The latest on the Maple Leafs, Predators, Wild, Senators, and Canucks, plus updates on Antti Niemi, Jeff Petry and more. 

The latest “rumblings” from ESPN.

Could the Sharks move Antti Niemi at the trade deadline?

Could the Sharks move Antti Niemi at the trade deadline?

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports odds are the Toronto Maple Leafs will move defenseman Cody Franson at the trade deadline barring a change of heart over their recent contract offer,  believed to be three years and between $4.4-$4.5 million annually. Franson will likely earn considerably more via free agency this summer. LeBrun doubts the Leafs will bend and claims Detroit, Los Angeles and Nashville could be interested in Franson…The Edmonton Oilers are making pending UFA blueliner Jeff Petry available at the deadline…Time is running out for the Ottawa Senators to reach a deal with pending UFA rearguard Marc Methot before the trade deadline. Senators veterans Chris Neil and Chris Phillips haven’t expressed a desire to move but Sens management could revisit this near the deadline. It’s believed the Sens are willing to move center David Legwand…LeBrun cites a league executive suggesting the Nashville Predators could make a move at the deadline. They’re among the top teams in the league and could be in a “go-for-it” mindset this season…The Minnesota Wild could shop for an affordable depth defenseman…There hasn’t been any contract talks between the San Jose Sharks and pending UFA goalie Antti Niemi. LeBrun believes they’ll continue to entertain offers for their free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs won’t budge, Franson’s a goner. He’ll make more, and with a better team, as a free agent…No surprise Petry’s available. The Oilers shouldn’t have much difficulty moving him…I think Methot will be dealt. The Sens’ playoff hopes are fading fast. If Neil or Phillips don’t want to be moved there’s not much management can do, especially if the teams interested in the pair are on their “no-trade” list. Both have limited no-trade clauses which hampers where they can be dealt. Legwand’s definitely a goner, as he’s seen his playing time cut under coach Dave Cameron…The Predators could indeed make a move for an affordable rental scorer…Ditto the Wild for a defenseman…Niemi has seen the bulk of the starts this season. Backup Alex Stalock’s only appeared in eight games over the last two months. If the Sharks are still holding a playoff berth by the deadline, they won’t move Niemi. 

 Latest from TSN.

TSN: Darren Dreger claims the sinking Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t ready to stage a fire sale yet but have informed teams to “get their offers ready” if they’re interested in a particular player in the days ahead. Dreger listed the odds of Leafs to be moved as follows:

Cody Franson: 85%,  Daniel Winnik: 85%,  Korbinian Holzer: 75%, Tyler Bozak: 60%,  Joffrey Lupul: 60%,  Mike Santorelli: 60%,  Jake Gardiner: 30%,  James Reimer: 30%,  Nazem Kadri: 30%,  Dion Phaneuf: 20% and Phil Kessel: 20%.

Pierre LeBrun claims the Vancouver Canucks have contacted the Leafs about Santorelli, who played for them last season.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Pierre LeBrun believes the Canucks prefer to keep Jacob Markstrom over current backup Eddie Lack…LeBrun also claims the Canucks have talks to several teams regarding struggling winger Zack Kassian. Though they’ve found no suitors, interest could pick up at the trade deadline….Darren Dreger believes the Canucks seek scoring and until recently had some discussions with Boston regarding defenseman Matt Bartkowski. The Canucks won’t part with their young assets.He speculates the Flames might move Curtis Glencross, perhaps for a defenseman. The Jets still seek a top-9 forward…Dreger also speculates there could be interest in Canucks forward Chris Higgins, though he’s not sure they’re ready to part with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Leafs pending UFAs could be dealt. I don’t see a market for Lupul because of his injury history and salary. There will certainly be interest in Bozak, but I wouldn’t move him unless sure of getting a better center in a different deal first…I wouldn’t be surprised if Lack was shopped to address one of the Canucks needs, maybe packaged with Kassian…Glencross is a UFA this summer but I don’t think there’s an urgency on the Flames part to trade him at the deadline, even at the risk of losing him for nothing in July…Unless the Canucks fall out of contention I don’t see them moving Higgins.