The San Jose Sharks are doing what they always seem to do: finding a way to win the Pacific Division and remain in the mix as potential Stanley Cup favorites.
Still, the team is strangely heavy on centers after shipping Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi out of town but GM Doug Wilson might just change that up in a big way. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the team is coming on strong in the Rick Nash sweepstakes.
The San Jose Sharks are emerging as a strong contender for Rick Nash. Sources say Columbus initially targeted Logan Couture, but was quickly told that was a non-starter. But, make no mistake, San Jose will stay in the mix until Monday’s deadline.
Wilson isn’t shy to make big moves
For all the knee-jerk criticisms for the Sharks’ playoff struggles – which should probably be downplayed at least a bit after two conference final finishes – Wilson isn’t afraid to swing for the fences with big deals. The recent Heatley and Setoguchi deals are just the most recent examples of his itchy trigger finger, as you may remember Brian Campbell spin-o-rama’d his way through San Jose before Chicago gave him that ridiculous contract.
An appealing potential story
One thing that could make Nash work out especially well in San Jose is his chemistry with Joe Thornton. The two played on the same team overseas when the NHL locked out and they’re logically two parts of a hockey one-timer equation. To paraphrase a line from the movie “Miracle,” Thornton is the “pass” and Nash is the “shoot, score.”
If you’re rooting for drama, this might just be the most interesting possibility for Nash. The Sharks are notorious for “not getting it done” while Nash has never really had a chance to prove himself with a great team in a huge pressure situation. If they failed with him there, it would just give critics that much more ammo. Of course, the flip side is that there would be dual retribution if they succeeded together.
Anyway, that’s more of a discussion if a trade actually happens. For that to happen, the big questions are: what will Nash cost and would he be worth it?
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times thinks that Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s job might be on the line with how he handles things at the deadline. Perhaps providing shock collars to help the team score goals might help. (Los Angeles Times)
Meanwhile, fans in Philly wonder if Lombardi’s answers to the team’s offensive woes will come by reuniting Jeff Carter with Mike Richards in L.A. (CSNPhilly.com)
One more Kings note, they’re trying to avoid history in their next game. The Kings have never been shutout in regulation in three straight games before. It could happen tonight against Phoenix though. (L.A. Kings Insider)
Alex Ovechkin said he wasn’t hurt in last night’s 5-0 loss to Carolina, yet he was spotted limping. Hmm… (Capitals Insider)
Speaking of players with inconsistent performances of late, how about that Toronto goaltending? (TSN)
Ever wonder what it takes to be a hockey insider on the Internet and come up with a million phony trade rumors? Now you can find out. (On The Forecheck)
Speaking of trade rumors, Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner isn’t a big fan of them. (Toronto Sun)
Marc Staal is really starting to round into form nicely of late. (Ranger Rants)
Vincent Lecavalier is definitely out of tonight’s game against Anaheim. (Lightning Strikes)
We might have to start calling Jets coach Claude Noel “Debbie Downer” for how he accentuates the negatives with his team. (Winnipeg Sun)
College Hockey note: Paul Kelly stepped down as head of College Hockey, Inc. after he was told to either resign or be fired. Yikes. (USCHO)
You can’t have a big time player in trade rumors and not have the Flyers involved in talks one way or another.
According to CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio, sources tell him that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson are discussing the possibility of sending Rick Nash to the Flyers. Of course the main issue here for the Flyers if they want to land Nash comes in what they’d have to give up to get him. Panaccio says the price might not be worth Philly’s trouble.
As for the asking price for a player of Nash’s caliber? Probably Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn.
But … it may be something else. It may be James van Riemsdyk, another player, plus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Or a high draft pick besides a player.
The Flyers don’t want to move Couturier or Schenn, but if I’m Howson, I want both those players.
Yikes. A package of van Riemsdyk, Bobrovsky, and Couturier or Schenn would be a whopper. Toss in a first-round pick as well and you’ve got a deal that looks great on paper for Columbus. The chances of Philly giving up that much young talent to make it happen while not strengthening their defensive unit seems slim.
As Panaccio stresses, it’s all rumors right now but with Howson and Blue Jackets senior adviser Craig Patrick both scouting the Flyers personally, that provides enough fuel to keep the rumors burning.
If you ask me, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be foolish to ship their underrated – and most talented – center out of town. Still, that rumor is picking up steam as TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the team has an offer “on the table” for Mikhail Grabovski.
The word is that the hypothetical deal would net the Buds a second-round pick and some sort of prospect, although the specific team in question remains a mystery.
One possible catalyst for GM Brian Burke’s flirtation with a move is that Grabovski is a pending free agent who some believe would fetch as much as $5 million per year. If the two sides are far apart on his asking price, shipping him out of town makes a bit more sense.
It’s weird to say this in hockey-saturated Toronto, but Grabovski might be a rare Leafs forward whose value slips under the radar.
The versatile Belarussian’s five-game scoreless slump hurts his numbers a bit, but he’s still been nicely productive with 39 points in 52 games. He’s also decent in other areas of the ice and has shown the occasional mean streak, so he can do a little of everything. Grabovski has contributed solid-to-great offense even though he’s lining up with lesser wingers such as Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin rather than stars Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. (Kulemin has struggled mightily this season, too.)
Burke knows how to play the media, so perhaps he’s dipping his toe in the water to see if he can get a little more for Grabovski. It’s hard to imagine the team parting ways with him in the middle of what could be the Leafs’ first post-lockout playoff run, but you never know with Burke.
It would be rather amusing – Alanis Morissette might even call it ironic – if that potential Grabs trade does go through, though. After all, Grabovski joined the Maple Leafs in exchange for a second-round pick and a prospect in 2008.
Keith Jones and Mike Milbury went in-depth on the wisdom of trading the likes of Rick Nash, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter today. Perhaps the most interesting discussion is at the end, as the two debate the merits of the New York Islanders moving Evgeni Nabokov:
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