March 4, 2012
Sharks frontrunners for Nash
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Some NHL GMs have put themselves directly in the firing line for what they did or didn’t do at last Monday’s trade deadline.
No decisions will be made until the off-season, but here are a few GMs to keep an eye on once the final buzzer sounds:
Scott Howson, Columbus: Failed to trade W Rick Nash after the Blue Jackets’ best player demanded one. This might be good news. Howson likely won’t be steering the ship next year. Better off to leave it up to the new guy taking over.
Pierre Gauthier, Montreal: He will likely be gone once the season is over. Completely botched the firing of coach Jacques Martin and his player moves haven’t worked, either. Shame to see what’s happened to a proud franchise.
George McPhee, Washington: His decision to fire coach Bruce Boudreau backfired. Dale Hunter hasn’t worked out and many NHL insiders wonder if he’ll be back next season. McPhee did absolutely nothing at the deadline. Who knows? They may squeak into the playoffs.
n Brian Burke, Toronto: For all his bluster about making moves before everybody else, he didn’t make a major deal and then passed it off as a vote of confidence. He fired his one bullet, canning coach Ron Wilson Friday night and replacing him with Randy Carlyle.
Dean Lombardi, Los Angeles: He made his move, getting C Jeff Carter for D Jack Johnson in a deal with the Blue Jackets. This better work and get the club into the playoffs or Lombardi could be out. He also fired coach Terry Murray.
THIS ’N’ THAT
If new management can’t convince him to stay, Nash will be moved by the Jackets once the Stanley Cup final is over. Sources say the Sharks are the frontrunners to land Nash and they’ll have no issues making room for his $7.8-million cap hit for the next six seasons. The Sharks tried to adjust their offer in the final hours before the trade deadline, but weren’t willing to part with C Logan Couture. You’d have to think the Sharks would be willing to offer C Joe Pavelski, plus the prospects and draft picks the Jackets want in the off-season ... The reason the Nash deal didn’t happen with the Rangers: Columbus wouldn’t back off on a request for Boston College C Chris Kreider, one of New York’s top prospects ... The Bruins and Blackhawks made a pitch to Dallas for D Sheldon Souray, while Colorado and Vancouver made offers for Stars W Steve Ott. The deals didn’t go down because GM Joe Nieuwendyk wanted players who could step into the lineup right away with Dallas still battling for a playoff spot.
OFF THE GLASS
The Flyers were close on a deal that would have sent G Sergei Bobrovsky packing. There were several teams looking for goaltending help: Tampa, Toronto and Chicago. GM Paul Holmgren decided he’d better keep Bobrovsky around with G Ilya Bryzgalov showing no signs of consistency ... Since Islanders W P.A. Parenteau wasn’t dealt at the deadline, you’d have to expect he’ll be re-signed by GM Garth Snow. Parenteau, through agent Allan Walsh, has expressed a desire to stay with New York. There was plenty of interest, but Snow kept demanding a No. 1 pick and a prospect. That makes me wonder: Would the Predators have not been better off dealing a No. 1 selection for Parenteau rather than third-line C Paul Gaustad?
AND ANOTHER THING
If the moves by Nashville GM David Poile don’t result in a Stanley Cup victory this spring, watch for pending UFA D Ryan Suter to move on. He’d be the most valuable UFA on the market, along with New Jersey W Zach Parise ... Here’s a name to watch for in Montreal: Chicago assistant GM Marc Bergevin. Before being named to the post last year, he was most recently the Blackhawks’ director of player personnel, is a former NHL player and has the personality to handle the pressure that goes with being GM of the Habs.
I’m told Philadelphia W James Van Riemsdyk, who will have surgery on his broken foot Tuesday, nearly got moved at the trade deadline last Monday. Sources say three or four teams — including the Leafs — were in the bidding for Van Riemsdyk. Signed to a six-year, $25.5-million contract extension that kicks in next season, van Riemsdyk has a lot to prove going into the playoffs. He was the No. 1 player targeted by Brian Burke, but the Leafs GM couldn’t close the deal before the clock struck zero. Not sure if D Luke Schenn was part of the deal going back, but that was certainly speculated ... The Ducks were willing to move W Teemu Selanne, but left the decision up to him. He didn’t want go anywhere, but the Rangers, Sharks, Bruins and Kings were all interested making a deal ... The Senators might move D Sergei Gonchar in the off-season. There was no need to trade him at the deadline with the club on the road to the playoffs and that’s why pending UFA D Filip Kuba wasn’t dealt, either.
Have a nice Sunday.