Could Joffrey Lupul become trade bait?
Last week, Damien Cox from Sportsnet, declared during the intermission of the Montreal against Toronto that should the Toronto maple Leafs have a dismal start to the season, the Maple Leafs could be enticed in putting forward Joffrey Lupul on the trade block. Apparently last summer, the Montreal Canadiens did inquire about Lupul but it didn’t go anywhere. Cox also mentioned that the Leafs and the Los Angeles kings did discuss trades last march before the trading deadline. The Leafs were eying Tyler Toffoli and other prospects but again the talks went nowhere. The Kings opted to take on Marian Gaborik at that time.
The Eric Staal watch has commenced
Although Eric Staal for the Carolina Hurricanes is injured, many scouts are standing by and watching Carolina’s games to observe Eric Staal. It may proved to be a difficult year for the Hurricanes and trading Staal could be the solution. The Hurricanes may be tempted to start a rebuild with prospects or… to have a shot at Connor McDavid in the next NHL draft. During the Carolina – New York Islanders game last Friday, there were 16 NHL pro scouts attending and observing.
Goalies without a contract and… still available
With the season well underway, there are still several goalies who were playing last and couldn’t find a job this year. Here is a look at who is still out there:
1. Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur the future Hall-of Famer still wants to play at least one last season on a contending team. He still feels like he can bring some excellent mentoring to a young goalie with a winning attitude. Brodeur who went as a free agent hoping to signed during last summer for the unrestricted free agency period, remains unsigned. Brodeur is skating and training with his son in Gatineau with the Gatineau Olympics from the QJMHL. It is not sure how long he is willing to wait. He is ready for retirement but again, he feels like he can still perform. Make no mistake, the long time New Jersey Devils goaltender will not sign anywhere. He will wait for the right deal too.
2. Tomas Vokoun
Tomas Vokoun’s situation last year is unfortunate. Victim of a blood clot, he needed the whole season to recover and didn’t play. After a terrific post-season in Pittsburgh two years ago, Vokoun finds himself now on the sideline watching and waiting. This year Vokoun is healthy and wants to play. He is 38 and knows he has a few good games left in him. Should a no.1 goalie get hurt, he could easily fill the backup role at a cheap price. With a save percentage of .917 and higher in his last eight years, Vokoun started most of the games in all but his last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. There are rumors, he already rejected two contract offers, so like Brodeur he is waiting for the situation to sign on.
3. Jacob Markstrom
The Vancouver Canucks sent Jacob Markstrom in the minors during their training camp. They sent him early going through waivers hoping he wouldn’t get claimed. Although Markstrom was sent to the minors and with the Canucks showing signs of keeping him, he is still a goalie that could be available to any teams looking for a solid back up. Drafted 31st overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Markstrom landed in Vancouver via the Roberto Luongo trade to the Panthers. Markstrom could still have some good years in front of him with some decent coaching and proper development. He is only 24 years old so he is still young. Markstrom’s best season was in 2011-2012 where he posted a .923 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average in 7 games played with the Panthers. While in the AHL, Markstrom save’s percentage has been on average around the .920 save percentage.
4. Tim Thomas and Ilya Bryzgalov
Finally the last two of this list share the fourth spot for obvious reasons. They are in a similar situation. What makes them similar? They are both decent goalies but mostly what keeps them off the ice is their off-ice antics that can shock an organization. In the case of Tim Thomas, it is his political views that often takes over his performance as a goalie and not all organizations are ready to absorb that. This all started when he refused the invitation from the United States president Barack Obama in 2011 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins. Thomas also left some controversial comments on his Facebook page since which the Boston management felt obliged to defuse. He is now 40 years old and didn’t have the success expected last with the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars.
In the case of Ilya Bryzgalov, it is not sure the man has his priorities straight. As his famous quotes state: “he likes tigers”, “likes the universe”, and “he left Philadelphia with a ton of money in his jeans”. Even with a weird way of thinking and at times eccentric, Bryzgalov can perform very well. He demonstrated it last year when picked up by the Oilers and then traded to Minnesota Wild where he did well against the Avalanche. I would say Bryzgalov has a better chance than Thomas to resurface in the NHL before Thomas. In any case, he could still end up in the KHL and continue to have more money in his jeans.
Gagne signs with the Bruins
In order to add some offence, the Boston Bruins have signed winger Simon Gagne to a year deal worth $600,000 dollars. This is quite an accomplishment keeping in mind Gagne didn’t suit up at all last year. The Bruins gave Gagne a pro try-out which proved to be successful. With the loss of Jarome Iginla, and the lack of offence from Louie Eriksson, the Bruins had to get some offensive skills on the wing which they hope Gagne will bring. Gagne’s last season was with the Los Angeles Kings and the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012-2013. During that year, he tallied five goals and eleven assists in 38 games played. Gagne was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in in the first round, 22nd overall, of the 1998 NHL entry draft.
To make room for Gagne, the Bruins have placed on waivers Bobby Robins for purpose of assignment and sent forward Jordan Caron to Providence of the American Hockey League.
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