Inside Pittsburgh Sports NHL Rumor Mill
Plan A – Adding Elite Winger Upfront
Plan B – Adding grit upfront, and top four defenseman
The Penguins are strongly considering two options right now. One is putting all of eggs into one basket and landing a top tier winger upfront with a cap hit likely in the range of $5-$7 million range. Plan B is going after a defenseman like Derek Morris who is at the top of their wishlist to shore up their blueline and adding some grit upfront like a Chris Neil. Therefore addressing the winger issue at the draft or free agency. Right there primary focus is on plan A.
Predators GM David Poile “quietly” exploring the market for Martin Erat before his NTC comes into play on July 1, 2009.
Sources have confirmed the Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche have held discussions in the past week with the Pittsburgh Penguins about forward Jordan Staal. Talks with Nashville have been on-going¬†with the Penguins highly interested in Martin Erat and Dan Hamhuis. Under new head coach Dan Bylsma, Shero is seeking an uptempo system and wants to acquire players with speed,
Nashville – Penguins eyeing Forward Martin Erat, and defenseman¬†Dan Hamhuis ¬†
Ottawa – Penguins eyeing Dany Heatley, Chris Neil or Shean Donovan
Colorado – Pittsburgh has inquired about forwards RW Milan Hejduk, F Wojtek Wolski, & Darcy Tucker
Tampa Bay and Toronto have also approached the Penguins about Staal. The Penguins have no interest in moving Jordan Staal for Marty St. Louis but talks are on-going with the¬†Lightning with the Penguins dangling Ryan Whitney as their primary asset. There also appears to be no truth to the rumor that Shero was close to trading Staal for Nik Antropov for a high draft pick.
Interested: Buffalo, MTL, DAL, COL, TB, ANA
With the Montreal Canadiens scouting the Penguins extensively the past couple weeks, I’ve been waiting on confirmation for the past couple days whether the Canadiens are interested in Ryan Whitney. From what I’ve been able to gather, the Canadiens are indeed interested in Whitney and it is believed the Canadiens have had internal discussions about making a play for Whitney as some in the organization see him as more of a long-term fit than Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle or Yotes defenseman Derek Morris ( two players the Habs are pursuing). More on speculation about what the Habs may be willing to give up in my Penguins report later in the evening.
A well placed source indicates, teams are offering low for Ryan Whitney to this point. The Buffalo Sabres who have shown interest in Whitney since last summer have approached the Penguins with a package that would include Maxim Afinogenov & 3rd round pick to Pittsburgh for Ryan Whitney. Afinogenov who is currently sidelined has a cap hit $3.3 million and his contract expires following the season. Pittsburgh I’m told¬†has minimal interest in Afinogenov but the Penguins have interest in Ales Kotalik and have looked at Tim Connolly who the Sabres are dangling. Both players are free agents following the season.
The San Jose Sharks were in the building Wednesday evening marking the 3rd time the Sharks have been at Mellon Arena since the New Year.
Prior to the All-Star break the Penguins had scouts in San Jose twice since January 1, including two scouts at the Sharks – Canucks game on Janaury 20, 2009. This has sparked speculation throughout the media that the two sides could be working on a deal. Winger Jonthan Cheechoo is a popular name to pop up as the inconsistent winger has dropped to the Sharks third line but don’t get your hopes up of the Penguins landing Cheechoo. A team offical indicates both teams are just going through their normal scouting rounds although the Sharks are in the market for a depth defenseman. The Penguins are actively shopping Hal Gill, Mark Eaton and Philippe Boucher. The Sharks are not likely to move Cheechoo until the draft.
Suitors: EDM, SJ, BOS, ANA, PHX, PIT, VAN, CAL
Senators forward Chris Neil is drawing interest from 6-8 teams including the Penguins. Neil recently told the Ottawa Citizen he’d like to stay put but he understands he could be traded and Neil stated “It’s definitely flattering, other teams showing interest in you, especially with the frustrating season we’ve had so far.” The asking price is believed to be a 2nd/3rd round pick & prospect.
