Asking price might be too steep for Penguins to acquire enforcer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- No, the Penguins wouldn't mind adding some toughness before the NHL trade deadline Tuesday.
And yes, the name of Phoenix enforcer Georges Laraque has turned up in a few conversations between Penguins general manager Ray Shero and his Coyotes counterpart, Mike Barnett, in the past few weeks.
But there is absolutely no evidence that a trade that would send Laraque to the Penguins is likely, let alone imminent. Indeed, an individual familiar with the situation said last night that while Phoenix is openly entertaining trade offers for Laraque, it is "not desperate to get rid of him."
Although neither Shero nor Barnett would comment on a possible Laraque deal last night, there were strong indications that the Penguins would not be willing to give up a first-round draft choice, let alone a No. 1 and a prospect, for Laraque and a second- or third-round pick, a variation that has been reported in Phoenix.
Laraque, a 6-foot-3, 243-pound right winger who spent his first eight pro seasons in Edmonton's organization, signed a two-year contract with Phoenix last July 5.
He will earn $1.1 million this season, $1.3 million in 2007-08. His deal includes a no-trade clause, so he would have to agree to any trade before it could be finalized.
Laraque, 30, is widely regarded as one of the NHL's premier heavyweights, but can do more than just make a fist with his hands. He has five goals, 17 assists and 52 penalty minutes in 56 games this season.
His most productive NHL season was 2000-01, when he had 13 goals and 16 assists, both career bests, in 82 games with Edmonton. He also piled up 157 penalty minutes, another career high, that winter.
At least three other clubs, one in the Eastern Conference and two in the West, are believed to have expressed interest in Laraque, whose tough-guy role in Phoenix presumably would go to rookie Josh Gratton if he is dealt.
First Published February 24, 2007 12:00 am