February 4, 2012
Contenders line up for Smyth
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
Ryan Smyth is getting plenty of interest as the trade deadline nears.
A looming unrestricted free agent on July 1 with 16 goals and 18 assists in 51 games with the Oilers heading into Saturday, Smyth is going to have to decide whether he wants to head to a contender before the clock strikes zero on Feb. 27.
Sources say thereís at least four teams ó including the Rangers, Sharks, Bruins and Wings ó that have expressed interest with Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini.
If Smyth does decide to waive his no-movement clause, there wonít be any tears shed. The 35-year-old could easily go to a contender as a pure rental, take the chance to win the Stanley Cup and then return to the Oilers.
AROUND THE BOARDS
After Hockey Night in Canada officials made a presentation to the NHLís board of governorsí meeting last Saturday during all-star weekend in Ottawa, more than one Canadian team went on the offensive and there were plenty of fireworks in the room. While itís been well-publicized that Brian Burke isnít happy with the way Don Cherry has been criticizing Leafs coach Ron Wilson, the Sun has confirmed the Toronto president/GM isnít the only one who voiced his opinion to CBC officials. Sources say Senators owner Eugene Melnyk followed up on Burkeís tirade by complaining about the amount of national exposure Ottawa gets on HNIC. The piling-on continued as Habs owner Geoff Molson let CBC know he had his own issues with the broadcast. Sounds like it was fun. All this doesnít bode well for CBC retaining the national rights when the contract expires in 2013 ... Confirm or deny: The cellar-dwelling Blue Jackets may finally be ready to accept reality and they could be willing to deal captain Rick Nash. If thatís the case, theyíre going to want a big return: A top young player, a prospect and a first-round pick. The Rangers and Kings are interested. But Nashís $7.8-million cap hit through 2018 is going to make it difficult for that to happen. Sounds like the kind of deal that needs to be made in the off-season. The first priority for the organization is to get C Jeff Carter moved. The Leafs certainly have interest.
OFF THE GLASS
The college free-agent season will start in the next month and thereís going to be a lot of interest in Nebraska-Omaha D Andrej Sustr. The 6-foot-8, 21-year-old blueliner has been getting interest from all NHL 30 teams, but the Czech native ó a sophomore ó will likely return to school next year. That doesnít mean some teams arenít going to try to entice him to come out ... The Wild would like to add a top-end defenceman and donít be surprised if they use some of their depth in goal to make that happen. Donít rule out either Niklas Backstrom or Josh Harding being moved. There is a belief that Backstrom may be the odd man out. The Wild may have to wait until the off-season to make this decision ... My good friend Mike Gillis of the Canucks would like to add toughness for the playoffs. Makes sense; you canít count on Maxim Lapierre to protect Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
THIS íNí THAT
Isles GM Garth Snow has been busy working the phones. Heís fielding offers for G Evgeni Nabokov, along with RW P.A. Parenteau and C Frans Nielsen. Sources say the Isles have held talks with Parenteau and Nielsen, but itís likely they both wonít be kept. Expect the club to sign Parenteau and move Nielsen. It should be noted the Hawks were in the house Friday night at Scotiabank Place and theyíve been sniffing around for goalie help ... The Avs could move LW T.J. Galiardi. Heís only been getting limited playing time from coach Joe Sacco. Galiardi is making $850,000 and is set to become an RFA. He can help someone looking for depth up front for the playoffs ... Talk wonít go away the Wings are going to add a forward. Sources say GM Ken Holland has held talks with the Oilers about RW Ales Hemsky, a pending UFA who will likely be dealt.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
Several teams ó including San Jose, Detroit, Boston and the Rangers ó are waiting with baited breath to see what RW Teemu Selanne is going to do at the trade deadline. He has a no-movement clause, but sources say all four teams have expressed interest with Anaheim GM Bob Murray and are waiting to hear if Selanne, 42, has any desire to win one more Stanley Cup before the end of his career. The Sharks would be an attractive option because of San Joseís proximity to his family in Anaheim. The Sharks want to add a veteran forward at a reasonable price before the deadline. Murray hasnít given the go-ahead for offers yet ... This wonít go away: The talk is the Leafs are willing to offer up either C Joe Colborne or C Nazem Kadri to the Hurricanes for C Tuomu Ruutu. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford has been telling teams a deal is imminent. The Sharks are making a hard pitch as well, but GM Doug Wilson doesnít want to pay the high asking price. Neither do the Senators.
Have a nice Sunday and enjoy the Super Bowl.