The latest from the Ottawa Sun, Sports Illustrated, Denver Post and NY Post.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier is believed concerned over his team’s slow start and is looking to make changes, hoping to land help for his defense. Garrioch suggested winger Andrei Kostitsyn as possible trade bait. He also noted the Canadiens aren’t the only club looking for help on the blueline, as Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is also believed working the phones. Both GMs could find the pickings slim as there aren’t many teams with extra defensemen they’re willling to part with…The heat continues to be on Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson as his team continues to flounder…There’s rumors NHL players aren’t happy with the suspensions being levied by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan…It’s expected the Winnipeg Jets will return young forward Mark Scheifele to junior for more seasoning…The Phoenix Coyotes aren’t actively shopping center Kyle Turris, who may be hoping a rival club will pitch him an unmatchable offer sheet…Garrioch suggested not to be surprised if the Winnipeg Jets show a mild interest in Calgary Flames winger Rene Bourque…He wondered if the Florida Panthers might return defenseman Erik Gudbranson to junior…The Vancouver Canucks aren’t trying to move defenseman Keith Ballard, who has been one of their better blueliners this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only team I know of that might be willing to move a defenseman is the Maple Leafs, but I don’t believe they’d ship one to Montreal, unless a third team were involved. The Habs may be forced to suck it up on defense, or perhaps consider a coaching change if things don’t improve soon…I don’t see what moves Howson could make to improve his team. The players other teams are interested in (Derick Brassard, Antoine Vermette) are those he can’t afford to part with right now…The players can bitch about Shanahan’s suspensions all they want. League commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have made it very clear they’re supporting their new disciplinarian…Scheifele appears destined to return to junior this season, but that’s not a bad thing…Turris won’t get an offer sheet from anyone now…Not sure why the Jets would have interest in Bourque, as they’re already deep on the left side with Andrew Ladd, Alex Burmistrov and Evander Kane. I think the Jets could do with more offensive depth at center, as Bryan Little is off to a poor start, with only one point in seven games…Garrioch scooped everyone by reporting a week ago Canucks GM Mike Gillis was working the phones for a trade, which he eventually made with Florida, though at the time he claimed Gillis was trying to deal a defenseman, and “the belief is Gillis would trade D Keith Ballard”.
SI.COM: Adrian Dater tries his hand at brokering some deals, suggesting the Colorado Avalanche could be a good destination for Rene Bourque, given the uncertain health of winger Peter Mueller; Jay Bouwmeester to Carolina for Tuomo Ruutu; sees no takers for Columbus Blue Jackets overpaid blueliners Fedor Tyutin or Marc Methot; and suggested the Phoenix Coyotes ship defenseman Derek Morris to Calgary for Alex Tanguay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dater’s tongue was firmly planted in his cheek when he wrote this one, yet there are some kernels of truth in there. The Avalanche might feel the need to replace Mueller if it appears he’ll miss considerable time again to concussion symptoms. Teams have made inquiries about the availability of Bourque and Ruutu, and it’s unlikely anyone would want Tyutin or Methot, especially with their contracts.
DENVER POST: Dater takes a more serious approach noting the Avalanche will have to address tough questions if Peter Mueller isn’t healthy. One option could be making a trade, perhaps for someone like Bourque, though Dater fears the return could cost them one of their three top defense prospects: Stefan Elliott, Duncan Siemans or Tyson Barrie. The other option, which appears more likely, is promoting rookie Gabriel Landeskog.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Flames would want a top-six forward in return for Bourque, so forget about offering a defense prospect and a periphery player.
NEW YORK POST: Mark Everson reports a recent clavicle injury to Jacob Josefson means Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will have to address his lack of depth at center. The Devils were already missing Travis Zajac (Achilles tendon) before Josefson went down.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether it’s via trade, free agency or call-up remains to be seen.