The latest on Brad Richards, Chris Phillips and Craig Rivet plus updates on the Oilers, Flyers, Blackhawks, Canucks and Blue Jackets.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports sidelined Stars center Brad Richards has resumed skating and remains in contact with GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who said he’s spoken with Richards about the possibility of a trade. Nieuwendyk said the two sides “understand each other” and that this is a complicated situation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a trade is possible but not a certainty.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Bryan Murray said he’s forwarded a contract offer to Chris Phillips’ agent hoping to get him re-signed by the trade deadline on Monday. If they can’t get him re-signed they could attempt to trade him, first by getting a trade in place and then requesting Phillips waive his movement clause. The Coyotes, Rangers, Sharks, Canadiens, Penguins, Canucks, Flames and Blackhawks are all seeking help on defense. If Phillips is re-signed the Senators could try to trade Filip Kuba, as it’s believed the Rangers have interest in him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes and Blackhawks lack the cap space so it’ll have to be “dollar-for-dollar”. The Sharks appear to have addressed their needs by acquiring Ian White last Friday. The Canadiens recently added Paul Mara and Brent Sopel and are now believed shopping for a scoring forward. The Canucks are seeking a fourth line center, not a defenseman. The Penguins will seek an affordable blueliner if they shop for one. The Rangers need a puck-moving defenseman, which Phillips is not.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers GM Steve Tambellini isn’t in any hurry to make any trades this season, saying he’s okay with the possibility of not making any deals at all by the deadline. While recent Oilers rumors center on Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner, Matheson noted defensemen Ladislav Smid and Jim Vandermeer could be trade candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky and Penner both have a year remaining on their contracts so there’s no pressure to move them now. Wouldn’t surprise me if Tambellini retains those two but shipped out Smid and/or Vandermeer.
PHILLY.COM: reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren continues to work the phones trying to improve his team, perhaps by adding a depth defenseman, but if he comes up empty head coach Peter Laviolette won’t be disappointed, citing the club’s impressive depth.
CHICAGO DAILY HERALD: Tim Sassone reports a sources claims Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Brett Clark is in play but it might cost the Blackhawks a forward off their roster. The Blackhawks are also scouting the Edmonton Oilers, where Ladislav Smid and Jim Vandermeer could be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks are seeking an affordable penalty-killing defenseman, so they might be inclined to look at Vandermeer.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma suggested Florida Panthers center Marty Reasoner could address the Canucks need for an experienced fourth line center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, he could, but of course it depends on if Canucks GM Mike Gillis feels the same way plus the Panthers asking price, though it probably won’t be expensive (draft pick).
BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports the Sabres have placed defenseman Craig Rivet on re-entry waivers in hopes that could entice some teams which are believed interested in him to claim the veteran for half his remaining salary, which is now around $828K. Rivet will find out by noon ET on Saturday if he’s clears or gets claimed.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets improved performance in recent weeks not only has them in playoff contention but now has made GM Scott Howson a buyer heading toward the trade deadline. Their most obvious needs haven’t changed: a playmaking center and a puck-moving defenseman to anchor their powerplay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Scott Howson has been shopping for help for months, so it remains to be seen what moves – if any – he’ll make to address those needs.