Rumor: Boston to trade Wheeler, Savard to Columbus for 4th overall pick

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Wheeler.jpgI’d like to preface this post with a quick disclaimer: right now,
this can only be classified as a rumor, although one that certainly
seems to have legs. Proceed with caution.

Pro Hockey Talk has
learned of a possible trade in the works, with the Boston Bruins dealing
Blake Wheeler and Marc Savard to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange
for the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. It’s likely
that the Bruins would also include their 15th overall pick in the deal
as well, leaving Boston with both the second and fourth pick in the
first round.

Talking to another source, PHT was told that the Blue
Jackets are interested in trading away their pick, although as of now
there is nothing concrete in the works as far as a trade goes.
Considering how reliable our source is for the information regarding
this trade proposal, it seems as though there is certainly something
substantial in the works although there is no guarantee this is going
down. It’s also important to note that Boston including that 15th pick isn’t certain, although you wonder if Wheeler and Savard alone are worth the 4th. So you’d think something else would have to come back Boston’s way, although I doubt they’re looking to take on much salary in this trade.

Here is where things get dicey however, if this is in fact the proposed trade. Marc Savard has a full no-trade clause that he would have to waive and Blake Wheeler isn’t under contract for next season — he’s to become a restricted free agent after making $2.8 million last season. Savard would have had to agree to be traded to Columbus, something I haven’t even caught wind of being a possibility. While it’s certainly possibly, that right now is the big sticking point in this deal.

Columbus is also hoping to acquire top line center this summer (hence the rumors about a possible Spezza trade) and while Savard has decent numbers throughout his career I’m not certain he’s the level of center the Blue Jackets are hoping for on the first line. That being said, he would still help fill a void on the Blue Jackets roster and allow them some flexibility to not have to give up a ransom this summer to make either make a trade for center or overpay in free agency.

For Boston, this is a trade that works in freeing up cap space while also giving themselves the ability to instantly infuse the franchise with two outstanding and talented young players, one of which will certainly make an immediate impact. The cap space is important, especially if the Bruins are looking to make a big splash in free agency — Patrick Marleau, anyone?

So, at first glance this trade proposal leaves you shaking your head a bit but it makes sense if you start to break it down. I also think that the Bruins would be giving up a ton for that 4th pick, but if they use that cap space to make a big free agency signing it will all even out.

Once again, at this point this is just a rumor — although one that is from a very reliable source. This isn’t a trade that is finalized, so the parts may change and it may fall apart, but what’s the NHL draft without some crazy trade rumors?

Holtby ‘wasn’t as sharp as he can be,’ says Trotz

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Presidents’ Trophy winners once again in the regular season, the Capitals once again face an uphill climb if they are to advance beyond the rival Penguins and the second round of the playoffs.

What began with a strong first period for the Capitals in Game 2, albeit without a reward on the score board, faded into a frustrating 6-2 rout, as the Penguins took a commanding 2-0 series lead as it shifts back to Pittsburgh for a pivotal Game 3 on Monday.

Braden Holtby was pulled after the second period. He gave up three goals on 14 shots, while his opponent at the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant with 34 saves.

“He’ll tell you that he can be better. He’s a straight up guy and he will be. I was just trying to change the mojo,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz of his decision to sit Holtby.

“I thought some of the goals, he wasn’t as sharp as he can be for us. He’s a game-changer for us. So when he didn’t change the game, I just looked to change the mojo a little bit there. That’s all. Braden’s our backbone. He has been all year. We’ve got to find some goals for him, too. We can’t just put it on Braden Holtby.”

Now in a deep but not insurmountable hole against the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Capitals reportedly held a players’ only meeting following this latest defeat.

After failing to open the scoring in an otherwise dominant first period, Washington surrendered three goals in the second, as the Penguins broke it wide open with their transition game, led by two great plays from Sidney Crosby.

“We can’t get frustrated. I think that would be our biggest mistake is to get frustrated right now,” said T.J. Oshie, before expanding on the meeting between the players.

“It was things that people need to say and things that some people need to hear. We were very together with what we said. I don’t need to go into details. Sometimes in our game … you need to hear from your teammates more than your coach. And tonight was one of those nights.

“It was the players in here and what was said is what needed to be said.”

We’ll find out Monday if what was said actually has any impact on the ice.

Penguins rout Capitals to take commanding series lead

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The Washington Capitals are in trouble. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again.

Despite a dominant first period, at least in terms of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury and puck possession, the Capitals saw this game go sideways in a hurry during the second period, on the way to a 6-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 2.

Washington is now in quite a hole, trailing its nemesis 2-0 in this second-round series.

Last year, Matt Murray stymied the Capitals. Though it’s only been two games this year, Fleury has stepped up in the absence of the injured Murray and given the Penguins solid goaltending and frustrated a dangerous Capitals lineup.

After withstanding the storm of pressure from the Capitals in the first period, the Penguins broke this game open with a trio of second-period goals. It started with a shorthanded goal from Matt Cullen, and later continued with a beautiful goal from Phil Kessel and then Jake Guentzel‘s sixth goal of these playoffs.

That led Barry Trotz to take Braden Holtby out of the game, after he gave up three goals on 14 shots, putting in Phillip Grubauer to begin the third period. The Penguins continued the onslaught.

For the Penguins, there are some injury concerns to keep an eye on.

Patric Hornqvist left the game in the first period after blocking a shot around his foot or ankle. He didn’t return. Ron Hainsey had to go to the locker room late in the third period after taking an Alex Ovechkin shot up around the head.

Game 3 goes Monday in Pittsburgh.

‘I wasn’t good enough,’ says Lundqvist after double OT loss to Senators

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The task wasn’t impossible, but certainly daunting.

The Ottawa Senators needed five goals on Henrik Lundqvist just to send Game 2 into overtime.

The Rangers goalie had been spectacular for most of this post-season entering Saturday’s contest, but the Senators, led by a sensational four-goal performance from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, found a way to break through for a 6-5 double overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead against New York.

They did so on just 34 shots through almost 83 minutes against Lundqvist.

“I wasn’t good enough,” said Lundqvist, per the New York Daily News. “Coming up with the extra save there in the end, that’s my job. Even though it’s tough plays on deflections, I’ve got to find a way.”

On three occasions, the Rangers held a two-goal lead. That includes with under five minutes remaining in regulation. They even had a pair of shorthanded goals. But they couldn’t hang on, as Pageau scored twice in the final 3:19 of regulation to record his hat trick.

That set the stage for the eventual winner, as he beat Lundqvist over the left shoulder with a shot from his off-wing on a two-on-one rush.

With the Senators in control, the series returns to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Thursday.

“We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it,” said Lundqvist. “It’s really tough to lose this one. Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces here in the first two games.”

Capitals’ Holtby begins third period on the bench, Grubauer takes over in net

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Braden Holtby began the third period of Saturday’s Game 2 on the bench, giving way to Philipp Grubauer.

The Washington Capitals fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 after two periods, with Holtby allowing three goals on just 14 shots. It will be interesting to hear the reason for this decision from coach Barry Trotz following the game.

The Capitals had dominated on the shot clock, but gave up a pair of quick goals to fall further behind Pittsburgh in this game, while trailing in the series 1-0.

Phil Kessel — on a great play from Sidney Crosby — and Jake Guentzel scored 3:10 apart to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead.