Latest on Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, Brandon Dubinsky, Paul Stasnty, Mikhail Grabovski and more.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie believes Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis could move Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner if Nonis acknowledges coach Randy Carlyle won’t use those players. Before trading either player, McKenzie says the Leafs must be sure they’re sticking with Carlyle for the long term. Darren Dreger spoke with Nonis, who said he’s willing to make a blockbuster move or a small trade before the trade deadline. The Leafs seek a top center, a big time winger or a top defenseman. Given the difficulty in acquiring those type of players, Dreger doubts a trade could be made.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox reports Nonis seeks a deal to improve his club now and in the long term. He has no intention of sacrificing his club’s future for a quick fix. Nonis claims he’s not shopping Kadri or Gardiner, adding the only way either would be moved is for a blue chip player of a similar age. Promising youngsters like Morgan Rielly or their first round pick in 2014 are basically untouchable.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Leafs could be willing to move a defenseman like Gardiner or Carl Gunnarsson to land a scoring forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis continues to stand by Carlyle. I expect the Leafs GM will seek an affordable rental player by the trade deadline. It’s tough to swing blockbuster moves during the season. I also doubt he moves his young players like Gardiner and Kadri. Doesn’t mean he won’t listen to offers but unless he’s getting equal or greater value for now and the long term, he won’t pull the trigger.
Garrioch also reports the Penguins could shop a defenseman for a scoring forward…The Lightning are willing to move center Tom Pyatt and defenseman Keith Aulie…Former NHL GM Brian Lawton believes Capitals winger Martin Erat could be dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes…If the Avalanche decide to shop Paul Stastny there will be considerable interest, including from most Canadian NHL teams. Garrioch also wondered if the Blackhawks could be interested. If Stastny hits the UFA market, the Rangers (if they buy out Brad Richards) could pursue him…There’s talk of Oilers center Sam Gagner being dealt to Carolina for one of the Hurricanes three goalies…The Blues Jackets might be willing to move Brandon Dubinsky and his $4.2 million annual cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pens could indeed shop a defenseman (Simon Despres?) for a scoring winger by the trade deadline…Erat to the Coyotes? Don’t see how he helps their scoring…The Blackhawks won’t pursue Stastny…If Gagner is dealt to the Hurricanes for a goalie it better be Cam Ward coming back in return, or a good young player/top prospect/first round pick heading back in a package if the return is Justin Peters or Anton Khudobin. That being said, I doubt the Oilers would make that move with the Hurricanes…Dubinsky is second in scoring on a surging Blue Jackets club. They’re not trading him.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Winnipeg Jets need to upgrade their goaltending. He suggested the Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings (two clubs with goaltending depth) as possible trade partners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Shinzawa. The Jets style of game requires reliable goaltending, which they’re not getting from Ondrej Pavelec. It shouldn’t cost them a core player like Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler or Dustin Byfuglien to land a good young goalie from the Ducks or Kings, unless it’s part of a larger deal.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater once again chides the Colorado Avalanche for not re-signing Ryan O’Reilly, dismissed the recent trade rumors about the winger (He’s a center but this season has played primarily on the wing) but believes it would be a stupid move if they allowed their pride to dictate such a move. Dater also noted the Flames, Rangers, Capitals and Jets were scouting the recent Avs-Wild game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the scouting link. As for O’Reilly, given he Avs previous treatment of players who’ve proven difficult to re-sign, I understand Dater’s nervousness management might get dumb and move the winger. I don’t see Sakic and Roy allowing their judgement to be clouded by the same arrogance of their predecessors.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames watchers are awaiting the next move of the club’s president of hockey operations Brian Burke. It’s believed the reason a trade hasn’t yet been made is the lack of activity within the trade market. Pending UFAs Mike Cammalleri, Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak could be moved by the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke may be impatient but he won’t make a trade just for the sake of doing so. He’ll wait for the market to improve.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika speculates Stars GM Jim Nill could move some veteran players coming to the end of their contracts by the trade deadline. Depending on where the Stars are in the standings by then, Ray Whitney, Vernon Fiddler and Erik Cole could prove attractive to playoff contenders.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports new Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola has given GM Dale Tallon the green light to spend toward the cap ceiling if necessary to rebuild the Panthers into a playoff contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the past the Panthers were sellers at the trade deadline but this means Tallon could become a buyer. It also puts to rest talk of a Panthers fire sale, or speculation Tallon could be fired by season’s end.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Mikahail Grabovski’s agent has started contract talks with the Capitals, suggesting most likely his client will remain beyond this season.