More speculation linking the Maple Leafs and Oilers…Zach Parise on how he’ll handle questions about his future…Capitals placed Tom Poti on LTIR…Chris Kunitz hopes to stick long-term with the Penguins.

Turning over a new Leaf?

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox “tweeted” yesterday of “persistent chatter” the Maple Leafs had interest in Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, with a defenseman going the other way.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins outplays Gagner, perhaps that would make him expendable, otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense for the Oilers to part with their experienced second-line center. GM Steve Tambellini recently claimed he’d had some trade discussions but couldn’t find a deal to suit his needs, claiming he’s got enough depth defensemen, and that it was difficult to land a top-pairing blueliner. He didn’t specify which players were discussed or which teams he spoke to. Doesn’t mean the Oilers won’t make a move later in the season, and perhaps it might involve Gagner, but it appears for now the Oilers will start the season with their current defense corps and see how things transpire.

NEW YORK TIMES: Christopher Botta recently interviewed New Jersey Devils new captain Zach Parise, who told him his standard answer for contract status inquiries from the media in hockey-mad cities like Toronto and Montreal will be  “I’m not worried about it, I’d like to stay and I’m sure something will get worked out, but my focus is on our team and this season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, “Stop bugging me with the same old, tired questions about my contract status, because it’s none of your friggin’ business”.

WASHINGTON TIMES: Stephen Whyno recently reported the Capitals had placed defenseman Tom Poti on LTIR, which makes the club salary cap compliant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, we can officially ignore all those silly trade rumors claiming the Capitals would trade Alexander Semin or Mike Green to get under the cap ceiling. 

PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Josh Yohe reports winger Chris Kunitz hopes to remain with the club beyond this season. Kunitz is eligible for UFA status next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kunitz is earning a cap hit of $3.725 million this season, so I daresay he’ll have to accept around the same amount to stick with the Pens, who have 16 players under contract for next season for a total of $50.916 million.