Just got a text from a source who just arrived at the arena. He tells me San Jose, Philadelphia, Toronto, Edmoton, Minnesota, Montreal and the New York Islanders will have scouts in attendance tonight as¬†there are seats¬†reserved for them in the press box tonight. The Islanders also attended last night’s game between the Penguins and Canadiens. ¬†
Any fans hoping to see Luca Caputi play on the Penguins top two lines, won’t get to see that when the puck drops tonight in Montreal. The Penguins just took the ice at 11:30 a.m. in Montreal and Caputi is skating Bill Thomas and Eric Godard.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned forward Paul Bissonnette to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL)
The Ottawa Senators have made a coaching change. Unable to turn around a team that reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2007, Hartsburg was fired as coach Monday just 48 games into a season in which the Senators have the NHL’s third worst record. Hartsburgh was a questionable hire from the begining and the Senators have more issues than just coaching. A flawed team that needs to upgrade it’s blueline and goaltending
Scouts alert: The Columbus Blue Jackets had three scouts in attendence during the Penguins/Rangers game. The Penguins recently had two scouts at the Blue Jackets-Avalanche game a few¬†weeks ago. Dallas, Colorado, Tampa Bay and La Kings also each had one scout in attendence. Pittsburgh has been looking at Milan Hejduk, Marty St. Louis, and Alexander Frolov. The Kings were looking at Ryan Whitney tonight according to multiple sources.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, as of this evening the Penguins were considering Luca Caputi and Chris Minard as potential call-up’s. The suspension to¬†forward Matt¬†Cooke¬†caught the Penguins off-guard. In the past few weeks, management has discussed¬†calling up¬†Caputi in the same the kind of structured role they did with Alex Goligoski who appeared in two games during the second half of the 2007-2008 season. With Matt Cooke out for two games, this is the perfect scenario for Caputi to get some NHL action. Assistant GM Chuck Fletcher will make the call on Caputi. Another scenario we hopefully don’t see is using seven defenseman in tomorrow’s game.¬†More to come after tomorrow’s morning skate which begins at 10:30 a.m. –Staff
League¬†hits Matt Cooke with suspension
The National Hockey League has announced Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke has been suspended for two games, without pay, as a result of a blow delivered to the head of Carolina forward Scott Walker. Cooke was assessed a minor penalty for interference against Scott Walker at 12:58 of the first period. Walker left the game and did not return. Cooke did practice with the team on Monday and Tuesday. Cooke will be elgible to return to the lineup on Saturday Janury 31st against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi who missed practice on Monday due to an illness is back on the ice today as the Penguins took the ice at 11:00 a.m. Scuderi will play against¬†the Rangers on Wednesday.
Andy Strickland who is the most reliable reporter on Hockeybuzz.com reports the Bruins, Rangers, Capitals, Possibly Pittsburgh (depending on where they are in the standings), ¬†Detroit, and San Jose are among the six teams that Blues forward¬†Keith Tkachuk would approve a trade to at this time.¬†A source close to the team told me a few weeks that the Penguins
have never shown interest in Keith Tkachuk since Ray Shero told the helm in 2006.¬†Pittsburgh¬†does have¬†an¬†interest¬†in Tkachuk’s former teammate Bill Guerin. Guerin also has a no trade clause but would approve¬†a trade to Pittsburgh according to sources. Boston, Chicago, NYR, Philadelphia¬†are also on his list.¬†Guerin¬†has drawn interest¬†from Chicago, Boston,¬†Carolina, Nashville¬†and Calgary.¬†
Penguins¬†defenseman Brooks Orpik missed practice on Monday but was in the facility working out off the ice and it is expected that Orpik will be ready¬†to return by the weekend. Orpik has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game by head coach Michel Therrien.¬†¬†
The Latest on Nathan Horton — There has been a ton of speculation regarding the Penguins pursuing Nathan Horton. A source tells me Florida has heavily scouted Jordan Staal and Panthers GM Jacques Martin who has a close relationship with Ray Shero, approached Shero on what he would want in return. Shero has no interest in a straight swap. Shero values Staal very highly and Shero wants more than just Horton for Staal. The Florida Panthers have also been scouting Alex Goligoski and it’s believed Martin has also inquired about what Shero would want for Goligoski. To this point both teams have had discussions but nothing more than preliminary talks and a straight swap will not happen.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have made no secret of it that they are willing to move forward Marty St. Louis and have been shopping St.Louis around the league. Sources indicate GM Brian Lawton has had discussions with five teams including the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota Wild. Pittsburgh remains on the¬†fence regarding St.Louis but the Bolts are highly interested in Alex Goligoski and Luca Caputi according to league sources. Right now the asking price appears to be two top tier prospects/1st pick/roster player. A steep price for a 33 year old winger but the Bolts asking price may come down as the deadline approaches.
