Updates on the Oilers search for a goaltender, Andrej Meszaros becomes an expensive healthy scratch, and suggesting younger Flyers forwards might be better off elsewhere.
EDMONTON SUN: Terry Jones reports Oilers GM Craig MacTavish hasn’t given up on goaltender Devan Dubnyk but he intends to shore up his goaltending, noting the club lacks depth at that position. Though he acknowledged making calls around the league, MacTavish insists his priority is getting Dubnyk playing better.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports TSN’s Darren Dreger yesterday told TSN 1050 radio host Dave Naylor the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t be interested in swapping James Reimer for Oilers winger Nail Yakupov. Dreger also believes the Oilers have interest in Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller and there’s some speculation about Washington’s Michal Neuvirth. Dreger suggests it’s way too early in the season for the Leafs to move Reimer, adding he doesn’t know if the Oilers or other NHL clubs are sold on Yakupov. He went on to suggest it was all media speculation, doubting the Oilers would move the Russian winger.
Dan Tencer believes Yakupov’s critics are underestimating his value, and doesn’t see the Oilers moving him as part of a deal for players with expiring contracts like Buffalo’s Ryan Miller or Thomas Vanek.
Bruce McCurdy casts doubt on a recent report from the Buffalo News claiming the Oilers and Sabres could be working on a trade which could see Miller and/or Vanek dealt to Edmonton. He acknowledged Miller is a good goalie but questions if he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to Edmonton. He also notes Miller may be a depreciating asset.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports a source confirmed the Oilers are among the eight clubs on Miller’s n0-trade list. A source also claimed the Sabres haven’t approached Miller about a trade. Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, St. Louis’s Brian Elliott and Washington’s Michal Neuvirth are also believed to be of interest to the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said all along, if the Oilers are on Miller’s no-trade list, it won’t matter what they offer up to the Sabres. Of course, Miller could agree to waive it if he feels it’s time to move on from the Sabres, but I have my doubts he wants to go from one rebuilding club to another. Miller’s 33, doesn’t have many years left in the NHL, and probably wants to sign with a club that’ll give him a shot at winning a Stanley Cup.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli reports the Flyers have made defenseman Andrej Meszaros ($5.5 million in real salary, $4 million cap hit) the most expensive healthy scratch in club history. His salary also prohibits him from playing elsewhere, and under the new CBA the Flyers would only get $900K in cap relief if they demote him.
Sam Donnellon, meanwhile, notes the struggles of younger Flyers like Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Sean Couturier, wondering if it could prove harmful to their careers.
“This is not to say that Brayden Schenn or Matt Read or even Sean Couturier won’t be productive players somewhere else, particularly for a team deep enough to be happy with their third-line level of productivity, or in a smaller town that may allow them to mature at a more natural pace”, write Donnellon. “ But Philly has devoured dozens of players with as much or more talent than each of them, whether through pressure or big-city lifestyle.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said for months, Meszaros’ salary and injury history makes him untradeable. As for those young Flyers, they’re in a tough situation right now, where they may be getting more responsibility than they can handle at this point in their careers. I don’t see the Flyers moving these guys, at least not yet, but if things don’t soon turn around, their names could start appearing more frequently in the rumor mill.