With Avs rumors swirling around the internet, beat writer Adrian Dater of The Denver Post puts pretty much every current rumor involving youngsters Matt Duchene or Ryan O’Reilly to shame.
So the answer to the talented twosome leaving Colorado is no. These rumors are false. No move will be made for Ilya Kovalchuk. No need to swap veteran underachievers with the Flyers. Nothing.
Dater, however, does hypothesize as to what till happen once Kyle Cumiskey returns from his foot injury. Cumiskey, a young defenseman known for his offensive prowess very well could be the odd man out. However, a 23-year-old d-man with limited NHL experience and a lengthy injury history provides limited value in the current trade market.
That leaves two players likely on the block: Jean-Michael Liles and Ryan Wilson. The latter an undrafted free agent who at the ripe age of 22 actually is producing at the NHL level.
Turning a free-agent signing into a need would be excellent asset management as long as the team feels the current player they see is his ceiling. His reasonable capt hit of $ 551, 667 through 2011 certainly adds remarkable value should he be shopped.
Liles, on the other hand, is an experienced NHL commodity. A player which most general managers know and one who has considerable Olympic candidacy with Team USA. As Dater mentions Liles is in the second year of a four-year, $16.4 million deal so teams may feel the annual 4.2 million cap hit could be too pricey. Still any team needing a solid, younger offensive defenseman could do worse than his consistent 10 goal, 40 point year.
So the Avs are in contention in the West, in fact in the lead of the Northwest Division as of this current writing, therefore dealing in the Western Conference is certainly not advisable. This fact leaves us with a team in the East that contains both a need for a defenseman and an ability to move a large winger. The Islanders fit the need but do not have the assets, as does most of the teams we could list.
There is one team with both the assets and now the cap room, the Washington Capitals. With the return of Mike Knuble, would they part with a player like Eric Fehr? Only time, at least another week of this freeze, will tell but these two teams certainly would make intriguing trade partners.
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