The talk is heating up with the NHL trade deadline less than a week away.
With the 30 NHL GMs set to wrap up meetings today in Naples, Fla., the whispers have hit a feverish pitch. The deadline is Tuesday at 3 p.m. "There's plenty of talk now," said an NHL executive yesterday. "Teams know they haven't got a lot of time if they're going to shed money before the deadline."
Here's some of the chatter:
- Will the Edmonton Oilers trade Ryan Smyth? That's the biggest question being asked among NHL executives as they try to add the right pieces to fit the puzzle before the deadline. Many believe that won't happen, but this could be an 11th hour decision. Sources say a meeting between Smyth's agent, Don Meehan, and Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe Sunday in Toronto went well and there's willingness on both sides to make a deal. It's believed Smyth wants more than $5 million to remain with the Oilers and if the indication before the deadline is that he's headed for free agency, then he could be gone. That hasn't happened yet and both sides are bargaining in good faith. If Smyth hits the market, 29 teams will line up for him.
- The talk surrounding Montreal D Sheldon Souray was hot yesterday after he left the ice 10 minutes into practice with what turned out to be an injury. Rumours had him headed to the San Jose Sharks for D Matt Carle, C Joe Pavelski and a draft pick as long as the Sharks could get Souray to agree to a two-year deal. But while the Sharks have had talks with the Habs about Souray, they don't want to pay that kind of price. Ideally, they'd like to keep their young players.
- There's whispers a lot of teams aren't happy with Florida GM/coach Jacques Martin because he has placed a premium price tag on his players. The Anaheim Ducks would like to get free agent RW Todd Bertuzzi, but they have no interest in giving up young C Corey Perry to do it. Bertuzzi is still a big risk because he hasn't returned from back surgery. It's believed the Senators have held talks with the Panthers about RW Gary Roberts and LW Martin Gelinas. Ottawa's preferred choice is Roberts, but Leafs GM John Ferguson is getting heat in the Toronto media to make a move. Roberts has thrown a wrench into discussions by asking for a one-year extension and there's also the problem that the Senators don't want to give up either RW Patrick Eaves or C Antoine Vermette.
- The Sabres could finally be ready to move G Martin Biron after not listening to any offers through the season. A source said GM Darcy Regier is waiting for an NHL ruling on C Tim Connolly's status, since he has been on long-term injury all year with post-concussion syndrome. The Sabres aren't sure what room they have under the cap, but there's talk they are close to a deal to send Biron to the Lightning for LW Ruslan Fedotenko.
- The Hawks are trying to move RW Martin Lapointe and D Jassen Cullimore. Getting rid of Lapointe is going to be tough because there's a year remaining on his contract at $2.1 million.