Changes could be coming soon for the Philadelphia Flyers, plus the latest on the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi and Frank Seravalli report Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t yet ready to overhaul his roster, call up young players from the minors or pin blame for the club’s poor performance on head coach Craig Berube. However, the two pundits expect Hextall could being shaking up his roster if the club fails to make any significant improvement in the coming weeks.
Carchidi speculates some veterans, like Vincent Lecavalier, R.J Umberger and Braydon Coburn, could be shopped but acknowledged Hextall will have to find a way to get around the various no-trade clauses. While Lecavalier and Umberger have improved of late, Carchidi considers Coburn the easiest to move, as his contract expires at the end of next season.
Seravalli, meanwhile, noted Hextall claiming to have no interest in trading his young players. However, he wonders what will happen to those who’ve been given ample opportunity to perform but have yet to prove they can become players Hextall can build around, singling out Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Matt Read.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point I’d say the only untouchables are Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and perhaps Wayne Simmonds and Steve Mason. All other options have to be on the table if Hextall decides a significant rebuild is in order. That doesn’t mean he will trade guys like Schenn, Couturier and Read but he should be willing to gauge their trade value to see if there’s a return which can help the Flyers. While I expect him to try to move Lecavalier, Umberger and Coburn, I agree with Carchidi that Coburn is the only one with real trade value. If the Flyers are still mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings in a month’s time, expect Hextall to lay the groundwork for a roster overhaul.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports of speculation the Boston Bruins are trying hard to land Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette. He’s heard one team has inquired about Bruins left wing Milan Lucic but Friedman doesn’t think there’s a deal there. He also wouldn’t say Loui Eriksson was unavailable, having heard of a rumored swap of Eriksson to St. Louis for T.J. Oshie. Eriksson only has one year left on his contract and teams currently don’t want to add long-term deals.
Friedman also noted the respective GMs of the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild denied a rumored deal which would send Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth to Minnesota, though he believes it would be a good move for the Wild, depending upon the asking price. He also speculates there’s could be some behind-the-scenes issues going on regarding Thomas Vanek’s poor performance with the Wild thus far.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes don’t have to rush to deal away Vermette, as I suspect they’ll hang onto him as long as possible in hopes of driving up his trade value, which could prove too expensive for the Bruins. I don’t believe the Bruins want to trade Lucic but there has to be concern over his performance and if he’s worth an expensive long-term contract extension when his current $6 million per season deal expires in 2016. That question, however, will likely be pondered in the off-season. I don’t believe the Blues will part with Oshie for Eriksson. Given Oshie’s recent improvement I doubt they’ll consider trading him.
Enroth to the Wild would make sense for the Wild, but the Sabres will want an expensive return, probably a first-round pick and a top prospect. Sabres GM Tim Murray is setting ridiculously high asking prices for those players who have attracted interest from rival clubs. As for Vanek, whatever the reason behind his poor play, the Wild are stuck with him for at least the rest of this season, as his contract and inconsistent play makes him tough to move.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere lists Cory Schneider, Damon Severson, Adam Henrique, Jon Merrill and Andy Greene as five players the New Jersey Devils should not trade.