In today’s Rumor Rundown we look at a couple veteran defensemen who are likely gone from their current organizations as well as an organization who might move a number of players.
Paul Martin on the Move
A number of insiders who follow the San Jose Sharks have relayed details on the status of defenseman Paul Martin, whose time in San Jose looks to be coming to a close. Kevin Kurz reported Sharks GM Doug Wilson is talking to Martin’s agent and has told Martin’s camp “to explore options.” Kurz is also reporting that the AHL or waivers are a distinct possibility.
As a follow-up, Kurz then spoke with Ben Hankinson, Martin’s agent, who has confirmed he sent feelers out to organizations in the NHL and that teams have shown interest. While Martin’s agent has confirmed there are a few top teams interested, the expected return is not great and it is uncertain what the Sharks might be looking for. The reality is, they’ll likely have to retain salary to move Martin who has another year left at a cap hit of $4.85 million.
Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News also confirmed these rumors and added that Martin hasn’t been able to crack the Sharks lineup and it makes sense they would look to move him.
Jack Johnson Wants Out
What the Columbus Blue Jackets do now that defenseman Jack Johnson has asked to be move will be something worth watching. Johnson wants to find a spot with a team that will give him a bigger role and one that will help him increase his value when he becomes an unrestricted free agency this summer.
George Richards of the Columbus Dispatch reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said, “It’s the same with him as anyone else on our team: We’ll make a trade if and when we have something that makes sense for the Blue Jackets.”
Johnson has seven points in 46 games for the Blue Jackets this season but some believe with a bigger role he could improve on those numbers. His recent financial situation has made earning a higher salary his top priority and as such if there’s an opportunity available, he likely won’tbe picky about where he lands. The Blue Jackets could benefit from moving him so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Johnson is moved. The Blue Jackets might be looking for a forward.
Senators Situation a Bit Clearer
The Senators appear to be the team to watch this NHL deadline and many are waiting for the other shoe to drop. The club has received calls on Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ryan Dzingel, Tom Pyatt, and Johnny Oduya. They are entertaining offers on all of these players and in some cases trying to up the market value of players they deem worthy of a better return.
The St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and San Jose Sharks have shown some interest in Hoffman, Smith, and Pageau. Hoffman has three years left with a $5.1875 million salary per season but that shouldn’t stop teams from lining up to make a bid. Smith is a less expensive option at a $3.25 million cap hit through 2020-21 and Alex Burrows has one year on a contract that pays $2.5 million.
Johnny Oduya is the prime example of a good rental who could be moved with little to no risk and there is always a market for a player of his pedigree. Oduya is no stranger to deadline deals and would likely mesh well with whatever team he wound up playing for during the postseason.
Meanwhile, Chris Nichols of Fan Rag Sports reports that Elliotte Friedman said the Senators could check out the trade market for defenseman Dion Phaneuf. They aren’t just taking calls on the veteran defenseman, they are actively looking to move Phaneuf to one a dozen NHL teams. Like Oduya, Phaneuf is no stranger to this process as he’s popped up in trade rumors before.
“Phaneuf has a 12-team list that he can be traded to and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve checked with every team on that list, and some of the teams on that list are probably considering what it would take to get it done or are they interested in getting it done… I’m sure some of the teams that have called him have also just said if you’re going to do this, what’s it going to take or what will you be willing to do for us to get such a deal done.”
Phaneuf carries a $7 million cap hit for another three years and it would difficult to see how the Sens move Phaneuf without retaining salary. In 40 games this season he has three goals and 13 points.
Thomas Vanek Wants to Stay
Jason Botchford of The Province is reporting Thomas Vanek hopes to remain with the Vancouver Canucks, but understands that might not be realistic. If the Canucks are not in playoff contention, Vanek will likely be dealt considering his upcoming status as a UFA at the end of the year. He’s also put up decent offensive numbers this season. Despite his reputation for not showing up come playoff time, some team will make a bet on him having a good postseason.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”