What effect will Dion Phaneuf’s new contract have upon the Maple Leafs pursuit of talent? What’s the latest on Nazem Kadri and Michael Del Zotto? Are the Hurricanes close to moving a goalie?
NATIONAL POST: Bruce Arthur provided analysis of Dion Phaneuf’s new seven-year, $49 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The club now has over $50 million invested in 13 players next season, with UFA Dave Bolland and RFAs James Reimer, Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner, Peter Holland and Jerry D’Amigo to re-sign. Arthur questioned how they would add talent, suggesting perhaps a “heist of a trade”. He also noted the importance GM Dave Nonis put on the draft.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger reports Leafs coach Randy Carlyle’s recent criticism of center Nazem Kadri’s performance puts the 23-year-old back into an uncomfortable spotlight, garnering attention in the trade rumor mill. GM Dave Nonis also pushed Kadri to improve. The Leafs GM didn’t deny Kadri could be moved, but said the same for the rest of his roster. “Anyone is available for the right price,” Nonis said. “But you have to get back a return that makes your team better.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Nonis won’t move Kadri just for the sake of making a trade. Regarding adding talent, with the cap expected to reach $71.1 million, the Leafs have $21 million in cap space to re-sign key players. If they want they have sufficient space to retain all their notable free agents but not enough to pursue free agent talent this summer. They could free up some additional space ($3.875 million) if they can find any takers in the off-season for John-Michael Liles. Trades are possible but it’ll depend upon the market and where the Leafs are in the standings by the Olympic trade freeze in February and the March trade deadline. Kadri, Gardiner and Reimer would be their best trade chips if they hope to land a solid return.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the Rangers made struggling blueliner Michael Del Zotto a healthy scratch for the eighth time in Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers. The Rangers are shopping Del Zotto but can’t find any takers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stop asking for a top-four defenseman in return and you’ll be able to move him.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled Anton Khubodin from his conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate. Coach Kirk Muller, meanwhile, said talks about a shakeup and trade speculation hasn’t affected the players or the coaching staff.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes will carry three goalies for a while but it’s believed only a matter of time until Khudobin or Justin Peters is dealt. Ignor rumors claiming Cam Ward could be shopped. Rutherford isn’t trading his starter.