Get the latest on the Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders what it would cost the Edmonton Oilers to acquire Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators. He notes the Predators lack a top-six forwards and two very good young defensemen in Seth Jones and Roman Josi. He speculates the Predators could ask for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall as part of the return, and believes the Oilers first round pick is in play if they can’t land Barrie Colts blueliner Aaron Ekblad. Matheson also feels the Oilers could add a defenseman in the deal (except for Justin Schultz). He also guesses the Philadelphia Flyers will be bidding for Weber this summer, possibly offering Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek as part of the return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators won’t be shopping Weber by the trade deadline. If they do decide to move him (again, big “if”) it’ll be this summer. It could come down to a bidding war between the Oilers and Flyers, who really, really need a top defenseman.
EDMONTON JOURNAL/EDMONTON SUN: Winger Ales Hemsky is expected to be skating on the Oilers second line when they face off against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Coach Dallas Eakins denies this is being done to showcase Hemsky for a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he plays well it’ll certainly help his trade value. I think Hemsky’s Olympic performance (3 goals, 4 points) also helps. The Oilers might have to absorb part of his remaining salary to facilitate a deal.
CALGARY HERALD: Scott Cruickshank reports pending UFAs like Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak heads the list of players the Flames could use as bargaining chips heading toward the trade deadline. The Flames would love to move defenseman Shane O’Brien, who carries a $2 million cap hit through next season. Cruickshank also suggests moving defenseman Dennis Wideman, signed through 2016-17 at a cap hit of $5.25 million, also wouldn’t hurt. Their untouchables list has expanded to include the recently re-signed Matt Stajan, improving center Mikael Backlund and rookie star Sean Monahan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were willing to re-sign Cammalleri but I’ll be very surprised if he decides to stay. They might get some interest in Stempniak, and maybe O’Brien. Good luck moving Wideman and that big-ass contract. Maybe in the summer but not now.
CTV MONTREAL: Brian Wilde believes Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin faces a difficult decision over pending UFA defenseman Andrei Markov. He’s reportedly offered Markov a one-year, $6 million contract extension, but if the blueliner rejects it Bergevin must decide if he’ll trade Markov or keep him for the playoffs and hope to re-sign him before July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens and Markov’s agent are still reportedly negotiating and no agreement has been reached. He apparently seeks a three-year deal. Whatever happens, I expect Bergevin won’t move Markov at the deadline.
NBC SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis would like to add a player to help Ryan Kesler but noted that could be an expensive proposition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t have sufficient assets to part with for a rental player, and they’ve also got too many underachieving forwards on expensive contracts. Unless they move one of their defensemen for a top-six forward who’s also under contract beyond this season, I don’t think they can address their needs by the deadline.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger reports Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis doesn’t expect to make any major moves by the trade deadline. The imminent return of center Dave Bolland is akin to adding a player via trade at the deadline, only without giving up any assets in return.
TSN.CA: Dave Bolland, a pending UFA this summer, isn’t concerned over his contract status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs were on a hot streak heading into the Olympic break and are coming out of it with a healthy lineup. What you see of their current roster is what you’ll get for the rest of the season, Leafs fans. Bolland won’t be moved at the trade deadline. Neither will Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner.