The latest on Phil Kessel, Cam Ward and Robin Lehner, plus updates on the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Blue Jackets, Canucks and Blackhawks. 

Could Phil Kessel end up with the Predators?

Could Phil Kessel end up with the Predators?

SPORTSNET: Scott Lewis lists the Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues as possible trade destinations for Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel.

NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos lists Tyler Bozak, Jake Gardiner, Joffrey Lupul, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik and James Reimer as six Leafs who could be dealt after the All-Star break and before the March trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, Predators GM David Poile thinks highly of Kessel, and yes, the Predators could use more scoring depth beyond their first line. But Poile’s got big money tied up in Shea Weber, plus Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones will one day cost a fortune to re-sign, so I don’t see Kessel as a fit on the cost-conscious Predators. The Blues and Islanders are among the highest-scoring teams in the league so I don’t see either club as a good fit for Kessel. The Blues also lack cap space to take on Kessel’s salary. The Coyotes and Blue Jackets are more intriguing but Kessel has a modified no-trade clause and those clubs could be on his “no-trade” list. Traikos list of possible trade candidates is sensible, though I don’t believe the Leafs can find a market for the expensive, injury-plagued Lupul and I doubt they trade Bozak until they’ve found a suitable upgrade at center. 

NBC SPORTS: Dhiren Mahiban reports Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward isn’t paying attention to the trade rumors dogging him this season. Ward said he’s not even thinking about waiving his no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t mean Hurricanes management won’t ask Ward to waive his clause, but I think at this point it’s unlikely there will be suitable interest in him. I expect Ward will return with the Hurricanes next season. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin suggests the injury-ravaged Columbus Blue Jackets should start trading for the future. He recommends shopping Artem Anisimov, Mark Letestu, Jordan Leopold, Cam Atkinson and perhaps Scott Hartnell, though Larkin considers the last to be a long shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Larkin notes, the Blues Jackets future is bright despite the setbacks this season. As they have little chance of making the playoffs, management could consider some tweaks now to get a head start on bolstering the lineup for next season 

EDMONTON SUN: Derek Van Diest lists Jeff Petry, Matt Hendricks, Boyd Gordon, Andrew Ference and Viktor Fasth as possible Oilers trade candidates in a poll for his readers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a helluva lotta value to choose from there. 

ESPN.COM: Scott Powers reports Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is unlikely to be busy at this year’s trade deadline.

THE VANCOUVER SUN’s Iain MacIntyre reports via Twitter the Canucks aren’t going to acquire a short-term replacement for the injured Kevin Bieksa

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s some trade chatter about Senators backup Robin Lehner but the organization isn’t ready to move the 23-year-old netminder.