Updates on the Maple Leafs plus the latest on Evander Kane, Taylor Hall, Antoine Vermette, Andrej Sekera and more.
Collection of rumors from Bruce Garrioch.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports a quick survey of six league executives reveals the opinion the Winnipeg Jets must trade troublesome winger Evander Kane, though it’ll be difficult for the Jets to get a fair return as they’re not dealing from a position of strength. “The Islanders, Ducks, Devils, Oilers, Flyers, Senators and Habs would all have interest but there would be no sense in dealing for Kane before the March 2 trade deadline,” writes Garrioch…Sharks GM Doug Wilson wants to add a defenseman and have held talks with the Coyotes regarding Zbynek Michalek, who’s also attracting interest from St. Louis, Detroit and Anaheim…The Blues, Predators and Blackhawks have interest in Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski while the Rangers and Canadiens are pushing to acquire center Antoine Vermette…The Oilers have pulled young forwards Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle off the market…The Blue Jackets would like to move defenseman Jordan Leopold and there’s some interest in winger Cam Atkinson, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer…The Rangers face a limited market if they attempt to acquire a short-term backup. Buffalo’s Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth along with Tampa Bay’s Evgeni Nabokov could be available…The Kings have received calls about backup Martin Jones…The Sharks were reportedly willing to listen to offers for Antti Niemi but that makes no sense as he’s started most of their games and Alex Stalock isn’t ready for the starter’s job…There’s been no contract talks between the Hurricanes and defenseman Andrej Sekera…The Jets inquired about Ottawa’s Chris Neil but they’re on his list of “no-trade” teams…If Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf returns from a hand injury before the trade deadline the Kings, Stars and Ducks have all shown interest in him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles can afford Kane but he’s not a pressing need for them right now. The Ducks are reportedly seeking a defenseman. Again, I can’t see Kane being a fit on the Devils under GM and control freak Lou Lamoriello. The Flyers need defensive help, not another expensive forward. Not sure if he’d be a good fit with the rebuilding Senators. Kane would be a lousy fit in the Montreal fishbowl, where his every move would spark headlines and make him an unwanted distraction…With Marc-Edouard Vlasic now on IR, the Sharks have a pressing need for a defenseman. Michalek’s a right-handed shot, which is a prized commodity in this year’s trade market…Shouldn’t be surprising Hall and Eberle are off the trade block. Even if the Oilers wanted to move them they’re not going to get a fair return at this time of the year. I still doubt either guy gets traded…The Red Wings have a surplus of goalies and they might offer up Jonas Gustavsson to the Rangers…The Kings won’t part with Jones, and the Sharks won’t trade Niemi…Sekera may well be a goner at the trade deadline…Again, if the Leafs move Phaneuf I expect it’ll be in the summer when there will be teams with more cap space and willing to spend.
Latest Evander Kane rumors.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless reports Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t trade Evander Kane unless he can get full value for him. That could mean waiting until this summer to trade him. Those still in the playoff picture are offering futures packages, while non-playoff clubs are pushing contracts and players at the Jets. Lawless believes there’s the potential of a one-for-one swap, though Kane’s season-ending shoulder surgery hampers trade discussions.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes the Jets would want a package of (Bo) Horvat, (Jared) McCann and a first rounder. Botchford doesn’t expect the Canucks would make that pitch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane being out for the season removes the risk of his presence becoming an unnecessary distraction in the wake of last week’s incident with his teammates regarding a dress code violation. See, isn’t that better than saying “Tracksuitgate”? Anyway, if there’s no decent offers which can help the Jets now and in the future, I expect they’ll wait until the summer to move him when the market should be better. The Canucks could use Kane’s offense and he’s a Vancouver native but I don’t see them parting with the type of package Botchford suggested to land him.
Latest on the Leafs.
TORONTO SUN: Rob Longley believes big changes are coming for the Maple Leafs. Leafs GM Dave Nonis recently scouted the Ducks-Predators and Kings-Lightning games. The Predators could have interest in Leafs defenseman Cody Franson and forwards Daniel Winnik or Mike Santorelli, while the Kings need help on defense with Slava Voynov suspended indefinitely and Alec Martinez (concussion symptoms) now sidelined. The Rangers could have interest in Santorelli, and there’s buzz around the league center Tyler Bozak could be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:Nothing really new here, though the Martinez injury could put pressure on Kings management to add a rental defenseman like Franson. Bozak could be dealt at the deadline, though if the Leafs fail to find a deal they like they can wait until the summer and try their luck again. Bozak’s under contract through 2017-18 at an annual cap hit of $4.2 million.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz reports Sharks pending UFA winger Tyler Kennedy is a prime candidate to be dealt at the March 2 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to GJ Berg. The Sharks have reportedly shopped Kennedy for some time this season without success.