Ales Hemsky unconcerned about trade rumors, Panthers’ owner promises his club will be active in the free agent market, the Avalanche search for a blueliner and comments by the Flyers’ owner sparks talk of a trade.
EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL:Winger Ales Hemsky is resigned to the fact this season could be his last with the Oilers, but says trade rumors aren’t on his mind. The Oilers tried unsuccessfully to move him last summer. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to re-sign.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis addressed a recent Ottawa Sun rumor claiming the Oilers had interest in Carolina Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters, noting the Oilers already traded a goalie (Jason LaBarbera) and suggesting Peters isn’t much better than LaBarbera.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s almost certain Hemsky will be moved by the trade deadline, as that’s when the bulk of his $5 million salary will be paid out by the Oilers. As the Sun piece noted, Hemsky’s been a good teammate and loved playing in Edmonton. If Hemsky stays healthy he could fetch a decent return, though not a top draft pick as some pundits have suggested. As for their rumored interest in Peters, they’ll have to move another goalie to take him on, and since they dealt LaBarbera to make room for the returning Ilya Bryzgalov, it wouldn’t make sense to add another goaltender now.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Craig Davis reports Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola will spend to allow his club to pursue elite free agents next summer. “We won’t hesitate, not at all,” Viola said, referring to the possibility of signing an elite talent next July if the opportunity arises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers went down that path in the summer of 2011, and while it helped them end their decade-long playoff drought the following season, they’ve been mired in mediocrity ever since. I hope that the investment this time will be in quality rather than quantity.
THE DENVER POST’s Adrian Dater reported via Sulia the Colorado Avalanche are seeking a defenseman but he doesn’t believe it’s New York Rangers blueliner Michael Del Zotto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All recent indications were they were very interested in Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov, even rumored close to a deal until one of the sides backed off.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports recent comments by Flyers owner Ed Snider regarding the club’s recent performance suggests changes could be coming, perhaps a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers goalie Steve Mason has struggled of late but the real reason once again is their defensive play, blowing leads and giving up too many goals. If this keeps up, expect the trade rumors which dogged the club earlier this season to resurface.