The latest on the Blackhawks, Red Wings, Lightning and Canucks, plus updates on Ales Hemsky, Chris Neil, Dennis Wideman and Chuck Kobasew.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/CHICAGO DAILY HERALD: reports the Blackhawks are still seeking a depth defenseman before Monday’s trade deadline, with their recent waiving of defenseman Nick Boynton considered a possible prelude to a trade. Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald observed several names in the rumor mill which might interest the Blackhawks, including Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid and Jim Vandermeer, Tampa Bay’s Brett Clark, Anaheim’s Sheldon Brookbank and Colorado’s Matt Hunwick. Adam L. Jahns of the Sun-Times noted Columbus’ Mike Commodore and Buffalo’s Craig Rivet were on re-entry waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Obviously there’s several affordable options available for the Blackhawks. The question is finding the right fit, which I believe they’ll find by the deadline, if not before.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan is calling on Senators management not to trade tough guy Chris Neil, pointing out how hard he’s fought for his teammates and his devotion to the club. He also suggested Chris Campoli or Filip Kuba might be moved by the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was surprised Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly were moved but it shows GM Bryan Murray is serious about rebuilding, and if he gets a quality offer for Neil, he could be gone too, as could Campoli and Kuba.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Eric Duhatschek believes Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky could be a good fit with the Washington Capitals, as their offense has been struggling at times this season, wondering if the Caps might be willing to part with one of their two young goalies to make it happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have to disagree with Duhatschek on this one. The Capitals are in need of an experienced second-line center plus perhaps another experienced defenseman, not another scoring winger. Capitals GM George McPhee has already said he’s not moving his goalies.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has said he’s not actively shopping his pending unrestricted free agents like Chuck Kobasew, but with the winger seeing decreased playing time and made a healthy scratch in a recent game there’s a sense the former three-time 20-goal scorer is being dangled as trade bait. Russo suggested the Vancouver Canucks, Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes as potential destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported Fletcher is allowing Kobasew’s agent to speak with other teams to see if there’s any interest in him in the trade market. The Canucks might need a fourth-line center so Kobasew wouldn’t be a fit there. The Thrashers and Hurricanes might be possibilities depending on the asking price.
DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland doesn’t expect to be busy at this year’s trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Wings depth in talent and the fact they’re getting back many of their injured players there’s really no need for Holland to make any deals.
TAMPABAY.COM: Damian Cristodero reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman acknowledged it would be difficult finding a short-term replacement for injured forward Ryan Malone, as he’s not willing to trade draft picks to land one. There’s speculation the Lightning have interest in Buffalo’s Mike Grier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman hasn’t ruled out making a move but he’s also signalling his unwillingness to give up too much of his future building blocks (draft picks) for a playoff rental.
VANCOUVER SUN: Iain MacIntyre reports it’s possible Canucks GM Mike Gillis could stand pat at the trade deadline if he doesn’t find a deal he’s comfortable with. Gillis reportedly contacted the Florida Panthers about center Marty Reasoner, didn’t like what they had to say, but will call again before Monday’s deadline. Gillis won’t part with a second round pick for Reasoner or, say, an excellent prospect or good draft pick for Buffalo’s Rob Niedermayer. MacIntyre also writes it’s extremely unlikely Gillis will part with Cory Schneider or Cody Hodgson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks really don’t have many weaknesses to address so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Gillis doesn’t make a deal, though I still expect he’ll work the phones between now and Monday in search of that fourth line center.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports Florida Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos said there is absolutely no deal being discussed for defenseman Dennis Wideman, whose scratch from last night’s lineup due to a lower body injury led to speculation he might be moved. Santos however left the door open by saying anything could happen tomorrow.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also possible the Panthers rested Wideman so as not to worsen his situation in hopes of moving him by Monday.