The latest on Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Miller, Dion Phaneuf, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Niskanen, Dany Heatley and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch wonders where all the bold move are which were promised by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, suggesting if recently-signed Ilya Bryzgalov plays weel this season he’ll be trade bait at the March 5 deadline…The Rangers had “sniffed around” to gauge interest in winger Chris Kreider but with seven points in 8 games since his call-up he’s not going anywhere…There will be lots of interest in NY Islanders defenseman (and pending UFA) Andrew MacDonald but if the Isles remain in playoff contention at the trade deadline he won’t be moved…Garrioch wonders if Blues goalie Brian Elliott and his $1.8 million salary can be had for nothing…He notes “Nine teams are already spending into their long-term injury allowance and another 10 are less than $1 million below the cap. The only deals that can take place are dollar-for-dollar”…Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has been “sniffing around” for a forward, a search which could intensify by the March trade deadline…The Wild have tried to shop fading winger Dany Heatley but can find no takers for his $7.5 million cap hit. Heatley will be a UFA next summer…The Stars are shopping center Vernon Fiddler. Garrioch claims the Leafs had interest but decided they couldn’t absorb his $1.8 million salary…Garrioch expects the Penguins to shop defenseman Matt Niskanen as there likely isn’t room to keep him and he could fetch a good return at the deadline…Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards is on the hot seat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacTavish could make a bold move right now if he was willing to part with one of his young forwards, but he doesn’t want to do that. So, you get trades like shipping Ladislav Smid and a goalie prospect to Calgary for a checking forward and a goalie prospect…Kreider’s thriving so far playing for coach Alain Vigneault…Even if the Isles are out of playoff contention they could try to retain MacDonald, as they prefer to keep players who came up through their system…If Elliott can be had for nothing, the surest way to find out is put him on waivers…This could be Heatley’s final season in the NHL, as his performance has really declined in recent years…Fiddler could probably be moved near the trade deadline when playoff contenders are trying to shore up their depth…Niskanen’s been the subject of trade speculation for months, but after playing well filling in for the injured Kris Letang, I think the Pens will keep him for the remainder of the season and take their chances trying to re-sign him in the off-season.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently opened his mailbag to respond to reader’s questions. Regarding the Ducks surplus goalie situation, he expects GM Bob Murray to be patient and see what transpires near the trade deadline…He admits the Capitals could use a top-four defenseman but doesn’t expect any to be available until near the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vanek-Moulson and Downie-Talbot trades generated some excitement among those who follow trade rumors, but the reality is those moves are rare early in the season and were due to unique circumstances. There’s plenty of interest in the Ducks surplus goalies but Murray has no reason to shop any of them right now. The Capitals will have to wait until January at the earliest before a decent top-four d-man could be available.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen recently listed next summer’s top ten NHL UFAs and which could re-sign or move on. The list includes Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Matt Moulson, the Islanders’ Thomas Vanek, Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan Callahan, and Colorado’s Paul Stastny.
COURIER-POST: Dave Isaacs reports Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds shrugged off recent trade rumors which have him headed to the Edmonton Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s interesting to see Simmonds name pop up in the rumor mill, as he seems the prototypical Flyers forward. Big, strong, physical with a decent scoring touch. You’d think he’d be a player management prefers to keep. Rumor has it, however, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is willing to listen to offers for everyone on his struggling club except Claude Giroux and Steve Mason. If so, expect lots of interest in Simmonds.