The latest on the Blues, Predators, Rangers, Senators, Islanders and Blue Jackets.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance looked at several clubs and their respective trade needs. If the Nashville Predators decide to shop for a goalie, he lists Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller and Washington’s Michal Neuvirth as options. The Ottawa Senators are among several clubs believed interested in Michael Del Zotto, but for a budget club like the Senators, the Rangers would have to take back some salary to move Del Zotto’s $2.55 million salary to Ottawa. He still considers St. Louis the best destination for Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, picking to Jaroslav Halak’s .883 save percentage in seven starts in November.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators are awaiting the results of Pekka Rinne’s MRI at the end of this month before deciding if they’ll shop for a goalie, but the recent solid performance of call-up Marek Mazanec could give them pause. If the Preds do go shopping for a goalie I doubt the Capitals move Neuvirth, preferring to keep him as a backup for Braden Holtby. The Blues will reportedly stick with Halak, but if his performance falters as the season progresses, they could seek an upgrade, though given their limited cap space, they don’t have much room to add Miller’s $6.25 million cap hit, even if the Sabres agreed to pick up half.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers aren’t actively shopping defenseman Michael Del Zotto but they are getting inquiries about the blueliner. Brooks claims they’ve yet to receive offers to pique their interest. A healthy scratch in the last three games, Del Zotto returns to the Rangers lineup tonight against Dallas.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Bryan Murray’s priority is landing a top-four defenseman. The club also needs a top-six forward but Garrioch reports the Sens hope Milan Michalek will eventually break out of his slump. He cites the Rangers Michael Del Zotto, the Penguins Matt Niskanen and the Stars Vernon Fiddler as trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers will either have to accept some salary back or agree to pick up part of Del Zotto’s contract to make that move work for the budget-conscious Sens. I believe the Penguins will retain Niskanen for the remainder of this season owing to his good job filling in for the oft-injured Kris Letang earlier this season. Fiddler reportedly approached the Stars management about a trade if he didn’t seen an increase in playing time but there’s no word if they intend to act on that request.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t make any knee-jerk reactions over his club’s poor start, but said his club’s lack of leadership has him considering a trade for a veteran. He noted, however, the trade market is currently stagnant and veteran leadership comes at a premium.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation they might bring back Vinny Prospal but in a recent interview Kekalainen never mentioned the former Blue Jacket.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports NY Islanders GM Garth Snow has had his “usual trade discussions” with his fellow NHL GMs as he attempts to address his depleted defense corps but there aren’t reasonable prices for usable defensemen. Having dealt away their first round pick in 2014 to the Sabres in the Thomas Vanek deal, Snow lacks a big trade chip to shop for a defenseman.