The Chicago Blackhawks are still shopping for a defenseman, an update on Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle, plus limited cap space prevents the Minnesota Wild from making a big deal.
Blackhawks still seek a defenseman.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc and Chris Hine report the Blackhawks continue to aggressively shop for a defenseman. While Duncan Keith (knee surgery) and Michal Rozsival (ankle injury) are both close to returning to action, a source claims they’re pushing hard to add another blueliner via trade. The respective returns of Keith and Rozsival will give the Blackhawks nine defenseman, leading coach Joel Quenneville to say a move will have to be made to reduce that number.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks were reportedly seeking a defenseman before Keith was sidelined. Once their two injured regulars return, they’ll obviously have to move out a blueliner or two. Demotion to the minors is one option. Perhaps the ‘Hawks will demote one of their spares and package the other as part of a larger deal to bring in a better-skilled rearguard? No word on who the ‘Hawks are targeting or who they’re offering up, though I suspect recently demoted winger Bryan Bickell could be part of it. Hopefully we’ll discover new information over the next couple of days.
Update on Matt Carle.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning defenseman Matt Carle isn’t bitter about being a healthy scratch in a couple of recent games. The subject of trade speculation, Carle said his preference is to keep playing with the Lightning. He recently had a conversation with GM Steve Yzerman. While keeping what was discussed private, Carle said the club has treated him like professional. He has a modified no-trade clause and carries an annual cap hit of $5.5 million through 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carle may wish to stay in Tampa Bay, but if he wants more playing time he could end up accepting a trade. However, his annual cap hit is difficult to move at this point in the season. The decline in his performance this season also doesn’t help.
Wild lack cap space to make a major trade.
TWINCITIES.COM: Chad Graff reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said his club lacks the salary-cap space to swing a significant trade to bolster their forward depth, which took a hit when Zach Parise was sidelined by a knee injury. “It’s hard to make trades at the best of times because you’re trying to find a team that has what you need, and they need to need what you have,” Fletcher said. “That’s hard enough, nevermind balancing out the dollars. But now it has to be a dollar for dollar trade as well.” The Wild are among half of the NHL’s 30 teams currently sitting with less than $1 million in salary-cap space or receiving cap relief due to long-term injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a reality consistently overlooked by some rumormongers. If the dollars don’t fit, you can’t make a trade. That’s why there’s so few trades during the first half of the season, why most trades done in-season occur within a month of the trade deadline, and why most of the big trades take place from mid-June to early-July. It’s been that way since the imposition of the salary cap, and it’s not changing anytime soon.