Rumor Roundup: A Trip to Toronto, A Moonlit Dance in the Northeast

He's baaaack.

Earlier this week, our colleagues at the Fourth Period put together a list of the NHL's top 25 players rumored to be available as we approach the February 28th deadline, complete with teams who are thought to be interested.

With the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching (Feb. 28, 2011), TFP has outlined 25 of the top names rumored to be available for trade through various newspapers, radio and television reports, cyberspace and our own league-wide sources.

As part of TFP's Trade Deadline Coverage, this page will be updated regularly and TFP's Panel of Experts will outline the values of each athlete. As the days inch closer to the deadline, some players may climb or fall off the list, while others may be added.

>> The Fourth Period

The Sharks appear under that category for a good number of players, and we at Fear the Fin thought it prudent to run through those options. It's possible that none of these players ever play a game for the Sharks this season or otherwise, but with Doug Wilson reportedly in the market and the Sharks meandering through the first half of the season, it makes sense that we at least discuss the list that TFP took the time to compile.

Tomas Kaberle | D, Toronto Maple Leafs | $4.25MM | 32 yrs. old

Haven't we played this game before? Kaberle has a no trade clause, one that he would have to waive before a move to any team could be made. That fact, along with his massive salary, makes a Sharks move for the veteran blue liner unlikely in our opinion. Kaberle as a solution to the Sharks' blueline woes has been rumored time and time again, and it's feeling stale.

Still, if you're in agreement with Hawerchuck of Behind the Net and think the Sharks defense (at least from a shot prevention standpoint) is better than last year, a guy like Kaberle might not be the worst fit. He's an offensive mastermind from the blueline, but is that what the Sharks need? We say that a hybrid type is best, and that leaves Kaberle headed elsewhere, or staying right where he is.

Francois Beauchemin | D, Toronto Maple Leafs | $3.8MM | 30 yrs. old

Another Toronto Maple Leaf defenseman, Francois Beauchemin's name has also been mentioned in conjunction with the San Jose Sharks. A recent rumor had Beauchemin on his way to San Jose in exchange for Devin Setoguchi, but that was debunked by Brian Burke via the ever-reliable Darren Dreger of TSN.

The interest may still be there, but we know that San Jose scouts haven't been in Toronto for a few games now. Likewise for Toronto scouts in San Jose; we haven't seen any all season. Doesn't mean it can't happen, but it's not happening right now.

In our opinion, Beauchemin is the candidate that best fits the Sharks needs of all the names being mentioned currently. That doesn't mean he's perfect, and Doug Wilson has a penchant for targeting players off the media radar. But Beacuhemin's mix of defensive ability and offensive skill makes him attractive. He has a limited no trade clause, which makes the waters a bit murky. We don't know if he'd waive (or if he'd have to waive) to come to the Sharks, but it's definitely a name we'll be watching.

Kris Versteeg | RW, Toronto Maple Leafs | $3.083MM | 24 yrs. old

According to The Fourth Period the Maple Leafs weren't considering moving Versteeg until an offer at the end of December came across their table that made them reconsider. San Jose has apparently been linked to the right winger, which makes us consider exactly what type of value the organization could see in him.

For starters, Versteeg is good for twenty goals a year, and displays a vast array of offensive potential (as well as an uncanny likeness to the Sharks own Joe Pavelski). Defensively Versteeg has been mercurial throughout his career, with games seeing him lay on the body and backcheck like a madman, with the following game leading to some uninspired play in his own end. He won't be a part of a checking line, but that's not his role-- his role is to score. He struggled to start the year in Toronto but has since turned his season around.

Sound familiar Sharks fans? Versteeg is essentially Devin Setoguchi, a young player with a lot of offensive talent who scores in bunches. But with San Jose's main trade chip (Setoguchi) a likely inclusion into any deal, a one for one for Versteeg doesn't make much sense for Toronto or San Jose. The Leafs have a player who is beginning to establish himself as a component of their rebuild, and the Sharks can't afford the cap hit lest they give up on upgrading the blueline.

If Versteeg would come over to the Sharks, we think he would be included with a package deal that includes one of the two defenseman mentioned above. You run into number crunching at that point considering San Jose would be taking on $7.0MM worth of salary, but it seems like the only reason we would see the former-Hawk begin his career in teal.

Andrew Brunette | LW, Minnesota Wild | $2.33MM | 37 yrs. old

Rumor has it no. No, according to sources. We're hearing no. But there's a strong possibility that no.

The Sharks need defense, and possibly secondary scoring. Brunette is too old, costs too much and doesn't solve a team need. Which means, considering our track record, you should probably head over to the Sharks store and pre order your jersey.

Chris Philips | D, Ottawa Senators | $3.5MM | 32 yrs. old

With the Senators struggling to find any sort of rhythm to their game, and an Eastern Conference playoff spot slipping away, Ottawa has been rumored to be looking to move players and get younger. It's a long fall from 2006-2007 when the Senators went to the Stanley Cup Finals, but Ottawa's loss may be the Sharks gain.

Philips is a player who consistently sees the tough competition on the Senators blueline, holding that role for quite some time now. He's a defensive first player with some offensive pop, good for around 7 goals a season historically. His struggles this season have matched that of his organization however-- a mere three points (all assists) in forty games to go along with a dazzling -15 means his value is low. And if we know one thing about Senators GM Bryan Murray, Ottawa tends to get the short end of the stick in the trade market when dealing with valuable players whose value is low.

Phillips has a strong shot from the blueline and can skate, two requisites for playing in San Jose. He's not the sexiest option out there in the land of milk(ing rumors) and honey, but would be a strong fit for the Sharks if they're looking to add a top three player that can take on big minutes.
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