A list of potential trade candidates, latest on the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Red Wings.
List of potential trade candidates.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen reports Arizona’s Antoine Vermette is currently the hottest commodity on the NHL trade market. Others who could also attract interest include New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr, Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty, Ottawa’s Marc Methot, Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, Arizona’s Zbynek Michalek and Edmonton’s Jeff Petry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apart from Myers (who I doubt will be moved), everyone on this list is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. All of them could be playing elsewhere by 3 pm ET on March 2.
Rangers deadline dealers?
ESPN.COM: Katie Strang believes the New York Rangers will be buyers at the trade deadline, seeking a player to bolster their bottom-six forwards. She believes Arizona’s Antoine Vermette could be too expensive, but wonders if LA Kings center (and pending UFA) Jarret Stoll might be available. Other options could include Anaheim’s Nate Thompson and Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty. Strang notes the Rangers have limited cap space ($1.5 million) and could seek an affordable rental unless they shed salary. A source claims it’s unlikely the Rangers move pending UFAs Martin St. Louis or Mats Zuccarello. St. Louis still has a full no-trade clause.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford also believes the Rangers will be trade deadline buyers, citing the club’s rumored interest in Toronto Maple Leafs center Mike Santorelli. Halford also notes Blueshirts GM Glen Sather has a history of swinging deadline deals (including last year’s Ryan Callahan-for-Martin St. Louis blockbuster) and believes the club is in “go for it” mode after reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season. He suggests Arizona’s Antoine Vermette or Ottawa’s David Legwand as possible options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Sather ships out a salaried player I think he’ll acquire an affordable checking-line center like Santorelli, Thompson or Legwand. Vermette will be out of the Rangers’ price range and I don’t think the Kings are keen to part with Stoll.
Latest on Franson and Lupul.
TORONTO SUN: Rob Longley reports Maple Leafs pending UFA defenseman Cody Franson understands the dilemma facing Leafs management in managing their salary cap. Franson acknowledged the trade rumors about him but said he loves playing in Toronto and prefers to stay.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Darren Dreger claims the St. Louis Blues initially had some interest in Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul, though there’s concerns over the winger’s injury history.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The talk about the Blues and Lupul arose because Blues scout Martin Brodeur was apparently seen chatting with Leafs president Brendan Shanahan during the recent Leafs-Flyers game. The Blues have limited cap space so I don’t see how Lupul and his $5.25 million cap hit through 2017-18 is a good fit for the Blues. As for Franson, unless the Leafs intend to ship out one of their high-salaried players (good luck with that) I believe they’ll put him on the trade block leading up to the deadline.
Red Wings buyers?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland met with coach Mike Babcock to discuss the club’s needs heading toward the March trade deadline. Holland points out his club is healthier than it was at this time last season and Khan suggests there’s less urgency to make a move this season. Khan does point out the Wings need a right-handed defenseman, listing pending UFAs like including Cody Franson (Toronto), Jeff Petry (Edmonton), Mike Green (Washington) and Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey) as options. Buffalo’s Tyler Myers has been linked to the Wings in the rumor mill, but Khan doubts the Wings can afford to acquire him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring significant injuries to his roster, Holland could be content to stand pat if there isn’t a suitable deal available. Still, I wouldn’t rule out his making an affordable acquisition, though he’s made it clear he’s not parting with his high draft picks, top prospects or good young players.