Latest on Eric Staal, the Sabres could be in the market for a goalie plus an update on the Coyotes

Staal contract talks on hold.

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnson cites Damien Cox’s report claiming Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes have put contract negotiations on hold for the time being. “Staal is in the final year of a seven-year, $57.75-million deal and wants to wait and see how the Hurricanes do before deciding on whether or not signing an extension would be mutually beneficial to him and the only NHL team he’s known.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will ensure Staal’s name remains in this season’s rumor mill. If the Hurricanes are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, it’ll only stoke speculation that he’ll be dealt by then. 

Sabres could be in the market for a goalie.

Could the Buffalo Sabres have interest in Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller?

Could the Buffalo Sabres have interest in Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller?

SI.COM: Allan Muir speculates we could see our first trade of the season perhaps before this weekend is over. If Buffalo Sabres starting goalie Robin Lehner (right-ankle injury) is sidelined for an extended period, they could be in the market for help between the pipes. Muir believes the Calgary Flames, who are carrying three netminders, could be a trade partner for the Sabres, claiming they’re willing to part with Karri Ramo or Jonas Hiller. The latter is more experienced and also more expensive ($4.5 million) that Ramo, but the Sabres have the depth in cap space and draft picks to swing a deal.

THE HOCKEY NEWS’ Brian Costello tweets “Flames could get more in return for Hiller than Ramo, but would Cgy settle for a Ramo-Ortio duo if Hiller goes to Buffalo?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis recently noted the Oilers also have depth to move a goalie, having recently demoted Ben Scrivens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Sabres won’t have much choice but to acquire a goaltender if Lehner is on the shelf for a lengthy period. For them, this season is about being competitive and improving. To do that, they need decent goaltending. Hiller has more experience but he’s also struggled with his consistency. Sabres GM Tim Murray will certainly shop around and it wouldn’t be surprising if he calls the Oilers about Scrivens, who might benefit from a trade at this point. 

Coyotes still looking to improve.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan recently reported Arizona Coyotes GM will continue to look at waivers, trades and recalls for players who can improve his roster.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports the Coyotes have room to add salary and are trying to find an impact player, but they’re not interested in taking on another team’s salary cap problems.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they’re not interested in a fading veteran with an expensive contract like Philadelphia Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier. It will take time to find the player they seek.