Thursday, March 2, 2000
NHL trade winds pick up steam
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- SLAM! Sports
The stretch drive to the NHL trade deadline has started with the
league's general managers gathering in the California desert for
Despite the dry heat, some deals are sure to grow out of seeds
planted in those arid conditions the last couple of days.
Whether it was the hot weather or not, Vladimir Malakhov got a new
address last night. Doug Gilmour left the game early, but a bout with
the flu was being blamed.
Could Tampa Bay defenceman Petr Svoboda be next?
Malakhov, despite lingering questions about the soundness of his
knee, was attractive because he will be an unrestricted free agent and
represents no long-term financial commitment. And sure enough, the
New Jersey Devils bit the bait and gave up Sheldon Souray, a
minor-leaguer and a second-round draft choice to the Habs.
PANTHERS NEED HELP
The Florida Panthers are looking for help on the blue line and were
interested in Malakhov, Svoboda and Kenny Jonsson of the New
While Florida GM Bryan Murray said the Habs weren't too enthused
about making a deal since they've pulled themselves into playoff
contention, they had been watching Montreal closely. And even though
they won't get Malakhov, Svoboda might be a better fit in South
His kids are elite tennis players, so a move cross-state might be
easier for dad. The Panthers are rumoured to be dangling young forward
Oleg Kvasha, whose minutes and play have declined, and veteran
forward Scott Mellanby.
The Detroit Red Wings are looking to augment their back end.
Malakhov interested them as well, but they are still casting a longing
eye in the direction of Montreal's Eric Weinrich. They would offer a
package of prospects which might or might not include Jan
Philadelphia is thought to be looking to grab Montreal goalie Jeff
Hackett, but the Habs were looking for outstanding young forward
Simon Gagne in return. Maybe the price lessens now that Malakhov
has been dealt, since the Flyers were also in the chase for him.
Gagne speaks the right language to be a great addition for the Habs,
but the Flyers are reluctant to give him up. Here's why: Gagne could
be a key for them, depending on what happens to captain Eric Lindros
this summer. If Lindros is traded or signs somewhere else, Keith
Primeau would become the Flyers' top gun in the middle and Gagne
could slide nicely into the two-hole. If Gagne gets dealt and Lindros
packs a bag, the Flyers are suddenly weak up the middle. Without
Gagne in the picture, the Habs aren't likely to go for a brown-bag
offering of Sandy McCarthy and Chris Therien.
The Flyers' second choice would be to repatriate Svoboda, although
he left last night's game against Washington with an injury.
New Jersey is also looking for a winger to complement the Bobby
Holik-Randy McKay twosome.
AMONTE A DEVIL?
A name that keeps coming up: Chicago's Tony Amonte.
The Devils can dangle a package that includes forwards Brendan
Morrison and Denis Pederson.
St. Louis is also looking for some depth on the back end, but their
needs are for more of a stay-at-home type. The Blues might catch a
Scott Lachance or Igor Ulanov in the spillover.
There's also been talk they could do something with the Ottawa
Senators for somebody like a Janne Laukkanen. The Senators will
have protection problems on the blue line for the expansion draft and
need to thin the herd.