The latest on Roberto Luongo, Keith Yandle, Ryan O’Reilly, Phil Kessel, Ales Hemsky, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports there were lots of jokes within NHL circles regarding the Flyers rumored interest in Roberto Luongo, but one executive said no one should be surprised because they’re seemingly involved in everything big…Oilers GM Steve Tambellini denied rumors suggesting he was shopping winger Ales Hemsky for a defenseman…the NY Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks denied the Rangers had interest in Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson…Friedman wondered if the Phoenix Coyotes might be interested in bringing back Matt Lombardi, currently with the Maple Leafs. The Coyotes are believed willing to shop a defenseman for a scoring forward…He also wondered if a rival team might send offer sheets to Montreal’s P.K. Subban, Dallas’ Jamie Benn, Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly.
Tim Wharnsby reports the Colorado Avalanche could have trouble luring Ryan O’Reilly back from the KHL this season. He’s playing with his brother Cal on Metallurg Magnitogorsk and is earning a pro-rated $4 million to play there this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility of the Flyers pursuing Luongo, but I only see that seriously happening if Ilya Bryzgalov plays poorly this season, forcing them to buy him out and seek a replacement. Luongo could be that replacement if the Canucks decide to retain him for this shortened season, then try to move him this summer…Having just acquired defenseman Mark Fistric from Dallas, I don’t believe the Oilers are now in the market for another defenseman, let alone shopping Hemsky to get one…Lombardi played well with the Coyotes, but that was several years and a concussion ago…I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of one of those aforementioned RFAs getting an offer sheet, but we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out leading up to the start of the season. General managers are still reviewing the CBA and of course have to keep an eye on the lowered salary cap for next season…As for O’Reilly, the Avs are reportedly still talking with his agent, in hopes of getting him under contract for the upcoming season. It would be interesting, though, if he decides to stage a holdout and continue playing in the KHL.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks aren’t in a rush to move goalie Roberto Luongo. Toronto remains the “most obvious destination”, and a source told LeBrun the Leafs and Canucks had recently touched base since former GM Brian Burke was fired, though he doubts much has changed. The Canucks asking price is reportedly an NHL player and a high-end prospect, leading LeBrun to speculate the Canucks have their eye on Nazem Kadri.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also possible the Canucks could retain Luongo throughout this shortened season as insurance, then try to move him in the off-season. Much will depend upon their performance this season, especially with Ryan Kesler still sidelined.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle wondered if the Maple Leafs should retain Phil Kessel long-term.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I weighed in on Kessel’s future in Toronto in a recent Soapbox column.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports Coyotes GM Don Maloney won’t pick apart the core of his blueline (Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson) to bring in a scoring forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would take a hell of an offer to pry Yandle away from the Coyotes. I don’t believe Bruins forward David Krejci would be it.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jason Brough lists five UFAs that could be of interest to NHL clubs. Topping the list is Jason Arnott.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports the loss of Zach Parise to free agency and the decision not to bring back Petr Sykora could push Devils management into the trade market for a scoring forward. The Devils have depth on defense, leading Gulitti to suggest Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Henrik Tallinder and Peter Harrold as the likely trade candidates.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports the Sabres currently have nine blueliners, which could see one of them not named Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff to be dealt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is T.J. Brennan could be dealt or demoted.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Bryan Murray has decided to hold off on making any trades for the time being for a defenseman, as blueliners are at a premium and a lot of teams are looking.