With the NHL holiday “trade freeze” lifted, here’s the latest on the Stars, Blue Jackets, Sharks, Canucks, Rangers and Capitals.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars have informed goaltender Andrew Raycroft they intend to place him on waivers today. If he clears by Thursday he’ll be demoted to their farm team. GM Joe Nieuwendyk meanwhile said the team’s new ownership puts him in a better position to make a move to help the Stars near the trade deadline if a deal can be found to help his team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the Nieuwendyk link. With the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets in need of goaltending depth it’ll be in interesting to see if they take a chance on Raycroft.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Bob Hunter reports Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson has seen enough and intends to be active to find ways to improve his team, though it remains to be seen what moves, if any, he’ll make. “Everything’s on the table,” he said. “We’ve got to look at everything. We’ve got to seriously look at everything. Now that’s different than saying, ‘I’m going to phone every GM tomorrow and say who do you want, (Rick) Nash, Carter or (R.J.) Umberger?’ but we’ve got to look at the whole situation and we’ve got to consider everything.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howson’s “everything’s on the table” remark is going to fuel rumors of shopping Nash, Carter or Umberger, but while he’ll consider all options, I don’t believe he’ll move those three. I think the most likely to be dealt is Derick Brassard, plus I think they’ll also try to move Vinny Prospal and Antoine Vermette.I don’t see him moving James Wisniewski.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: David Pollak reports the San Jose Sharks have a glut of goaltenders with Thomas Greiss and Antero Niittymaki backing up Antti Niemi, but they treat any questions of one of the backups being dealt as premature. GM Doug Wilson scuttled any talk of a trade occurring soon by saying he and his scouts will assess their roster’s needs during their mid-season meetings, which begin on January 14th.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. Niittymaki is the most expendable of the two, but given he’s coming off hip surgery, the Sharks have to get him into a few games before they can start shopping him. If he’s healthy, the longer they hang onto him, the better the chance of increasing his trade value.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher reports Canucks defenseman Alex Edler could be the next Canuck to consider accepting a “hometown discount” to remain with the team when he becomes eligible for UFA status in July 2013. The Sedins, Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows all accepted less than market value to remain with the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll depend on his performance beyond this season as well as the team’s, as well as available cap space.
ESPN.COM: Katie Strang reports the Rangers healthier lineup could mean some decisions soon, perhaps by demoting Sean Avery or Erik Christensen, or perhaps the returning Wojtek Wolski, who hasn’t been a favorite of head coach John Tortorella.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could also try to move one of those three via trade, but only Christensen would have any trade value, and that would be based more on his affordable salary ($925K) than performance.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman, in his weekly “30 Thoughts” segment, cited a couple of teams saying the Washington Capitals could be a team to watch for a roster shakeup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The coaching change hasn’t worked out as well as hoped, so the next move is a trade, but who do they move? Yes, yes, I know, Alexander Semin, but moving him is easier said than done because of his salary, offensive struggles and reputation for soft play in the post-season. If the Capitals having gotten out of their mediocrity by mid-January, it could spur management to make a move.