The Phoenix Coyotes are currently in 6th place in the Western Conference but the Coyotes are in deep financial trouble with losses expected to be in the $30 million range. The league has taken over all financial responsibilities including any player transactions have to¬†be approved by the¬†league. The Ottawa Sun claims Players such as D’s Ed Jovanovski and Derek Morris and C Olli Jokinen could be moved at the trade deadline. The Penguins had interest¬†in Jokinen at the trade deadline with the idea of him playing left wing. If¬†goes on the block, Pittsburgh would be interested according to sources.
Red Wings C Henrik Zetterberg is close to signing a long-term contract extension, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Paper indicates the deal is believed to be a 10 year deal worth $70-$75 million. If the Wings lock up Zetterberg they will begin turning their focus to Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen.¬†¬†
Florida Panthers GM Jacques Martin was in attendence today scouting the Penguins/Capitals game. The buzz surrounding Martin scouting tonight’s game is the Panthers have been scouting Capitals forward Michael Nylander the past few weeks. It’s believed Nylander was among the players Martin was targeting in Wednesday’s scouting trip.
The NHL and Entertainment and Sports Programming Network are in talks about the NHL’s possible return to ESPN television. The two sides have remained in discussions for the past couple months as their is immense pressure from the Players Association to return to ESPN. ESPN has stepped up their NHL coverage this season and sources I’ve talked to are confident that by the 2010-2011 season (at the latest), the NHL will be back on ESPN. ESPN is seeking exclusive rights to the Stanley Cup Finals.¬†The players union would like to see the NHL develop the kind of television structure that the NBA has. The NHL would like Versus to¬†remain in the same current¬†format.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports the LA Kings are making a pitch for Penguins offensive defenseman Alex Goligoski. Goligoski a scratch in three of the Penguins last four games has been at the forefront of trade discussions. The two teams have discussed
a trade that would involve Alex Goligoski/ Miroslav Satan going to LA for Alexander Frolov/Kyle Calder but I’m unsure of how¬†interested Pittsburgh is¬†in Calder and talks have hit a bit of a snag as the Kings also have their eye on Tyler Kennedy. The Penguins do not want to move Kennedy in this deal but to land Frolov the Penguins¬†are going to have to sweeten the pot, whether it be Kennedy or a prospect. Sources expect Shero and Kings GM Dean Lombardi to pick up talks at the All-Star break and Shero will be driving up the market price for Goligoski. The Ottawa Sun reports the Kings have also inquired about Leafs puck moving defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle is unlikely to waive his NTC to LA.
The Boston Globe reports the Bruins have interest in Blues F Keith Tkachuk. The 36-year-old veteran Tkachuk is in the final year of his contract that will pay him $4.5M this season. The Rangers, Devils, Flames and Canucks are expected to make a pitch for Tkachuk.
The Coyotes are expected to lose $30 million or more this season, on top of the more than $60 million they are reported to have lost the past two years. This is despite ticket sales which are up by a reported 90,000 tickets from a year ago. Last week, the team laid off 18 members of its staff, about 10 percent of the workforce. Source: ESPN.com
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned forward Tim Wallace.
TSN is reporting Brendan Shanahan¬†is joining the New Jersey Devils, but has yet to agree to terms on a contract and it isn’t clear at this point when that will happen or when he will be ready to play a game with them. Three other Eastern Conference teams believed to be the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals showed some kind of interest in Shanahan. Pittsburgh never showed interest.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, the Penguins have a plan if they decide to make a coaching change during the season.
They have not decided to go that route yet regardless of the outcome tomorrow afternoon but Thursday‚Äôs game didn‚Äôt bode well for the coaching staff and it‚Äôs believed Shero wants to see how the Penguins respond during the rest of this road trip. I received an interesting email tonight from one of my most reliable sources. He says the coach the Penguins bring in must have an upbeat system.
