O'Neil on the block according to Bob McKenzie
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01-16-2004, 04:58 AM
Circle the Bandwagon
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Rochester, NY
For all the trade rumours we've heard this year, there has been little actual trading in the NHL. That should change in the weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline.
The Chicago Blackhawks may trade centre Alexei Zhamnov and the Detroit Red Wings are one of a number of teams interested.
But the biggest impact player who is available and quite likely to move before the deadline is Carolina's Jeff O'Neill. He's struggling mightily this season with only five goals, but he's a front-line winger who has averaged 30-plus goals per year over the last four seasons. His contract of $3.7 million expires at season's end but to he would be affordable in any economic system. Carolina has apparently decided to start looking further down the road, and O'Neill doesn't fir into future plans.
If the Canes get the right offer, O'Neill is gone.
Meanwhile, Wayne Gretzky and his Team Canada management group will have a conference call in the next day or two and nailing down a head coach for the world cup entry is the top priority. Look for Gretzky to name a coach before month's end so the coach can be part of the player selection process that will start All-Star weekend in Minnesota.
Toronto's Pat Quinn continues to be the frontrunner, but it would be premature to say he's a lock. Gretzky and his group want to go through the exercise of considering all options, everything from Joel Quenneville to Marc Crawford (feel free to insert your shootout joke here) and beyond.
Los Angeles Kings head coach Andy Murray could also be in the mix as part of the staff, though with Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Martin expected back as assistants, there is a question of how many head coaches on a staff is too many.
I love how he goes out on a limb and says that O'Neill could be had for the right price.
Ummm, pretty much any struggling $3 million+ player can be had for the right price.
Especially off a team that is struggling as badly as the Canes.
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