Latest on Phil Kessel, James Wisniewski, Curtis Glencross, Paul Martin and more.

Kessel to the Sharks?

Could the Sharks have interest in Phil Kessel?

Could the Sharks have interest in Phil Kessel?

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz responded to a reader’s e-mail asking about the possibility of the San Jose Sharks acquiring winger Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kurz notes the Sharks are among the few teams who can absorb Kessel’s $8 million per season salary, plus he had good chemistry with Joe Pavelski on Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The return, however, could be expensive. ” The Sharks would likely have to surrender a player like Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto, Mirco Mueller, and/or Nikolay Goldobin along with multiple draft picks if they were to make a run at Kessel,” writes Kurz, who nevertheless feels the Leafs winger might be worth it…In other Sharks rumors, Kurz suggests Antti Niemi could be a fit with “perhaps Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh or the Islanders?” He’s also heard Scott Hannan linked to the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind we don’t know if the Sharks are actually interested in Kessel. If they are, such a move likely won’t happen until the offseason. The Leafs will certainly seek a return of young players and draft picks for Kessel…The Lightning and Penguins won’t pursue Niemi as they’re content with their goaltending tandems. The Islanders could use a skilled backup for Jaroslav Halak but I doubt they’ll go after a starter like Niemi. 

Update on James Wisniewski.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets management has requested a list of ten teams from defenseman James Wisniewski he will not accept being dealt to back on Feb. 17. Wisniewski has provided the list, but said he loves being a Blue Jacket and hasn’t sought a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wisniewski’s situation will be interesting to watch leading up to the trade deadline. He’s got two more years left on his contract at $5.5 million annually. While that’s a tad pricey, it’s only for a couple of years, which could make him valuable for clubs more than a playoff rental but not a player with too much contract term.

Latest rumblings from Pierre LeBrun.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the trade market hasn’t been established yet for an NHL rental player at this year’s trade deadline.  He wonders if it’ll cost a first-rounder and a prospect to land Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, or just a second rounder…New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello remains tightlipped over his trade deadline plans. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky has a full no-trade clause but as of yet management hasn’t contacted him about a trade…Dallas Stars winger Erik Cole may be joining Buffalo’s Chris Stewart and Columbus’ Cam Atkinson as possible trade targets for the Boston Bruins. The Blue Jackets seem reluctant to part with Atkinson…The New York Rangers are keeping an eye on Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Lamoriello will wait until deadline day before pulling the trigger on any deals…If the Blue Jackets trade Wisniewski it will free up cap space to re-sign Atkinson, which would explain in part why the Jackets aren’t rushing to move him.

Updates on Curtis Glencross and Paul Martin.

SPORTSNET: Scott Lewis cited Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis considers Flames left winger Curtis Glencross is guaranteed to be dealt by the trade deadline. “The usual suspects are Boston, Pittsburgh, the teams that rent a winger every single year,” Francis said. “His wish list did include Chicago, Anaheim, L.A., and Tampa Bay.”

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jason Mackey reports the Pittsburgh Penguins intend to retain defenseman Paul Martin for the playoffs. Martin is an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning the Penguins risk losing him for nothing to free agency in July.