Pat Quinn is not a good fit then. I was told not to rule him out but he is not at the top of Ray Shero‚Äôs radar. To this point there has been no discussions with Quinn‚Äôs reps.The vibe I get is If Quinn is brought in it would be coming from ownership as a short term fix. Former Tampa Bay Lightning‚Äôs coach John Totorella has received some consideration. Shero talks regularly with former Lightning GM Jay Feaster and Tortorella fits the style Shero is seeking.
My sources are being very mum on the AHL coaches that have been discussed. Two rising coaches in the AHL are on the Penguins radar. Many expect Shero will grab a rising star if he makes a change. Other considerations going on right now is replacing only Mike¬†Yeo and¬†keeping the rest of the coaching staff in tact.¬†This seems unlikely but it’s been discussed.¬†The Penguins power play ranks 19th in the league.¬†More to come tomorrow.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports that Ray Shero and Jacques Martin have had discussions in the past week about Nathan Horton, David Booth and Cory Stillman. It has been confirmed that Horton went to management in November about his displeasure with the team but Martin has made it known around the league that he will only move Horton for a equal return. Pittsburgh really likes David Booth but the Panthers have no intention of moving him. So take him off of your wishlist. The Penguins also inquired about Cory Stillman and a source confirms they are interested in Stillman for the right price. They could use a veteran presence like Stillman. Florida does have interest in Alex Goligoski and Jordan Staal according to sources.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed Jordan Staal to a four year deal worth $16 million. The deal will pay Staal $3.5 million in the first two years of the deal and $4.5 million in the final two years of the deal
Ray Shero and Jordan Staal‚Äôs agent Paul Krepelka continue to have discussions about an extension for center Jordan Staal who will be a RFA following the season. Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, that the Penguins are currently working off of two deals. A¬†three year offer deal worth $19 million and a¬†four year offer worth $14.05 million. Despite the Penguins plummeting in the standings, all indications are Ray Shero‚Äôs focus is on re-signing Jordan Staal. Talks remain positive despite the trade speculation but I‚Äôm hearing ownership wants Shero to explore the market for Jordan Staal. A report in the Tribune-Review indicated that there may be an end of January deadline for the Penguins to sign Staal. Staal has countered the Penguins two offers but it is unknown what the exact figures are. Earlier reports have indicated Staal is believed to be seeking closer to $3.5 – $4 million per season.
A source with close connections to Penguins management told me that the front office is considering all options – from doing nothing to replacing Michel Therrien.¬†Therrien is safe for now but¬†the team has discussed who they would bring in to replace Therrien if the Penguins don’t turn it around in the next couple weeks. From what I’ve been able to gather, ownership does not want to make a coaching change and see’s the issue with this team as more of a personnel problem than a coaching problem. There is a lot of pressure on Shero to add a top flight winger.¬†¬†Regardless, the next four-five games are going to be critical for the coaching staff. Despite some speculation from the Ottawa Sun that Pat Quinn could be a potential candidate, I’m told Quinn is unlikely to get much consideration from the Penguins if they were to make a coaching change. Shero had a lengthy meeting with the coaching staff about changes to the Penguins current system. Therrien is going to implement a more uptempo style which will lead to the Penguins being more aggressive -¬†more pinching & jumping in the play from defensemen.
The Boston Bruins¬†took it to the Penguins tonight and¬†frustrations on the bench and in the locker room have continued. Sources tell me Brooks Orpik who signed a 6 year contract in the summer was very vocal following the game in the players only meeting and even
called out some players in the meeting. Just speculation on who those players are but its not hard to figure out. I believe Therrien made a mistake not giving Brooks Orpik an “A” at the start of the season. There is no reason that Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal should have an “A”
Following today’s morning skate the Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned Paul Bissonnette. Bissonnette, 23, played two games with Pittsburgh during his second stint with the team.¬† He has played a total of eight games with the Penguins this season, registering 10 penalty minutes while posting a plus or even rating in seven of his eight appearances.
There’s a lot of buzz going around that the Penguins will be cautious at the trade deadline because of a need to restock their system. Ray Shero is all about building through the draft and last year ownership played a factor in the Penguins being so active. While some of the Pittsburgh media expect Shero to be conservative this year, around the league he has been very active in trade talks because of the pressure from ownership to win now. Maybe the Penguins don’t make any significant moves but they exploring the market for one.
Following Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to theTampa Bay Lightning, the Pittsburgh re-assigned Jeff Taffe and Tim Wallace.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned forward Ryan Stone to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. Stone, 23, appeared in two games with Pittsburgh on his latest stint. He has registered 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 28 games for Wilkes-Barre, ranking fourth on the team.
Received an interesting tip tonight. A source tells me the Toronto Maple Leafs are very interested in Wilkes Barre tough guy Paul Bissonnette and have made an inquiry.
Michel Therrien is characterizing Mike Zigomanis as doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers. Max Talbot remains questionable. Talbot is hopeful to skate on Wednesday but it is likely that he will be sidelined for another game. The Penguins will likely make two call-up’s for Thursday’s game. Ruslan Fedotenko is sidelined with the flu. Ryan Stone and Jeff Taffe are being rumored as potential call ups
The Pittsburgh Penguins will hold a news conference Monday at 11 a.m. It is believed that this news conference will be about the Arena Naming Rights for the Penguins new arena which will open in 2010.
Interested: FLA? CLB?
I‚Äôm hearing the Penguins may be showcasing Jeff Taffe to give him the chance to be a regular in a NHL Lineup. The Panthers and BlueJackets have been scouting Taffe.
As reported last week the Penguins have been scouting the Oilers and Robbie Schremp‚Äôs name came up a few times in discussions. According to sources close to the Penguins, the Oilers asking price is high. On another note, the Oilers are interested in Max Talbot.
Rich Curran the agent for Brendan Shanahan is furious with the New York Rangers organization according to sources. Curran believes the Rangers had no intentions of bringing Shanahan back this season and they should have made that known in the off-season so Shanahan could find work, instead of leading his client on.
Ben Lovejoy did not look out of place in his first game and according to a source who emailed me prior to the game, Penguins management came away very impressed. Lovejoy showed some speed and decent puck moving skills and now that he has had a practice with the team, he should see some more shifts, according to my source. I’ve been told the team is looking at some of the AHL players to see if they can hold their own at this level (Lovejoy and Wallace).¬†My source also indicates¬†Danny Richmond is not happy with Lovejoy going up ahead of him.
I asked a source today about why the Penguins don’t get involved in the Mats Sundin sweepstakes since most of the teams pursuing him have no cap space like the Penguins. Mats Sundin’s name did come up prior to last years trade deadline about the possibility of adding him and moving Malkin to wing. That idea has not been discussed at all this season and the main reason the Penguins are not interested is that the Penguins worry that there would be too many egos in the Penguins locker room.
There is always the talk about the Penguins need to acquire another Marian Hossa. A lot of buzz going around is the front office eyes a power forward type of player as a higher need. It is clear that the Penguins lack that physical presence in front of the net. For the time being this need has sort of halted their interest in Martin Havlat who the Blackhawks are actively shopping.
Martin Havlat was a popular subject at the Board of Governors Meetings. The Ottawa Sun reports, Sources say GM Dale Tallon has been shopping Havlat. He is an attractive commodity with seven goals and 13 assists in 25 games, and could be moved for a high draft pick. There are plenty of teams looking for scoring — including the Panthers, Stars, Oilers, Wild and Jackets — and there’s no question Havlat’s one of the most dynamic players in the NHL when healthy. (Havlat has suffered an assortment of injuries over his career: Groin strains, shoulders, elbows, hamstrings.) — Count the Penguins, Rangers and Sabres among others interested in Havlat
According to source, the Pens have been scouting and trying to work something with the Oilers. They have recently scouted both Springfield and Edmonton. My source is not sure if it is for a skilled forward like Schremp or an energy guy like Tim Sestito. Maybe just running the normal scouting rounds, but my source thinks something might be brewing. As reported a few days ago on here, the Oilers are believed to be showing some interest in Janne Pesonen, Ryan Stone.
