Updates on Nazem Kadri (yes, Nazem Kadri), Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, and Matt Niskanen, plus the latest on the Hurricanes, Panthers and Oilers.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox speculates Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs will eventually part ways. Cox noted Kadri has butted heads with coaches and general managers since joining the Leafs, plus there’s apparently concerns over his lifestyle and performance. “Other players call him “The Dream” in the Leaf dressing room, and not necessarily in a complimentary way”, writes Cox. Though re-signed for two years, Cox doubts Kadri has a long-term future in Toronto, suggesting the Leafs could move him like the Boston Bruins moved Tyler Seguin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kadri struggles with consistency and has similar “lifestyle” issues like Seguin did in Boston, then sure, the Leafs could dump him between now and July 2015, when he’ll again be a restricted free agent. Then again, Kadri’s off-ice “issues” could be much ado about nothing, he matures a bit and shoots out the lights on the ice and the Leafs open the vault for him.
WGR550: Paul Hamilton reports Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier claims the trade window for Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller is “closed”.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reported via Twitter he was hearing Buffalo “has told teams it is willing keep some of Thomas Vanek’s salary — providing Sabres get a deal they like.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound as though the Sabres found a deal they liked. I believe there are teams interested in Vanek, but considering he’s a UFA next summer and the Sabres aren’t expected to be a playoff contender this season, those clubs probably prefer to wait until the trade deadline (when the bulk of Vanek’s salary has been paid out by the Sabres) to make offers for him.
PUCK DADDY: Sean Leahy speculates over which defensemen the Carolina Hurricanes could pursue to replace Joni Pitkanen’s, who’s out for the season with a heel injury. Leahy listed Toronto’s John-Michael Liles as a trade option, as well as UFAs Ron Hainsey and Tom Gilbert.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes could probably get Hainsey and Gilbert combined for less than Liles’ salary right now. Liles also has a modified no-trade clause, in which he lists 18 teams he won’t accept being dealt to. If the Hurricanes are on that list, forget about that move.
MIAMI HERALD/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon confirmed he’d contacted UFAs Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov and former Panther Jose Theodore to gauge their interest in trying out for the club. Theodore reportedly declined the offer as he’s seeking a contract, while Tallon is waiting to hear back from Thomas and Bryzgalov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas and Bryzgalov likely want contracts as well, and probably aren’t interested in being preseason backups.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reports of ongoing speculation defenseman Matt Niskanen could soon be dealt to clear cap space, but that’s not a certainty. Assistant GM Jason Botterill “hinted Wednesday the Penguins have more cap space than some believe”, so they’re feeling no pressure to move Niskanen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: CapGeek lists the Penguins as being nearly $1.1 million over the salary cap. While the site has a proven record of accuracy and legitimacy (they’re the “go-to” reference for fans, bloggers and pundits alike), they do note that “contracts not verified directly through NHL channels are listed as estimates until confirmed.” We should see some clarification on the Penguins cap space by the end of the month.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites a “tweet” from TSN’s Bob McKenzie claiming the Oilers are in the market for an enforcer.