The latest on the Maple Leafs, Bruins, Senators, Predators, Ducks, Sabres and more.
Collection of rumors from Elliotte Friedman.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes other NHL clubs could be calling the Winnipeg Jets to find out what’s going on with Evander Kane (note: it’s since been revealed since Friedman’s report that Kane was scratched for violating the club’s dress code)…He wonders if the Buffalo Sabres could consider buying out disappointing center Cody Hodgson. As he’s under 26, such a buyout is at one-third the remaining value over twice the remaining tenure…Friedman doesn’t think Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is happy with his blueline and wonders if he could have interest in Buffalo’s Tyler Myers…LA Kings goalie Martin Jones is attracting interest in the trade market but Friedman claims he’s not available…No contract talks yet between the Minnesota Wild and recently-acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk, who’s won six of eight with the Wild…The Arizona Coyotes could seek a couple of young physical defensemen…The Coyotes are getting the most calls about center Martin Hanzal but it’ll take a big offer to land him…A couple of teams suspect the Colorado Avalanche are a stealth candidate for Arizona center Antoine Vermette…Teams uncertain of playoff contention are loathe to part with their first-round pick in this year’s draft…There’s definitely interest in Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf from clubs who believe he can shine out of the Toronto media glare and without the pressure of being the top blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s situation will bear watching in the coming days. Has GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s patience finally grown thin with Kane?…Wouldn’t surprise me if Hodgson gets bought out this summer considering it will be cheaper than if they wait for next year…Everyone would love to acquire Tyler Myers, but I don’t see teams paying a huge price right now to get him…If Dubnyk carries the Wild into the playoff you can bet the Wild will try to re-sign him, but they’ll have to figure out what to do with Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom…I doubt the Coyotes part with Hanzal, who could be part of their “reset”…I still think the Avs biggest need right now is a defenseman, not a rental forward…Sure, there’s interest in Phaneuf, but moving him probably won’t happen until this summer at the earliest, when there will be more interest from clubs with money to spend.
Latest from TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
NBC SPORTS: TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes the Boston Bruins are still in the market for an experienced scoring winger, preferably a rental player as they’ve got several key players to re-sign this summer…The New York Rangers are interested in re-signing Mats Zuccarello but have limited cap space this summer and several other notable players due for hefty raises…Offers are flooding in for Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil. Though Neil has expressed his willingness to remain in Ottawa, McKenzie suggests keeping an eye on him as the trade deadline nears…His top trade deadline targets are Arizona’s Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek, Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, and Toronto’s Cody Franson and Daniel Winnik…McKenzie believes we should keep an eye on the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators as they could attempt to boost their lineups at the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres lower their asking price for Chris Stewart, he could end up in Boston at the deadline…I think Zuccarello could become a cap casualty for the Rangers…Neil’s situation is interesting, as one day it sounds like he doesn’t want to be dealt and the next day he might change his mind. Depending on the team, he could accept a deadline trade…I also expect the Ducks and Predators to be busy near the trade deadline. They’re two of the top teams in the Western Conference and could load up for a Cup run.
Rumblings from Pierre LeBrun and Craig Custance.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun notes the initial report claiming Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil, when asked by management if he preferred a trade, wants to remain in Ottawa, but thinks Neil could be having a change of heart. LeBrun believes a Neil trade is still possible. He has a 15-team “no-trade” list which was submitted in October, but there is considerable interest in Neil. The Nashville Predators could be among the suitors. The Chicago Blackhawks could be another, though they lack cap space and would have to ship out a salaried player…The Predators have opened preliminary contract talks with pending UFA center Mike Fisher…They’re also believed to have interest in Toronto defenseman Cody Franson…The Maple Leafs have reached out to pending UFA center Mike Santorelli regarding a contract extension. If unable to re-sign him the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers could be among those with interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks can’t afford to take on Neil as they need cap space for next season. If he were a UFA this summer it might be a different story…Expect Fisher to re-sign with the Preds. He’s been dynamite since returning in December from a ruptured Achilles tendon…Franson’s a goner, it’s just a question of where.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: ESPN’s Craig Custance believes “100 percent” that Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers is available but it will take a substantial offer to land him. The LA Kings are believed to have some interest in Myers. Custance suggests a Myers trade might not happen until the NHL Draft in June…He feels the Arizona Coyotes should trade Keith Yandle now while his trade value is higher than it would be in the summer, when he’ll only be a rental player as he’ll have one year left on his contract…Custance believes the Kings tried to shed Mike Richards salary in order to clear cap space to add a defenseman…He feels Cody Franson to Detroit makes so much sense for the Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, Myers is available, if you’re willing to part with one or two good young players, a top prospect and your first-round pick…I can see the logic in Custance’s claim about Yandle, but I still think the Coyotes could wait until the summer to move him…Sure, Franson to Detroit makes sense, but the Wings don’t have a pressing need to make significant moves this season compared to last year at this time. And I’m not sure the Leafs want to trade Franson to a conference rival, giving the Wings his exclusive negotiating rights and a better chance of re-signing him.