The NHL’s Christmas Trade Freeze has ended. Catch up on the latest trade rumors.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman believes changes will be coming to the Edmonton Oilers most likely when this season ends. He wonders how long it’ll take for teams to pursue Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who are under long-term contracts which could be affordable with a rising salary cap…He also wondered if the Oilers might contact the Predators about defenseman Shea Weber. Predators GM David Poile acknowledged his forward lines need a shakeup but didn’t discuss trading Weber with teams that have called him to talk trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the Oilers to truly address their need for a top-two defenseman, one of their young star forwards must be shopped. If not Hall, Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins, then Yakupov. As for Weber, he lacks a movement clause so the Predators can ship him anywhere if they’re so inclined, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Yes, they’ve got Seth Jones, but he’s not ready yet to take over as the Predators top blueliner. There’s also the matter of moving Weber’s expensive contract, as interested parties might prefer the Predators pick up part of it. I’m not saying Weber will never be traded. I just don’t believe it’ll happen this season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders where Sheldon Souray will fit on a now-crowded Ducks blueliner when he returns from injury…Given Marian Gaborik’s declining performance and injury history, he doubts the Blue Jackets will be able to move him until the March trade deadline, when the bulk of his salary has been paid out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t be surprised if the Ducks shop Souray to a club seeking a veteran puck-moving defenseman, but he has one season remaining on his contract (at a cap hit of $3.66 million) with a no-movement clause…Gaborik could be of interest to a playoff-bound club seeking a veteran scoring winger.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are mulling their options with defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who they’ve been trying to move but their asking price (top-four defenseman) has proven too expensive in the trade market. He noted Toronto, Ottawa and Colorado had interest, with the Leafs perhaps willing to part with blueliner Jake Gardiner. Brooks reports the Rangers must decide if they’ll take the best offer or continue to hold out for more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch also reports the Leafs and Senators had interest in Del Zotto, along with the San Jose Sharks. It’s believed the Rangers are interested in Senators blueliner Marc Methot, while the Sens may be willing to move Patrick Wiercioch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Del Zotto’s trade value is down this season but the Rangers are hoping to sell his promise in order to garner a better return. So far, it hasn’t worked. And no, I don’t see the Leafs swapping Gardiner for Del Zotto.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey acknowledged changes could be coming to the Canadiens in 2014, most of them in the off-season. Hickey dismissed recent trade speculation surrounding Max Pacioretty, noting a team “short on size and scoring punch isn’t about to trade one of the few players on the team who supplies both.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, “Max Patch” isn’t going anywhere. I don’t doubt the Habs have received inquiries about Pacioretty but they’re not moving him unless they’re getting better value in return.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Eric Duhatschek speculates the strong play of Martin Jones suggests the LA Kings might carry three goalies when Jonathan Quick returns from injury in order to test the trade market for Ben Scrivens, who’s an unrestricted free agent in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If worse comes to worse they can simply demote Jones, who is waiver-exempt this season. Duhatschek wondered if that demotion could hurt Jones’ development but I don’t think that’ll be an issue. Yes, Jones is NHL-ready now but I also believe he understands the situation and knows he’ll be recalled once Scrivens is dealt.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports goalie Philipp Grubauer’s strong play could make it difficult for the Capitals to demote him when Michal Neuvirth returns from injury. Neuvith recently told Gormley he still wants to be an NHL starting goalie, either in Washington or somewhere else.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Jones in LA, Grubauer is waiver-exempt and could demoted when Neuvirth returns, then recalled if the latter is traded later this season.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: Mark Purdy reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson could face some difficult roster decisions leading up to the March trade deadline. Among them could be either shopping Brent Burns or moving him back to defense, as well as finding experienced depth for his fourth line and perhaps a veteran backup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the link. The Sharks performance over the next couple of months will determine what moves Wilson makes by the deadline.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan responded to a reader’s question about potential moves by the Detroit Red Wings, suggesting blueliner Kyle Quincey is the top candidate to be dealt, though his poor play will limit his trade value. Another could be Mikael Samuelsson if he agreed to waive his no-trade clause, though his age and poor production also hurts his value. Khan believes GM Ken Holland could target a defensesman as a playoff rental player, listing San Jose’s Dan Boyle but doubted the Sharks would part with him. Other options include ”Marek Zidlicky of New Jersey, Henrik Tallinder of Buffalo, Kris Russell of Calgary, Tom Gilbert of Florida and Andrew MacDonald of the Islanders”.