Latest on Antoine Vermette and Sean Bergenheim, plus updates on the Maple Leafs, Predators, Bruins, Hurricanes and Rangers.
Who Could the Predators Target?
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside reports the Nashville Predators are expected to be buyers leading up to the March 2 trade deadline. He reports of rumors they have interest in Maple Leafs defenseman (and former Predator) Cody Franson for defensive depth. Burnside also wonders if they could pursue Arizona’s Antoine Vermette or New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr for added depth at forward.
THE TENNESSEAN: John Glennon reports the Predators would be well-served to add an experienced quality defenseman like “Ottawa’s Marc Methot, Colorado’s Jan Hejda, Carolina’s Andrej Sekera and Arizona’s Zbynek Michalek.” They could also benefit from depth at center. Glennon suggests “Arizona’s Antoine Vermette, Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly (if he’s on the market), Colorado’s Daniel Briere and even former Predator Mike Santorelli, now with Toronto.” As for scoring depth, he suggests “Buffalo’s Chris Stewart, Dallas’ Erik Cole (who played for Predators coach Peter Laviolette in Carolina), Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty and New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile will probably make a move or two to bolster his club’s depth for what he hopes will be a deep playoff run. I don’t expect him to overpay for talent, as the Predators are a budget-conscious club, nor do I think he’ll sacrifice much (if any) of his prospects, draft picks or young players for help right now. He’ll consider affordable options over pricey ones.
Latest from TSN’s Darren Dreger.
TSN: Darren Dreger speculates the Arizona Coyotes could still make a last-ditch attempt to re-sign Antoine Vermette before the upcoming trade deadline. It’s believed the “Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche” have interest in Vermette, who could command up to $6 million per season via free agency in July…Dreger also puts pending free agents Cody Franson, Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli atop his list of Toronto Maple Leafs most likely to be dealt by the trade deadline. He considers percentages of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf going at the trade deadline to be low.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vermette believes he’ll get $6 million on the open market, I doubt the Coyotes can re-sign him.
Bergenheim requests a trade.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports Florida Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim’s agent has requested a trade for his client. Bergenheim, an unrestricted free agent in July, has been a frequent healthy scratch of late. Agent Todd Diamond took issue with Panthers’ coach Gerard Gallant questioning his client’s effort.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Neil Greenberg included Bergenheim in his list of five prime players to target at the NHL trade deadline, noting the Panthers forward is seventh in shot-attempt percentage. Other players on Greenberg’s list are New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr, Toronto’s Cody Franson, Arizona’s Antoine Vermette and Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been rumored for some time Panthers GM Dale Tallon is trying to move some of his pending UFAs to make room for younger players. Maybe Bergenheim will be dealt by the deadline.
Latest on the Bruins, Hurricanes and Rangers.
BOSTON HERALD: Stephen Harris reports with Drew Stafford now off the trade market, the Boston Bruins have to consider other trade options, including New Jersey Devils forward (and ex-Bruin) Michael Ryder or Buffalo’s Chris Stewart.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis expects to be “fairly active” by the trade deadline. It’s possible Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty, Jay McClement and Tim Gleason (all pending UFAs) could be dealt.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have interest in Toronto’s Mike Santorelli but the asking price thus far is “beyond reason.” He suggests Columbus’ Mark Letestu, Buffalo’s Torrey Mitchell, Calgary’s Curtis Glencross and Chicago’s Dan Carcillo (a former Ranger) as possibilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letestu might be the best option if the asking price is reasonable. The Blue Jackets and Rangers also have a trade history.