Updates on Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Patrick Marleau, plus one Philadelphia sportswriter suggests the Flyers should trade Claude Giroux. 

Matt Duchene to the Senators?

Avalanche center Matt Duchene could be available, but can the Senators afford him?

Avalanche center Matt Duchene could be available, but can the Senators afford him?

BLEACHER REPORT: Former Denver Post hockey columnist Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic doesn’t intend to blow up his struggling roster, but he admits “you’re always talking with teams, and you’re wanting to listen on anybody, really.” Sakic stated center Nathan MacKinnon isn’t going anywhere. Dater reports veteran winger Jarome Iginla won’t waive his no-movement clause this season, citing family reasons.

He also speculates the Avalanche’s two highest-paid players, center Matt Duchene ($6 million per season) and goaltender Semyon Varlamov ($5.9 million annually) could be available for the right price, though he didn’t get into specifics as to what those returns could be.  Sakic acknowledged the salary cap is playing a big role for all clubs, making it difficult to swing a big trade. If he does make a deal, Sakic said he’d want a return that helps his club over the long term.

TSN.CA: Pierre LeBrun reports Duchene’s name is out there in the NHL trade market. He claims Sakic and head coach Patrick Roy are under a lot of pressure, as their club is mired in last place and attendance is suffering. Outside of MacKinnon, LeBrun believes many Avs are available for the right price.

Darren Dreger reports Sakic reached out to Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray about 10 days ago to gauge his interest in Duchene. Dreger claims Murray’s been seeking a top-six forward for some time, but the fit might not be there with Duchene.

Bob McKenzie claims the Senators aren’t happy with their performance of late and Murray is open for business. The Senators GM could trade a defenseman, apart from Erik Karlsson and perhaps Marc Methot. McKenzie believes if the Sens move a defenseman, the other club will also have to accept winger Colin Greening’s contract as part of the return.

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes Duchene could be just the player the inconsistent Senators need, though he doubts Sakic would be interested in “Jared Cowen or Patrick Wiercioch and Colin Greening”, plus the Sens have some young players they don’t want to move. While Duchene’s expensive, Brennan believes he could become a bargain over the remaining term of his contract. Prior to the TSN report linking Duchene to the Senators, Bruce Garrioch reported the club had no deals in the works.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Murray was surprised to get that call from Sakic about Duchene. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Murray was interested in Duchene. The problem is, the Senators are a budget team. The Avs will have to pick up part of Duchene’s contract, or take back a significant chunk of salary to make the dollars fit. And as Brennan points out, the Avs aren’t going to take back castoffs like Greening or struggling players like Cowen or Wiercioch. The Avs need blueline help, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone there that the Sens are willing to part with who would interest Sakic. As Dreger noted, there just doesn’t seem to be a fit there. 

Update on Patrick Marleau.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Mark Purdy doesn’t expect a Patrick Marleau trade to be imminent. In fact, he suggests the Feb. 29 trade deadline could be the earliest for such a move. As for the recent report of Marleau’s preferred destinations being the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings or New York Rangers, Purdy believes the Sharks will never trade Marleau to the Ducks or Kings, while the Rangers have cap limitations and no reason to swing such a major move right now. Purdy also said it doesn’t appear as though Sharks GM Doug Wilson is shopping Marleau. If he is to move Marleau, a deal near the trade deadline (when Wilson traditionally makes his significant in-season deal) seems more likely. Even then, Marleau might have to broaden his list of trade destinations.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman, who first broke the Marleau trade rumor last weekend, also believes it could take time for a Marleau trade to happen, citing many of the issues Purdy raised. While Wilson and Ducks GM Bob Murray are friends, Murray is under a self-imposed salary cap ceiling and lacks space to take on Marleau’s $6.6 million annual cap hit. Friedman also dismissed a rumor suggesting Marleau to the Ducks for Pat Maroon and draft picks.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks dismisses the notion of the Rangers acquiring Marleau, citing his cap hit whilst calling him “the wrong player at the wrong time for the Rangers.” Instead, Brooks suggests the Rangers pursue playoff-rental players at the trade deadline who play with more of a physical edge, like Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien or Andrew Ladd, Carolina’s Eric Staal or Arizona’s Shane Doan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Marleau trade speculation is starting to run out of steam. No surprise, really. Despite Wilson’s friendship with the Ducks GM, he’s not going to trade Marleau to another California-based team. I agree with Brooks’ take that Marleau’s not the player the Rangers need. Unless that trade list broadens, expect Marleau to finish the season with the Sharks. The speculation will likely resume in June as we get close to the 2016 NHL Draft. 

Teams calling about Ryan Johansen.

TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are still trying to find a deal to bolster their sagging fortunes. He claims teams are calling to express interest in center Ryan Johansen, though GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t shopping him. Dreger believes every player has a price, but if they were to make that deal it would have to be significant and multi-piece.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Kekalainen said deals are difficult to make right now, but things could improve soon. He’s been trying to improve the Jackets defense for weeks, but he won’t make a reckless trade just for the sake of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Million Dollar Man used to say, everybody’s got a price. Is there one for Johansen? Of course there is. Could a team be willing to make a big pitch for him? Probably, though I believe that kind of significant deal could take place around the June draft. Could Johansen be dealt? Possibly, but I don’t believe Kekalainen wants to move the guy he’s counting on to become his franchise player. Things can change, of course, but I don’t think the Blue Jackets will trade Johansen this season. 

Should the Flyers trade Claude Giroux?

PHILLY.COM: Sam Donnellon is so disgruntled with the performance of the Philadelphia Flyers that he suggests they trade top center Claude Giroux while he still has value. By the time the Flyers top prospects have developed into full-fledged NHL players, Giroux will be in the thirties and past his prime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ok, this isn’t a trade rumor, and I doubt Flyers GM Ron Hextall is shopping Giroux or even thinking about that possibility. Giroux’s in the second season of an eight-year, $66.2 million contract with a no-movement clause that kicked in this season. I daresay once Donnellon’s piece makes the rounds in the trade rumor mill, it’ll go from being a columnist suggesting Giroux be dealt to some rumormonger claiming that Hextall’s actively shopping his captain.

Still, this could give some Flyers fans something to discuss over the course of the season, especially if the Flyers are out of playoff contention leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Bear in mind, Giroux’s hefty salary alone is almost like a no-movement clause, and Giroux has the final say over any attempt to trade him. Such a deal would have to take place in the offseason. So, what do you think Flyers fans? Trade Giroux or keep him?