The Oilers are rumored to have “keen interest” in Penguins center Brandon Sutter, plus my take on the ongoing speculation linking James Reimer to the Jets.

Oilers interested in Brandon Sutter?

Oilers interested in Brandon Sutter?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy reports on a rumor out of Pittsburgh claiming the Oilers and Colorado Avalanche have interest in Pittsburgh Penguins RFA center Brandon Sutter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As McCurdy noted in another column, the Oilers have a gaping hole at center which has yet to be filled. Sutter is the Penguins third-line center, however, and moving him would leave them lacking a skilled center for one of their bottom-two lines. Even if they can only re-sign Sutter to a one-year deal (which would take him up to UFA status next summer) I suspect the Penguins will stick with him for this season and worry about re-signing or replacing him next summer. I don’t believe they’ll trade him, unless they end up out of playoff contention by the trade deadline. 

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Despite the fact the Toronto Maple Leafs recently re-signed James Reimer to a two-year extension, rumors persist linking the netminder to the Winnipeg Jets. This is nothing new. Reimer’s been tied to the Jets since last season. Having lost the starter’s job in Toronto to Jonathan Bernier,  it’s apparent Reimer has a limited future in Toronto. Questions continue to hang over the performance of Jets’ starter Ondrej Pavelec. Factor in Reimer’s originally from Manitoba, and he seems a perfect fit with the Jets.

Perhaps one day Reimer will join the Jets, but I don’t see it happening this summer, or even to start this season. I believe the Jets will go with Pavelec and promising Michael Hutchinson as their tandem to begin this season. If the pair struggle early, that could force Jets management into the trade or free agent market for help. If the Leafs trade Reimer, however, they’ll need a suitable backup to replace him. That could come from within, or perhaps via free agency, where a future Hall of Famer like Martin Brodeur could still be available.