The latest Oilers and Maple Leafs rumors, an update on Matt Moulson, plus the Kings and Penguins could have available defensemen.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun speculates Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will take stock of his goaltending over the next 10-15 games before deciding to look elsewhere for help. LeBrun believes defense is the bigger concern for the Oilers, expecting MacTavish could try to land a blueliner or two before the March trade deadline, drawing upon his depth in talent at forward.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers seek a tough, mean third-pairing defenseman. “Pittsburgh Penguins defencemaman Deryk Engelland’s name keeps coming up as a possibility in a trade, if not to Edmonton, somewhere else”, writes Matheson.
TORONTO SUN: Chris Stevenson reports the smooth start by Penguins rookie Olli Maatta could make Engelland or Matt Niskanen available. He also claims the LA Kings could be ready to part ways with blueliner Alec Martinez, who’s apparently fallen out of favor.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could prefer to retain Engelland, and certainly won’t part with Niskanen with Kris Letang sidelined. It’s been rumored Simon Despres, whom the Pens demoted, could be available. Martinez isn’t a physical defenseman so he’s not a fit with the Oilers.
TORONTO STAR: Dave Feschuk suggests the current success of Jonathan Bernier in the Maple Leafs goal could make James Reimer expendable, “since there’s no point in keeping around a perfectly deal-able No. 1-calibre talent when you’ve got holes in the lineup.” Feschuk noted a number of NHL teams are seeking goaltenders and blueliners. “Wouldn’t a package of Reimer and the still-not-extended Dion Phaneuf render a choice young asset from, say, the Oilers?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Feschuk’s merely thinking out loud here. Yes, Bernier’s off to a good start, but I don’t see the Leafs shopping Reimer right now. Bernier has never played a full season as an NHL starter, and if they trade Reimer, they’ll have to shop for an experienced backup. Leafs GM Dave Nonis is reportedly determined to re-sign Phaneuf, so he’s not going anywhere. Maybe that changes later in the season, but not now.
ESPN.COM: Katie Strang believes NY Islanders winger Matt Moulson will get a significant raise next summer, either from the Islanders or another club via free agency. Islanders GM Garth Snow confirmed his club’s intention to re-sign Moulson, whose agent said contract discussions have not begun. Moulson confirmed his choice is to remain an Islander.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Snow has a decent record retaining his key players, so one shouldn’t assume they’ll let him walk via free agency. As always, it’ll come down to dollars and term.