February 25, 2012
Battle for goalies before deadline
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
There could be a goaltending battle at the NHL trade deadline.
With the clock ticking towards high noon Monday, no less than three teams — the Penguins, Senators and Leafs — are looking to see if they can make an upgrade in net for the stretch drive, mostly for different reasons.
The Penguins and Senators are looking for depth. Pittsburgh backup Brent Johnson has struggled this season and the Penguins want to have somebody they can rely on behind Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Senators are a little different. There is no timetable on the return of starter Craig Anderson, who cut his hand in a kitchen knife mishap Wednesday.
It’s believed the Senators and Penguins have both shown interest in Minny backup Josh Harding. A potential UFA making $750,000, there’s a chance he’ll be dealt. The Wild will want a top selection and prospect in return.
It’s believed the Leafs talked to the Isles about G Evgeni Nabokov, who GM Garth Snow has insisted he won’t be moved.
But the fact that Nabokov hasn’t been signed to an extension could grease his departure.
THIS ’N’ THAT
The Rick Nash talks are going down to the wire. The Columbus LW was mum about his future Saturday, but the Leafs, Rangers and Sharks all have offers on the table. All three teams have told Jackets GM Scott Howson the deal could be better in the summer. The Leafs and Rangers are aggressive because they’ve got more parts than the Sharks to make the deal ... There is a lot of talk about the future of the Islanders. The belief is owner Charles Wang is going to make one more attempt to try to get a new building and if that doesn’t work, the possibility of a move exists. The club’s lease runs out at the Nassau County Coliseum in three years and the Isles could be housed at the new Barclay’s Center in nearby Brooklyn. It will be the home of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and is looking for another tenant. The Isles will play an exhibition game there next September.
OFF THE GLASS
The Kings haven’t shopped captain/RW Dustin Brown, but they have been listening to offers. If Los Angeles does deal Brown — with the Rangers, Avs, Bruins and Leafs among those interested — it represents a change of culture in the dressing room. What it means is coach Darryl Sutter is ready to hand over the leadership to former Flyers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who was acquired from the Blue Jackets earlier this week ... Keep an eye on Buffalo C Derek Roy. There’s plenty of interest.
AROUND THE BOARDS
Every time the NHL-run Phoenix Coyotes make a trade, it comes under scrutiny. The latest came last week when GM Don Maloney dealt for Columbus C Antoine Vermette. The Coyotes, funded by the NHL and the other 29 teams and reportedly losing $25-to-$30 million annually, took on $3.75 million in salary for the rest of the season. “I’m sure the teams battling for a playoff spot with them are thrilled,” said a league executive. “I guess the argument is if they have playoff gates, then it’s less money lost.” Doesn’t make it any easier for teams to stomach ... There was lots of interest in Vermette: The Habs, Hawks, Kings and Leafs all took a look.
HABS COULD DANGLE PLEKANEC
The Habs would be open to dealing C Tomas Plekanec ... The Isles want to wait until after Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against the Senators to decide if they’re buyers or sellers. GM Garth Snow waived veteran RW Brian Rolston Saturday. A decision has to be made on RW P.A. Parenteau. A potential FA, he has expressed a desire to stay with the Isles, but there are several teams, including the Senators, Hawks, Bruins and Leafs, looking for depth up front. If Parenteau is in play, he’s going to get a lot of attention ... The Hurricanes have discussed a contract extension with D Bryan Allen, but had to bridge a gap to get a deal done. GM Jim Rutherford is going to great lengths to keep his team together during a bad season. He’s already signed D Tim Gleason and C Tuomo Ruutu to contract extensions. If Allen stays, D Jaroslav Spacek, acquired from the Habs, could be moved ... The Leafs have interest in Dallas LW Steve Ott, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be moved. The Canucks have cap space and may take a run at him anyway. One guy that could soon have a new home: C Mike Ribeiro.
Have a nice Sunday. Enjoy the deadline.