they?

The other disconcerting thing about this rumor, and the likelihood of it coming to pass, or not, is that there are precious few NHL teams who appear to have even a scintilla of interest in Gaborik.

The injury issue is self explanatory.

Gaborik will be UFA at season's end and it's going to be a costly signing.

One would think the Wild would want to get an appreciable package in return for a guy who is supposed to be their franchise player, although maybe the relative success the Wild have enjoyed sans Gaborik have convinced them they can afford to make a little softer futures deal than they otherwise would have, realizing that for every game Gaborik doesn't play, his long-term trade value diminishes.

If Gaborik were healthy and playing right now, I am sure the list of interested teams would grow considerably. He's a dynamic offensive talent, a game breaker, but as long as he's in the press box watching games, he's much more of a heartbreaker.

Really, is there one team out there that would trade for him now, in his current condition?

Montreal maybe? It always seems to keep coming back to the Canadiens on Gaborik, but when the Habs and Gabs were first linked, Montreal GM Bob Gainey did an effective job of shooting the rumors down. As for most of the rest of the teams, I've got either outright denials of interest from them or it just doesn't make any sense on any level that they would be trading for a player in that salary snack bracket.

Of course, we should mention that Wild GM Doug Risebrough was scheduled to attend last night's Ottawa Senators-New York Ranger game in Manhattan, although he apparently never made it. For what that is worth.

Ottawa couldn't be that desperate to make a move, could they?

Apparently not, I am led to believe Minnesota and Ottawa have not been talking trade at all.

So here's what we are left with - one Marian Gaborik trade rumor; not much, if anything, to sustain it. But here it is anyway, in all its glory - against my better judgment - thrown up against the wall to see if it will stick.

Bob McKenzie

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