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A: Jeff, I'm a believer in the theory there are almost no untouchable players in the NHL. Now you can make a strong case to debunk all the wild trade rumors targeting each team's stars, but the truth is just about every player has a price. Until recently, it was easy to dismiss Rick Nash trade speculation based on his status and importance to the Columbus Blue Jackets. But once again, Columbus has reached a crisis point and the return the organization will have to have to trade him offsets the obvious shock and awe created by the reality Nash is available.
That said, Chicago is nowhere near as desperate and while for some, it's plausible to link the Blackhawks' and the Sabres' turmoil this season. I don't believe this is anything more than just imaginative speculation. Miller-for-Kane is an old rumour recycled because of each team's struggles and Kane's connection to hometown Buffalo, while Miller has been dogged by trade rumours through much of the regular season. Nothing new there. Aside from the odd creative blog, tweet or online chat, Kane's name is never mentioned as a trade option. Never.
A: Hi Jay - I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest both could be in play if the right deal comes along. I'm not sure Omark is a long-term fit in Edmonton, while Paajarvi appears too similar to what the Oilers already have. But dealing young players is a gamble and ordinarily doesn't happen unless the team moving said player(s) fits a specific need. Sam Gagner has earned a ton of attention of late for his remarkable offensive run, but just prior to his historic eight-point night, it was widely believed Gagner was among a group of players the Oilers would be willing to move for a defenceman. This is what other NHL teams suggested, as Gagner's name had surfaced in trade discussions. Now the Oilers refute his availability, but to fulfill an obvious need - a Top 4 D-man - the Oilers will have to part with a young roster player as part of the package.
Do you think a goaltender absolutely has to be a part of any trade proposal for Rick Nash?
A: Erin - No, I don't think the Blue Jackets are 100 percent locked on acquiring a goalie as part of the deal. Columbus wants at least four pieces, but seem willing to consider all options. We believe L.A. Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier will be included if the Kings manage to get a deal done, while the New York Rangers are more likely to throw in a young forward, young defenceman, a quality prospect and a draft pick to lure the big man. Some teams who believe they are in the mix are growing frustrated because they're not getting a clear indication from the Blue Jackets as to what it will take to move the process along.
For those who feel that way, perhaps they're not as close to being in contention for Nash as they might wish. This is such a mammoth trade - in terms of impact on the Blue Jackets and the city of Columbus - and the complexity of establishing Nash's trade value even to the fortunate few believed to be involved, that time is a huge issue. Ten days may not be enough to swing a deal that will impact this team for years to come.
How credible would the notion be for the Blues to part with Jaroslav Halak, now that Elliott has establshed himself (somewhat)? This would allow the Blues to pick up a shooter/scorer to help in in the playoffs or is too much goaltending is always a good thing?
A: Jack, with Ben Bishop waiting and developing in the wings, it's conceivable St Louis is willing to move a goalie - but Bishop seems to be the more likely trade target. Both Halak and Elliott have proven to be quality netminders and if you look around the league at the contending teams, a number of them rely heavily on a goalie tandem. St. Louis isn't any different and while it's possible a deal such as this may occur down the road, the Blues' focus right now is on the postseason and they will need both Halak and Elliott to go deep.
Are there any updates on the status of Mikhail Grabovski and a possible contract for him? Is he a tradeable asset if he can't come to terms with the Leafs?
A: Bill, we touched on Mikhail Grabovski Thursday night in our Insider Trading segment. The Maple Leafs maintain it is their preference to re-sign Grabovski and recognize his value in the $4 million to 5 million per year range. But as part of any negotiation involving a pending unrestricted free agent, you must weigh the options. If the Leafs can land the big forward Brian Burke states he wants, perhaps Grabosvki's demands become too expensive and the team seriously considers the trade offers they have received for the talented centre. Burke knows he can get a second-round pick and a prospect for Grabovski and is confident he can talk the second-round pick into a first-rounder with very little effort. That said, the Leafs brass is well aware and appreciative of Grabovski's contributions and knows his value in the quest to make the playoffs outweighs a draft pick and another player who can't help the team now. It's hard to imagine Toronto trading Grabovski unless he's part of a bigger deal. Grabovski wants to stay in Toronto and regardless of where the contract negotiation stands on the 27th, I would be surprised if he is moved.