The latest on Jonas Hiller, David Desharnais, Jordin Tootoo, Nikita Nikitin, Joey MacDonald and more.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers will “hotly pursue” Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller when he becomes a free agent next summer if Devan Dubnyk doesn’t work out this season. He also reports the Detroit Red Wings are shopping Jordin Tootoo in hopes of recalling Gustav Nyquist, while the Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to move Nikita Nikitin in order to promote Tim Erixon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Hiller hits next summer’s UFA market the Oilers better be prepared to open the vault for him. He’s making $4.5 million this season and could seek over $6 million per on the open market…Tootoo’s been available since the summer but so far no takers. Nikitin’s struggles and his $2.15 million contract makes him tough to move right now.
RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reported on the struggles of Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais, who has yet to score this season and has only one goal in his last 30 games. Gagnon suggests Desharnais’ poor offense combined with his expensive salary makes him tough to move via trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some critics are comparing Desharnais to Scott Gomez during his tenure with the Habs. While Desharnais’ salary isn’t as expensive as Gomez’s was, an average cap hit of $3.5 million is still a big chunk to pay a center who has only one point in 15 games this season. He’s also got three more years after this one on that contract. The Canadiens cannot get much cap relief by burying him in the minors, and they’ve used up their two compliance buyouts. Even if they offered to pick up half Desharnais’ salary, I doubt they find any takers, certainly not while he’s mired in his slump.
CALGARY SUN: Flames goalie Joey MacDonald cleared waivers and was demoted to their AHL affiliate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Reto Berra plays as well in his upcoming games as he did in his debut Sunday against the Blackhawks, we may have seen the last of MacDonald as a Flame.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t be pressured into making a hasty trade to improve his club.