Crosby takes All Star Voting Lead
Sidney Crosby has jumped up to the #1 spot in All Star voting today. Crosby now has 478,119 votes and has almost a 10,000 vote lead on second place Alexei Kovalev. Evgeni Malkin is currently 5th in All Star voting with 414,152 votes. –All Star Voting–
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forwards Chris Minard and Janne Pesonen from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Forwards Mike Zigomanis and Tyler Kennedy left yesterday’s game with undisclosed injuries. Zigomanis is expected to play
Dallas Stars head coach Dave Tippet made it very clear following the Dallas Stars 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night that the Stars don’t want Steve Avery back but Tippet isn’t the one who will make the final decision.¬†Avery who signed a 4 year – $15.5 million deal is suspended indefinetly pending a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday. The Stars will explore all of their options according to sources including finding a clause to void Avery’s contract but what they will likely do is send him home for the rest of the season and buy out his contract in the summer, if they can’t get a team to take on Avery’s salary which is unlikely. If Avery is bought out, the Stars could then spread the cap hit over twice the length of the contract (six years). Therefore they would only take a cap hit of $1.33 million a season.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, Thrashers GM Don Waddell is looking at interest in forward Erik Christensen. Christensen has 1 goal in 21 games this season¬†and has been a major disappointment. The Columbus Blue Jackets are believed to have mild interest. The Jackets had interest in Christensen during his time with the Penguins. As for Colby Armstrong’s future with the Thrashers: I’m told Atlanta is very high on him and has no plans on moving Armstrong.
The Carolina Hurricanes will be holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m. to announce the firing of head coach Peter Laviolette. The team is expected to name Paul Maurice the teams new head coach. Maurice coached the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes from 1995-2004.
Tim Sassone of the Chicago Herald reports the demotion of Blackhawks winger Martin Havlat to the club’s third line suggests management might be preparing for life without him. The Blackhawks have been listening to offers for Havlat but won’t be able to move him until the deadline. With Havlat struggling to go along with his pending FA, the Hawks might not be able to get what they once thought for the talented winger. Interested: PIT, VAN, BUF, NYR, CAL
According to a source Ray Shero is looking at interest for Janne Pesonen and while nothing is pending, there is a strong chance that he will be moved following the new year. It is has not been confirmed that Pesonen‚Äôs agent is actively looking for potential suitors yet. The Blackhawks, Islanders and Blue Jackets have recently been looking at Pesonen. A source told me this evening that the Oilers even made a offer to take Pesonen off the Penguins hands but it is unknown what Shero is looking for in return. Still, don‚Äôt expect anything to happen until after Christmas. Interested: EDM, NYI, CHI, CLB
A few weeks ago I speculated that Penguins scouts believe the Tampa Bay Lightning will look to move forward Marty St. Louis at the trade deadline. The Toronto Sun speculates today that the Lightning should look into and sources around Pittsburgh contend they already are. St. Louis has a reasonable salary cap hit for the next two seasons and the Lightning will likely look for a young puck moving defenseman, 1st round pick, prospects. Pittsburgh could be a good match.
According to a source the Tampa Bay Lightning have made a play for Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton in the past two weeks but were declined.¬†Sources tell me at this moment Ray Shero has no intentions on moving Eaton or anyone else¬†until Ryan Whitney returns to 100% health and then Shero is expected to explore the possibility of moving an defenseman. Interested: TB, VAN, CHI
The Ottawa Senators and the Anaheim Ducks are aggressively pursuing defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. The Ducks who been active in talks with other cities including scouting the Penguins in recent weeks, have held discussions with the Panthers about the possibility of acquiring Bouwmeester. The Sens on the other hand are actively shopping center Senators forward Antoine Vermette in return for a puck moving defenseman. The Ottawa Sun reports the Panthers have coveted Vermette for sometime. Teams that are showing interest in Bouwmeester:¬†ANA, OTT, PHI, BOS, MTL, OTT, NYR, NJD, TOR
Interested in: Phillipe Boucher, Rob Scuderi?
When the Penguins first acquired defenseman Phillipe Boucher I was told the Anaheim Ducks made a strong play for Boucher but the Stars would not trade him to their¬†division rival. According to sources the interest is still there and the Ducks had scouts in the building for the Penguins-Wild game on Tuesday night. The Ducks are exploring the market for a veteran defenseman and I’m told they have their eye on the Penguins for when Ryan Whitney returns to the lineup and their top two targets are Boucher and Rob Scuderi.
