Updates on Ryan Kesler, Alexander Edler, Eric Staal, Brad Richards, Craig Anderson, John Tavares and more.
VANCOUVER SUN: Iain MacIntyre reports Canucks center Ryan Kesler maintains his wish to remain with the team, insisting he never asked for a trade. MacIntyre believes the Canucks must trade Kesler, believing he’ll net “a younger NHL centre still getting better, a blue-chip prospect and possibly a draft pick.” If he balks, MacIntyre says it should be pointed out to Kesler the Canucks are rebuilding and he’d have better chances winning a Stanley Cup elsewhere. He also suggests trying to shop winger Jannik Hansen, but his poor performance hurts his trade value. MacIntyre expects the Canucks will use their final compliance buyout on David Booth.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports there was considerable interest from Anaheim and Detroit in Canucks defenseman Alex Edler at last year’s draft before his new contract (with a no-trade clause) kicked in. If there’s a chance to trade him, Kuzma suggests the Canucks consider it, as they’ll shed considerable salary, they could get a blueline prospect as part of the return, and their top four defense would still be Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison and Chris Tanev.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Canucks must move Kesler and (if possible) Edler for the best return they can get. It’s time to rebuild, not engage in half-measure or roster tweaks. It remains to be seen what new team president Trevor Linden and whoever he hires as GM decides to do.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports trading Eric Staal and Cam Ward, once believed unthinkable, could be part of the conversation if management decides major changes are needed. Luke DeCock admits the Hurricanes could get a good return for Staal, but believes he and the team have come too far to part ways now. Still, he feels Staal must improve his conditioning and play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Hurricanes trying to trade Ward, though his injury history and no-trade clause makes him tough to move. I don’t believe they deal Staal unless they get a significant offer. Staal remains the franchise player, but he’s frustrated over the club’s lack of improvement and depth. The Hurricanes must rebuild around him.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it’s possible Rangers center Brad Richards could receive a compliance buyout in June, but for now Richards isn’t concerned about his contract.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard recently reported the Rangers are likely to re-sign forward Benoit Pouliot, who’s turned into an effective top-six winger with the club this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see how the Rangers can continue to carry an expensive contract for a depreciating asset like Richards for another six years. Buying him out after this year becomes an expensive exercise.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes the Senators should try to move starting goalie Craig Anderson this summer and hand the starter’s role to Robin Lehner. He also thinks captain Jason Spezza will be traded this summer. If they keep Spezza, he recommends re-signing pending UFA Ales Hemsky. let Milan Michalek go and pursue pending UFA winger Jaromir Jagr. Brennan also doubts tough guy Matt Kassian will be back, suggesting they pursue instead a gritty forward who can contribute more than muscle. Failing that, they should add a better enforcer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could shape up to be another interesting summer for the Senators. If they re-sign Spezza, who has one year remaining on his contract, I believe they’ll retain Hemsky. If Spezza gets dealt, Hemsky won’t be back. They should get a decent return for Spezza. I agree with Brennan that now is the best time to move Anderson. I think Lehner’s play will improve if he knows he’s the unquestioned starter.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports NY Islanders superstar John Tavares has no intention of seeking a trade, notes the Isles lack a “top-line left wing, a veteran defenseman, a No. 1 goaltender” in his assessment of the roster and reports there’s indication the Isles will retain their first overall pick for this season rather than send it to Buffalo to complete the Thomas Vanek trade. They could use that pick for themselves or trade it for a more NHL-ready player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Worry about Tavares’ future when he enters the final season of his contract (2017-18) and the Isles are still mired in mediocrity. Topping their priority list is getting a true starting goaltender.