The latest on the Coyotes, Avalanche, Maple Leafs and Senators, predicting players from Canadian NHL teams who could be dealt and more.
TSN: Bob McKenzie claims Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette is the hottest commodity on the NHL trade market, with Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Montreal, New York Rangers, Ottawa and St. Louis have expressed varying degrees of interest. The Coyotes could get a first-round pick and a prospect or a good young player. Teams seeking him as a rental, like the Rangers, could bow out if the asking price grows too steep, while some of the team McKenzie mentioned could try to re-sign him… Darren Dreger claims the Winnipeg Jets are among teams which could have interest in Toronto Maple Leafs winger Daniel Winnik…McKenzie believes the Colorado Avalanche will trade Ryan O’Reilly, though that move could happen in the offseason. With the injury to Erik Johnson the Avs are definitely in the market for a blueliner. …Dreger claims there’s talk the Avs could be close to moving O’Reilly, while others suggest they could wait until the summer to move him…McKenzie believes the Maple Leafs will try to move Joffrey Lupul, but his injury history could hamper those efforts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vermette’s the hot commodity because the Coyotes are among the few teams considers sellers right now. That’s not disparaging Vermette’s value, but despite all the names of stars being bandied about of late as possible trade candidates, few are actually available…I can see the Jets pushing hard to land Winnik, but they won’t overpay to get him…I don’t discount the possibility of the Avs trading O’Reilly before the deadline if they get the right offer, but I agree with McKenzie they’ll probably wait until the summer…Why would any team want to acquire an expensive, injury-plagued winger like Lupul? And don’t say it’s to help teams reach the cap floor. Most of those teams currently under what could be a $52 million cap floor for next season aren’t that far beneath it, and can reach it simply by re-signing their key free agents. There will be far better options than Lupul available via free agency or trade this summer.
THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla believes the Avalanche shouldn’t just limit themselves to Ryan O’Reilly if they wish to address their defensive needs, suggesting they should also consider Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog or Nathan MacKinnon. While not advocating for any of those players to be dealt, Kiszla believes the Avs should put all options on the table.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ultimately it’s contract that will determine who moves. O’Reilly has a contentious negotiation history with the Avs. He’s earning $6 million per season and becomes a UFA in July 2016. It will cost over $7 million per season to keep him. I just don’t see the Avs going that route. That’s why I believe O’Reilly is a goner by no later than this summer via trade.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun believes pending Coyotes UFAs like Antoine Vermette, Martin Erat, Zbynek Michalek and David Moss are available. GM Don Maloney admits he’s had inquiries about blueliner Keith Yandle, who’s eligible for UFA status in July 2016, but said he’s not actually shopping Yandle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But if Maloney gets a great offer for Yandle, I believe he’s a goner.
CBC.CA: Doug Harrison lists one player from each Canadian NHL team who could be dealt at the March trade deadline. Calgary’s Curtis Glencross, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry, Montreal’s Lars Eller, Ottawa’s Marc Methot, Toronto’s Cody Franson, Vancouver’s Zack Kassian and Winnipeg’s Adam Pardy are his likely candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise most of those on this list are pending UFAs. I know Habs fans prefer retaining Eller, but he’s bounced around the lineup quite a bit under Therrien. If the Habs decide to pursue a big fish via trade, Eller could be part of the deal. Kassian’s done nothing to convince me he’ll become an effective power forward.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan reports Senators center David Legwand is puzzled by the recent decline in his playing time, which included being a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game against Dallas. Given the possibility he could miss more games, Legwand said it’s too early to tell if he’ll request a trade by the March trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For whatever reason Legwand doesn’t suit coach Dave Cameron’s system. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s on the move by the trade deadline again.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray is open to trading his two later first-round picks in this year’s NHL draft…Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning will see what the market bears for goalie Jacob Markstrom.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting comment from Benning, coming only days after ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Canucks had taken Markstrom off the market. Sounds like Benning isn’t actively shopping the netminder but isn’t fully closing the door on that possibility.