The latest Oilers goaltending speculation, an update on Jake Gardiner plus the latest on the Flyers.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish is working the phones to determine the market for goaltenders, claiming the Oilers are looking at every possibility, including Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, St. Louis’ Brian Elliott and Washington’s Michal Neuvirth “and beyond”. Nothing is imminent and the Oilers could find it tough to convince teams to part with their surplus goalies at this point in the season.
Darren Dreger claimed the Sabres were hoping to wait until Christmas to assess their situation. He noted Miller’s modified NTC in which he lists eight teams he won’t accept a trade to. If the Oilers aren’t on that list, it could cost them one of their young forwards to land him.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports no one on the Sabres has approached Miller yet about a trade, and gets the sense GM Darcy Regier wants to wait until later in the season to shop him in hopes of building up his trade value. LeBrun also doubts the Ducks rock the boat this early in the season by shopping Hiller. With Braden Holtby entrenched as the Capitals starter, Neuvirth might be an option for the Oilers, while the Blues might wish to wait until the off-season to make a decision with Elliott unless somebody forces their hand.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Miller would be the better choice over Hiller if the Oilers pursue a goalie, and also speculates Neuvirth could be available. Matheson isn’t sold on Elliott and is no fan of UFA goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. He also claims the Oilers aren’t looking for a top four defenseman but instead a rugged third-pairing blueliner. He doesn’t see any of the Oilers young guns being moved and believes Ales Hemsky will be in play by the trade deadline. He suggests blueliner Nick Schultz could be in a little trouble given he’s making $3.25 million as a third-pairing blueliner right now, but there’s probably not many takers at this point in the season. He considers rumors of Nail Yakupov being dealt to the Flyers for a defenseman or forward as “fantasyland stuff”.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman wonders if it’s worth it for the Oilers to give up an asset to land a goalie who is an unrestricted free agent next summer (Miller, Elliott, Hiller) without trying to sign them first. He considers Ottawa’s Robin Lehner a perfect target but doubts the Senators part with him…One reason for the cool trade market is the strong start of Colorado and Calgary, who were willing to explore ideas but don’t have much reason now to do so…The eventual return of Kris Letang will give the Penguins a glut of defensemen. They could either sent Olli Maatta back to junior, demote a blueliner or make a deal…A few teams appear to have made inquiries about Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, who’s been in and out of the lineup…
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Sabres or Ducks are willing to give Miller or Hiller away (and we all know that ain’t happenin’), the Oilers will have to give up one of their good young forwards to land either guy. It’s a risky move if neither player is willing to talk contract until next summer. Elliott and Neuvirth would be more affordable, but both are streaky. Lehner would be the best option, but I also doubt the Senators move him. Ditto the Leafs with James Reimer, who’s clearly not gonna give up the starter’s role in Toronto without a fight. Bryzgalov would only cost them dollars, though it would max them out at the 50 contract limit. If the Oilers aren’t willing to move a young forward for Miller (provided he’s willing to go to Edmonton, which I doubt) or Hiller, and if Lehner, Elliott or Neuvirth aren’t available, then it comes down to two choices for the Oilers. Sign a UFA like Bryzgalov, Jose Theodore or Rick DiPietro, or stick with your current tandem. Right now, I’d be on the phone talking to those UFAs’ agents.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports the Maple Leafs continue to get calls about defenseman Jake Gardiner, but unless a substantial offer is made, the Leafs won’t move him, nor are they shopping him. “It’s believed last week’s interest was generated by the ongoing media speculation”, writers Dreger. “To date, Toronto has not received an offer for Gardiner.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the obvious defensive concerns and the ongoing need for a first line center for Phil Kessel’s line, the Leafs strong start means they’re in no hurry to make moves right now.
COURIER-POST: Dave Isaac recently addressed some Flyers’ fans questions about their struggling club. He doesn’t expect there’s much interest around the league in older players like Adam Hall or Hal Gill, claims Kimmo Timonen isn’t going anywhere and doubts anyone would have interest in Mark Streit’s expensive contract. He also doubts Braydon Coburn is available anymore.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Paul Holmgren will undoubtedly keep his eyes and ears open for anything which might help his team but for now he’s probably willing to give new coach Craig Berube an opportunity to improve the current roster.