The latest on Ryan Miller, Michael Del Zotto, Dmitry Kulikov, Vernon Fiddler, and more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports Martin Erat making two trade requests within 12 months hurts his value…Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler has reconsidered his trade request and GM Jim Nill is believed to have pulled him from the trade market…Friedman wondered if the Anaheim Ducks could be a good fit for Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, believing the Ducks aren’t 100 percent comfortable with Jonas Hiller. Backup Viktor Fasth is hurt and Frederik Andersen might not be ready for a team with “lofty goals”…The Senators spoke to the NY Rangers about defenseman Michael Del Zotto but there wasn’t a trade match to be made…There is some trade interest in Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Erat’s cap hit ($4.5 million) is also a sticking point, even with his salary declining to $2.25 million next season…Not surprised to see Fiddler’s off the market. Nothing like talking with your coach and GM to sort out your role with the team…Friedman says he’s just engaging in his own speculation regarding Miller to the Ducks. As long as their current goalies are playing well I don’t see the Ducks dealing for Miller, but maybe they pursue him as a free agent next summer?…The Senators are supposedly seeking a top-four defenseman who will make them more responsible in their own zone, so how does Del Zotto address that?…Backlund could be moved before the Flames self-imposed Christmas trade freeze of December 9.
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Francois Chaumont reports Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller wouldn’t be surprised if he changes teams before this season’s trade deadline. Chaumont writes the 33-year-old Miller no longer has the patience to go through another Sabres rebuild. Miller said he hasn’t requested a trade, but will consider his options by February depending on the direction of the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s a goner by the trade deadline, it’s just a question of when he’ll be moved and where.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports a Florida Panthers source claims the club isn’t actively shopping defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Kulikov could also be on the move either before the Olympic trade freeze in February or by the March 5 trade deadline. There’s some talk Kulikov could bolt next summer to a KHL as a free agent, but I think for the right deal with the right team he’ll stay in the NHL. At only 23, he has yet to reach his playing prime and has plenty of potential to become a top-two defenseman.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers scratching defenseman Michael Del Zotto for the fourth time this season is a clear indicator he doesn’t fit into coach Alain Vigneault’s plans. Brooks claims Del Zotto remains a Ranger only because the club hasn’t received a decent offer for him yet, and they lack the organizational depth to take on a discount return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Problem is the Rangers aren’t going to get much of a return for Del Zotto right now, even if he does have significant puck-moving and offensive skills. It could take until February until they get a suitable offer.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports agent Mark Gandler has requested a trade for his client, Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov. Gandler claims Orlov wants a trade as he has no future with Washington, spending much of his time (for contractual reasons) buried in the minors. His request comes two days after Capitals winger Martin Erat also requested a trade. Orlov “has a clause in it that states he has the right to play in the Kontinental Hockey League if he is on the Capitals’ roster fewer than 30 days before Jan. 1.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hence the reason the Capitals won’t promote him full-time to their roster. It’s a crappy way to use that clause against him. And Caps fans wonder why Evgeny Kuznetsov is reluctant to leave the KHL and join the Caps.