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


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?

Canucks spoil Ducks’ home opener via shootout

Adam Cracknell, Ryan Miller

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks have already found a groove just three games into the regular season. The Anaheim Ducks are still looking for a way to get their offense going.

Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows scored in the shootout, and the Canucks spoiled Anaheim’s home opener with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

Miller made 28 saves and Adam Cracknell scored in regulation for Vancouver, which beat the Ducks for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.

Vancouver improved to 2-0 on the road in the young season, with Miller yielding just one goal in each game. That’s encouraging to the veteran, who played in only four games after Feb. 22 last season while dealing with a knee injury.

“I’m just trying to go out there and battle and compete,” said Miller, who stopped a third-period redirection by Carl Hagelin with his mask. “That was my mindset coming off an injury. That’s what it really comes down to, getting back the focus early on. I didn’t play hockey for a while. The technical stuff I worked on this summer and I pay attention to in practice.”

Even with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin combining for just one shot, the Canucks won the new season’s first meeting between the Pacific Division’s top two teams last year. Anaheim won its third straight division title, while Vancouver finished a surprising second before losing in the opening round of the playoffs.

Sami Vatanen scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 24 shots for the Ducks, who have scored just one goal while going winless in the first two games of a season that begins with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Anaheim was shut out in San Jose on Saturday in its opener before returning to Honda Center for its first real game on home ice since Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, when Chicago advanced to win the Stanley Cup.

Kevin Bieksa played nearly 24 1/2 minutes in his second game with the Ducks. Anaheim acquired the veteran defenseman from Vancouver last summer after he played 10 years with the Canucks, who drafted him in 2001. Bieksa was reunited with Ryan Kesler, the longtime Vancouver forward who moved to Anaheim before last season.

“We fought back a lot better than we did in San Jose,” Bieksa said. “So we need to keep building on this in the rest of this homestand here. If we do that, we’re going to be all right.”

After the Ducks failed to score on a power play during their first official taste of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, Vrbata and Burrows got stuttering, halting shots past Andersen, who stopped Burrows’ shot before watching it trickle under him.

“I’ve done that move a few times against a few goalies, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it against Freddie,” Burrows said. “So I tried it, and I’m lucky it went in tonight. It hit his stick and trickled in.”

Jakob Silfverberg scored in the shootout for the Ducks, who lost their home opener for just the second time in six seasons. Anaheim’s talented offensive players aren’t clicking so far, but nobody is panicking yet.

“I think we’re doing things the right way now,” Vatanen said. “We battled hard. We got some good chances. The season is long, so we’re going the right way.”

Both teams opened at a furious pace, with end-to-end chances throughout. After a scoreless first period, Vatanen got the Ducks’ first goal of the season when his long, low shot went through Mike Santorelli‘s screen.

Cracknell evened it later in the period with a sharp-angled shot that somehow deflected off Andersen’s shoulder or stick and landed behind the goalie. The journeyman got his first regular-season NHL goal since April 4, 2013, and just the seventh of his 85-game NHL career.

“Pretty fortunate goal on their part,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.

NOTES: A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center to call for the suspension of Ducks D Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada related to a 2013 grizzly bear hunt. … Cracknell hadn’t scored a goal in his last 49 regular-season games, although he got a postseason goal in 2014 for St. Louis.

Coming Tuesday: Dan Boyle, $4.5M healthy scratch

Brad Marchand, Dan Boyle

Few things say “Oops, bad signing” quite like putting a really expensive player in street clothes (without an injury being involved).

The Philadelphia Flyers set quite the high bar in that regard, but the New York Rangers can’t laugh too much. Not with Dan Boyle expected to be a healthy scratch against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

The word from the Bergen Record is that Dylan McIlrath will draw into the Rangers lineup in Boyle’s space, although Kevin Klein will take over Boyle’s role on the power play.

Let’s face the facts. At 39, Boyle may still boast some zip on offense, but maybe not enough to justify an everyday role.

It’s not the first time the Rangers have decided to make the difficult, awkward season to phase a big name out as he approaches age 40.

Even if it’s just a momentary situation, one cannot help but wonder if Boyle’s career is screeching to halt much like Martin St. Louis’ did in 2014-15 (though the latter’s decline was more sudden).

On the bright side, it sounds like Boyle has a side job lined up with Faith No More.