The latest on the Flyers, Rangers, Sabres, Senators, Stars, Canadiens and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is willing to discuss anyone on his roster, while the struggling Rangers might be prepared to move as well, with defenseman Michael Del Zotto mentioned….It’s believed Steve Ott, Christian Ehrhoff, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta and Ryan Miller are among the Sabres who could be moved next…The Jets have been shopping for help at forward,but not enough teams are out of the race yet…Garrioch expects Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to re-sign with the Sharks…The Oilers are seeking a top end defenseman but there’s not many available and rival clubs would want the Oilers young players…With Rick DiPietro failing to impress with the Hurricanes farm team, they’re calling around for a goalie…Don’t expect Matt Moulson (a UFA next summer) to finish the season with the Sabres…The Canadiens may be willing to move David Desharnais but he has another four years at $3.5 million per on his contract.
Garrioch also reported Senators GM Bryan Murray has held talks with a couple of teams seeking an upgrade on defense. He could try to shore up the blueline if the Senators fail to improve over the next couple of games. Garrioch lists the Flyers Hal Gill, the Maple Leafs John-Michael Liles, the Canucks Yanick Weber, the Kings Alec Martinez and the Panthers Tom Gilbert among the list of available blueliners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the problem for teams seeking upgrades. Not much available talent this early in the season, and too many teams (24) have too little cap space to take on additional salary…The Sabres will have an easier time moving Ott, Miller and Moulson, who are slated for UFA status next summer…Wouldn’t surprise me if Thornton and Marleau re-up with the Sharks…If the Oilers aren’t willing to move one of their good young players, they can forget about landing a quality first-pairing defenseman. Even then, the asking price could be too high…A Canadiens blogger recently suggested Desharnais could be the latest version of Scott Gomez for the Habs.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons noted Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has his faults, but the club cannot afford to lose him to free agency next summer. He’s expecting a six-year deal worth $42 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos speculated seven years at $50 million. Simmons is one year shorter but is worth $7 million per season. Ultimately this comes down to Phaneuf’s willingness to remain a Leaf. If the team continues to improve, he could wish to remain a part of it and accept less than what he’d get on the open market, but I still believe it’ll come in around $7 million per.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports the Stars have too much money tied up in underperforming players, singling out Shawn Horcoff ($5.5 million), Sergei Gonchar ($5 million), Alex Goligoski ($4.6 million), Ray Whitney ($4.5 million) and Erik Cole ($4.5 million). The Stars currently have around $3.4 million in cap space, leaving Stars fans wondering if there’s enough to fix the club’s problem areas, such as their defense. GM Jim Nill, however, isn’t concerned, preaching patience with his younger players, while believing he has sufficient cap space to make a major trade by mid-season if an opportunity arises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering what little is available in the trade market right now, patience is pretty much the watchword. Heika raises a good point about the amount the Stars have tied up in players who aren’t performing well, but there’s little that can be done about that now.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders why a team in such dire need of goaltending help as the Edmonton Oilers won’t sign UFA Ilya Bryzgalov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the concern about Bryzgalov’s reputation as a flake, but the Oilers season is already slipping away and they need help between the pipes and on the blueline. It won’t cost much to take a chance on Bryzgalov. It’s not like he can make a bad situation worse, Oilers fans. Your club is not just at rock bottom right now, it’s burrowing into the crust.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently speculated off-season rumors linking the Colorado Avalanche to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller could resurface if Avs start Semyon Varlamov is sentenced to jail on domestic violance charges. Vogl also noted the Washington Capitals are desperate for blueline help, while the Sabres have eight defensemen.