Today’s 5: Sabres trade talk, Bolland returns home, 5 for Lapierre, and more.

1. Miller and Vanek trade rumours

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

I just came across an interesting article by The Hockey News‘ Lyle Richardson. The read suggests the Buffalo Sabres may be looking to move Ryan Miller to the Edmonton Oilers, or Thomas Vanek to the Philadelphia Flyers. You can inspect Richardson’s article here.

Could the Oilers trade Nail Yakupov for a premiere goaltender named Ryan Miller?

On the surface it makes immediate sense. The Oilers need a goaltender, among other things, or their season may end up disastrous.

The rumour stems largely from the recent regular press box placements of 2012 1st overall Oilers’ pick Nail Yakupov. If we’re speculating, which is all this is, yeah, the Oilers may decide they have enough young scoring forwards, allowing them to trade one for an elite goaltender.

Many variables debunk this possibility though. For starters, Nail Yakupov is very young, and he has already displayed an innate ability to score goals in the NHL. He buried 17 last season in 48 games. You don’t see too many NHL general managers trading pre-twenty something snipers.

Ryan Miller is without contract next season. Meaning, acquiring him would be risky unless a contract extension is worked out in trade talks. More speculation here, but Miller may want to test unrestricted free agency this coming summer, and why not? The career of a pro hockey player is short. May as well make as much money as possible while the getting’s good. Highest bidder wins the auction.

Finally, reported by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun in an article you can read here, the Oilers are on Miller’s 8 team no-trade list. If there is any truth to this rumour, it could be squashed by the Sabres goaltender.

Vanek to Flyers makes sense, but lacks substance

Vanek to the Philadelphia Flyers has been thrown around by speculators. The thinking is, the Flyers can’t score and the Sabres can’t keep Vanek after this season – or don’t want to because they’re rebuilding – have no need for an aging scorer who will be irrelevant when the young guns are ready to shine.

There ain’t much substance to it, but I can see how the pieces fit in a Vanek to Philly deal. The Flyers have scored a measly eleven goals through eight games this season. Vanek is a scorer, and the Flyers need to score more.

To give you a better idea how bad the Flyers offence is at the moment, check out this tweet by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

 

 

2. Patrick Kaleta will try and change his ways

Since we’re talking Sabres here, their official website published an article stating Patrick Kaleta will work on reforming his playing style.

Kaleta recently appealed a 10-game suspension for a hit on Columbus Blue Jackets’ defenceman Jack Johnson. Watch video of NHL Director of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, explaining the logic behind the lengthy suspension.

 

 

Kaleta has a history of injuring opponents. His reputation has garnered a lot of negative opinion toward him, very evident in this week’s grab bag by one of my favourite writers, Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown dot com and Grantland. You can find McIndoe’s blurb about Kaleta in the section entitled ‘This Week’s Most Depressing CapGeek Page.’

Kaleta told Sabres.com, “There’s not much info I can give right now, but it gives me time to try to better my game, try to better myself and along the way, maybe help out some of the younger guys with some of the things I’m watching and seeing and seeing if I can help out in that aspect as well.”

The Sabres’ hitter and role player is at a crossroads in his career. The league dishes out hefty penalties for violent acts that cross the line of what is legal under current rules. Kaleta, plays a physical game that often teeters the line between good hit and inevitable suspension. For him, changing his game is the only option remaining, or he’ll continue being a liability to his club, while losing massive chunks out of his pay cheque in the process. However, if he stops playing the game that has earned him a regular role with the Sabres since 2007-08, he may become irrelevant. The challenge will be re-inventing his game without becoming useless. Good luck to him.

3. Dave Bolland returns to Chicago Saturday night

The man who scored the game winning goal, securing the Blackhawks’ second Stanley Cup title in four years, is returning to the United Center as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night.

It will be an emotional evening for Bolland, who told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune the following:

 

 

Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun claims the Blackhawks will be honouring Bolland with a video montage at some point tomorrow evening.

 

 

The addition of Bolland has worked out well for the Leafs thus far. He scored an overtime winner last Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers. His 3 goals, 3 assists in 8 games has contributed to the Leafs’ 6-2 record. Plus, he has quickly surpassed centre Nazem Kadri in ice time, proving himself the more reliable of the two mid range middle men on a Leafs team with four similarly effective centremen.

4. Lapierre Suspension Official – 5 Games

The NHL has finalized its verdict on Max Lapierre for his hit from behind on Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle. Lapierre will serve 5 games.

 

 

You can watch and listen to Shanahan’s explanation by clicking this link.

5. Hawks singin’ the blues right now

NHL measuring stick games are always fun. Last night, for the second time this young season, the defending Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks faced off against one of this year’s Cup favourites, the St. Louis Blues. And for the second straight time, the Blues won the game.

Everything went right for the Hawks last season, not to take anything away from their accomplishments. They won every important game throughout the regular campaign – every measuring stick game. Their success continued throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs, ultimately climaxing at Cup altitude.

This season, at least early on, the Hawks aren’t getting the necessary bounces to win every game, every night. No need to panic, but a reminder that the National Hockey League is incredibly competitive, and that the St. Louis Blues are really good.