Are the Oilers and Flyers trying to work out a deal with each other? Are more moves coming for the Panthers? Could the Rangers shop Michael Del Zotto?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis has the roundup of Friday’s rampant speculation claiming the Oilers were on the verge of shipping winger Ales Hemsky to the Philadlephia Flyers, including reports from Twitter which finally rejected those rumors. Willis suggests if the Oilers are keen to acquire a big, physical forward they should set their sights upon Tomas Kopecky of the Florida Panthers.
Jim Matheson, meanwhile, breaks down the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov and the trading away of defenseman Ladislav Smid by the Oilers, noting they’ve cleared $3.5 million in cap space which could be put toward adding another player, like Philadelphia’s Braydon Coburn (whom they pursued last summer) or Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. Smid’s agent told Matheson he feels the Oilers aren’t done dealing. As for rumors yesterday claiming the Flyers were pursuing Jordan Eberle, Matheson doesn’t believe the winger will be dealt.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector believes the Oilers are indeed working hard to acquire Wayne Simmonds from the Flyers. He claims Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is willing to listen to offers for anyone on his roster except Claude Giroux and Steve Mason. He also noted the rumors Hemsky could be headed to an Eastern team but doubts the Flyers are the destination.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports a league source claimed the Flyers had interest in Jordan Eberle but that was dismissed by the Oilers as “laughable”. Panaccio believes the Flyers are in need of a major move if they’re to avoid missing the playoffs for the second straight season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers want a true impact player, which explains their rumored interest in Eberle, but the Oilers won’t part with any of their young forwards. I also don’t believe Nail Yakupov would be of interest to the Flyers, not because he’s Russian but because he’s yet to reach the point where he can be considered a true impact player.
The Oilers would love to land Simmonds, but the Flyers won’t part with him for Ales Hemsky. They’ll want a substantial player in return. Same goes for Coburn. While I don’t doubt the two teams have talked, I don’t see where there’s a deal which could be to their mutual benefit. To land Coburn and/or Simmonds, the Oilers would have to part with a player like Eberle, and they won’t do that.
The Oilers probably aren’t done dealing and I don’t doubt Holmgren is desperately shopping around for help, but it doesn’t seem like the two teams can work out a deal between themselves.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon claims the firing yesterday of his coaching staff is the first of many moves to come for the club if they don’t improve under the new coaching staff. “This is just the beginning of our changes that need to be made”, said Tallon. “If our players don’t respond to this, then they won’t be Panthers for very long”. LeBrun believes the only untouchables on the Panthers are young players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. The Panthers also put defenseman Ryan Whitney on waivers yesterday. Of the Panthers veterans, Dmitri Kulikov has garnered the most interest. LeBrun also reported via Twitter Tallon has tried “might hard” to find a trade fit over the past two weeks.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough lists Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Jesse Winchester, Shawn Matthias and Tom Gilbert among those veterans who could be shopped soon by the Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have been on an endless loop for years through several general managers. Lots of talk of untouchable youngsters and available veterans, but no real improvement in the club’s fortunes. Wash, rinse, repeat. Expect a fire sale of veteran Panthers starting near the trade deadline and carrying on into the summer.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks noted the poor play and reduced ice time this season of Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who could soon be benched if his play doesn’t improve. Brooks believes Del Zotto could be had on the trade market, but the Rangers would need a defenseman capable of playing 19 minutes per game on their right side. Though the Oilers, Flyers, Sabres and Panthers are willing to make trades, Brooks doesn’t believe Del Zotto is a fit with those clubs.