The latest from the Ottawa Sun, Edmonton Journal and Buffalo News, plus an update on Sidney Crosby’s contract status, and the Predators plans for Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
OTTAWA SUN (via SLAM! SPORTS): Sources say Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon wants to add another top six forward to help ensure his team remains in the playoff race, and could perhaps shop backup goalie Scott Clemmensen…The Kings tried to trade left wing Dustin Penner prior to fire head coach Terry Murray but couldn’t find any takers…If the Minnesota Wild opt to make a move for a defenseman by the trade deadline, they could use either Josh Harding or Matt Hackett as trade bait…The Wild might wish to keep an eye on the Carolina Hurricanes, as pending UFA defensemen Tim Gleason and recently-acquired Jaroslav Spacek might be available heading toward the February trade deadline…The Maple Leafs aren’t shopping prospect forward Nazem Kadri, but with Joe Colbourne moving ahead of him on the depth chart, there could be considerable interest in Kadri if the Leafs go shopping later this season…The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing little-used center Derick Brassard, and want a forward worth $600K or less plus a draft pick in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Panthers do go shopping later this season, Clemmensen could certainly be trade bait, as young Jacob Markstrom is ready to move up full time as Jose Theodore’s backup…The Kings will be lucky to move Penner by the trade deadline. It’s possible they could find a taker, as he’s in the final year of his contract and most of his salary for this season will be paid out by the Kings at the time, but his poor play still makes him difficult to move…Harding would give the Wild the best return…Gleason, Spacek and Bryan Allen could be playing elsewhere by the trade deadline. A rebuild is coming for the Hurricanes…I wouldn’t say Kadri’s untouchable, but it’ll take a good offer to get him from the Leafs…Brassard’s contract and play have made him almost impossible to move right now.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports he still thinks Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber could sign with the Detroit Red Wings next summer, or the Wings could try and acquire him by the trade deadline if the Predators can’t re-sign him…Matheson also suggests the Flyers could look toward Carolina and veteran blueliners like Gleason or Allen to bolster their defense later this season…He also wonders if Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is working the phones looking for a quality goaltender…The Buffalo Sabres apparently are dying for a top-two center, preferably first line. They’re rumored unhappy with Derek Roy and tried to move him last year. Matheson suggested Colorado’s Paul Stastny might be a good fit there. He also claimed Sabres winger Drew Stafford is in the doghouse of head coach Lindy Ruff…The Sharks will be trying to move either Thomas Greiss or Antero Niittymaki after Christmas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on Weber further on in this post…Gleason or Allen could be of interest to the Flyers later this season…The Lightning will have to make a move soon after the trade deadline or risk losing the season if they wait too long to land a goalie. Problem is, Yzerman’s not dealing from a position of strength…Not the first time in recent days we’ve heard Roy and Stafford pop up in the rumor mill. Not sure if the Sabres can pry Stastny out of Colorado…I believe the Sharks will try to move Niittymaki.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Bucky Gleason reports Sabres GM Darcy Regier can make trades but he’s under no orders to do so or to keep the team intact. Gleason speculates a trade may be needed to shake things up for the struggling Sabres, but while there are candidates for departure, the assumption is the club would need to get back a player of equal or greater value who fits under the salary cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As noted previously, Roy and Stafford could be considered among the “candidates for departure”. If they wish to move either guy, there could be a market for them, but it might take packaging them to land a quality return, and even then, the cap hit ($8 million combined) could be a show-stopper.
PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Josh Yohe reports Penguins GM Ray Shero said Sidney Crosby’s concussion situation will not have an impact upon the club’s efforts to re-sign him, as Shero hopes to ensure Crosby remains a Penguin “for life”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of course, if Crosby were forced to retire due to injury, his salary would come off the Penguins books, and insurance would likely pick up most of the cost. At least we know where the Penguins stand regarding their captain, and if they intended to open contract talks next summer, a year before Crosby’s eligibility for UFA status.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper interview Predators GM David Poile regarding speculation he was talking trade with the Philadelphia Flyers, as rumor has it they could target either Shea Weber or Ryan Suter as possible replacements for Chris Pronger, who’s out for the rest of the season and the playoffs to post-concussion syndrome. Poile points out Monday (December 19th) is the start of the holiday trade freeze, and said he has no plans to make any moves, noting no team is going to trade a top player for a draft choice.
CBC.CA: At the end of the “Hotstove” segment on last night’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast, Elliotte Friedman said he spoke with Poile, who said he’s not trading Weber or Suter until the trade deadline at the earliest, and if they’re in the playoffs at that time, he’s not moving them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Which is what I’ve been suggesting for weeks.