The latest on Cam Fowler, Jeff Skinner, Matt Carle, Dennis Wideman, Carl Gunnarsson and more in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
Highlights from Garrioch’s latest “Insider Trading.”
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports “many around the league” are starting to wonder if Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray, rather than head coach Bruce Boudreau, could take the fall for the club’s poor performance this season “because, after all, he’s the architect of this mess.” Garrioch claims Murray is trying to make a roster move and is listening to offers for defenseman Cam Fowler, but he’s set a high asking price for the blueliner and will only ship him to an Eastern Conference team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Murray, the 2014 NHL GM of the year, gets the ax after his club came within a game of reaching the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Murray may be patient with Boudreau, but I still believe he’s the most likely to be fired if the Ducks don’t improve soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if Murray was drawing upon his blueline depth as trade bait in hopes of landing a scoring forward.
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving is still trying to shake up his roster a bit.
Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is still shopping for a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are 6-0-1 after dropping their first three games of the season. Sweeney could still be in the market for a blueliner, but I think there’s less urgency compared to three weeks ago.
Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is willing to make a deal but won’t move his young players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Sakic wants to shop a veteran, Jarome Iginla (38), Alex Tanguay (35) and Francois Beauchemin (35) could attract some interest. Problem is, they’re also among the Avs leading scorers thus far and they’re carrying expensive salaries.
Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen apparently contacted one Western Conference club seeking a defenseman but the talks stopped when the asking price was Jackets winger Brandon Saad.
St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is willing to move defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not until Kevin Shattenkirk returns to the lineup. Gunnarsson can log 20 minutes of ice time per game and is currently second on the Blues in blocked shots (18). They’re not parting with him yet.
Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is willing to talk about just about anybody on his club, including winger Jeff Skinner, Ron Hainsey, Riley Nash and John-Michael Liles. Francis must also soon make a decision regarding pending UFA Eric Staal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner’s contract ($5.725-million annual cap hit through 2018-19) and concussion history makes him very difficult to move. Francis could have better luck shopping Hainsey, Nash or Liles. As for Staal, I don’t see that decision coming until close to the Feb. 29 trade deadline
There’s some talk Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello is sniffing around for a goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quite frankly, there’s not much of a goalie market right now, as the Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres can probably attest.
Lightning shopping Carle.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson reports the Lightning made veteran defenseman Matt Carle a healthy scratch during Saturday’s game against Boston. It appears they’re trying to trade the 31-year-old. Carle, who has no points and a plus-minus of minus-3 in 11 games this season, is under contract through 2017-18. He carries an annual cap hit of $5.5 million plus a modified no-trade clause. If they can shed his cap hit, the savings could be put toward re-signing pending UFA Steven Stamkos. Erlendsson notes the Lightning did the same thing around this time last season with Eric Brewer, making him a healthy scratch until finally trading him in November to Anaheim.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brewer also had a modified NTC and a $3.875 million cap hit, but he was also a UFA at season’s end, making him easier to move than Carle. The Lightning picked up a portion of Brewer’s salary in that deal with Anaheim, and I daresay they’ll have to pick up a big chunck of Carle’s cap hit to get a deal done. The Blue Jackets are reportedly in the market for a defenseman, but I’m not sure Carle is the guy they want.
No Wideman reunion with the Bruins.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Calgary Flames could use a scoring winger, which explains why defenseman Dennis Wideman’s name keeps popping up. Matheson doubts the Bruins have interest in bringing Wideman back to Boston, perhaps instead preferring Kris Russell.