The latest on Bobby Ryan, Matt Read, Chris Stewart, R.J. Umberger, Alexander Semin and many more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman lists the close standings, the declining salary cap for next season, high asking prices and a number of teams pursuing the same players for the lack of activity in the NHL trade market thus far…The Florida Panthers have a number of players they wish to move, but they still have term left on the contracts. He suggests Filip Kuba might be a good fit with the NY Rangers, but he has another year at $4 million on his contract…The Carolina Hurricanes plan to re-sign Alexander Semin, who’ll be a UFA this summer…The concern over Ryane Clowe isn’t his lack of production this season, but if he’s playing hurt…Friedman guesses Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier won’t blow up his roster, but could be willing to move either Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville or Thomas Vanek for the right return. He’d prefer to keep Vanek unless the winger isn’t going to re-sign before next summer…The Maple Leafs won’t make a move which jeopardizes their playoff hopes…If the Flyers do business with the Flames, the latter could have interest in Matt Read…Blues GM Doug Armstrong vows his club will match any offer sheet for RFA blueliners Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. Armstrong also noted the RFA status of Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund gives him time to address their contract situations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Business will pick up the closer we get to the deadline, but the more teams which remain in playoff contention, the less sellers there will be, meaning less activity than in past years…Can’t see the Rangers chasing Kuba with that extra year left on his contract…As long as the Semin camp seeks a reasonable contract, the Hurricanes will be happy to keep him. Semin seems a much happier player in Carolina than he was in his final years in Washington…A hidden injury might account for the drop in Clowe’s numbers this season, and could affect his trade value…If Regier moves Miller, Pominville or Vanek, it could be this summer, when there might be better options and more interest…Don’t expect the Leafs to go into sell mode this season…Can’t see the Flyers moving Read, but it depends on how desperate the Flyers get to make the playoffs…Sounds to me like the Blues have no interest in shopping Stewart, or any of their RFAs by the deadline.
ESPN.com: Pierre LeBrun reports the automatic assumption, in the wake of the Anaheim Ducks re-signing Corey Perry last night, is Bobby Ryan could hit the trade market this summer. LeBrun suggests that could depend on what happens with pending UFAs Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have over $53 million invested in 16 players next season, with the salary cap dropping to $64.3 million. That leaves nearly $11 million to invest in seven players. Doesn’t sound like a problem, until you factor in the cost of either re-signing or replacing Selanne, Koivu, Toni Lydman, and Kyle Palmieri.
CALGARY HERALD: George Johnson noted the parallel worlds of the Flames Jarome Iginla and Dallas’ Brenden Morrow, two captains who could be available by the trade deadline.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports a combination of injuries and lack of sellers in the trade market could make it difficult for GM Bryan Murray to make moves by the trade deadline. Garrioch suggests Murray could deal from his position of strength in goal by shopping either Ben Bishop or Robin Lehner, but starter Craig Anderson (ankle) remains sidelined.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless more teams move into the “seller” category over the next two weeks and Anderson makes a full recovery and returns to the lineup soon, Murray could continue to find a trade to bolster his club difficult to come by.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc reports Blackhawks pending UFA winger Bryan Bickell hopes to re-sign with the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I suspect the Blackhawks management wants to keep him, but of course that remains to be seen. I don’t expect they’ll shop him by the deadline.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports it doesn’t sound as though the Blue Jackets will be buyers at the trade deadline. R.J. Umberger, Derick Brassard, Vaclav Prospal and Adrian Aucoin could become trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Umberger, Prospal and Aucoin have no-trade clauses, which obviously affects their trade value and potential destinations. Brassard might be the easiest to move.