It is never too early to panic in the NHL. Never!
Several teams are already pondering shake-ups, or so it seems. Other teams could make changes to clean up roster and cap issues. Here is the breakdown:
Ottawa’s remarkably bad start could trigger change. Once again folks are speculating that franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson could move on as the Senators start over. Sergei Gonchar, who has missed time with a bruised foot, could become another popular target for other teams.
Flames GM Jay Feaster wants to overhaul his team. That won’t be easy, given the high number of hard-to-move veterans he has on his team. But if he were to make Rene Bourque available, I’m guessing teams will show interest.
The slow-starting Blue Jackets are in desperate shape, especially with defenseman James Wisniewski still suspended and center Jeff Carter out for a few weeks with a cracked bone in his foot. For now, team president Mike Priest is sticking with GM Scott Howson and coach Scott Arniel.
“Time will tell, but we are absolutely committed to winning,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “We demonstrated that this summer, and we're not going to rest until we win. We hoped we wouldn't be where we are. We have to keep pushing through this, but we also need to see our team. We don't have our team. When we have our whole team assembled, and we have time to digest it, then we'll be able to really take a hard look and evaluate it.”
The Flyers couldn’t keep top center Brayden Schenn down on the farm, since he is clearly ready for the NHL. His brief AHL stint this month proved that. But now Philadelphia is back up against the salary cap, so something must give. If the Flyers decide to part with feisty power forward Scott Hartnell, the shoppers will line up around the block.
Agitator Sean Avery is still squawking about being stuck in the AHL, but the Rangers are in no hurry to recall him – and other NHL are very unlikely to call about him. Perhaps Europe will be his next stop, once the Rangers finally decide to cut bait.
The Coyotes need to move unsigned free agent Kyle Turris, whose outsized salary expectations are scaring off teams. But would Vancouver bite? By the way, the sluggish Canucks start inspired fan speculation that GM Mike Gillis could move one of his goaltenders, slow-starting Roberto Luongo or up-and-coming Cory Schneider. But for now Gillis seems inclined to keep his 1-2 punch in place to deal with the heavy travel.
If Russian defenseman Slava Voynov shows well for the Kings, that team could be positioned to deal a defenseman once Drew Doughty recovers from his shoulder injury.