Latest on the Red Wings, Kings, Rangers and yes, the Maple Leafs.
Who should the Red Wings target?
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance lists Toronto’s Cody Franson, Arizona’s Keith Yandle, Washington’s Mike Green, Florida’s Brian Campbell and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly as suggested trade targets for the Detroit Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out the Wings making a deadline deal, but GM Ken Holland pointed out his club’s in a better position heading toward this year’s deadline than they were a year ago. Holland is also reluctant to part with his prospects and young players, and you can bet he’s not giving up his first-round pick. Given those parameters, I doubt very much he’ll be in the bidding for those players Custance listed, as the asking prices for them will likely be more than Holland is willing to pay. My guess is he goes after more affordable fare, like Edmonton’s Jeff Petry. I also doubt the Panthers will part with Campbell as he’s done a tremendous job mentoring rookie star Aaron Ekblad. The Coyotes and Avalanche could wait until the summer to move Yandle and O’Reilly, as they still have a year left on their contracts, as does Campbell.
Another Toronto columnist wants Kessel and Phaneuf traded.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan adds his voice to the Toronto media choir calling for the floundering Maple Leafs to trade Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. Citing a recent interview by Leafs GM Dave Nonis in which Nonis said it was too early to tell if Kessel and Phaneuf will return next season, Koshan believes the Leafs leadership needs changing and the duo are part of it. “Regarding this talk about not making a trade unless it improves the Leafs: Any trade right now would improve the Leafs. How could they possibly get much worse?”, asks Koshan. He also notes the players the Leafs are getting calls on (Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik) are those who could help the Leafs going forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because Kessel and Phaneuf are in the first year of their lengthy and expensive contracts (with modified no-trade clauses) I’ll be very surprised if either guy gets moved at the trade deadline. I do think one or both could be moved this summer, when there are teams with more cap space looking to pick up expensive stars.
Zuccarello hopes to remain a Ranger.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard reports struggling New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello hopes to remain with the Blueshirts. He’s an unrestricted free agent in July and could become a salary-cap casualty. Zuccarello has an ally in head coach Alain Vigneault, who is singing the winger’s praises despite the decline in his offensive output this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zuccarello will have to accept a hometown discount to remain with the Rangers. He’s currently earning $3.5 million. Even seeking that much could be a tight fit for the Rangers, who have over $52 million invested in 13 players and Martin St. Louis, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin to re-sign.
Jonesing for a goalie?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports teams are making inquiries about LA Kings backup goalie Martin Jones. Friedman doubts Jones will be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Kings battling for playoff contention I don’t see them moving Jones.