The latest on Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Nazem Kadri, David Legwand, Kris Letang and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports of increased speculation the Sabres could move Ryan Miller by the March trade deadline, perhaps even by the Olympic roster freeze (3 pm et on February 7). Trade options, however, could be limited. Miller’s been linked to the Blues but GM Doug Armstrong “has emphatically backed Jaroslav Halak”. Garrioch suggests the Wild as an option, as Josh Harding is battling MS symptoms…Garrioch wonders if Capitals GM George McPhee could lose his job if the club misses the playoffs…The Coyotes are getting calls about pending UFA Radim Vrbata. A decision won’t be made until they get a clearer idea if he’ll re-sign as well as their position in the standings by the Olympic break…Garrioch claims he’s hearing the Canadiens are floating Brian Gionta’s name in the rumor market…The Flames have held talks with Mike Cammalleri to see if he’ll re-sign. He’s a UFA this summer and could fetch a good return by the trade deadline…Islanders GM Garth Snow has so far dismissed offers for Thomas Vanek, but Garrioch believes Vanek will be moved at the trade deadline if he doesn’t re-sign by then…Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane are the three trade targets on the Jets, who could move one of them by the deadline…Several teams, including the Coyotes, Kings and Canucks, have expressed interest in Ray Whitney. Vernon Fiddler could also be moved…Garrioch believes Dan Girardi is the next Ranger to move as he’s not close to re-signing…Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri remains on the trade market “because of the emergence of Peter Holland”…Garrioch also reports the Hurricanes aren’t actively shopping Cam Ward but with Anton Khudobin playing well they’re listening to offers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller to the Wild? Stranger things have happened but he’d only be a playoff rental, and I’m not sure the Wild would be willing to part with the Sabres asking price for him. I agree that trade options for Miller are limited…Not sure if McPhee is in danger of losing his job, but perhaps he’s not as secure as he once was…If the Coyotes are still in the playoff chase they won’t trade Vrbata, who they’d like to re-sign and who wants to stay…Don’t see much of a market for Gionta. Besides, I don’t think the Habs make that move unless they’ve fallen well out of playoff contention…I don’t see Cammalleri staying with the Flames…Vanek could be available at the trade deadline if the Isles fail to gain ground in the standings by then…Of those three Jets, Byfuglien’s the more likely trade candidate, but the earliest that could happen is this summer, when teams have more cap space and willingness to deal…Whitney will certainly attract interest as a rental player if the Stars decide to move him. Fiddler, too…As I’ve said for weeks, the Rangers won’t trade Girardi while they’re in the thick of the playoff race….No offense to Peter Holland, but his “emergence” doesn’t warrant moving Kadri right now…The Hurricanes won’t trade Ward this season, and if they agree to shop him this summer they’ll want a solid return.
ESPN.COM: Replying to readers’ questions, Craig Custance writes he believes Predators center David Legwand (a pending UFA) has trade value and there is interest in him. Legwand carries a no-trade clause in his contract. Custance thinks the Ducks, loaded with prospects, could make a pitch for him. The Red Wings and Blackhawks could also have interest…The Capitals could pursue a top-four defenseman, perhaps Dallas’ Trevor Daley, by the trade deadline. Custance doesn’t believe they need to make an extreme move like trading Mike Green.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Predators decide to move Legwand the Blackhawks and Red Wings will certainly push hard to get him…I also expect the Capitals to be busy near the trade deadline to bolster their defense. And no, they won’t trade Mike Green.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the Penguins limited cap space means they’ll have to ship out some salary if they hope to acquire veteran talent by the trade deadline. Given their depth in defense, Shinzawa suggests “the wow trade” would be moving Kris Letang, but his expensive contract could prove difficult to move…Of the three defensemen believed on the Bruins trade wish list (Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, Ottawa’s Chris Phillips and Buffalo’s Henrik Tallinder), MacDonald plays the toughest competition. That and his age (27) means he’ll be more expensive to acquire than the other two…Shinzawa believes the quiet trade market (due to many teams with limited cap space) could work in the Sabres favor if they decide to move either Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson or Steve Ott, as they could add another first round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Penguins trade Letang. If they were to make that move (emphasis on “if”), it would be this summer, for the same reasons I noted about the Jets and Dustin Byfuglien (increased cap space resulting in increased willingness to deal)…I could see the Bruins pursuing MacDonald or Tallinder, but they won’t get Phillips. The Sens aren’t moving him. As for the Sabres, see below…
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports new Sabres GM Tim Murray says he won’t trade Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson or Steve Ott unless he can get significant returns for them. Murray said he’s not feeling any urgency to make moves before the Olympic roster freeze.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is willing to listen to offers, but he’s also letting rival GMs know that just because there’s not much movement in the trade market he won’t just take any offer for them. I do believe he’ll move Miller and perhaps Moulson for the best offer he can get. He will wait until the trade deadline, hoping the limited period between the end of the Olympic break and the deadline will result in better offers from nervous rivals. As for Ott, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sabres kept him and re-signed him, but we’ll see.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes Raphael Diaz, a UFA this summer, could be playing his final season with the Canadiens. If he isn’t trade before July 1, Hickey believes he’ll test the free agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens keep struggling and fall out of playoff contention, Diaz could be shopped by the deadline.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports Penguins GM Ray Shero sounds reluctant to move defenseman Simon Despres, a frequent target of trade speculation.