The latest on Nazem Kadri, Ryan O’Reilly, Ryan Miller and Simon Despres, plus updates on the Stars, Ducks, Kings and more.
TSN.CA; Bob McKenzie suggests Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney and defenseman Sergei Gonchar could be shopped if the Stars decide to make moves at the trade deadline. Whitney would be a rental player but Gonchar has two more years at $5 million per season on an over-35 contract…Pierre LeBrun believes the Anaheim Ducks could try to add a right-handed defenseman. They were believed to have interest in NY Rangers blueliner Dan Girardi but the Blueshirts are telling teams they’re not moving him and will try to re-sign him…Darren Dreger claims the LA Kings could look at rental players like Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri, NY Islanders’ Thomas Vanek, perhaps Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann or Buffalo’s Matt Moulson.
McKenzie noted the Colorado Avalanche would be allowed to trade Ryan O’Reilly on February 28 (one year from the date they matched the offer sheet last season from the Calgary Flames) if they wish. LeBrun claims a number of teams are keeping an eye on O’Reilly, as he would be the top trade target before the deadline if the Avs were to shop him…Dreger claims Carolina Hurricanes winger Tuomo Ruutu is in play. He has a no-trade clause but is willing to work with the Hurricanes. McKenzie reports the Hurricanes sent a league-wide e-mail lisiting Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty, Riley Nash, Drayson Bowman and Brett Bellemore as available. The Canucks did the same thing with Dale Wiese and the Lightning with Tom Pyatt and Keith Aulie…LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers are keeping an eye on Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be more interest in Whitney than Gonchar (who actually has one season remaining on his contract), unless the Stars are willing to eat half of the latter’s remaining deal…Girardi’s not going anywhere…Fleischmann has one season left on his contract so he’s not a “rental player”. Fleischmann also has a modified no-trade clause. Cammalleri and Moulson began their NHL playing careers with the Kings.
I’ll be shocked if the Avs move O’Reilly, who’s a key part of their improvement this season. Yes, it could cost $6.5 million to qualify his rights, but the Avs could re-sign him before the qualification period. The Avs and O’Reilly have reportedly agreed to wait until season’s end to talk contract. I just don’t see them trading him, regardless of how much it might cost to re-sign him…Ruutu has two more seasons at $4.75 million per, which will be tough to move unless the Hurricanes pick up part of it. Tlusty could be of interest to teams seeking scoring depth…The Panthers are the first club I’ve heard with any interest in Neuvirth.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun also reports at some point new Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray will speak with Ryan Miller’s agent. It’s still widely expected Miller will be dealt by the trade deadline, allowing time to determine the goalie’s market value. LeBrun adds his voice to those observers who believed Miller would be a good fit with the St.Louis Blues, who seem content with their current tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott…He also expects the Edmonton Oilers (who recently acquired Ben Scrivens) could have interest in Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward in the off-season, or could pursue Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller if he hits the UFA market…Regarding the Nazem Kadri trade rumors, LeBrun cites a few sources claiming he’s available, while others say the Maple Leafs are simply listening to offers but aren’t pushing it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller to the Blues would be a sexy trade, certainly adding spice to the trade deadline. But the Blues’ current tandem is playing well, plus they’d have to dump salary to take on the remainder of Miller’s contract, not to mention pay a stiff asking price to acquire him from the Sabres. I still believe the Blues will stick with their current tandem for the rest of the season, and if they fall short in the playoffs again, they’ll pursue Miller via free agency, when they’ll have more cap space and it won’t cost them assets like young players, draft picks or prospects…Any team interested in Ward better be prepared to make a strong offer. Jim Rutherford won’t just give him away. He won’t want a package of picks, unproven youth and prospects. Ward would also have to waive his no-trade clause…As for Kadri, again, I don’t doubt the Leafs are getting offers but I don’t believe they’re actively shopping him.
CBS SPORTS: Brian Stubits cites an radio interview on Thursday by Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who said he’d be willing to trade Kadri if the right deal came along. “There’s a difference between willing to and trying to.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis’ comments supports my belief Kadri isn’t being shopped. Remember, Nonis has repeatedly said if he were dealt it would be for a blue-chip player similar in age (23) to Kadri. Could Kadri be traded? Of course. Will he? Seems to me, only if a rival club is willing to pay Nonis’ asking price.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi reports the Pittsburgh Penguins have demoted defenseman Simon Despres to the minors. Despres could be shopped near the trade deadline for either third line depth or as part of a package for a scoring winger.