The latest on Sam Gagner, Andrew Ladd, Ryan Miller and more.
EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychkowski reports on the possibility the Oilers could trade Sam Gagner, suggesting other Oilers (Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle) could also be moved. Tychkowski also suggests the Oilers could be showcasing him by moving him to right wing. He and Joanne Ireland also noted Gagner is shrugging off the trade rumors, noting it isn’t the first time his name has popped up in the rumor mill.
David Staples, meanwhile, wondered if the Oilers could use Gagner to land Andrew Ladd or Blake Wheeler or Dustin Byfuglien from the Winnipeg Jets, suggesting Ladd would be the better target for the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This time, however, there could be validity to the Gagner rumors. Management seems reluctant to move Yakupov and Eberle, and it’s highly unlikely Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz will be moving. GM Craig MacTavish promised “bold moves” but has yet to deliver. Gagner could be the first of them.
As for swapping Gagner for Ladd, while intriguing, I suspect the Oilers would prefer moving him to an Eastern club. It could also depend on where Gagner would prefer to go. While his NMC doesn’t kick in until next season, management could ask him for a choice of destinations to get out of their promise not to trade him this season. Winnipeg might not be among them.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports attempting to re-sign pending UFA goalie Ryan Miller is among the first orders of business for new Sabres GM Tim Murray. President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine is hopeful Miller is open to re-signing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s in his thirties and doesn’t have many years left in his prime to play for a Stanley Cup contender. He won’t get that chance if he stays with the rebuilding Sabres. Expectation is he could test this summer’s free agent market.
ESPN.COM: Katie Strang speculates the asking price for Buffalo Sabres Matt Moulson could be a second round pick…She noted there seemed to be some interest in Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly of late, adding it would be interesting to see if they shop him at the deadline. She reports the NY Rangers want to move Michael Del Zotto and could shop Dan Girardi, so there might be a fit there…She believes the Sabres certainly have to try to trade Ryan Miller by the deadline…In response to a reader’s question asking if the Ranges could have interest in Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, Strang noted he’s a right-hand shot, which the Rangers need…She reports there’s been no significant progress in the Rangers contract talks with Girardi and Ryan Callahan. If the Blueshirts continue to hover near the cusp they could entertain moving one or both…She believes chances are slim Thomas Vanek re-signs with the Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres shop Moulson by the deadline they’ll want a draft pick or picks or prospects in return…I don’t see the Avs shopping O’Reilly. He’s a restricted free agent this summer so there’s no concern about losing his rights…Byfuglien’s shot, size and offensive skills might interest the Rangers, but his defensive lapses would drive them nuts…I still believe the Rangers won’t move Girardi or Callahan at the deadline if they’re still in playoff contention…I agree with Strang’s take on Vanek.