Updates on Jonas Hiller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson, Daniel Briere and Tuomo Ruutu plus updates on the Blues, Rangers, Stars and more.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray emphatically denied he was shopping goaltender Jonas Hiller. “There’s not a chance in hell that I’m moving Jonas Hiller,” Murray told ESPN.com on Tuesday evening. “I’m tired of hearing about the rumors. I can tell you Jonas is not going anywhere.” LeBrun also reports the Canucks would like to add a number three center or top-nine winger at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t stop some rumormongers from keeping Hiller’s name out there but I believe Murray. Hiller’s playing very well plus he’s the only goalie in the Ducks system with playoff experience.
ESPN.COM: In a recent live chat, Katie Strang reports Brad Richards future with the Rangers depends upon how many years the club believes he has left…She expects the Capitals will move a goalie, likely Michal Neuvirth…She expects Dustin Byfuglien could be dealt…She believes the Islanders will make a serious effort to re-sign Thomas Vanek. If he won’t commit long term she believes the Isles should shop him…She also expects we could see some trade activity leading up to the Olympic trade freeze…She believes finding a number one goalie should be the Islanders top priority…She expects the Maple Leafs could make a move before the trade deadline.
SPORTSNET (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Scott Morrison believes the recent coaching change in Winnipeg could slow down the trade talk over some of the Jets (Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane)…Mark Spector reports word around the NHL is the Oilers are overvaluing their players. Oilers shouldn’t expect more than a third round pick for Ales Hemsky, while Sam Gagner could prove tough to move because of his small size and $4.2 million per season salary…Nick Kypreos believes the Sharks could re-sign Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to 3-4 year deals for the same money they’re currently earning (around $7 million per season…Spector believes the Avalanche have a tough decision to make with Paul Stastny as they have a couple of key players (Semyon Varlamov, Ryan O’Reilly) to re-sign. Morrison reports the feeling is they won’t move him if they’re still in the playoff race by the trade deadline unless they can land a big winger or top-four defenseman.
SPORTSNET: Brad May believes Sabres captain Steve Ott could stay in Buffalo because of his relationship with coach Ted Nolan. Mark Spector believes he’ll be shopped to a contender, suggesting the Vancouver Canucks as a good fit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It only makes sense for the Jets to see how the roster performs under new coach Paul Maurice before making any roster moves…Hemsky’s injury history is also a concern which affects his trade value. Gagner, however, could still fetch the Oilers a decent return, just not a starting goalie, a top-two defenseman or a power forward. Think second-line forward or second-pairing d-man…Thornton and Marleau aren’t going anywhere…Neither is Stastny unless the Avs go into free-fall in the standings…I believe the Sabres will entertain offers for Ott but if they don’t get something worthwhile they’ll consider re-signing him.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes Sabres winger Matt Moulson could be too expensive for the Senators to land. He cites a league executive claiming the Sabres asking price could be a first round pick (in either this year’s draft or next) and a top young player. Brennan speculates the Senators could have an eye on Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, but doubts they’re interested in Flames winger Mike Cammalleri, preferring a bigger body-type forward. They could focus on a rental like the Flames Lee Stempniak or the Jets Devin Setoguchi, or try to put together a package for Oilers winger David Perron.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So the Senators prefer a big-bodied forward than Cammalleri but should pursue the 5-11, 196-pound Perron (who has a concussion history) or the 6-0, 194-pound Hemsky (who has an lengthy injury history)? All-righty, then…
NJ.COM: Randy Miller lists three reasons why Canadiens forward Daniel Briere could become a New Jersey Devil, citing his unhappiness in Montreal, he’d be a good fit with the Devils and he would be closer to his sons. He suggests Anton Volchenkov or less to the Canadiens isn’t impossible.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently smoothed things over (for now) with Briere by discussing his role with the club, and Briere has improved since his recent benching. Still, if the issue gets forced by Briere, the Habs could shop him. I doubt the Habs would have interest in the oft-injured Volchenkov, who also has a no-trade clause.
STLTODAY.COM: Joe Strauss wonders if the Blues goalie tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are good enough to carry the Blues deep in the playoffs. He noted the rumors linking the Blues to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller but doubts they can afford to absorb the remainder of his contract this season, let alone pay the steep asking price from the Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Blues will stick with their current tandem for the rest of this season and evaluate their need for a goaltending upgrade in the off-season.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks acknowledges the Rangers probably won’t move pending UFAs Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan while they’re still in the thick of the playoff race.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something I’ve been saying for weeks now.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika believes the Stars could shop Vernon Fiddler, Ray Whitney or Erik Cole (the latter two have no-trade clauses) if they’re out of the playoff race by the trade deadline. They could also see if there’s a market for Trevor Daley or Alex Goligoski. If they’re still in the playoff chase, Heika doesn’t believe they’ll pursue playoff rental players, preferring long-term acquisitions.
TSN’S Darren Dreger reports via Twitter: “Tuomo Ruutu’s name has again surfaced as a trade target. Canes forward might draw some interest as teams approach the Olympic break.”