Saturday’s Trade Deadline Buzz
The Trade Deadline is just two days away. Here’s the latest buzz around the league:
— The New York Rangers are closing in on a deal for top target Bryan McCabe. The deal is expected to be finalized as early as today.
— A blow to the Penguins pursuit of adding a top-9 winger. Panthers winger Chris Higgins has a broken thumb and will be out 2-3 weeks. The Panthers were not sold on moving Higgins as they would like to retain him but Pittsburgh, Columbus and Tampa Bay have strong interest.
The Panthers have had preliminary discussions with Matt Keator, the agent for Higgins but a new deal is not close.
— A loss by the New Jersey Devils last night and several teams in front of the Devils winning, is expected to put Jason Arnott in play. His status will go down to the wire. Tampa Bay, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Washington, Columbus among the strong suitors. Arnott has a NMC.
— Chicago, Philadelphia and Nashville are among the most active teams seeking an affordable defenseman. Chicago is said to be considering a waiver claim for Craig Rivet.
Nashville remains the front runners to land Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid.
Some other names out there include Adam Foote, Mike Commodore and Edmonton’s Jim Vandemeer.
On waivers today is Nick Boynton and Craig Rivet. Both players are expected to get claimed.
— Whether Chris Phillips gets moved is expected to go down to the wire. Phillips wants to stay in Ottawa but there remains a gap in the amount of money between the two sides, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.CA.
— According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Brent Seabrook are on the “verge of finalizing a contract extension worth close to $30 million over five years. Prior to the Seabrook deal, Chicago has $42 million committed to 10 players for next season.
— Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the Penguins are among the teams interested in winger Chris Neil. I’m told there’s absolutely no truth to that as Neil has two years remaining on his contract.
If the Penguins look to add a role player to add some more toughness, St. Louis Brad Winchester is expected to be a target.
— The Buffalo Sabres (64pts) are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and are expected to be buyers. With new ownership, they are also in play for players with term left on their contract. They have looked into John Michael Liles and Florida’s Stephen Weiss.
— Columbus is active on the market looking for a forward and top-6 defenseman.
So will any of the big names be moved? The Kings remain in aggressive pursuit of Ales Hemsky, while Toronto and Montreal continue to express interest in Dustin Penner.
The wildcard is Brad Richards. New York is expected to wait until free agency to pursue Richards, along with Toronto.
Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are the two teams getting mentioned around the league.