Latest on Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Cam Fowler, Antoine Vermette, Justin Williams and more.
Collection of rumors from the Ottawa Sun.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports concerns over a possible flat salary cap for next season adversely affected trade activity leading up to the March 2 deadline…There was talk the Columbus Blue Jackets attempted to acquired forward Lars Eller from the Montreal Canadiens…Several teams were scouting defenseman Cam Fowler but the Anaheim Ducks opted to keep him…The St. Louis Blues made a push for Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera…Garrioch still claims the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings had serious discussions regarding Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf. It’s believed Wings GM Ken Holland prefers to revisit this in the offseason. The Ducks and LA Kings also had interest in Phaneuf…The New Jersey Devils tried moving fading winger Michael Ryder but received no interest…The Arizona Coyotes could try to bring back Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek via free agency this summer…The Blue Jackets received offers on winger Cam Atkinson (whom they re-signed to a new contract) and center Artem Anisimov, who has a year remaining on his deal…There was talk the Calgary Flames tried to acquire Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league believes the cap could come in at between $71-$72 million despite the reduced value of the Canadian dollar. However, if the NHLPA votes against employing its five-percent escalator clause (given the players’ current unhappiness regarding 16 percent being clawed back via escrow payments this season), the cap will actually drop to $68 million…Eller’s performance down the stretch and in the playoffs could determine his future in Montreal. While improved play could entice the Habs to retain him, it could also boost his trade value…Ducks GM Bob Murray denied Fowler was available last month but the rumors just won’t go away…The Wings could find more affordable options than Phaneuf via free agency this summer, including Mike Green, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff or perhaps Johnny Boychuk, though I expect the Islanders to re-sign him to a big raise…No surprise there was no interest in Ryder, his stock has plummeted the past two seasons…The question is, do Vermette and Michalek want to return to the Coyotes? And can the ‘Yotes afford to sign them?…Atkinson’s not going anywhere and the Jackets seem keen to retain Anisimov, though that could change depending on his performance, and that of the Jackets, next season.
Latest on the Leafs.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders if Dion Phaneuf or Phil Kessel become the first Leafs to be dealt this summer. Simmons believes a hockey trade involving Kessel is still possible, but less likely for Phaneuf…Before trading David Clarkson to Columbus, the Leafs attempted to deal him back to his former club, the New Jersey Devils. It was believed the deal would’ve involved the Leafs taking on concussed winger Ryane Clowe.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s some talk in Toronto suggesting the Leafs will trade Phaneuf and try to build around Kessel. Should make for a very interesting summer in Leafs Nation.
Williams to the Panthers?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if the LA Kings would’ve traded pending UFA winger Justin Williams at the trade deadline if they hadn’t recently reeled off an eight-game winning streak. He believes the Florida Panthers could be a destination with ex-Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell playing there.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can the Kings afford to re-sign Williams this summer? Is he willing to accept a hometown discount to stay put? If not, there’s no guarantee he’ll want to go to Florida.