Trade Bait: Ryane Clowe

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The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3. Following is a player that may be moved. For more “Trade Bait,” click here.

Despite having a down year — just nine points through 25 games, with zero goals — San Jose’s Ryane Clowe is on a number of wish lists.

The 30-year-old’s career body of work has put him in demand. He’s scored 20 goals twice and 15 or more five times. He’s big (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) and plays with a nasty streak, twice racking up over 100 PIM in a season.

He also has a wealth of playoff experience. Clowe appeared in back-to-back Western Conference finals with the Sharks, including a tremendous 2011 run when he scored 15 points in 17 games and led the club in powerplay goals.

Throw in the fact he’s a pending UFA (his four year, $14.5 million deal expires this summer) and Clowe knows he’s a target for teams looking to make a playoff push.

“I hear it, like everyone else,” Clowe told CSN Bay Area. “I don’t pay too much attention to it.

“I understand things happen, but I would obviously like to stay here, too, and see this through. I haven’t had the year I’ve wanted, but that’s not affecting me, the trade rumors.”

Clowe isn’t the only piece of this trade rumor. There’s also his general manager.

After shipping out defenseman Douglas Murray, Sharks GM Doug Wilson admitted his phone has been busy and that he was accepting all calls, looking to take advantage of a trade market that was thin on sellers but heavy on buyers.

“If you’re decisive in your decisions,” Wilson said, “you can get full value.”

As for who’s interested in Clowe?

CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty notes that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has always had a “fondness” for Clowe, and Boston is in need of forward depth after the injury to Chris Kelly and ineffectiveness of Rich Peverley (who was a healthy scratch last week).

Toronto could be another team that’s in play. Clowe’s rough-and-tumble style would play well on a team that leads the NHL in fighting majors (33) this season and would relish added postseason experience.

Edmonton’s not exactly in a playoff chase, but has been linked to Clowe. The Oilers have been on the hunt for a big, physical winger for what feels like forever and will have some money coming off the books in Ryan Whitney ($4 million), Nikolai Khabibulin ($3.75), Andy Sutton ($1.75) this summer, and could consider using a buyout on captain Shawn Horcoff ($5.5 million).

Clowe could be a guy they target not as a rental, but someone to sign to term.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.

Tortorella was irate after Roman Polak boarded Oliver Bjorkstrand

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John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.

Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.

First, take a look at the hit:

Next, behold Tortorella’s anger:

Again, Columbus couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities, so that didn’t make things any better.

Right now, the Maple Leafs lead the Blue Jackets 3-2. If Toronto ends up winning, this will stand as one of the game’s pivotal moments.

It’s far from the only exciting moment, however, with these goals and big hits also standing out.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Update: OK, so Nylander’s really stealing the show. This is stupendous.