Latest on the Jets, Senators, Sharks, Sabres, Penguins and Coyotes, plus updates on Thomas Vanek, Ryan O’Reilly and Ales Hemsky
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports as the cap rises, teams are interested in players under long-term contracts and the Jets have plenty of those in Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Tobias Enstrom, Evander Kane, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Zach Bogosian. Word is the younger the player the harder they will be to pry from the Jets. Enstrom is the oldest and highest paid. Friedman said if he was Jets GM he wouldn’t trade Kane unless the return was massive. He also wondered if Capitals coach Adam Oates would want a shot at coaching Byfuglien…New Sabres GM Tim Murray said there’s no untouchables on his team, but it would prove costly for any club interested in Zemgus Girgensons, Tyler Myers or Rasmus Ristolainen.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen believes the Jets need more than a coaching change to turn things around. They’re not a rebuilding club so they don’t need a return of draft picks and prospects, and Winnipeg’s location and climate could prove difficult to attract top free agent talent. That leaves a trade, perhaps a blockbuster move involving Kane or Byfuglien.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough cited a recent interview by Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff in which he believes “we still need to acquire pieces to either establish a larger core, or maybe move some pieces that re-establish some different things,” adding “This is still a project that’s in the works.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds to me like Byfuglien could be the likely trade candidate. I agree with Friedman that if the Jets decide to trade Kane it had better be for a significant return, which should involve a young star forward as part of the return. I think Cheveldayoff will wait a few weeks and see how the Jets respond under Maurice before making a significant move.
CANADIAN PRESS (VIA YAHOO! SPORTS): Stephen Whyno reports Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray is exploring the trade market and ready to make a deal to help his resurgent club make the playoffs. He could be willing to move a young player who won’t get a chance to see much playing time on the Senators. Murray said Cody Ceci’s play has negated the earlier need for a puck-moving defenseman, and now seeks a scoring forward plus he’d like to add a physical element to the roster. Murray said he won’t move blue-chip prospect Curtis Lazar.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren reports Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has given Murray permission to pursue trade possibilities before and after the Olympic break leading up to the March 5 trade deadline. Their targets would be pending unrestricted free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators do have depth in young players they can offer up to rebuilding clubs (hello there, Calgary Flames) for a playoff rental player, like Mike Cammalleri. Feel free to add your speculations in the comments section below.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports there’s been initial contract discussions between the NY Islanders and Thomas Vanek’s agent, but both sides are waiting to see what direction the club goes in heading toward the Olympic break and the March trade deadline. Vanek said he’ll stay out of talks unless they get close to a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Vanek will sign with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent, but it’s possible he could change his mind if the Islanders can convince him they’re poised to become a perennial playoff club.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan O’Reilly have mutually agreed to wait until this summer to discuss a new contract. O’Reilly is a restricted free agent at season’s end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite concerns over O’Reilly future with the Avs, I believe they intend to keep him. There’s a different group running this club now.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wondered if rival clubs have noticed Ales Hemsky’s strong play this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure they have and there will be significant interest in Hemsky (provided he remains healthy) near the trade deadline.
CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz believes the San Jose Sharks are on the lookout for a scoring winger but doubts they make a move until the trade deadline. He also doubts they’ll make a blockbuster move for a big name winger. The Sharks have a pair of second round pick in this year’s draft they could use as trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the link. Sharks GM Doug Wilson is usually active near the trade deadline so I expect this year won’t be any different.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi reports the Penguins hope to audition Beau Bennett on Sidney Crosby’s left wing before deciding if they should deal for a replacement for Pascal Dupuis, but he’s still about four weeks away from returning. The Olympic break followed shortly by the trade deadline won’t leave much time to audition him. Rossi also reports Penguins GM Ray Shero hopes to add depth to his third line.
FOXSPORTS.COM: Craig Morgan reports help for the struggling Phoenix Coyotes might not until the trade deadline.