With Peter Mueller out, could Devils and Avalanche talk trade?

Thumbnail image for Langenbrunner.jpgWith the news coming yesterday that Avalanche forward Peter Mueller would be out indefinitely thanks to receiving a concussion during a pre-season game the other night, the Avs are potentially in the hunt for a replacement. While there’s not too much left going on with the free agent wire, scouting for trade possibilities could be in the best interests of the Avalanche front office if they’re unsure of when the now concussion susceptible Mueller will be out.

One team jumps out immediately for readily-available help and The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater starts sniffing around heavily at the New Jersey Devils to see what they could offer Colorado.

The Devils have three forwards who are definitely available and whom the team would probably dearly love to move. They are former Av Brian Rolston, Jamie Langenbrunner and Dainius Zubrus. While I loved Rolston as a player in Boston and Minnesota, he is coming off a terrible first year in Jersey after signing a huge contract (he’s got two years left on a deal with a $5.062 million cap hit). He’s also 35. His age and contract make it highly, highly improbable the Avs would even think of trying to get him back. But he is a left winger who is capable of good hockey I believe, and the Avs have tons of cap room.

Still, assuming Rolston is a no-go, Langenbrunner and Zubrus are possibilities. Neither really fits in with the “Young Guns, rebuild with youth (and do it on the cheap)” new philosophy of Avs management. But the Avs can’t live in this dream world of doing it with kids all the time, when injuries strike. Sometimes you need some quick veteran help, and these two could give some.

brianrolston2.jpgWe’ve talked a lot about the Devils and their need to shed salary as well as about who they’d be looking to deal, but Langenbrunner is the one guy that gets left out of the discussion and with good reason. Langenbrunner is the captain of the Devils and after going through a seemingly tumultuous year with former coach Jacques Lemaire has a clean slate to deal with in John MacLean.

Chances are that if anyone is going to be dangled to Colorado, Rolston will be the first and foremost discussed guy. Whether or not the Avs would want a guy making over $5 million on the cap for the next two seasons that could be on a fast downside of his career seems unlikely. Getting under the salary cap can create strange bedfellows, however, and if Peter Mueller is slated to be out for a while, Colorado and New Jersey make sense as potential trade partners.

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    Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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    The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

    Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

    “Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

    Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

    Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

    Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

    Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

    Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

    Ryan Johansen
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    One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

    You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

    — Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

    — GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

    — Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

    So there’s that. What’s next?

    At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

    Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

    So, consider the similarities now:

    — Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

    — Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

    — Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

    — Both are Overhardt guys.

    — The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

    — Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

    For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

    And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

    And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.

    Flyers’ Gagner to miss another week after Malone hit

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    The nasty blow Sam Gagner took in Monday’s game against Carolina will keep him on the shelf for a little bit.

    On Wednesday, Flyers GM Ron Hextall said the club expected Gagner to be out around a week with injuries suffered on the hit, delivered by ‘Canes forward Brad Malone (per the Inquirer).

    Gagner suffered a fairly significant facial laceration, which forced him from the game entirely. He didn’t practice on Tuesday and, in a corresponding move, the Flyers called up Colin McDonald from the AHL to fill Gagner’s spot on the roster.

    This is the second facial injury Gagner’s suffered in recent years. He’d previously had his jaw broken by an errant Zack Kassian high stick, while he was with the Oilers and Kassian the Canucks.

    Prior to getting hurt, Gagner had two goals and five points in 18 games, averaging just under 12 minutes per night.

    ‘It’s absolutely not true’ — Lemieux denies report of ‘big falling out’ with Crosby

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 5:  Sidney Crosby #87 and Mario Lemieux #66 of the Pittsburgh Penguins share a few words during a break in action against the New Jersey Devils in their NHL opening night game at the Continental Airlines Arena on October 5, 2005 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Devils won 5-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Well, that didn’t take long.

    Just hours after Matthew Barnaby went on the radio and said he’d heard that Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux had had a “big falling out,” Lemieux came out and denied it.

    “It’s absolutely not true,” said Lemieux, per the club’s Twitter account. “It’s silly.”

    Today marked the second time in less than two weeks that the Penguins have been forced to do some damage control.

    Last week, the Penguins insisted that they weren’t actually “mad at each other,” as Evgeni Malkin had put it after a bad loss to New Jersey.

    “He did not mean we are mad at each other,” said Crosby. “He meant we are frustrated.”