The latest on Matt Moulson, Thomas Vanek, Cam Ward, Ryan O’Reilly, James Reimer, Ryan Smyth and Ville Leino.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Thomas Vanek is enjoying his time with the New York Islanders, which creates the possibility he could re-sign with the Isles. LeBrun still believes Vanek tests this summer’s UFA market…The “obvious suspects” on the LA Kings wish list are Vanek, Buffalo’s Matt Moulson, Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri and perhaps Edmonton’s Sam Gagner…A source claims the Ottawa Senators are interested in Moulson but must first decide if they’re buyers or not.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders will have to pay big, perhaps more than they’re willing, to keep Vanek in the fold. He could command over $7 million per season as a UFA…I expect the Kings will make a move to bolster their offense, perhaps as soon as early-February before the Olympic break. Moulson and Cammalleri could be on their radar…The Senators are shopping for a top-six scorer but given their recent improvement I think they could wait until the trade deadline.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports Ryan Smyth could be joining teammates Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky on the Oilers trade block. Dreger claims there’s no contract talks between Smyth and GM Craig MacTavish.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smyth, who’ll turn 38 next month, is no longer as effective as he once was. Still, it’s possible a playoff contender could acquire him for his leadership and experience. The asking price will be more affordable than those for Gagner and Hemsky. Don’t expect more than a fourth-round pick.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports the Oilers and Hurricanes denied they were engaged in talks about Cam Ward. He believes them as neither club seem keen about such a move…It would be shocking if the Avalanche traded Ryan O’Reilly this season…A lot of Dallas Stars rumors involve Ray Whitney, but Friedman also believes we should keep an eye on center Vernon Fiddler, who requested a trade earlier this season but later changed his mind.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neither Ward or O’Reilly will be traded this season. Fiddler could be part of a Stars housecleaning if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes the Maple Leafs should not shop goaltender James Reimer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reimer won’t be moved this season. The Leafs could listen to offers for him in the off-season, especially if there’s a chance to land an experienced backup in a separate trade or via free agency to replace him.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Ville Leino’s poor play makes him a likely candidate for a compliance buyout in June.