Speculation over how the Chicago Blackhawks could replace the sidelined Patrick Kane dominates today’s NHL rumor mill. 

How will the Blackhawks replace Kane?

Could the Blackhawks acquire Antoine Vermette as a short-term replacement for Patrick Kane?

Could the Blackhawks acquire Antoine Vermette as a short-term replacement for Patrick Kane?

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports the Blackhawks placed superstar winger Patrick Kane (broken left clavicle) on long-term injured reserve, freeing up roughly $6 million in salary-cap space. The trade market, however, is rapidly drying up. Lazerus claims the Blackhawks are “heavily interested” in Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette, while Buffalo’s Chris Stewart and New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr could be possibilities.

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists Vermette, Stewart, Jagr, New Jersey’s Michael Ryder, Calgary’s Curtis Glencross and Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann as trade possibilities for the Blackhawks.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl speculates Kane’s injury could turn the Blackhawks’ focus toward Sabres winger Chris Stewart.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman will be very aggressively exploring trade options to replace Kane. He also lists Vermette and Glencross as possible targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ‘Hawks won’t find anyone in the trade market who can actually replace Kane’s skills. At best they’re bringing in a decent depth forward. The best of the bunch is Vermette, who could be a good fit in their system. Glencross might also work well for the ‘Hawks. Freeing up Kane’s salary also gives them wiggle room to add another depth defenseman. I think the ‘Hawks will be active leading up to the trade deadline.

Other notable trade speculation.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Bob McKenzie claims the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are getting a little antsy on the trade front. The Bruins remain linked to Buffalo’s Chris Stewart, while the Rangers have been linked to Toronto’s Tyler Bozak, though he still has term and significant salary ($4.2 million annually) left on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers want Bozak they’ll have to move a salaried player or one of their pending RFAs. They have limited cap space for next season. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross reports rumors claiming the Rangers could trade pending UFA winger Mats Zuccarello so far remain incorrect. Gross also speculates the Rangers could target Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi believes the Pittsburgh Penguins acquisition of Daniel Winnik isn’t enough, and calls upon management to bolster their offense. He suggests they pursue New Jersey Devils winger (and former Penguin) Jaromir Jagr.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Penguins GM Jim Rutherford could still be sniffing around for a scoring winger, I have my doubts he’ll bring back Jagr. It would make a great story, but I think that ship sailed a long time ago. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson speculates the removal of Andrej Sekera from the trade market could increase the value of Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry. Matheson claims “Montreal, Detroit, Tampa, Washington, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and the Ducks are all looking for one more defenceman.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could try to land a young player along with a second-round pick or prospect for Petry. 

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports the Colorado Avalanche could shop defenseman and pending UFA Jan Hejda or perhaps aging winger Daniel Briere, though he expects takers will be few for Briere. Chambers doesn’t expect center Ryan O’Reilly will be moved at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If O’Reilly gets traded it’ll happen in the offseason. I don’t think there’s a deal to be made for him at the deadline. 

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher may not be done shopping for depth for his injury-riddled roster. Earlier this week, Fletcher acquired winger Sean Bergenheim from the Florida Panthers.

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan reports Senators defenseman and oft-rumored trade candidate Patrick Wiercioch is open to moving on and perhaps a fresh start with another club.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz anticipates the San Jose Sharks will try to unload pending UFAs like Scott Hannan, Antti Niemi, Matt Irwin, Tyler Kennedy, James Sheppard and Andrew Desjardins at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to GJ Berg. It certainly seems like the Sharks are poised to become sellers.