The latest on Shea Weber, Thomas Vanek, Jordan Eberle, Mike Green, James Reimer and Rene Bourque.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper wonders how the Nashville Predators’ acquisition of Michael Del Zotto could affect Shea Weber’s future. He notes Weber, at 29, is now the Predators oldest defenseman. “Now, with a young defensive core that is getting younger, would Weber be expendable via trade? Nashville has staunchly said it won’t trade its captain. But this defense group looks like it’s in rebuilding mode,” writes Cooper, who feels Weber’s trade value might never be higher.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Predators intend to move their franchise player. Still, Weber lacks a no-trade clause in his hefty contract. The Preds desperately need scoring punch at forward. If a club made a substantial offer GM David Poile might listen. If such a deal were to happen, the earliest would be in the off-season, when the salary cap jumps to $71 million, providing potential suitors with the cap space and the willingness to spend it.
EDMONTON SUN: Derek Van Diest reports Oilers winger Jordan Eberle is shrugging off recent trade rumors swirling about him. Van Diest noted Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said earlier this year he has no intention of moving Eberle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason Eberle’s name has popped up is because the Oilers have so few trade assets to peddle in order to bring back a return to address one of their many roster needs. While Eberle would fetch a solid return, I doubt MacTavish intends to deal him.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford cites a report from Newsday in which NY Islanders winger Thomas Vanek says he’d be willing to sign with them this summer even if they were to move him at the trade deadline. Vanek said he would understand if the Isles trade him but isn’t ruling out returning as an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Very commendable of Vanek, but I doubt the Islanders are willing to pay him more than their franchise player (John Tavares, who makes $5.5 million per season through 2017-18). Vanek, whose current annual cap hit is over $7 million, could receive as much again on this summer’s open market.
WASHINGTON POST: Mike Wise believes the Capitals need to shake things up by trading defenseman Mike Green. Wise believes Green is still a marquee name in the NHL and there will be teams who believe they can improve him and return him into the Norris contender he once was.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have significantly hampered Green’s performance. While still a good puck-moving defenseman, he’s no longer a Norris contender and never will be again. Sure, some teams will welcome him to their blueline, but he won’t fetch the type of return which can help turn the Capitals around.
NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos reports Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis has no intention of breaking up his goalie tandem of Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer this season. Nonis also wouldn’t rule out re-signing Reimer, who’s a restricted free agent this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis acknowledged the Leafs have gone as far as they have this season because of their goaltending. When you give up the most shots in the NHL, you need quality goaltending if you hope to make the playoffs. Reimer could be moved one day, but I don’t believe it happens this season.
RDS.CA: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has informed the other 29 NHL teams winger Rene Bourque is available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With two more season left on his contract at a cap hit of $3.3 million per, the only way I see anyone taking Bourque off the Canadiens’ hands is if they agree to eat half his remaining contract. Otherwise, it could be buyout time this summer. It won’t be a compliance buyout, as the Habs used their two up on Scott Gomez and Tomas Kaberle.