The NHL trade deadline is inching closer and closer, and with that, the trade talk is heating up. We take a look at some of the latest NHL rumours and analyze what they mean going forward. Today we look into the latest on free agent forward Jarome Iginla, Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan and his connection to Erik Karlsson, Chicago Blackhawks centre Artem Anisimov, and Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg.
NHL Rumour Mill
Rumour: Jarome Iginla has been seen practicing with the Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate. He does not have a contract, but the team is doing a courtesy for the 40-year-old who would like to return to the NHL. The 40-year-old told The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver that he would like to resume his hockey career, and would “still love to play.” He has recuperated from hip surgery four months ago.
Analysis: Iginla is 40, and he’s lost a step, but he can still be an effective player in the NHL. He still has a great shot, quick hands, good vision and playmaking skill, grit, power, and a great hockey mind. Iginla had six goals and nine points in 19 games with the Los Angeles Kings after last year’s trade deadline.
Iginla has had a Hall of Fame level career and the only thing missing is a Stanley Cup Ring. If he does come back for one last hurrah, expect him to only sign with a true Cup contender and not just a playoff team. He has a history with the Bruins and a home in Boston so they may have the inside track, but it is no sure thing. There are other teams who could catch Iginla’s eye.
Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson
Rumour: Terry Marcotte, sports director at CTV Ottawa, reports that the Senators could ask any team interested in superstar defenceman Erik Karlsson to also take on Bobby Ryan’s contract.
Analysis: With this year and four more left on Ryan’s contract with a cap hit of $7.25 million per year, and $7.5 million in actual salary per year, the deal is an albatross. It has negative value. In addition, the number of teams who will be able to fit both Karlsson and Ryan in under their salary cap is extremely limited. Taking Ryan will likely reduce the value of the draft picks, prospects, players that team can give for Karlsson. This may be another example of Eugene Melnyk’s desire to save money hurting the product on the ice in Ottawa.
Rumour: Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Artem Anisimov has not heard about any teams enquiring about his availability.
Analysis: This is significant because Anisimov has a full no-move clause in his contract. If Anisimov hasn’t heard of teams having interest in him it would indicate that the Blackhawks are not close to a deal to trade him away right now. While there is still time for things to happen between now and Monday’s 3:00 pm deadline, the Hawks will need to know if Anisimov will waive his NMC before they can seriously look at dealing him. With 15 goals in 50 games this year, Anisimov can add offence and depth down the middle for any contender.
Rumour: Adrian Dater of BSNDenver indicates that the Pittsburgh Penguins might have some interest in Colorado Avalanche centre Carl Soderberg, but only as a fallback option to Derick Brassard.
Analysis: It is no secret that the Penguins have been seeking a third-line centre since the start of the season. Derick Brassard is clearly the best centre involved in trade rumours this year. However, the Penguins would need to move another contract to fit him under the salary cap (even with the Sens retaining). Another option is Habs centre Tomas Plekanec, but as Pierre Lebrun reported previously, the cap is also an issue there. Carl Soderberg has this year and two more on his contract with an AAV of $4.75 million per season. This is another expensive deal and the Avalanche would need to retain significant salary to make it happen.