Updates on Rick Nash, Mikhail Grabovski, Ales Hemsky, Steve Ott, Eric Tangradi and Brandon Prust, plus the latest on the Capitals and Blackhawks.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports the San Jose Sharks are “emerging as a strong contender” for Rick Nash, citing sources saying the Blue Jackets originally targeted center Logan Couture, but the Sharks won’t move him. Dreger says the Sharks would prefer an off-season deal to avoid in-season disruption, but will be interested in Nash up to the deadline…The Maple Leafs say they won’t move defenseman Luke Schenn unless they get an offer too good to refuse, which they’ve yet to receive. Carl Gunnarson, Cody Franson and Keith Aulie are also attracting some interest…Team inquiring about Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky say the Oilers asking price is too steep (roster player) given Hemsky’s lack of production this season and status as a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Again, while I won’t rule out the possibility of the Blue Jackets dealing Nash by the trade deadline, I’m with the camp which believes they stand a better chance of moving him in the off-season, as it appears most teams interested in him don’t want to risk disrupting their rosters at this point in the season…I don’t believe the Leafs will move Schenn, but won’t rule out Gunnarson, Franson or Aulie being shopped, perhaps for a goaltender…If Hemsky still wants a long-term deal from the Oilers, I can see them moving him at the deadline. The asking price of a roster player may be steep, but don’t rule out a team desperate for offense parting with one. Sorry, Oilers fans, the Kings won’t part with Jack Johnson for Hemsky.
TORONTO SUN: Dave Hilson reports Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski said he likes playing in Toronto and doesn’t want to leave, but hasn’t spoken with management or his agent about his contract status. The Leafs are reportedly negotiating with Grabovski’s agent for a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs GM Brian Burke would be a fool to move Grabovski, unless he’s planning on giving up making the playoffs this season and blowing up the roster.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson, responding to reader e-mail, dismissed the notion of the Oilers landing promising defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators by shipping them Ales Hemsky. Matheson believes the Oilers could by trying to land a young player and a low first round pick for Hemsky. He also rejects the idea of the Oilers getting Luke Schenn by offering up Ben Eager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators aren’t moving Ellis, for Hemsky or anyone else. If they lose Ryan Suter to free agency, Ellis could be his eventual replacement.
NEW YORK POST: Mark Everson reports New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said team captain Zach Parise won’t be moved at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Confirming what I’ve been saying for months. Thanks, Lou!
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby cited an ESPN reports claiming Dallas Stars agitator Steve Ott is generating interest in the rumor mill…TSN reports the Carolina Hurricanes have set today as a deadline to get Tuomo Ruutu under contract, or they’ll consider putting him on the trade block again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully we’ll learn by today if Ruutu will be re-signed or shopped. As for Ott, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk could wait until deadline day before deciding if he’ll trade him or keep him. Ott has two more years at $2.95 million per season left on his contract, with a “no-trade” clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM George McPhee is reluctant to move promising assests like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Stanislav Galiev, but he might be willing to part with one of his two first round picks in this year’s draft if he’s looking to buy. If he’s selling, UFAs like Alexander Semin and Dennis Wideman could be shopped. The Capitals season has reached the tipping point, and I suspect McPhee will be a buyer in hopes of adding depth to improve his club’s performance.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: David Haugh reports the actions of Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman between now and the trade deadline could make the difference between making or missing the playoffs this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After suffering a 9-game winless streak, the Blackhawks have won four straight, which should take some pressure off Bowman. I suspect he’s in the market for blueline depth. There’s speculation he might move one of his scoring forwards, but I don’t believe he’ll go to that extreme. He won’t be trading Patrick Kane.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Shelly Anderson reports Penguins prospect Eric Tangradi hopes he won’t be traded by the deadline.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have initiated talks with the Brandon Prust camp to discuss extending his contract. Prust will be a UFA this summer.