The latest on the Canucks, Flyers, Oilers, Penguins, Blues, Flames, Jets, and more.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ed Willes believes the best option for the Canucks this season is to retain Roberto Luongo, pointing out goaltending has been the club’s strength this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Willes acknowledged circumstances could change forcing the Canucks to shop Luongo this season, but feels for the short-term it’s best to keep him. I agree. Best to retain him for this season, then shop him in the off-season when there’s a better chance of landing the type of return they want.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson noted Ryan Whitney’s recent poor play made him a healthy scratch twice already, and wondered what the Oilers plans are for the struggling blueliner. He believes the Oilers will trade Whitney, given his UFA status this summer.
Matheson also listed Whitney among several players likely to be shopped this season. They include Mark Streit of the NY Islanders, Robyn Regehr of the Buffalo Sabres, Tim Connolly of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nik Antropov of the Winnipeg Jets, and Dustin Penner of the LA Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There probably is a market for Whitney, but given the decline of his mobility, it could be a limited one, and it could take time to generate interest. Streit could be moved, but never underestimate the Isles ability to re-sign key players. Regehr would likely accept a move to a playoff contender. Connolly is currently in the minors and could be had cheap near the deadline. The Jets won’t move Antropov if they’re in playoff contention by the deadline. As for Penner, his inconsistency makes him a tough sell.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun speculates if the Philadelphia Flyers make a trade between now and the April 3rd trade deadline, it’ll be for either a forward or an offensive defenseman. They won’t shop for a goaltender, as Ilya Bryzgalov has played well this season, earning the praise of GM Paul Holmgren.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about those “Luongo to Philadelphia” rumors from a month ago. Bryzgalov’s play has silenced that speculation.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon wonders if the Blues recent slump could propel GM Doug Armstrong, who has plenty of cap space, into the trade market for help. Gordon was in Toronto taking in the Flyers-Maple Leafs game last night. Gordon noted Jaroslav Halak’s nagging groin injury and Brian Elliott’s recent struggles, wondering if Armstrong would shop for another veteran goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues certainly seem to need a jolt, but if Armstrong’s looking around for a goalie, he won’t be contacting the Leafs and Flyers, who don’t have any veteran netminders they could spare.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis noted the Flames plucking goaltender Joey MacDonald off waivers from the Red Wings yesterday, wondering if GM Jay Feaster was merely adding more depth at that position, or perhaps the MacDonald acquisition was a sign of a bigger move to come.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miikka Kiprusoff is reportedly due back off IR soon, Leland Irving played well in his absence, and Danny Taylor was signed to an NHL contract last week after Kiprusoff got hurt. It’ll be interesting to see what Feaster has up his sleeve.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless believes defenseman Paul Postma is the Jets’ most likely candidate to be trade bait if management decides to shop for a forward with size and skill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Postma is a young, affordable asset who could generate interest around the league, though they might have to wait until later in the season for his trade value to increase.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports Bruins pending UFA defenseman Andrew Ference wants to stay in Boston, but he might have to accept a pay cut on a lesser deal to do so. Negotiations have yet to begin between he and Bruins management.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari suggests if Penguins management doesn’t believe prospect winger Beau Bennett is ready to contribute now, they should shop some of their assets (like their promising young defensemen) for a scoring winger.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports a few teams have interest in Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly, but it’s uncertain how his contract standoff with the Avs will end. Derick Brassard of the Columbus Blue Jackets has also been mentioned. The Jackets also have three first round picks this year (theirs, plus the Kings and Rangers) but they probably won’t move their own unless it’s for a “superstud”. Dustin Penner of the LA Kings could also be a player of interest.