THE ICE REPORT
Will Ducks be sellers or buyers?
A major questionmark heading into the Olympic break is whether Ducks general manager Bob Murray is going to be a buyer or a seller when March 3rd rolls around.
According to the Orange County Register, “it is one of the questions that’s floating around in hockey circles as the Ducks sit precariously outside the playoff picture entering tonight’s game against the Kings at Honda Center.”
As the County Register notes, “There are contending teams who wonder if Scott Niedermayer, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne and others will be available when the NHL trade deadline rolls around.”
For Anaheim like many other teams, that answer won’t be known until after this week.
At this moment Anaheim is four points out of the playoffs.
League sources indicate Niedermayer is willing to accept a trade to Vancouver, Chicago and New Jersey. Those close to Nierdermayer also believe he would consider a trade to Pittsburgh due to his respect for Mario Lemieux and his flirtation of signing with Pittsburgh after the lockout.
However, Pittsburgh doesn’t have the cap space at this moment to be considered a serious suitor.
Meanwhile, Teemu Selanne is a wildcard. Any talk of Pittsburgh or any other teams having trade talks with Anaheim about Selanne is bogus.
Anaheim has not made Selanne available for trade to this point.
Selanne has a NTC and indications are it will be very difficult to get him out of Anaheim. If the Ducks become sellers, it will be Selanne’s choice on whether he gets moved. Right now he hasn’t been asked to give a list of teams he willing to be traded too.
Koivu is the most likely of the three to be traded. New Jersey, Minnesota and the New York Rangers are expected to be in the mix.
*A general manager change has sparked talk that Canadiens leading scorer Tomas Plekanec could be moved due to his impending free agency. Don’t count on it and also don’t count on GM Pierre Gauthier moving one of his young goaltenders at the trade deadline.
*Marty Turco’s future in Dallas is coming to an end but there is not a strong goaltender market at this time. Philadelphia and Chicago could be possibilities but that’s up for debate. Many believe Turco will end up in Philadelphia but the Flyers still remain high on Ray Emery as the team is reportedly expected to open up contract negotiations in March.
*The next Thrashers to be traded will be Pavel Kubina and Colby Armstrong. Both will be highly coveted and won’t be traded until after the Olympic Break.
Kubina is drawing interest from the Rangers, Bruins, Senators and Canucks to name a few. One potential trade to keep an eye on is a Kubina – Michael Ryder swap.
Tampa Bay is considered the early favorite for Colby Armstrong.
*Could agent J.P. Barry be the key to Pittsburgh getting involved in the Ray Whitney sweepstakes?
It will be something to watch during the Olympic Break as Barry also represents Sergei Gonchar. As noted earlier, Penguins GM Ray Shero and Barry will resume contract talks for Gonchar in Vancouver.
Right now Pittsburgh is not considered a serious suitor for Whitney.