Latest on Evander Kane, Jonathan Bernier and the Canadiens.
More Evander Kane speculation.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie explains why the Winnipeg Jets must trade Evander Kane (basically, they cannot go back to the status quo after last week’s incident) and why Kane, despite being sidelined by season-ending shoulder surgery, could still be dealt by the March trade deadline. While McKenzie claims some playoff-bound teams have dropped out of pursuing Kane because of his surgery, some teams (Vancouver, Calgary and – to a lesser extent – Washington) could still have interest. The Jets are expected to seek a high asking price. For example, they would want one of Vancouver’s good young players (like Bo Horvat or Jake Virtanen) as part of the deal. While it would be better for the Jets to wait until the summer when there will be more trade options, McKenzie notes the Jets are under some pressure to make the playoffs, meaning they could get tempted by offers to help them now.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough wonders how much a flawed asset like Evander Kane is worth in the trade market. He cites the Winnipeg Free Press claiming “standard asking price” for “a very good young player with a friendly contract” like Kane is a “young NHL player, a grade-A prospect and a first-round draft pick.” While Kane seems difficult to move, Brough notes the same thing was said a few years ago about Jeff Carter.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted one team believes the Jets “intel” on Kane is untrustworthy regarding the good things about him they’re going to tell you. Friedman also claimed the Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames could be among those with interest in Kane.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt teams are intrigued, and the Jets could indeed feel pressure to move out Kane for a return which helps them right away, but I think Jets management are also looking long term here. If they get a return which helps them this season and beyond before the deadline, they’ll consider it. Otherwise, they’ll wait until the summer.
Could the Leafs trade Jonathan Bernier?
SPORTSNET: Jeff Blair reports there’s speculation Toronto Maple Leafs starter Jonathan Bernier could be shopped at the trade deadline. Blair said that doesn’t mean backup James Reimer is better, but rather “it’s hard to hitch your wagon to either of these goalies.” While goaltending is the Leafs’ “fourth or fifth pressing need, it’s an issue nevertheless, and one which no one in the front office saw coming.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Among the last players the Leafs should trade is Bernier. He and Reimer have had to bail out one of the worst defensive teams in the league night after night. The Leafs should be improving their defense, not blowing up the goaltending.
Canadiens to swing a significant deadline deal?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports there’s been trade buzz surrounding the Montreal Canadiens for some time. Dreger claims GM Marc Bergevin wants a top-six forward plus he’s had talks about a defensive swap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk the Habs are among those interested in Arizona’s Antoine Vermette. Bergevin has a willingness to pursue rental players and could go that route again.