Latest on the Stars, Oilers and Islanders – Tuesday, May 14, 2013.

The latest speculation on Loui Eriksson, Shawn Horcoff, Nikolai Khabibulin, the Islanders goaltending and more.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson dismissed a suggestion from a fan website which had the Dallas Stars shipping winger Loui Eriksson to the NY Islanders for Michael Grabner and Ryan Strome, which generated outrage from some Islanders followers. Matheson does suggest Eriksson could be shopped for a first-line center. He also speculates the Stars depth in young defensemen could make Trevor Daley or Alex Goligoski trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted last week when Matheson raised the notion of Eriksson becoming trade bait, such a move would leave the Stars weak on the right side, with only a fading Erik Cole and some unproven kids to fill the gap. I agree the Stars would prefer to add a first line center and move Jamie Benn back to left wing, but moving Eriksson resolves one problem and creates another. Best to package Goligoski with a prospect.

Could Shawn Horcoff become a buyout candidate?

Could Shawn Horcoff become a buyout candidate?

Matheson also responded to some reader e-mail, suggesting there’s a 50-50 chance the Oilers buy out Shawn Horcoff’s contract, dismissed the possibility of the Oilers prying Chris Neil away from the Ottawa Senators, and doubts the Philadelphia Flyers would be interested in trading Sean Couturier to the Oilers for Sam Gagner. Finally, he wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets might have interest in Nikolai Khabibulin as a backup for Sergei Bobrovsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horcoff has two more seasons at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. Lots of money to be investing into a center who’s essentially a third liner now. They could carry him for one more season and buy him out next summer. I also don’t see the Oilers landing Neil or the Flyers parting with Couturier for Gagner, as the Flyers most pressing need is landing a skilled puck-moving defenseman. If the Blue Jackets want a veteran backup for Bobrovsky, I think there’s better, healthier options available this summer. 

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports NY Islanders GM Garth Snow doesn’t have any plans to make any significant changes via trades or free agent signings this summer, preferring to keep as much of his roster intact as possible. Snow still has to re-sign pending UFAs Mark Streit, Evgeni Nabokov and Brad Boyes, though all three expressed a wish to return, which is a good sign. His intention remains to rebuild from within.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jason Brough wonders if Snow might wish to be more aggressive with his goaltending depth, noting the availability of Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier in this summer’s trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles learned from painful experience the folly of carrying players with lengthy expensive contracts (hello there, Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro) so I don’t see them pursuing Luongo. Miller probably prefers a trade to a Western Conference club to be closer to his actress-wife in LA. That leaves Bernier, who’d be an excellent addition, especially if they want to bring back Nabokov for one more season. He and Bernier could split the duties next season and groom the latter to eventually take over full time. Still, if Snow intends to build from within, that would put him out of the Bernier sweepstakes. 


  1. Flyers centers Giroux, Briere (if not bought out), Schenn, Couturier, Talbot and Laughton…
    So we are going to trade Couturier for Gagner?

    In what universe does it make sense?

  2. Couturier had an abyssmal season. Which is why his name keeps coming up in rumours perpetrated by media . Sean is a young guy who will develop into a pretty good player. The flyers would be nuts to send this guy packing. The flyers are not into a complete re-build per say but probably should be to a higher degree than they are. If holmgren was smart he would tow the line so-to-speak for a couple of seasons and develop the young guys. It would be tough to watch the cross state rival Penguins make the playoffs each year and possibly win a cup but they have to put the desire to compete with the pens aside for a bit otherwise the team will remain the same and go nowhere.
    I don’t know about most people but I think Ericsson is a fine hockey player, but giving up Grabner and Strome seems to be a bit pricey to me. Grabner is versitile and can play PP and PK and is still reletively young while Strome is a prospect that has success writen all over him.
    As suggested the stars could dangle Daley and Goligoski but I don’t think they will get anywhere near what they want. Daley is pretty stable defensively but Goligoski has not lived up to what the stars envisioned when they traded for him, not even close(terrible trade).
    Seems everyone wants Bernier. Yes he does have great potential and showed some of it this year but is he going to be worth the assets a team will have to give up. The kings will keep pushing the price up and up until some sucker GM will pay way to much. The kings are good defensively, other teams wanting Bernier maybe not so much, could Bernier handle twice as many shots a night? Not at this point in his career, IMO.

  3. IMO, I see the Flyers trading with the Canucks at the draft, Edler for Couturier seems pretty even. The Canucks get a young center, and the Flyers get Edler who’s only 24, hits hard and is capable of going
    25+ minutes a night. Throw in Simmonds and I’ll give you luongo and Raymond. Wont happen but…….

  4. I don’t see the Blue Jackets going outside the organization for a goalie of any sort. Curtis MacElhenny had a fantastic season at Springfield and has experience as an NHL back up goalie. Allen York looks to be a solid back up goalie and there are three other highly thought of prospects in the system. With such depth at goalie, why look outside the organization? More likely, they’ll use their even greater depth at defense to bring in a scorer or two to compliment Marian Gaborik.

  5. I don’t think Vcr can go another summer without making some major changes. Gillis has put faith in the group and they’ve let him down. Looks to me like the Mr Nice Guy hasn’t worked as he has hoped. Edler and Burrows NTC does not kick in until July both would fit the Flyers needs, so who knows

  6. The Isles have 3 young goalies in Poulin, Nillson and Koskinen. The best move is sign Nabokov to a 1 year extension as a backup to Kevin Poulin and start getting this kids career started.
    Stay with the plan of building from the draft from within until the Islanders see what they already have and if it doesn’t work out then, go spend money on goaltending.