The latest on the Canucks, Flames, Avalanche, Rangers, Thrashers, Maple Leafs and Penguins
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks depth and domination in several team categories (goals-for, goals-again, power-play, faceoffs) and individual categories (including the Sedins leading in points and assists, Kevin Bieksa leading in plus-minus) is why GM Mike Gillis may only tinker with his lineup by the trade deadline. A true fourth-line center could help and there’s enough cap space to land one perhaps for a late-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks trafficking in Canucks rumors centered around landing defensemen forget their injured defensemen have either returned to action, are on the verge of doing so, or in the case of Bieksa is only out three weeks. It’s possible more injuries between now and the deadline could change that but for now it seems unlikely Gillis makes any major deals.
SPORTSNET.CA’s Mark Spector “tweeted” the Calgary Flames will be seeking a defenseman prior to the trade deadline but GM Jay Feaster has few draft picks to deal and doesn’t want to upset team chemistry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could force Feaster to stand pat if he’s unable to find a suitable depth defenseman for a low-round draft pick or a prospect.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports the Colorado Avalanche will be carrying five centers once Matt Duchene returns from his hand injury. One rumor he’s heard kicking around of late has the Colorado Avalanche trading Paul Stastny, TJ Gilardi and perhaps a pick/another player to Los Angeles for Jack Johnson, Jonathan Bernier and Jarrett Stoll but Dater has “no real confidence” in that one panning out. He does however believe the Avs aren’t done dealing and it could be center Ryan O’Reilly who could be next.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are seeking a first-line scoring winger, and I doubt they would peddle Johnson and Bernier as part of any deal at this point to upgrade their first line scoring depth, nor do I believe the Avs want to move Stastny. I concur with Dater that O’Reilly could be the next trade candidate.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Marian Gaborik’s recent concussion injury could have an impact upon the trade market, claiming LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi was making inquiries about Gaborik. His injury could also force Rangers GM Glen Sather to seek a top-six scoring winger before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Gaborik would’ve bitten deeply into the Kings payroll for the next three seasons, and they still have Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds to re-sign. If Sather is to go shopping for scoring help he might have to part with one of his young players, a promising prospect or a first round pick to get it done.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont suggested the Thrashers addition of defenseman Mark Stuart could lead Atlanta to trade Ron Hainsey, who has two more years at $4.5 million per season remaining on his contract, and hasn’t provided the point production expected of him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That lack of production combined with his salary could make him difficult to move.
TORONTO SUN: reports Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is looking to add a defenseman before the trade deadline.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reports Penguins GM Ray Shero has been talking with other general managers but he does that at this time of year, and he doesn’t feel compelled to make a move based on those recently made by other clubs. Regarding rumors linking the Penguins with Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, Rossi cited a well-placed source in the Penguins organization as well as an NHL agent who claimed the asking price is “high”, like a first round draft pick and an NHL player, perhaps more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Penguins paying that asking price for a winger they might only have for a year.