Could the Oilers trade their 2014 first round pick? Are changes coming for the Jets? What blueliners could the Bruins and Capitals target? Are the Devils shopping for a scorer?
EDMONTON SUN: Terry Jones reports Oilers GM Craig MacTavish appears to be changing his mind about trading his first round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, as it now appears that pick could be among the top five in the draft lottery. MacTavish acknowledged he’d listen to offers but his club will be scouting as though they’re retaining the pick. MacTavish also declined to comment on rumors he’s shopping center Sam Gagner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacTavish is expected to seek bigger, physical players. He could certainly improve the odds of landing a bigger skilled player by packaging Gagner with that first round pick. Judging by his comments to Jones, however, it’ll have to be a significant offer to convince him to make that move.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait called upon Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to do something (coaching change or a trade) to shake up the struggling Jets, who are in danger of sliding completely out of the playoff race. Gary Lawless believes replacing coach Claude Noel isn’t enough, as there are some core players (Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler) who should be shipped out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted in a recent column for The Hockey News, Cheveldayoff can ignore the growing impatience of the local media but not that of Jets fans. Changes are needed and soon. Given the lack of activity in the trade market, there’s not much available to help the Jets roster. That could mean a coaching change is more likely than a trade. Players like Ladd, Byfuglien and Wheeler usually aren’t moved until the off-season. That doesn’t mean they can’t be moved between now and the trade deadline, but the odds of getting a good return are better in the off-season, when teams have more cap space and willingness to wheel and deal.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty lists NY Rangers Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto, Winnipeg’s Mark Stuart, Buffalo’s Christian Ehrhoff, Philadelphia Andrej Meszaros and Ottawa’s Chris Phillips as possible trade options for the Bruins to replace the injured Dennis Seidenberg.
CSNWASHINGTON:COM: Chuck Gormley listed Girardi, Phillips, Stuart, Carolina’s Ron Hainsey, Buffalo’s Henrik Tallinder, Columbus’ Nikita Nikitin and the NY Islanders Andrew MacDonald as possible trade targets for the Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are riding high in the Eastern Conference standings so they’re under less pressure to make a trade than the Capitals, who are battling to hang onto a post-season spot. Of these, I believe Girardi is the most valuable but also the least likely to be dealt if the Rangers remain in the playoff picture. Despite Phillips’ UFA status I don’t believe the Senators are keen to move him. The asking price for Del Zotto is rumored to be a top-four defenseman. The Sabres would love to be rid of Ehrhoff’s big contract but I don’t see the Bruins being keen to take it on, even if the Sabres were to pick up half of it. The Islanders could move MacDonald if he’s unsigned before the trade deadline but I’m guessing they’red prefer to hang onto him. That leaves Stuart, Meszaros, Hainsey, Tallinder and Nikitin as your remaining options. Try not to get too excited.
NJ.COM: Randy Miller recently interviewed Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who acknowledged looking around for scoring help but added there isn’t much available to help his team right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like any good GM, Lamoriello is always on the lookout for anything which could help his club. That doesn’t mean he’s working on a deal right now. If the Devils remain in the playoff chase by the March deadline I expect Lamoriello will seek a scorer.