Trade notes: Burke sticking with Wilson
February, 26, 2012
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com
Some quick notes on a quiet Sunday before the deadline on which Ben Bishop was traded to Ottawa:
- A day after yet another loss, which ignited calls for the firing of head coach Ron Wilson, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke says a change behind the bench was not in the cards.
"I’m not contemplating a coaching change," Burke told ESPN.com.
The Leafs are winless in four games (0-3-1) and have won only once in nine games (1-7-1), outscored 35-17 during stretch, to slide out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Burke went on TSN radio in Toronto on Wednesday and suggested the Leafs would look at what’s out there on the goalie trade market, given the struggles of Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer.
But Burke, as of 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, said nothing was imminent on the trade front.
While Burke refused to discuss specific names, sources confirm the Leafs have talked to Columbus about Rick Nash but my sense is that they were not close on that front.
On the goalie front, it’s believed Toronto has interest in Evgeni Nabokov, but Isles GM Garth Snow told ESPNNewYork.com’s Katie Strang on Sunday that he was not looking to move the UFA-to-be netminder. The Isles and Nabokov’s agent, Don Meehan, have discussed a contract extension over the past week.
As I reported earlier this past week, the Edmonton Oilers and Leafs have also chatted about Nikolai Khabibulin but my sense is that Toronto isn’t keen on that extra year on the goalie’s contract.
- The Boston Bruins are still hoping to add both a forward and a defenseman. A source told ESPN.com on Sunday that B’s have interest in Daniel Winnik, T.J. Galiardi and David Jones -- all three Colorado Avalanche forwards are very much in play. Winnik and Jones are UFAs July 1 while Galiardi is an RFA July 1. The Bruins have interest in possibly dealing for one of them.
- The Winnipeg Jets are in the thick of the playoff race, so they have to be careful with what they’re going to do. I was told Sunday by a source that Johnny Oduya was getting the most traction. No surprise there, he’s a UFA July 1 and would be a good rental pickup for a contender.
- Still no contract extension for Ryan Smyth (UFA July 1) in Edmonton. Talks began Thursday. It’s worth keeping an eye on. Teams like Detroit, Boston and the Rangers have shown interest in adding Smyth but the veteran winger and the Oilers agreed two weeks ago that he would stay put. In return, though, you can’t blame Smyth for likely wanting to get an extension done to give him some security. Look for it to be a two-year deal if it gets done.
- The Minnesota Wild were taking calls this weekend, of course, on goalie Josh Harding, a UFA on July 1. If Ben Bishop netted a second-round pick, Harding should garner a better asset given his NHL experience.
- There was twitter buzz Sunday that Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec was willing to waive his no-trade clause. False, as it turns out.
"I’ve never had a conversation or discussion with [GM] Pierre Gauthier and Montreal regarding a need to address his no-trade clause," Plekanec’s veteran agent, Rick Curran, told ESPN.com on Sunday. "He’s never broached the topic. I had dinner with Tomas last night, as well as Tomas Kaberle, and never once did we ever discuss a trade or anything like that. It’s not an issue whatsoever."
Plekanec is in the second season of a $30 million, six-year contract.
- With teams looking to add goaltending depth, Islanders netminder Evgeni Nabokov has generated some interest as Monday's deadline looms, but he does not appear to be on the block.
"I'm not looking to move him," GM Garth Snow told ESPNNewYork.com's Katie Strang via text message Sunday.
- It’s been a tough few days for the playoff-hopeful Calgary Flames, as they were pounded 6-1 by Edmonton and then lost to Phoenix and Philadelphia in the shootout after leading in both those games.
Still, as of Sunday, the Flames were just one point out of eighth place and GM Jay Feaster was holding to his playoffs-or-bust mentality.
Feaster said Sunday that he has no intention of moving top center Olli Jokinen, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
"I’ve already met with Olli and told him I am not moving him. I told him I’m not shopping him, and when I do receive calls I tell them he is NOT in play," Feaster said in an email message Sunday.
“We also discussed focusing on getting into the playoffs and then discussing a new deal postseason. He is totally on-side with all of that,” Feaster said.
Jokinen leads the Flames with 50 points.
As for trying to move other assets, Feaster isn’t planning to make any alterations to his roster. In fact, he is hoping to get injured players David Moss, Blair Jones and Chris Butler back in the next two to three weeks.
“We feel our destiny remains in our own hands,” Feaster said.