The latest on Phil Kessel, Ryan O’Reilly, Eric Staal, Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Jeff Petry, Tyler Myers and more.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Justin Williams’ agent said contract talks with the LA Kings have been shelved for the remainder of the season… Bob McKenzie reports the Kings are looking at Senators defenseman Marc Methot and Hurricanes blueliner Andrej Sekera as possible replacement for the suspended Slava Voynov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are going to have a tough time re-signing Williams when they’ve also got to re-sign Tyler Tofolli, Tanner Pearson and other potential free agents…Methot or Sekera would be rental players only for the Kings as they lack the cap space to re-sign either player.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Bob McKenzie cautions against using Nashville Predators GM David Poile’s recent defense of Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel as an indication he wants to acquire the winger. Darren Dreger doesn’t see a “Kessel-to-Nashville” scenario developing and remains skeptical regarding trade rumors about the Leafs winger…Pierre LeBrun believes Poile could try to add a top-six forward near the trade deadline…Dreger considers it unlikely defenseman Jeff Petry re-signs with the Oilers and sees the Red Wings and Ducks as possible suitors…McKenzie believes Canucks GM Jim Benning is a buyer who is taking the long-term view…Pierre LeBrun doesn’t get the sense anything’s imminent involving Kings’ center Mike Richards. He also considers the Jets aren’t as desperate in seeking a forward because of Evander Kane’s recent return from injury…LeBrun also notes the Avalanche aren’t feeling any pressure to move center Ryan O’Reilly, who has another season left on his contract…He believes the Rangers could try adding third- or fourth-line depth by the trade deadline…Blues GM Doug Armstrong claims that, barring injury, there’s no impetus for him to make a trade by the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, Phil Kessel isn’t being dealt to the Predators. Just because Poile stuck up for Kessel doesn’t mean he’s angling for a trade…Petry’s a goner by the trade deadline. There’s not enough money to keep him with the sad-sack Oilers…If the Avs decide to move O’Reilly, it’ll be in the offseason when there are more teams with available cap space willing to make deals in late-June and early-July…Armstrong, like any NHL GM, isn’t going to tip his hand as to his plans at the trade deadline. If a deal comes up which can help his team, Armstrong will be all over it.
ESPN.COM: Pierre Lebrun reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is remaining patient over his trade deadline strategy. LeBrun believes adding offensive speed and skill could be Tallon’s priority…The St. Louis Blues will stick with three goalies (Brian Elliott, Jake Allen and Martin Brodeur) for now, but LeBrun suspects they could make a decision on Brodeur later in the month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Tallon will keep a close watch on the trade market leading up to the deadline. If his Panthers remain in playoff contention he’ll try to make a deal to help them clinch a berth, perhaps drawing from his depth in blueline prospects…Brodeur is the obvious choice to be traded, but it’s finding the right fit for him that could prove difficult. The Wild desperately need a goalie but I suspect they’re seeking someone with less mileage on their skates than Brodeur.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports re-signing center Anze Kopitar, who has a year remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $6.8 million, is a priority for the LA Kings…Mike Richards performance over the next few weeks could determine his future. Despite his contract, Richards has averaged 0.53 points per game in the regular season and 0.61 points per game in the playoffs since joining the Kings…The Kings could target Hurricanes blueliner Andrej Sekera…Word is Hurricanes’ captain Eric Staal hasn’t changed his mind against waiving his no-trade clause…Friedman wonders if the Canucks could become a player in the goalie market, as Eddie Lack is a UFA next summer and Jacob Markstrom is a RFA who won’t clear waivers again…Sources dismiss the notion of the Wild having interest in Carolina’s Cam Ward…There’s doubt the Penguins will trade UFA blueliner Paul Martin…A Ryan O’Reilly for Keith Yandle trade would make a lot of sense for the Avalanche and Coyotes…
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space will be an issue for the Kings in re-signing Kopitar, who could pull in $10 million per season. That’s why I was surprised they didn’t use a compliance buy out on Mike Richards when they had the chance. Speaking of Richards, those average stats look impressive, but they’ve been on the decline in recent years, especially since last season. Factor in his contract, with five more years at an average cap hit of $5.75 million, and it’s buyer beware…Staal won’t waive his no-trade clause, preferring to see what direction the Hurricanes take in the offseason…Ward is another buyer beware option. He has another season at $6.3 million left on his contract, he’s got an injury history and has been inconsistent in recent years…The Penguins will probably retain Martin as they’re intending to push for the Stanley Cup this season…An O’Reilly for Yandle swap does make sense, but we don’t know what the Coyotes intentions will be under new majority owner Andrew Barroway.
NBC SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray claims he’s never made a call to one of his rivals offering up defenseman Tyler Myers. There’s speculation since the start of the season Anaheim and Detroit made inquiries about Myers. Murray said it would take “a major, major offer” to convince him to part with Myers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Murray isn’t interested unless you’re willing to offer up at least a good young player, a first-round pick and a top prospect.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports Devils GM Lou Lamoriello could soon reach the point where he decides which players to move leading up to the March trade deadline. The Devils are currently 12 points out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.