Latest NHL Rumblings
Will Ruutu be back on the block?: In the next 24-48 hours, GM’s around the league will know whether the Carolina Hurricanes intend to deal forward Tuomo Ruutu. Sources say the Hurricanes have a four year offer on the table, believed to be in the $15-$18 million range. Ruutu has been seeking a five year deal but there has been optimism that the two sides will reach an agreement today.
However, if talks surprisingly break off, Ruutu will be back in play by Thursday at the latest.
Ruutu an impending unrestricted free agent is not due back until the second week of March, which could limit his suitors to teams like the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Boston Bruins who are in comfortable positions where they can wait for Ruutu to get healthy.
Previously 8-10 teams were showing strong interest before GM Jim Rutherford took Ruutu off the market a few ago.
As for the Penguins: A few weeks ago team sources told Inside Pittsburgh Sports that the team did not expect to be in the bidding for Ruutu.
However, one reason not to rule them out now with the possibility of the market for Ruutu being a little bit limited, is league sources say the Canes prefer NHL ready prospects who could make an impact for next season.
Talk among scouts is Pittsburgh has four attractive players in defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait and forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi where just maybe they could enter the mix.
More Canes Buzz:
— Talk around the league is that GM Jim Rutherford is unlikely to move defenseman Bryan Allen and the Hurricanes fully expect to move veteran Jaroslav Spacek.
RANGERS HAVE CHECKED INTO GARRISON: The New York Rangers have been linked to big names left and right but an NHL source says one off the radar player they are said to have significant interest in is Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison who is currently out with an ankle injury. The 27 year old has 13 goals, 23 points and a +6 rating in 54 games, averaging 23:34 of ice time.
Where the Rangers eye Garrison is on the power play where he has 8 power play goals. New York ranks 27th in the NHL at 13.9% and eyes a power play pointman.
Will the Panthers consider moving Garrison? He’s an unrestricted free agent at seasons end and is currently making just $700,000 but some feel due to Garrison expected to command over $3 million per season, the Panthers will listen to offers, despite being in first place. The price will be steep.
SHARKS A SUITOR FOR NASH: Darren Dreger of TSN reports, the San Jose Sharks have emerged as a strong suitor for Rick Nash. Dreger reports, “Columbus initially targeted Logan Couture, but was quickly told that was a non-starter. The Sharks though expect to remain in the mix leading up to Monday’s deadline.
Philadelphia’s pursuit of Nash is said to have cooled for now, while Los Angeles, Toronto and the New York Rangers continue to show interest.
Blue Jackets senior advisor Craig Patrick attended last night’s Rangers – Penguins game and he wasn’t there scouting the Penguins.
— Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier informed GM’s over the weekend that he won’t be trading Travis Moen at the trade deadline as the Canadiens intend to resign him. Moen is seeking a three to four year deal.
— The Coyotes 8-1-1 stretch is expected to keep Ray Whitney off the trade block. That will be disappointing news to the likes of Boston, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks.
— The Anaheim Ducks suffered a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. They are six points out of a playoff spot and with only two games before Monday’s trade deadline, it’s not clear if these next two games will mean much to their deadline plans. If Teemu Selanne becomes available at the last minute, the Ducks will be a seeking a ransom for the star forward who would dictate his destination. It will be his call whether he gets moved. Boston, San Jose, New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings have been monitoring Selanne’s situation for weeks.
— Speaking of the Tampa Bay Lightning, they have won three straight and are just five points out of a playoff spot. Despite building for the future with some recent moves, there are some very vulnerable teams in front of them vying for that No. 8 spot, so don’t rule them out adding to this years group.
— Blue Jackets center Jeff Carter scored his second hat trick of the season in front of nine scouts last night. The market for him is expected to pick up in the next couple days. A number of teams are interest but many are leery about bringing Carter on board. Los Angeles and Calgary are considered two of the top suitors for Jeff Carter.
— The Dallas Stars are open for business, despite being just two points out of a playoff spot. Role player Adam Burish is drawing interest from contenders and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reported yesterday that the Stars are believed to be listening to offers for Steve Ott and Mike Ribero on potential “hockey trades”.
Ott is signed through the 2013-2014 season and has a cap hit of $2.95 million. Ribero is signed through 2012-2013 season, carrying a $5 million cap hit. He’s the highest paid player on the team.