Updates on Antoine Vermette, Jiri Tlusty and John Moore, assessing the return the Oilers received in the David Perron trade and the latest on the Senators.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’s a “virtual lock” the Arizona Coyotes trade center Antoine Vermette. He’s also not so sure the Edmonton Oilers have a lot of interest in St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund and suggests they could use the first-round pick received from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the David Perron trade as a trade chip. He also claims the Oilers weren’t going to get Derrick Pouliot or Scott Harrington from the Penguins in the Perron trade. “They just weren’t.”…TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes the Carolina Hurricanes could trade winger Jiri Tlusty if unable to re-sign the pending UFA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie also believed the Penguins could have interest in Tlusty but that was before they acquired Perron. I’ve read some criticism by Oilers fans regarding the return for Perron, but Friedman is correct in his assessment that the winger wasn’t going to fetch a top-six center and they weren’t going to land one of the Pens top prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers use that first-round pick from the Penguins as a trade chip by the March deadline or leading up to the opening day of the 2015 NHL Draft…I expect Tlusty hits the trade block in the coming weeks.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren notes the Senators will have some tough decisions to make regarding their free agents this summer. Regarding most of their restricted free agents, they’ll have to decide if they’ll sign them to short-term bridge deals or contracts with longer term. The exception is Mike Hoffman, who holds arbitration rights this summer and is tied for the team lead in goals. UFA defenseman Marc Methot could become a trade candidate by the March deadline if the Senators are out of playoff contention by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Senators’ penny-pinching reputation, RFAs Mika Zibanejad, Alex Chiasson, Mark Stone and JG Pageau will probably receive two-year bridge deals. They’re all coming off entry-level contracts and carry little leverage. Hoffman could get himself a good raise over the $75oK he’s currently earning, but it won’t be ridiculously expensive. If the Sens offer up a two-year deal between $1.5 -$1.75 million annually it could keep Hoffman from arbitration. Unless Methot is willing to lower his asking price (he was rumored seeking $5 million annually), this could be his last season with the Senators. He’s missed most of this season to injury and that hurts his value.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates the New York Rangers could consider trading under-performing defenseman John Moore this summer rather than get hit with an arbitration award that will reach $1.75 million for next season.