Trade rumblings: Habs move Cammalleri; B's, Devils, Wild have tough decisions

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
10:29
PM ET
The NHL trade deadline got an early jump Thursday night with the Montreal Canadiens shipping outspoken winger Mike Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames.

Just a day after spouting off about his frustrations with the way the team was playing, Cammalleri was gone.

Was it a rash move by embattled Habs GM Pierre Gauthier?

Consider this: One NHL GM told ESPN.com Thursday night he wished he would have known Cammalleri was available because he had some interest in the player.

[+] EnlargeCammalleri
Don Wright/US PresswireMike Cammalleri played in Calgary during the 2008-09 season.
Deduce from that what you will.

Whether or not the Canadiens informed a lot of teams, the Flames say this deal was not done overnight.

"It's been percolating for quite some time, we've been having a lot of conversations," Flames GM Jay Feaster told reporters in Calgary after the deal was announced.

The Habs also dealt goalie Karri Ramo and a fifth-round pick in 2012 in exchange for forwards Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland and a second-round pick in 2013.

The Flames got the better player in Cammalleri, but the Habs will save cap space; Bourque has a $3.3 million yearly cap hit, while Cammalleri is at $6 million.

Will the trade spark more moves? Another NHL GM told ESPN.com before this trade that he thought the chatter had more volume this early on compared with other years.

Let’s start in Boston with the Stanley Cup champs:

Bruins looking with caution

When you’re leading the NHL in goals for and goals against, and blowing away the opposition on some nights, just what exactly do you need ahead of the trade deadline?

"Obviously we have a lot of cap room, so there’s a lot of flexibility," Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN.com Thursday. "I would like to add depth-wise on the forward front and depth-wise on the defenseman front. But I don’t want to subtract anything."

A year ago, Chiarelli was a busy man, adding Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Tomas Kaberle ahead of the deadline en route to a Stanley Cup championship.

This year, while willing to add again, Chiarelli is treading more carefully.

"The difference between last year and this year is that I’m a little more certain about the chemistry at this point," said the Bruins GM. "So I have to be a little more careful about adding. I don’t want to subtract in order to add. If I can add, I want to be careful about chemistry."

Chiarelli declined, like all GMs, to name any possible targets, so I’ll do a little sleuthing on my own.

I think two names that bear watching are forward Tuomo Ruutu and/or defenseman Tim Gleason in Carolina. Both are slated to be unrestricted free agents July 1.

But those are just two possibilities. Like any buyer at this time of year, the B’s would have more than a dozen names on their shopping list.

Parise's future

There has been lots of chatter this past week about Zach Parise and his future. The Devils' star captain is slated to be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

I’m not convinced the Feb. 27 trade deadline means a whole lot to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello in this particular case. Normally, when a pending UFA star like Parise hasn’t signed an extension yet and has the potential to walk away July 1 without compensation, the team will try to move him before the trade deadline to maximize his remaining asset value -- much like the former Atlanta Thrashers did with both Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk and the Nashville Predators may be forced to do with Ryan Suter this season.

But from talking to people around the league, there’s a growing feeling that Lamoriello will not move Parise.

"He can’t trade away his captain, the face of the franchise, with the team sitting in a playoff spot," one source told ESPN.com Thursday.

Another factor is that the Devils need Parise to make the playoffs, and the club -- still in an ownership mess -- can really use the additional revenue.

"Don’t discount that part of it," said the source.

The feeling is that Lamoriello will use the remaining months between now and July 1 to try to convince Parise to stay on board.

The other option for the Devils is that if Parise hasn’t signed by the June entry draft, they can move his rights then. It won’t fetch as much as trading him now would, but it’s better than nothing.

Wild hoping to buy

The Minnesota Wild, like many teams, don’t quite know yet if they’ll be buyers or sellers, as it depends on where they sit in the standings come Feb. 27.

They’re certainly hoping to be buyers and, if that’s the case, it’s pretty obvious they’ll be looking to upgrade a 29th-place offense.

"We’ve been talking to teams for a couple of months now," Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told ESPN.com Thursday. "We haven’t scored a lot of goals this year. I think there’s room for internal improvement, I think we have guys who will score more goals. But obviously if we could find a way to upgrade our team, we will."

What the Wild won’t do, however, is mortgage the future. Fletcher and his front office have worked hard to replenish the prospect base and minor league system in Minnesota.

"We’re not going to trade any of our top young prospects," Fletcher said. "We think we’ve worked hard to put together a pretty good crop of prospects going forward and we’re not looking to dismantle the whole thing for a quick fix. But if we can find a way to make a good hockey trade here, or move something that isn’t as critical to our future, then we’ll certainly look at that."

My sense is that the Wild would be willing to move a B-level prospect, a draft pick or a player off their current roster if that helps get them a top-six forward.

Fletcher, of course, would not mention any names, but I’ll put this guess out there: Vaclav Prospal, UFA July 1, is available in Columbus and Fletcher had him in Florida. I’m sure the Wild have a dozen targets on their wish list, but I’d be surprised if Prospal wasn’t one of them.

More rumblings

  • I can confirm reports that Philadelphia and Toronto have chatted over the past week. The Leafs have long coveted winger James van Riemsdyk. Sources on both teams, however, told ESPN.com Thursday that nothing was close to imminent on any deal. The Flyers' top priority is to get help on defense, and it just so happens that's where Toronto has extra bodies. Still, as I reported earlier this week, Philly's top name on its shopping list is Suter. Tim Gleason of the Hurricanes also interests the Flyers.
  • The New York Rangers, we’re hearing, are looking for either a top-six forward who can put the puck in the net and/or a power-play defenseman with a good shot. Like most other contenders, including the likes of Philadelphia and Detroit, the Rangers are keeping a close eye on Nashville and what the Predators are going to do with either Suter (UFA July 1) or Shea Weber (RFA July 1). Needless to say, the Rangers would covet either one of those studs on defense.
  • The Detroit Red Wings have more cap space than they’ve ever had since this system was put in place in 2005. They’ll be looking to add, but not at all costs.

    "We got cap space, I’m going to work the phones like I always do over the next six to seven weeks," Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com Thursday. "If there’s a fit, we’ll do something, but if there isn’t, I don’t feel the urge to do something for the sake of doing something. I like our team."

    As I reported earlier this season, I believe the Wings have some interest in Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, who is UFA July 1. I also believe an upgrade on backup goalie Ty Conklin would be a target.
  • The Vancouver Canucks are looking for size up front, most likely in the form of a bottom-six forward. Backup goalie Cory Schneider, who is starting material, would need to fetch a big-time offer to move before Feb. 27. My sense is he’s more likely to move in the offseason.
  • New York-based rumors this week had Shane Doan possibly on the move with the Rangers a team that would covet him. Well, the Rangers do like him, but he’s not available at this point. "No truth in that whatsoever," Coyotes GM Don Maloney responded via email when asked about those Doan trade rumors. The Coyotes captain is slated to be an UFA July 1.
  • The Florida Panthers want to get healthy before they decide what they’re going to do regarding the trade deadline.

    "We don’t know yet, hopefully we’ll have everybody back in the lineup in the next couple of weeks and then we’ll see what we have," Panthers GM Dale Tallon told ESPN.com Thursday. "And then we’ll see where we’re at as well. There’s no rush here."

    The Panthers feel pretty good about their blue line, so odds are they’ll be looking to add up front, more specifically in my opinion, a No. 2 center to help beef up the secondary scoring.
  • The San Jose Sharks made a lot of their moves last summer but could still use more depth in the form of a third-line forward. They’re also shopping goalie Antero Niittymaki.

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