Latest on Jordan Staal, and Daniel Winnik, plus updates on the Blue Jackets, Wild, Red Wings and Lightning.
Penguins eyeing Jordan Staal?
TRIBLIVE.COM: Josh Yohe reports sources claim the Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in reacquiring center Jordan Staal, who was shipped to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012. Though such a move likely won’t happen until the offseason, the Penguins have reportedly contacted the Hurricanes to determine the asking price to bring Staal back to Pittsburgh. He has a no-movement clause, though apparently he’d be willing to waive it for a return to Pittsburgh. The Penguins would be forced to shed considerable salary to make room for Staal’s $6 million annual cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Jordan’s brother Eric decides to move on after next season as a free agent or if Hurricanes GM Ron Francis asks Eric to waive his no-trade clause this summer, it’s possible Jordan could accept a return to the Penguins. Such a move, however, will be costly. The Hurricanes won’t want castoffs or ageing talent like Chris Kunitz, unless there’s at least a good young player, a top prospect and a first round pick as part of the return. This certainly won’t happen at the deadline and it remains to be seen if it happens in the offseason. It will certainly depend upon Eric’s plans.
Latest on the Blue Jackets.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reports we’ll soon find out which restricted free agents (Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson and Cody Goloubef) fit into the Blue Jackets’ plans. Pending UFAs Jordan Leopold and Jack Skille could be moved by the trade deadline, but it remains to be seen what happens with UFAs Mark Letestu and Curtis McElhinney, who have become key players for the Jackets. There’s talk the Jackets could be willing to trade any defenseman except David Savard and Ryan Murray, but it depends upon the return.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports the Blue Jackets aren’t actively shopping Cam Atkinson but are listening when approached. Atkinson is a “shooting machine” and not an ordinary rental player. Custance suggests Atkinson could be a good fit with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets don’t have to move Atkinson or any of their RFAs at the deadline. If they should prove difficult to re-sign they can put them on the block in late-June.
Jets interested in Winnik?
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports Toronto Maple Leafs forward Daniel Winnik gave a good account of himself during last night’s Jets-Leafs game. The Jets are reportedly among the club’s interested in Winnik, who is expected to be dealt by the March trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have depth in defensemen (Paul Postma, Jay Harrison, Adam Pardy) to offer up in return, though the Leafs will likely seek a second-round pick or a prospect.
Latest on the Wild, Red Wings and Lightning.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo responds to readers’ questions about the Minnesota Wild’s goaltending and their possible trade plans. Russo speculates they could offer up a pending UFA like Kyle Brodziak or an RFA like Erik Haula as trade bait. GM Chuck Fletcher wants to re-sign goalie Devan Dubnyk, but will wait until the offseason so as not to distract Dubnyk, who wants to stay. It’s doubtful Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding will be back after this season. Russo claims the Wild have inquired about Florida’s Sean Bergenheim, Arizona’s Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek, Carolina’s Andrej Sekera and Edmonton’s Jeff Petry.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports Red Wings management feels comfortable heading into this year’s trade deadline. “The Wings have plenty of cap space – more than $9 million – but barring a string of bad luck such as injuries, the Wings could well look around and decide they’re better off holding on to the young talent and draft picks it’d take to get involved in a shrinking market”, writes St. James.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson reports Lightning management is still considering its trade options. While it’s no secret they seek a defenseman, Erlendsson notes prices are high because supply doesn’t meet the demand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Wings and Lightning standing pat if they can’t find an affordable deal. Both clubs can afford that luxury because of their position in the standings. The Wild, however, are still battling for a wild-card berth and need as much help as they can comfortably afford. They don’t want to part with draft picks but could be forced to move a young player like Haula if he’ll fetch help right now.