The latest on the Maple Leafs, Flames and Blue Jackets, plus updates on Ryan O’Reilly, Roberto Luongo and Ryan Whitney.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the Maple Leafs goaltending situation could become dire if James Reimer is sidelined longer than anticipated and Ben Scrivens struggles in the starter’s role. If the Leafs go shopping, Koshan suggested Jonathan Bernier (Kings), Jonas Hiller (Ducks) and Nikolai Khabibulin (Oilers) could be options, while free agents include Ty Conklin and Brent Johnson. Unless the Canucks lower their asking price for Roberto Luongo, he won’t be an option for the Leafs.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a recent interview Canucks GM Mike Gillis had with Nick Kypreos of The Fan 590, where Gillis acknowledged he’d consider keeping Luongo if the goalie expressed a desire to stay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean Gillis has changed his mind about shopping Luongo or that “Bobby Lu” wants to remain with the Canucks. For now, it’s the status quo, with Gillis remaining patient with the trade market while Luongo handles this situation very well. As for the Leafs, GM Dave Nonis intends to sit tight for now. Reimer is expected to miss at least a week, perhaps two. If Scrivens can hold the fort, there won’t be any need to shop for a short-term replacement.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports sources now say it’s a virtual certainty the Colorado Avalanche will trade holdout center Ryan O’Reilly. Both sides have apparently become too entrenched to reach a compromise. It’s believed the Avs are seeking a roster player and a top prospect in return.
EDMONTON SUN: Robert Tychkowski reports Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney doesn’t understand why he’s been a healthy scratch of late, but insists he’s not seeking a trade. Still, he acknowledged his future with the club isn’t secure. Whitney is eligible for UFA status this summer.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports his contacts with the Avalanche and the O’Reilly camp declined to comment on the current contract standoff between the two side. Darren Dreger cited sources claiming the Avs have held talks with Eastern Conference teams. He also said there is some interest around the league in Ryan Whitney, but GM Steve Tambellini said he wants the defenseman to play better and isn’t actively trying to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I guess it was only a matter of time until the Avalanche started shopping around to see what they could get for O’Reilly. Given how the club is currently struggling, they’ll need something in return to both help them now and in the future. Re-signing O’Reilly could’ve addressed that need, but apparently the Avs either want O’Reilly on their terms or not at all.
As for Whitney,he hasn’t been the same since his ankle surgeries, which appear to have hampered his mobility. If he continues to be a healthy scratch, and with the Oilers currently mired in a slump, I could see him shopped in the near future.
CALGARY HERALD: Scott Cruickshank reports Flames GM Jay Feaster denied his waiver claim of goalie Joey MacDonald was part of a possible plan to move on from workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The plan is to stick with Leland Irving with MacDonald as his backup. Once Kiprusoff returns, it appears MacDonald will be demoted and Irving returns to the backup role.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reported there were 19 scouts at the recent San Jose Sharks-Blue Jackets game, suggesting “the vultures are circling” as the Jackets continue to struggle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the link.