Buyer beware for some NHL trade candidates, listing the top compliance buyout candidates, and speculation over Jake Gardiner’s trade status.

ESPN.COM: Timo Seppa of Hockey Prospectus has Washington’s Martin Erat, Florida’s Shawn Matthias and Tim Thomas, Buffalo’s Drew Stafford, Dallas’ Erik Cole, Vancouver’s Zack Kassian, Columbus’ Jack Johnson and Carolina’s Justin Peters on his “buyer beware” trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Erat, Stafford and Cole are overpaid. Age is a factor for Erat, Cole and Thomas.  Seppa also considers Matthias, Stafford and Kassian as underachievers, Johnson overrated and Peters not as good overall as he seems right now. Hard to argue with those assessments.

Could Ryan Malone become a compliance buyout candidate in June?

Could Ryan Malone become a compliance buyout candidate in June?

ESPN.COM: Neil Greenberg lists NY Rangers’ Brad Richards, Buffalo’s Ville Leino, Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu, New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov, Nashville’s Paul Gaustad, San Jose’s Martin Havlat, Dallas’ Erik Cole, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone, Washington’s Brooks Laich and Columbus’ R.J. Umberger as compliance buyout candidates in June.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: June 2014 is the last compliance buyout period, so it’ll be the last chance for those clubs to buy out those players without it counting against the salary cap.

NBC SPORTS: cited recent comments by TSN’s Darren Dreger, who believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to trade defenseman Jake Gardiner. The asking price is believed a top-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next four weeks could determine Gardiner’s fate with the Leafs. They’re struggling to score and leading the league in shots-against per game.  They’re also clinging to one of the last playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. If they fall out of contention, that could prompt Nonis to pull the trigger.