The latest on the Hurricanes, Senators, Oilers and Capitals.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough cited a report from TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming big changes could be in store for the Carolina Hurricanes this summer. Dreger believes a Cam Ward trade “likely in the summer”, plus forwards Jeff Skinner or Eric Staal could be in play. It’s also possible there could be coaching or management changes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Hurricanes have only made the playoffs once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, I believe a management change is overdue. Coach Kirk Muller could be in danger of losing his job. As for Ward, his name has kicked around the rumor mill this season. He’ll have to agree to waive his no-trade clause. He also has a long injury history and two years (at an annual cap hit of $6.3 million) remaining on his contract, which could prove tough to move unless the Hurricanes pick up part of his remaining salary. I doubt Eric Staal gets moved as he remains the Hurricanes’ franchise player, plus they gave up a fair bit to acquire brother Jordan from the Penguins two years ago. Skinner would attract considerable interest in the trade market but he also has a history of concussion injuries.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren examines how to starting fixing the Senators this summer. He believes management has to decide to re-sign goalie Craig Anderson or risk losing him next summer to free agency. He also feels defenseman Patrick Wiercioch could be dealt. Warren noted the Anaheim Ducks recent interest in Senators captain Jason Spezza and wonder if Spezza could grow weary of being the whipping boy for the club’s struggles. He also believes the Senators must make a decision with Bobby Ryan, who (like Anderson) is due to become a UFA next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson’s solid goaltending over the previous two seasons covered up the Senators obvious defensive problems. Given his recent injuries and UFA status next summer, it may be best to shop Anderson (the NY Islanders and Calgary Flames could be interested) and hand the reins to Robin Lehner. A lot could depend on Spezza’s willingness to remain a long-term part of the Senators future. Murray can open contract talks with Spezza this summer, and if he’s unwilling to commit long-term it might be worthwhile to shop him in early-July for the best return possible. He has a cap hit of $7 million but will earn $4 million in actual salary. His no-trade clause, however, is a sticking point. Same goes for Ryan, who could be easier to move as he lack a movement clause. His cap hit for next season is $5.1 million.
EDMONTON SUN: Terry Jones notes the Oilers lack defensive depth and wonders why they haven’t contacted the Buffalo Sabres, who have depth on the blueline but lack scoring depth.
CALGARY SUN: Randy Sportak believes the Oilers would be crazy to give up on struggling sophomore Nail Yakupov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yakupov, however, could be the necessary trade chip if the Oilers want to bolster their blueline depth. Could he be packaged for, say, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers? Just spitballing here.
WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera reports Jaroslav Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, hasn’t had any contract talks yet with the Capitals. “We’re not going to approach those discussions until the end of the season,” Walsh said. “It makes absolutely no sense to be talking when a team is on the cusp of making the playoffs and trying to make the playoffs. It’s just not the right time.”