PRINCE OF PUCKS: Iginla rumors heat up

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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. In the wake of the sale of to New York by the Pittsburgh , a number of other big-name players are coming to the fore in the rumor mill as the March deadline creeps closer. Topping the list is Calgary's . Since the Kovalev deal, the media has worked itself into a frenzy of speculation as to where Iginla might end up. Like the with Kovalev, the supposedly cannot afford to retain "Iggy", who's slated to draw $7.5 million in salary next season. The situation wasn't helped much by comments by GM Craig Button to the Calgary Herald when, speaking hypothetically, he stated that he would only move Iginla for "established NHLers." In other words, the aren't to the point where they'd have to take a package of pre-paid plumbers and money to move last year's Ross-Richard-Pearson winner. The New York Times got the rumor-mill churning when they reported GM Glen Sather had inquired about Iginla's trade status, leading to speculation an initial proposal of forwards and had been made to the . The Bergen Record reported New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello also inquired of Iginla, supposedly offering up either or , defenseman and goalie prospect . The report claimed the rejected the offer, but that went against what Button subsequently told the Calgary Sun, which reported not only had Button not received a formal offer from any team, but it was his intention to retain Iginla. Not to be outdone, noted New York Post rumormonger Larry Brooks wondered what Sather might do if the offered "(Chris) Drury, Iginla and (Roman) Turek for (Dan) Blackburn, and ." I bet I know what he'd do, Larry. Let's just say he'd have to get his trousers dry-cleaned. Brooks also took the Calgary club to task for supposedly overpaying Iginla last summer, rather than signing him at "fair market value" of $3.5 to $4 million. He believes the had all the leverage with Iginla, who was a Group II free agent at the time. Is this the same Larry Brooks who suggested in the Post last spring that the N.Y. risk incurring the wrath of the NHL by making an unmatchable one-year $15 million offer to Iginla? Yep, and he justified it because the N.Y. were the league's "most important franchise" and as such needed "the best young forward in the league" playing on Broadway, regardless of the consequences. So it's okay for Brooks to suggest the face further criticism of raising the league's salary bar to sign Iginla, but when the , faced with alienating their fan-base if their best player held out, offer up a more reasonable two-year, $13 million deal, they're the bad guys? Only in Larry's world. But I digress. Another big-name making the rounds is San Jose captain , who's been the topic of speculation for several weeks. Rumors of Nolan going on the block intensified following the Kovalev trade, as the Toronto , who lost out in the bidding for the former Penguin, apparently have resorted to "Plan B" — landing the big Shark. Predictably, the Toronto media has gone into their usual hyperactivity. The Star claimed the Leafs could offer up forward , prospect Brad Boyes and cash for Nolan. TSN.CA suggested the could opt to move Nolan for "another big-ticket player", a medium-impact player like Toronto's or less likely, a package of picks and prospects. The Sun, meanwhile, reported Leafs GM Pat Quinn is waiting to see what the may be looking for in return, and noted GM Dean Lombardi was recently spotted scouting the Leafs farm club, possibly looking at Boyes. And in Canada's capital, old friend Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun claimed the asking price was Nik Antropov and two first round picks. While Pat Quinn is known for being cautious at this time of year, one must remember there's been a change in ownership of the . They'll be the determining factor as to whether or not Nolan sheds his teal for Leafs blue and white. L.A. forward has been another hot name in the rumor mill of late, but he may no longer be as available as was previously believed. As his injury-ravaged club battles for a playoff spot, president Tim Leiweke raved about Palffy's play in recent weeks, calling it the best stretch he's ever had in a King's uniform. And while the media continued to speculate about the ' and ' interest in Palffy, the Los Angeles Times recently reported the winger approached management about re-signing a long-term deal. Palffy's agent stated his client was "reasonably assured" the wanted to retain him. That doesn't mean negotiations might not fall through, for a lot will depend on Palffy's asking price to stay in Tinseltown. However, it appears as though the want to avoid a repeat of the messy contract situation they faced with . At best, they'll re-sign Palffy. At worst, they'll exercise their club option on him for next season. Barring the unforeseen, it appears unlikely the talented forward will be moved at the trade deadline. In other rumors, the name of New Jersey center continues to pop up, but it doesn't look like he'll be shopped, despite his less-than-warm relationship with head coach Pat Burns. The New York Post reports shipping out Gomez could leave the thin at center next season, particularly if impending free agent doesn't return ... As continues to struggle in goal for the St. Louis , speculation is growing GM Larry Pleau is looking for help. One rumor had the Phoenix shipping veteran to the , which was denied by GM Michael Barnett. Burke, however, believes where his club sits in the standings before the deadline could ultimately decide his future in Phoenix ... The Ottawa Sun's Garrioch reported the Florida might deal forward to the New York for either or . While head coach Mike Keenan isn't enamored of Huselius, Garrioch didn't mention that GM Rick Dudley doesn't want to trade the Calder runner-up ... The Tampa Tribune reported GM Jay Feaster is interested in L.A. defensemen and and wouldn't mind landing either guy to shore up his blueline for the stretch run. Check out Spector's hockey page and buy his book.
Tagged: Flames, Kings, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Penguins, Avalanche, Sharks, Blues, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Panthers, Aaron Miller, Joe Nieuwendyk, John Madden, Brad Isbister, Radek Dvorak, Rob Blake, Darcy Tucker, Sean Burke, Jarome Iginla, Raffi Torres, Kristian Huselius, Jamie Lundmark, Scott Gomez, Colin White, Brent Johnson

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