Most teams are a couple of games into their NHL seasons, so it is clearly time to panic, right? According to the Ottawa Sun’s ill-famed rumour-monger Bruce Garrioch, there are a bunch of things that could conceivably happen. Here’s his article, including an Oilers rumour (apparently, the team has a defenceman named Smead). Given that Garrioch’s reputation isn’t especially stellar (see here for one example), I decided to go look for some verification. Fortunately for me, Lyle Richardson (better known as Spector) had also seen the same article, and done some analysis for us already.
Garrioch reports that Ottawa, Colorado and Washington may be interested in Nikolai Khabibulin. Spector put things nicely (“it’s a little early to start speculating”), but I won’t. Let me put it this way: after signing Jose Theodore to a two-year, $9-million contract this summer (a contract that has Washington within $1 million of the salary cap), why would they give up on him after one bad game and one OK game? They wouldn’t. It’s asinine to suggest they would, because it makes no sense whatsoever. Given Khabibulin’s post-lockout level of play (ie, roughly on par with any of Gerber, Auld or Budaj), I can’t imagine anyone being willing to take on his nearly $7-million contract.
Although Colorado may eventually try to cure the insanity of their current goaltending tandem (Budaj-Raycroft) with a nearly as insane pitch for Khabibulin, I for one would be thrilled if that was how they decided to use their cap space.
According to Garrioch, Mike Gillis is still trying to trade Kevin Bieksa for a forward, but he’s having difficulty finding anyone interested. Spector chips in that he’s heard nothing like this (particularly given the recent trade of Krajicek). I have trouble believing that he would have difficulty moving Bieksa, given that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia both have a) a bunch of forwards and b) huge parts of their blueline on injured reserve.
There’s some more nonsense:
- A Peter Schaefer trade, which won’t happen because he needs to clear re-entry waivers and he will not—besides which, if an offer was out there, wouldn’t Boston have moved him already to keep from paying him $2 million/year to sit in the minors?).
- A Michael Nylander trade, which won’t happen because a) he’s too expensive, and b) he has a no-move clause, which he is on record as saying he has no plans to waive and hasn’t been asked to.
Garrioch also suggests that Tampa Bay may be looking to sign Marek Malik, which Spector suggests would “surprise” him. I actually came across these articles looking for news on Malik, a player who has been extremely effective statistically since the lockout, but really seems to have been black-listed as far as the NHL goes. I couldn’t find anything in the past month to indicate that any team, particularly Pittsburgh or Philadelphia (two teams desperately in need of defencemen) were looking at signing him.
Garrioch also wonders aloud if there’s “any truth to the talk the Oilers are willing to deal D Ladislav Smead? [sic]” Spector suggests it is possible, which makes sense to me, given the Oilers current situation on the backend. That said, I’d personally be very disappointed if they did move him at this point (something which Lowetide rather pragmatically suggests as a distinct possibility), because I think there’s a bunch of upside there and I doubt that the Oilers are a contending team this year anyway.
Regardless, I’m not any more worried about the move than I was before, given that Garrioch is the guy suggesting it.