The Blues consider their options for a second-line center, updates on Jason Spezza, Ryan Kesler and Joe Thornton, plus the latest on the Oilers and Red Wings.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports sources claims the Blues have inquired about Ottawa’s Jason Spezza and Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler “among others” in their efforts to land a top-end center. Rutherford speculates the Blues could be forced into free agency to address their needs if they cannot swing a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Blues are among the front runners for Spezza, and if Kesler is willing to expand his list of preferred trade destinations, they could have a good shot at landing him. Of the two, I think Spezza is their preferred target.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell cites sources close to Jason Spezza saying the center didn’t request a trade, but merely said if the Senators intended to tear down the roster and rebuild with youth that he wouldn’t stand in management’s way if they wanted to move him. Spezza is a UFA next summer and GM Bryan Murray knows the best time to move him is now, rather than at next year’s trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason, Spezza’s on the trade block and could belong to another team by the end of this week.
NBC SPORTS: cites a report from TVA Sports in which Joe Thornton’s agent and brother, John Thornton, said his client only wants to play for the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While things could change it appears Thornton will return with the Sharks for 2014-15. I daresay he’ll see how things go over the course of next season and then assess his future with the club.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson interviewed Oilers GM Craig MacTavish regarding his offseason plans for the club. Matheson claims there’s a slim chance MacTavish could trade his first-round pick (third overall) if Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl are gone but he’d want a mid-first round pick in return. He hopes to land a player in the draft who can help the Oilers right away. MacTavish won’t say if he’s shopping Sam Gagner but says Gagner hasn’t requested a trade.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan, responding to reader e-mail, doesn’t see Red Wings GM Ken Holland acquiring a top-three forward, a number one defenseman or an enforcer…He expects Marian Gaborik to re-sign with the LA Kings…He doesn’t believe Holland will invest big bucks in Thomas Vanek, nor does he believe the Wings will part with the return needed to land Coyotes blueliner Keith Yandle…He believes Matt Niskanen will be too expensive…He expects the Wings will opt for more affordable options like Anton Stralman, Dan Boyle, Derek Morris, Tom Gilbert and Stephane Robidas.