Are the Canadiens scouting the Avalanche for a trade? Could the Wild seek a replacement for the concussed Niklas Backstrom? What’s the latest on Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller?
DENVER POST’s Adrian Dater reported via Sulia the Montreal Canadiens have heavily scouted the Colorado Avalanche even though they’ll only face each other one more time this season. He wonders if they’re scouting the Avs for a trade, speculating their targets could be Paul Stastny or John Mitchell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next time the Habs and Avs tangle is in March. The Canadiens are struggling offensively so Stastny would seem the likely target, but his $6.6 million salary makes him untradeable right now unless the Avs agree to pick up a good chunk of it. The Canadiens also have less than $3 million in cap space so the Avs would have to take on some salary in return. Mitchell would be a more affordable target, but he won’t provide the Habs the scoring punch they need.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Anaheim Ducks goaltending depth points to their shopping Jonas Hiller (who’s eligible for UFA status next summer) for assets. He speculates the Nashville Predators and New York Islanders could be destinations for Hiller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Ducks get a strong offer now, I suspect they’ll retain Hiller (if they indeed intend to move him) until later in the season when his trade value could be higher. I still have my doubts they’ll move him as he’s the only goalie they have with playoff experience, but that could be overshadowed by more pressing needs in their lineup as the season progresses. The Predators reportedly intend to wait until month’s end to get an update on Pekka Rinne’s hip condition, while the Islanders (having lost Evgeni Nabokov for at least four weeks to a groin injury) will for now stick with backup Kevin Poulin (who’s played well of late) and call-up Anders Nilsson.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson doubts the Columbus Blue Jackets will invest long term in Marian Gaborik, who was struggling prior to his recent knee sprain…With Niklas Backstrom sidelined by concussion, the Minnesota Wild might seek an experienced backup. Matheson guesses they could bring back Jose Theodore…He expects the San Jose Sharks will buy out Martin Havlat at season’s end…The rumor which will not die has the St. Louis Blues making a pitch for Buffalo’s Ryan Miller at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson’s not the only one doubting Gaborik has a future with the Blue Jackets, as Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch shares that view…For now the Wild will stick with call-up Darcy Kuemper to back up the red hot Josh Harding…This is Havlat’s last season as a Shark. He’s a compliance buyout candidate for sure unless he suffers another season-ending injury…As long as Jaroslav Halak keeps playing well, the Blues won’t have any need to pursue Miller or any other goalie at the trade deadline.