DePaoli’s take: The Penguins are very happy with Rob Scuderi and he is a bargain for his salary. Based on Michel Therrien’s comments following yesterday’s practice, Therrien see’s Boucher as a great addition. It’s going to be a tough sell for the Ducks to pry away either defenseman based on what they have to offer.
One of the Red Wings top priorities is to lock up winger Johan Franzen, who has eight goals in 11 games this season. Red Wings GM Ken Holland tells The Grand Rapids Press he has had preliminary talks for now but a deal is not close.
The Penguins and the representatives for Jordan Staal are expected to pickup negotiations on a contract extension within the next 2-3 weeks. Many expect those talks to center around the Penguins initial offer proposed this summer which was in the range of 4 yrs – $13.25 million according to sources in the Penguins organization. It is believed Staal seeks a shorter deal compared to what Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby signed for.
Interested: Anaheim, Columbus?
The Penguins believe they have upgraded their blue line with the acquisition of Phillipe Boucher and the acquisition gives the Penguins even more options when Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar return to the lineup. There was pressure from the front office to keep Mark Eaton in the lineup for the past week and it will be very interesting to see what plays out leading up to Ryan Whitney‚Äôs return to the lineup. The Penguins will continue to receive calls about Eaton although many around the league don‚Äôt believe he is 100%. Vancouver, Chicago and Tampa made inquires within the past couple weeks. Just remember Ray Shero is high on Eaton and has a close connection to him dating back to Nashville. Anaheim is believed to be interested in Boucher so the Penguins also have the option of moving Boucher later in the season. Expect a lot of rumors surrounding both players and Ray Shero to receive calls about both players.
The Penguins have traded defenseman Darryl Sydor to Dallas for defenseman Phillipe Boucher. Boucher, 35 is a righthanded shot who has no goals and three assists in 16 games with the Stars and has a cap hit of $2.5 million. Indications are this trade came about within the past 48 hours as the Penguins were exclusively in talks with the Tampa Bay Lightning about Sydor. A deal was not close with the Lightning because the Lightning wanted a draft pick in return. Sydor who demanded a trade at the NHL draft was very professional throughout the process but was very upset with being a healthy scratch on Thursday in place of Mark Eaton.
The Tampa Tribune reports the Penguins were among a group of teams to have scouts in attendence for the Lighting-Redwing game last night. The Lightning are in the market for a defenseman and have been linked to Daryl Sydor and Mark Eaton throughout the week. The Lighting are shopping Radim Vrbata but I can’t see Pittsburgh making a play for him. Pittsburgh I’m told could have their eye on Marty St. Louis who could be on the trade block in the near future according to a source. If it becomes evident the playoffs may be a afterthought for the Lighting they may look to shake things up and clear enough cap space to be serious players in free agency.
Interested: PHI, BOS, CHI, WAS, OTT, STL, NJD?,
Sources indicate the Boston Bruins have made Brendan Shanahan a 1 year – $1.6 million offer. The Washington Capitals are a late team to join the bidding. The Flyers and Devils remain Shanahan’s top choices but Sam Charchidi from the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he has not heard from UFA winger Brendan Shanahan. There have been whispers outside of the Penguins organization (most notably from Philly) that the Penguins made a low risk offer to Shanahan worth only 700k. For now Penguins sources have denied a offer was made.
Interested? TOR, BOS, NYR, CHI, ATL, FLA, TB, OTT
Brian Burke is free to sign with anyone and reports have linked up to eight teams having interest. Toronto appears to be the early front runner with Boston, and the Blackhawks expected to show significant interest.
The Chicago Blackhawks have shown interest in Washington Capitals center Michael Nylander for some time but have been scared away by his salary. Nylander is signed through 2011 and would bring with him a $4.875 million salary-cap hit” but Tim Sassone of the Chicago Herald reports both teams have re-visted talks.
Interested: VAN, CHI, CLB
Mike Knuble is off to strong start with 6 goals this season but the Flyers are believed to be entertaining the idea of moving Knuble to land a veteran defenseman. The Flyers have been in talks with the Vancouver Canucks and prefer to move Knuble over Joffrey Lupul. It is also believed that the Flyers are looking to move forward Steve Downie.