Since the trade deadline is fast approaching, this week's Backchecking will get straight to the latest rumours.
Who's on the block?
- While reports out of Colorado seem to refute Ryan Smyth trade rumours, the Ottawa Sun says that the Canadiens are investigating the possibility of acquiring Smyth.
- Other Avs players getting a lot of play in the rumour mill include D Jordan Leopold and RW Ian Laperriere.
- As it seems with every deadline day, Coyotes C Olli Jokinen is again rumoured to be on the move, with the Calgary Sun noting that, naturally, Mike Keenan's Flames are a potential destination, while the Globe and Mail questions whether the Flames would be able to handle Jokinen's contract ($5.25-million) for next season.
- The Buffalo News indicates that the Sabres may have to seriously consider a Tim Connolly trade and figures that the Columbus Blue Jackets should be interested in pairing Connolly with star winger Rick Nash and sending Rostislav Klesla to Buffalo.
- Even if a deal seems less likely with Florida in playoff position, the Panthers reportedly will consider offers for D Jay Bouwmeester, but would require more than just prospects and picks to make such a deal. The Buffalo News says that the asking price is a top-four defenceman and a veteran forward that can be sold to the Florida fan base (and help the Panthers make the playoffs this season).
- The Orange County Register discusses some possible Ducks deals, noting that the Capitals, Blackhawks, Bruins and Flyers could be interested in Chris Pronger, but that each suitor would likely have to swallow hard before including some of their top young talent in return. TSN's Bob McKenzie has the Devils, Bruins, Flames and Sharks monitoring the Pronger situation closely.
- Reports out of Philadelphia indicate that the Flyers may be willing to swap top prospect James van Riemsdyk for Thrashers G Kari Lehtonen. If the deal was actually on the table, the Thrashers would surely have to jump on it.
- The Ottawa Citizen expects the Senators to have a market to deal D Filip Kuba and RW Chris Neil.
- The Calgary Sun wonders if the Flames would be interested in Predators RW Steve Sullivan. Now that's back to scoring goals, Sullivan could provide a nice boost to second-line scoring.
- According to the Ottawa Sun, the Thrashers are shopping both Niclas Havelid and Ron Hainsey.
- The Globe and Mail says that the Maple Leafs' asking price for Nik Antropov is a first-round pick.
- According to the Delaware County Times, Flyers RW Joffrey Lupul continues to be mentioned in trade rumours, particularly as the Flyers try to create enough cap room in order to fit Daniel Briere back into the lineup.
- Some of the more interesting and different names included by the Ottawa Sun as "available" before the deadline include: Stars winger Jere Lehtinen, Kings LW Alexander Frolov, Thrashers RW Colby Armstrong, Thrashers G Kari Lehtonen, Flames C Matthew Lombardi, Bruins RW Michael Ryder (really?), Hurricanes D Joe Corvo, Penguins RW Miroslav Satan, Canucks D Kevin Bieksa and Capitals D Shaone Morrisonn.
- The Arlington Heights Daily Herald Times notes that the Blackhawks are likely just looking for a solid checking centre at the deadline and there are several who could be available, including Jeff Halpern, Dominic Moore and Samuel Pahlsson.
- According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Oilers aren't going to move RW Erik Cole at the trade deadline. A curious decision, if it's true.
- The Globe and Mail notes that Canadiens RW Alex Kovalev interests the Oilers and Blue Jackets.
- According to the New York Daily News, the Islanders are listening to offers for RW Bill Guerin, D Radek Martinek and D Brendan Witt.
- The Ottawa Sun notes that Christoph Schubert is likely to be moved and names the Oilers and Lightning as potential destinations.
- The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests that Penguins C Jordan Staal could be the next core player to be moved from Pittsburgh, if not by the trade deadline then in the summer, if the on-ice results don't improve.
- According to the Vancouver Province, the Canucks won't make a major move before the deadline unless they suffer an injury in the meantime.
- Red Wings GM Ken Holland tells the Detroit News that he won't be making a move for a goaltender before the deadline.
- The Columbus Dispatch reports that there is some interest in Blue Jackets G Pascal Leclaire, even as he's recovering from ankle surgery, listing Ottawa, Colorado, St. Louis and Atlanta as potentially interested parties.
Recent Notable Healthy Scratches
T.J. Hensick, C, Colorado; Mark Recchi, RW, Tampa Bay; Kristopher Letang, D, Pittsburgh; Marek Svatos, RW, Colorado; Michael Nylander, C, Washington.
Jaroslav Halak, G, Montreal (3-1, 2.34 GAA, .941 SVPCT in last 4 GP)
Anton Babchuk, D, Carolina (3-2-5, plus-4 in last 5 GP)
Cory Sarich, D, Calgary (1-4-5, plus-2 in last 5 GP)
Tomas Plekanec, C, Montreal (5-4-9, plus-3 in last 5 GP)
Vyacheslav Kozlov, LW, Atlanta (0-6-6, plus-1 in last 6 GP)
Alexandre Burrows, LW, Vancouver (2-5-7, plus-5 in last 5 GP)
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G, Anaheim (2-3, 4.42 GAA, .870 SVPCT in last 5 GP)
Marc Staal, D, N.Y. Rangers (0-1-1, minus-10 in last 13 GP)
Matt Niskanen, D, Dallas (0-0-0, minus-6 in last 6 GP)
James Neal, LW, Dallas (0-0-0, minus-2 in last 5 GP)
Nikolai Zherdev, RW, N.Y. Rangers (0-1-1, even in last 6 GP)
Milan Lucic, LW, Boston (0-3-3, minus-2 in last 7 GP)
"I wasn't as smooth as he is." - Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, on Oilers RW Ales Hemsky.
"I'll always have a great feeling for Toronto and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Maple Leaf fans. I spent 13 years there and there are so many great memories from playoff runs and great games and great atmosphere at the Air Canada Centre. That's always going to be with me, and nothing's going to be able to change that." - Canucks C Mats Sundin.
"The ovation from the fans was very special. I'll remember that the rest of my life." - More Sundin, on his reception in Toronto.
"It's highly unlikely Tomas is going anywhere. I've said that a number of times." - Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, on Tomas Kaberle.
"We're not going to trade Vinny Lecavalier. I'm going to say, 'never,' so I don't have to deal with it." - Lightning GM Brian Lawton.
"I'm going to have to buy some shorts." - D Ryan Whitney, after being traded to Anaheim.
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Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca