The idea of a three-way deal between the Habs, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks has been swirling for a while on the Internet, but there are lots of things that get mentioned on NHL rumour sites that never see the light of day in the mainstream press.
There's a good reason for that, because the standard of truth is a little higher at a newspaper than it is in the blogosphere, even if those rumours published online may be just as credible as anything written by a "journalist."
So, when the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch decided to run with this rumour and publish a story Sunday that the Habs could indeed serve as a facilitator to get Dany Heatley to San Jose, it tends to get a little more attention.
But to be honest, I don't know if I believe this story any more now than I did when I first read it online.
First of all, as Garrioch points out in his story, all three teams involved in this rumour are up against the salary cap. So, in theory, for any trade to go down the salaries involved will have to more or less match. That's difficult enough for two teams to do, let alone three, so if this were to happen it would have to be an NBA-style blockbuster involving 10 or 12 players changing addresses.
If Heatley and his $7.5 million cap hit wind up in San Jose, what ends up in Ottawa or Montreal? Well, Patrick Marleau's $6.3 million cap hit would make a match easier, but it appears likelier that Marleau would be headed for Montreal than Ottawa. Except the Habs don't really have a big contract to move unless Bob Gainey is thinking about dealing one of the players he acquired this summer. I suppose he could convince someone to take Roman Hamrlik and his $5.5 million salary, but I highly doubt it.
Meanwhile, a bunch of people online are giving credence to this report that the Habs are interested in acquiring Alex Frolov from the Kings to reunite him with Mike Cammalleri. This, admittedly, appears to be a lot more likely than the aforementioned threeway trade.
Frolov has a very affordable $2.9 million cap hit (though he'll make $4 million this season) but is an unrestricted free agent next summer. That, in theory, should lessen his trade value somewhat, but I have to believe Kings GM Dean Lombardi feels his team could make the playoffs this year and I don't think he'd be willing to deprive his team of Frolov's talents for nothing.
Jaroslav Halak, in my eyes, should be a pretty interesting player to Lombardi because his goaltending situation is extremely murky, with one of Jonathan Quick, Erik Ersberg or perhaps Jonathan Bernier in line to start between the pipes this season.
Rumours, it should be said, could not be any less reliable, especially when it comes to Gainey. Not a single deal he was rumoured to be discussing has ever come to fruition, and basically every deal he's closed came out of nowhere.
But, where there's smoke there's usually fire, so it's pretty likely Gainey is indeed working the phones in a further effort to further re-shape his team. I just don't think we'll hear about it until it actually happens.