Options for the Flyers to replace Chris Pronger, the Maple Leafs could tweak their roster, the Oilers may need to shake things up, and the latest on the Avalanche.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside examined the options available to the Philadelphia Flyers to replace Chris Pronger, who’s out for the season and playoffs to post-concussion syndrome. The Flyers could take a closer look at which defenseman are available by the February 27th trade deadline. If Nashville’s Shea Weber or Ryan Suter are available they’d be obvious targets, but the Predators want to re-sign them. Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar could be another target, while the Carolina Hurricanes could shop UFAs-to-be Tim Gleason, Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They also noted the Flyers could get some cap relief by placing Pronger on LTIR, which would enable them to go over the cap ceiling to add another defenseman if required. If Pronger is forced to retire, however, his salary still counts against the Flyers cap, as he falls under the “over-35” rule, but the Flyers could get around that by keeping him on LTIR. Don’t expect Weber or Suter to be wearing a Flyers uniform after February 27th, as the Preds won’t move either guy, especially if they’re still in the playoff chase. The Senators would love to dump Gonchar’s salary, but it remains to be seen if the Flyers would want to take him on, especially when they’ve also got to re-sign Matt Carle or lose him to free agency next summer. Gleason and Allen could be more affordable, short-term options. For now, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren won’t panic, as his team is still playing well, but he could take a good look at what’s available come mid-February in the trade market.
TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke isn’t planning a major overhaul of his roster this season, but instead some “fine-tuning”. Burke also doesn’t intend to give up on his struggling players like Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. Areas of concern for his roster include their penalty kill, lack of second line scoring depth and size at forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ignore the silly rumors of Burke landing Rick Nash from Columbus or Eric Staal from Carolina. I don’t doubt Burke could make a move or two, perhaps even one which raises an eyebrow, but I can’t see him landing Nash or Staal, as both teams have denied those players are available.
EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson took to Twitter to suggest the Oilers management needs to shake things up following the holiday trade freeze, as the Oilers are currently only two points ahead of where they were at this time a year ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner to remain in the rumor mill heading into the New Year.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater responded to a reader’s email asking which players the Avalanche could move which would land a first round pick. He feels Paul Stastny certainly would land one, but wonders if the Avs should give up on him, and how difficult it would be to move his contract. He also feels David Jones, despite his current slump, might land one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny’s name keeps popping up in trade rumors (he’s often linked to the Maple Leafs), but I’m not fully convinced the Avs are ready to move him.