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.

Can the Lightning find any takers for defenseman Matt Carle?

Can the Lightning find any takers for defenseman 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.