The latest from TSN, ESPN, Ottawa Sun, and Edmonton Journal.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger recently responded to several readers’ questions regarding possible trades. He suggests if the Penguins are healthy by the trade deadline, GM Ray Shero could seek an affordable depth forward, but if Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang remain sidelined it could change his approach…Leafs GM Brian Burke might have to change his “no interest” about improving his goaltending via trade if James Reimer doesn’t return to form, despite Jonas Gustavsson’s recent inspired play…The Minnesota Wild aren’t shopping backup goalie Josh Harding but are willing to listen to offers between now and the trade deadline…The New Jersey Devils will soon have to decide if they can afford to play the waiting game with pending UFA Zach Parise or shop him at the trade deadline…Don’t expect Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to do much tinkering, if any, to his current roster before the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Crosby and/or Letang are still out by the deadline, and it doesn’t appear they’ll be back for the playoffs, Shero could become more active in the trade market near the deadline…Burke might not have much choice but shop for a goalie if Reimer or Gustavsson don’t step up in the coming weeks…I still believe that as long as the Devils are in the playoff race, Parise won’t be moved. GM Lou Lamoriello has in the past resisted trading his pending UFAs more often than not…Chiarelli could make a minor move or two, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he stands pat.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Penguins GM Ray Shero and agent Pat Brisson deny rumors Sidney Crosby could shut it down for this season or that his career may be over…Leafs GM Brian Burke continues to shop around for depth to this top-six forward group, and are willing to move a defenseman as trade bait. Burke maintains he’s not looking for a goalie. While Burke would probably love to land center Ryan Getzlaf from Anaheim, LeBrun doesn’t see a fit there given the huge return the Ducks would want for Getzlaf…Lightning GM Steve Yzerman might be better off waiting for the off-season, where he’ll have a better chance to address his roster needs…LeBrun suggests Buffalo or Philadelphia might be two teams interested in dealing with the Ducks…The Blackhawks are in the market for a natural center for their second line but would settle for a top-six winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know the Crosby bit isn’t a trade or free agent rumor, just felt it was worth mentioning…I also don’t see Burke prying Getzlaf out of Anaheim, as he’d have to part with one or two key players as part of the return…Unless the trade market improves for Yzerman soon, he would be wise to wait for the off-season to address his need for a quality starting goalie and additional blueline depth…It’ll be interesting to see if the Sabres and/or Flyers swing deals with the Ducks, especially for any of Anaheim’s core players…Given how difficult it is to find a good scoring center, the Blackhawks might have little choice but to settle on another scoring winger.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch cited an NHL executive claiming the Ducks asking price for Ryan Getzlaf or Bobby Ryan would be huge, being two high end prospects and two first round picks…Many believe it’s time for Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash to waive his “no-movement” clause, as even with his big salary a team “would be willing to take a chance on Nash”…There’s been no contract talks between the Canadiens and Hal Gill, who could be moved at the trade deadline…The Tampa Bay Lightning badly need goaltending but there aren’t many options. The San Jose Sharks “are willing to discuss either Antti Niemi or Antero Niittymaki”, while Jonathan Bernier of the LA Kings could be another option…The NY Islanders will have to make a decision with pending UFA center Frans Nielsen, who’s currently making $550K and sources say is seeking in excess of $3 million per season…The Carolina Hurricanes are shopping all their UFAs, which include “C Tuomo Ruutu, LW Alexei Ponikarovsky, D Bryan Allen, D Jaroslav Spacek and D Tim Gleason”….The Blue Jackets are still trying to move center Antoine Vermette while the Edmonton Oilers are willing to send RW Ales Hemsky packing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The claim of two high end prospects and two first round picks for Getzlaf or Ryan runs counter to what Ducks GM Bob Murray said last week, when he claimed he wasn’t interested in acquiring draft picks as he’s not rebuilding…I daresay there are 29 NHL teams willing to “take a chance” on Rick Nash if he became available, but the Jackets aren’t shopping him and his agent claims Nash isn’t interested in leaving…The Sharks will shop Niittymaki, but not Niemi, who’s their starter and isn’t going anywhere…Bernier to my knowledge isn’t available, as the Kings want to retain him in case Jonathan Quick struggles or gets hurt….If the Isles don’t move Nielsen at the deadline, expect them to re-sign him…The Hurricanes will be one of the busiest teams in the trade market in the coming weeks…Not sure how much of a market there is for Vermette, but there will be interest in Hemsky, though the Oilers won’t get as much for him as they would’ve if they had dealt him a year ago.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson doubts the Ducks move Getzlaf but suggested Ryan could be the one moved, naming Philadelphia as a possible destination in a package involving James van Riemsdyk. Another could be Buffalo…The Detroit Red Wings could try to convince Brad Stuart, a UFA this summer, to re-sign…Matheson believes the Nashville Predators will move Ryan Suter at the trade deadline if they can’t get the pending UFA blueliner re-signed by then, suggesting Detroit would be interested…Carolina’s Tim Gleason or Bryan Allen could be an affordable fit on the Blackhawks defense…Teams like the Capitals, Penguins and Sharks could be in the hunt for Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu as a rental player…Matheson doesn’t believe the Lightning would have interest in bringing back Nikolai Khabibulin, but might instead prefer younger options like the Kings Jonathan Bernier, Minnesota’s Josh Harding or Vancouver’s Cory Schneider, though he’ll cost more…A source close to the Blackhawks dismissed the rumors of their club having interest in Edmonton’s Sam Gagner. Matheson suggests Frans Nielsen of the Islanders could be a better fit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Ryan could be the likely trade candidate for the Ducks if GM Bob Murray decides to move a core player, but I don’t see him going to Philadelphia, as their concern now is their defense. Buffalo would be a more likely destination, but I daresay not the only one…If the Wings want Stuart to re-sign I think they’ll get it done…As long as the Predators are in the playoff chase, they won’t shop Suter or Shea Weber…Gleason or Allen could end up with either the Blackhawks or Flyers…I still think Ruutu would be a good fit with the Red Wings…I don’t doubt the Lightning would prefer landing a young goalie, but they’ll have to wait until the summer to have a shot at those three…Nielsen is an interesting option for the Blackhawks, provided he’s available.