Trade rumours merely gossip

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

This is going to be a long-play symphony.

Will he stay or will he go? And if he goes, where will he wind up?

I'm referring to The Plight of John Tavares and the Oshawa Generals in F Flat, as in Feel Free to start yet another False Feeble rumour.

So you think you've had enough of the Tavares-trade rumours? Try being Chris DePiero, the coach and general manager of the Generals. If his team were in contention for an Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference title, he wouldn't have to spend most of his time answering questions about when or whether he would trade the projected No. 1 choice in the next National Hockey League draft.

Like any good symphony, there are moments when there's a crescendo and moments when there's diminuendo.

After a recent frenzy, DePiero would appreciate a diminuendo.

"Last week was a bit of a firestorm," he said. "But it's like I tell everyone. We haven't made any decisions yet. It has to be discussed internally. Teams have called us, but right now we haven't made any firm decisions."

Most people believe Tavares will be traded, but DePiero said even that hasn't been decided.

"Ideally, myself, management and owners have to discuss where we're at," he said. "Then John, being a big part of the tradition of where we're at, has to be included in any discussions. John's a big part of this organization."

This wouldn't be an easy trade. Not because certain teams wouldn't pay a big price for Tavares, but because he would only go to some teams. Four teams would be a good fit: Windsor, London, Belleville and Brampton.

Then there's timing. You can bet that despite the public comments made by the Generals, they've had plenty of discussions about what they need when they trade Tavares. But when do they make the trade?

The latest rumour had a trade being consummated between the Generals and Spitfires.

Not true . . . at least not yet. The idea of Windsor getting Tavares, while they still have a chance Josh Bailey will return from the NHL's New York Islanders, is scary.

The popular notion is the trade will go down between Jan. 5 and Jan. 10. If the Generals wait that long, they risk Tavares hurting himself.

Even though Tavares will be gone for more than three weeks with the Canadian juniors, a team may not want to wait and get into a bidding war. A team may make a substantial offer before the world junior, getting in first.

Windsor's good at that. It is a good team now and will be a good team a year from now, regardless of what they give up to get Tavares.

One of the owners of the Generals is former Kitchener Ranger general manager and coach and now Florida Panthers coach Peter DeBoer. He made the deal that brought London Knights goalie Steve Mason to Kitchener. DeBoer paid big and it wasn't draft choices. It was three good young players, including Nazem Kadri, who will likely be a top 10 choice in the NHL draft.

"I don't know what's going on," Knights GM Mark Hunter said. "If (Tavares) is going to be traded, I can put a package together."

Can't you hear the klaxon call now? "Pay whatever it takes!"

Except it isn't always easy to put a package together. Even if GMs agree to give up what Oshawa wants, many of the top young players have no-trade contracts and must agree to go somewhere.

And while draft choices are attractive, a good young player -- or two or three -- is the bird in hand.

The Generals also have to be careful about waiting too long to get their asking price. While Tavares may be the gold standard, there will be a lot of valuable hockey flesh out there.

That's why this symphony may be a little shorter than anyone expects. If the Generals can get their act together, they'll move Tavares before he puts on the Canada sweater.


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