Are the Capitals preparing to make a trade? Will the Oilers trade their first round pick? Should they pursue Dustin Byfuglien? Are the Blackhawks in the market for a center?

Does Philipp Grubauer's demotion take Michal Neuvrith (pictured) off the trade market?

Does Philipp Grubauer’s demotion take Michal Neuvrith (pictured) off the trade market?

WASHINGTON POST: Chelsea Janes reports Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth’s wouldn’t say if the recent demotion of goalie Philipp Grubauer will affect his trade request.  “I don’t think about it,” Neuvirth said. “My job is to play for the Washington Capitals. I’m focusing on playing for this team and I don’t worry about anything else.” The Capitals also placed defenseman Steve Oleksy on waivers.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Prior to the Capitals recent moves, Chuck Gormley asked if it was time for GM George McPhee to make a trade, citing the club’s recent struggles, including defensive mistakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McPhee would probably love to swing a deal to bolster his blueline depth, but the current stagnation in the trade market (due to the lowered salary cap) is making it difficult to find willing trade partners. It also speaks to the market value of Neuvirth and Martin Erat, who also requested a trade. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Responding to reader e-mail, Jim Matheson says the Oilers won’t trade their first round pick in this year’s draft, mainly because it could once again be first overall. He believes the asking price for Jets forward/d-man Dustin Byfuglien would be more than Sam Gagner, believing the Jets would want one of the Oilers’ young core players. He also dismissed the notion of the New Jersey Devils parting with Cory Schneider and Adam Henrique for Oilers winger Nail Yakupov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season the Oilers were willing to move their first round pick. Not now…Byfuglien won’t help the Oilers. If the Jets shop him, it’ll likely be in the off-season when his contract is easier to move…Yakupov for Schneider and Henrique? Welcome to Fantasy Island.

CSNCHICAGO: Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Lazerus believes the Blackhawks are in the market for a center and could deal for one following the Olympic break. If they have to shop a roster player, they could draw on their blueline depth, as they’re carrying eight defensemen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the ‘Hawks seek a true second line center. Ruling out moving Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Michal Roszival (who has a no-trade clause), that leaves Nick Leddy, Sheldon Brookbank and Mike Kostka as possible trade options. Of these, Leddy would have the best value, though he might have to be packaged with a draft pick or prospect. Any thoughts, Blackhawks fans?