As the middle weekend of the Olympics has arrived, the business of NHL hockey is again on the minds of many in Vancouver.
The Blackhawks rumors are once again swirling, and there appears to be a new twist. A number of sources, both out of Canada and the United States, are now saying that the Blackhawks will indeed be active before the March 3 deadline, but could make more than one deal after the Olympic roster freeze is lifted at midnight on the East coast entering March 1.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun linked the Blackhawks to Florida (and, in the Olympics, Czech Republic) netminder Tomas Vokoun. Reports earlier this week were that Vokoun had not yet been asked to waive his no-trade clause, but the goalie told the Miami Herald’s George Richards that he would waive it if the right situation presented itself.
HockeyBuzz’s staff of writers have reported a lot of wild rumors surrounding the Blackhawks, with Ecklund spinning his usual tripe while John Jaeckel does a better job of of not only making sense, but not reporting everything he hears. However, both Ecklund and Jaeckel have recently referenced the possibility that the Hawks will make a smaller trade, possibly to set up a larger deal, fairly close to the roster freeze being lifted.
As we discussed on Thursday, reports are that the Blackhawks will look to add a defenseman to the mix still despite the Cam Barker-Kim Johnsson deal, and are also allegedly involved in talks to add a number one goalie. Various sources have claimed that Cristobal Huet and prospect Corey Crawford could be dealt as parts of these deals.
UPDATE: Jaeckel reported on Saturday, Jan. 20 that the deal he referred to earlier in the week was indeed with Florida. The deal he is reporting to be rumored, which was alluded to by ESPN 1000 as well as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, would send Huet, Crawford and Versteeg to the Panthers for Vokoun and either Jordan Leopold or Denis Seidenberg. Both Seidenberg and Leopold will be free agents after this season, while Vokoun has one year left on his deal with a slightly higher cap number ($5.7 million) than Huet ($5.625). The financial difference between the two netminders would be that Huet has two years left on his contract to Vokoun’s one; being able to cut $5.7 million off the books after next year would provide Stan Bowman with the flexibility to re-sign Brent Seabrook, who will need a new deal after 2010-11.
The Olympic roster freeze is in place until midnight of Monday morning, March 1, though. Certainly the rumors will continue to fly for the third of March.