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PRINCE OF PUCKS: New year, new rumors from Spector

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At home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he's known as Lyle Richardson. But around these parts, he's known as Spector, FOXSports.com's Prince of Pucks. Check in with Spector for the latest NHL rumors from around the league. The holidays are over, the New Year is in full swing and the rumor mill is busily churning away.
  • With the New Jersey struggling offensively, the name of another forward has joined and as potential trade-bait. It's been suggested in the New York Post that 2000 Calder-winner may be on the block. Apparently, Gomez is unhappy over his role with the club and a reduction in ice time of late, although he has denied this. It's believed his slick playmaking skills and affordable contract could fetch a decent return. The Ottawa Sun suggested GM Lou Lamoriello may shop Gomez to a Western Conference club, with "Phoenix, Anaheim, Colorado and Los Angeles" considered potential candidates. Spector's Take: Despite their anemic offense, the have played well enough defensively to post one of the better records in the East. Lamoriello isn't one to panic and will probably give his struggling forwards plenty of time to get their game in gear. However, one has to believe the GM won't hesitate to swing a deadline deal if the offense hasn't improved by then.
  • The Buffalo are rumored to be shopping a goaltender, thanks to the strong play of recent call-up . A report in the Dallas Morning News suggested the could move , who has struggled as their starter this season. Other media sources, however, believe Buffalo GM Darcy Regier could move backup instead. Spector's Take: Regier will undoubtedly make a trade or two before the March deadline, but I think he'll hold off on any deals until the sale of the is completed, which hopefully will take place before the end of January.
  • One of the more intriguing rumors of the holiday season had a potential three-way deal about to take place between the Tampa Bay , N.Y. and Boston . Several publications reported the would re-acquire defenseman , thus bringing the Bolts the "power play quarterback" they've been lacking this season. In return, they would ship blueliner and center to the Isles, who in turn would "flip" them to the Boston in exchange for holdout d-man Kyle McLaren. Spector's Take: A creative rumor, but one that doesn't fully address the needs of the Isles and . GM Mike Milbury supposedly wants a first-line winger to play on 's line, so landing McLaren doesn't address that need. And how exactly does adding Kubina and Holzinger address the most pressing need, that of a capable starting goaltender? Remember, three-way deals rarely happen, and if this one was to go down, surely it would've happened by now.
  • The Carolina ' strong postseason play last spring has failed to carry over into this season. Injuries and inconsistent play has hamstrung the 'Canes, who are struggling to hang onto a playoff spot. The Raleigh News and Observer reported struggling forwards and could be the most likely to be dealt by GM Jim Rutherford. Spector's Take: Kapanen and Battaglia have both slumped this season, particularly Kapanen, who averages over 20 goals and 45 points per season. Of the two, the speedy Kapanen would likely attract the most interest and the best return.
  • Finally, don't expect the bankruptcy of the Ottawa to result in fire-sale trades to free up room on the player payroll. Although a salary dump deal or two is possible, it's believed the league won't allow the , the top team in the Eastern Conference, to be chopped up in such a manner. However, it'll be interesting to see how long the league will carry this club if present owner Rod Bryden cannot find a financial deal to keep the club alive. Imagine the embarrassment for the NHL if the Sens go all the way and win the Stanley Cup, only to be folded at season's end because no buyer could be found! Check out Spector's hockey page and buy his book.
  • Tagged: Bruins, Sabres, Hurricanes, Devils, Islanders, Senators, Lightning, Kyle McLaren, Martin Biron, Mika Noronen, Sami Kapanen, Joe Nieuwendyk, Patrik Elias, Alexei Yashin, Roman Hamrlik, Pavel Kubina, Scott Gomez

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