Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison delivers his insights into the world of hockey, on and off the ice.
Trade seeds planted, the wait is now on
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | 02:58 PM ET
By Scott Morrison
CBCSports.ca's Scott Morrison is in Naples, Fla., covering the National Hockey League's annual general managers' meeting.
They came, they talked, and Wednesday afternoon they returned to their respective home bases.
And all that came from three days of NHL general managers being under the same roof was Jaroslav Modry moved from the Los Angeles Kings to the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round draft.
Stop the presses!
"I don't know," began Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke. "Either I'm slow or it's a slow developing market. Then again, I'm not big on doing trade deadline deals."
The consensus, as the managers departed for the airport, was the early price of doing business was pretty much established, seeds were planted and the preliminary framework for deals were put in place. But all who stopped to talk insisted nothing is imminent, which isn't unusual. The trade frenzy a year ago happened largely within the 72 hours leading up to the deadline.
"It can change quickly," said Burke.
Waiting for the domino effect
Usually, all it takes is one big domino to fall, then others fall into line, teams react and overreact. The interesting twist over the past 24 hours is the news that perhaps Peter Forsberg isn't quite finished for this season. Reports out of Sweden indicated that Forsberg still feels there may be a chance he will return to the NHL this season and that a deal could get done before the trade deadline. To be eligible for the playoffs, Forsberg would have to sign before the deadline.
"The foot doesn't feel 100 per cent, but there is still a week left until the deadline," Forsberg said on Swedish national television.
Even Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters "he didn't close the door completely. It's still open a crack."
One would hope, however, that a definitive declaration is forthcoming.
Meantime, one general manager, who has had talks with the Maple Leafs about what it would take to acquire Mats Sundin, said interim GM Cliff Fletcher is in a tough spot.
"Cliff is doing a lot of listening, as you would expect, but the tough thing for him is he really isn't sure whether Mats will waive his no-trade or not," said the executive.
That clouds the picture, too.
Hossa a hot commodity
As for the Atlanta Thrashers and Marian Hossa, general manager Don Waddell has had plenty of discussion, with as many as eight teams interested, but complicating matters there is he wants to make a hockey deal, meaning getting good bodies back who can help him get into the playoffs. That can be a tough deal to make for teams knowing they are going getting Hossa until July 1, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Unless, of course, they think they can sign him.
As for the Leafs, as unlikely as it might seem, there is still the possibility that nothing major happens before the trade deadline next Tuesday.
"Whatever happens over the next week is just the start," said Fletcher of the task of rebuilding the team. "I hope when my replacement comes in we will have the framework to help move on. But I'm only going to do a deal if I feel it can help the team long term. Doing nothing is a lot better than doing something you shouldn't do just to make a deal.
"I am not doing anything that could jeopardize the future of this hockey club."
-- Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said he had exchanged messages with Larry Kelly, the agent for defenceman Brian Campbell, but hoped to talk directly later Wednesday and continue contract negotiations. Campbell, of course, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Put simply, the Sabres either have to sign him or trade him. The first option will be expensive, somewhere between $6 million to $7 million annually, the second would be easier but also leave a big hole on the Buffalo blue line.
"You have to be optimistic until there is no reason to be," said Regier. "The focus is still on getting him signed."
But there also has been interest on the trade front.
"More tire kicking than anything else right now," he said.
Sutter's sense of humour
-- Best line of the day was provided by Calgary Flames general manager Darryl Sutter when asked about the number of players being discussed in trade talks.
"There aren't a lot of names being passed around," countered Sutter, "so if you hear any, let me know."
Speculation is that the Flames have been talking with Montreal about a deal that would involve Alex Tanguay heading to the Canadiens and Michael Ryder going to Calgary as part of a package.
Ryder is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Interestingly, without referencing a particular player, Sutter said he was interesting in securing players long term.
-- Los Angeles Kings defenceman Rob Blake is garnering interest.
"He's still a top player and he plays a critical position," said Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who admitted "I don't have an offer to take to him yet."
Blake has made it clear he wants to remain with the Kings and has a no-trade clause, but Lombardi said if he receives a substantial offer he would present it to Blake to see whether he would change his mind.
"I've had three or four decent offers," said Lombardi. "At least now I can start to see something developing."
It's believed Blake would say yes to a move to Anaheim and might consider San Jose. Beyond that, Colorado might have a shot but he doesn't want to move far from LA.
-- Islanders general manager Garth Snow said he has been talking contract with centre Mike Comrie and hopes to get him signed. It's believed the Isles are hoping to get a first-round pick for winger Miro Satan in a deal, but that price seems high to most general managers.
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About the Author
Scott Morrison, the recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fameís 2006 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, has been covering hockey for 25 years. The Toronto native began his career at the Toronto Sun in 1979. After spending more than 11 years as a hockey writer and columnist at the paper, Morrison became Sports Editor in 1991 and led the section to being named one of North America's top-ten sports sections in 1999 - the first sports section in Canada to receive the AP Sports Editors North American Award. Scott, a former two-term president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, joined Rogers Sportsnet in 2001 as Managing Editor, Hockey, and is currently both a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada and a columnist for CBC.ca.
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