Updates on Ales Hemsky and David Legwand, plus the latest on the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis recently cited Edmonton sports radio host Bob Stauffer suggesting the Montreal Canadiens or Pittsburgh Penguins could have interest in Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky. Stauffer also noted the San Jose Sharks were following the Oilers leading up to the Olympic break.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky will undoubtedly attract some interest leading up to the trade deadline for teams which either lose out in the bidding for Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson and Mike Cammalleri, or those which consider Hemsky a more affordable option than Vanek ($7 million cap hit) or Cammalleri ($7 million salary). The Oilers shouldn’t expect to get much back. At best I think they get a second round pick.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports Nashville Predators center David Legwand has a no-movement clause, but believes he’d be a good fit with the St. Louis Blues or Chicago Blackhawks…The Florida Panthers have a surplus of forwards, but several of those who would be complimentary additions for playoff teams (Tomas Fleischmann,Tomas Kopecky, Sean Bergenheim, Scottie Upshall, and Shawn Matthias) have one season each remaining on their contracts. That could make them tough to move at the trade deadline. Shinzawa suggests the Panthers might have to absorb some of their salaries, as they did earlier this season with Kris Versteeg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Legwand agrees to be dealt the Predators won’t just give him away. The Blackhawks recently acquired Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin, so they might not bother seeking further depth at center. The Blues could be content to await Vladimir Sobotka’s return from injury, as he’s expected back in early March.
As for the Panthers, having retained salary on Versteeg’s contract, they can only do so with two more players for this season. Versteeg’s salary retention last through the remainder of his contract (which expires in 2016). If they retain salary on, say, Fleischmann and Upshall this season, unless they stipulate they’re saving parts of their salaries only for this season, that retention continues through next season. It will effectively prevent them from retaining more salary during 2014-15.
POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero remains non-committal over his plans for the March 5th NHL trade deadline. Molinari notes Shero has a long history of swinging significant deals before or at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out Shero making a move by the deadline. He has depth in promising blueliners from which he could draw as trade bait for a rental player.