Around the NHL
*Trade talk has died down a bit due to the Olympic trade freeze but talks will pick up later this week as all 30 GM’s will be in Vancouver for the Olympic games.
There is some belief that deals will be finalized during the Olympic break and immediately announced on March 1st when the trade freeze ends.
***The Nashville Predators could be among the busiest teams at the Olympics. GM Dave Poile has difficult decisions to make on defenseman Dan Hamhuis and his goaltender situation. Trading goaltenders Dan Ellis or Pekka Rinne is unlikely before the deadline but moving Dan Hamhuis is likely.
Poile is expected to discuss extensions with all three players during the break, although the Predators and Hamhuis remain far apart on a deal.
Polie told the Nashville Tennessean on Sunday, “I talked to Hammer’s agent (Wade Arnott) last week. I’d characterize it that we would like to sign him and that I believe he would like to sign here. It hasn’t happened very simply because the economics of what he’d like to (make) and what we can afford.”
Poile and the Predators have begun listening to offers on Hamhuis with a number of Eastern Conference teams expressing interest, including the Pittsburgh Penguins.
However, it remains to be seen if Pittsburgh has the assets to acquire Hamhuis as the Predators are looking for scoring help up front or a puck moving defenseman with term on their contract.
***A team source tells me Pittsburgh has absolutely no interest in St. Louis Blues winger Keith Tkachuk. During the Penguins scouting evaluations two weeks ago, Tkachuk was not pegged as a potential target I’m told.
The team is believed to be trying to stay away from older veterans.
Tkachuk meanwhile, has drawn early interest from the Bruins and Canucks.
Like Hamhuis, the asking price for Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton could be out of the Penguins range. Sutton has drawn significant interest around the league, from the likes of the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames to name a few. Chris Botta from Islanderspointblank also mentions that the Chicago Blackhawks are expressing significant interest.
The Blackhawks remain interested in adding a veteran defenseman and have also targeted Pittsburgh’s Jay McKee.
Islanders sources say, GM Garth Snow is seeking a 1st or a second round pick and a mid-tier prospect. If that price stays, Pittsburgh won’t be a serious suitor. Look for the Islanders to get a 2nd round pick and a prospect.