Updates on the Oilers, Bruins and Blue Jackets.
Latest Bruins speculation.
SPORTSNET (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Elliotte Friedman claims there’s nothing new regarding Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, expressing doubt Chara would agree to a trade while noting a number of clubs can’t afford to take on his $6.9 million cap hit. Friedman believes winger Loui Eriksson, a UFA next July, is a more likely Bruins trade candidate at some point this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara’s not going anywhere. Even if he agreed to be dealt, his cap hit is too difficult to move during the season, plus he’s also aging (he’ll be 39 in March) and isn’t the dominant player he once was. I agree Eriksson is a more likely trade possibility, though his cap hit ($4.25 million) means he’s likely easier to shop later in the season, perhaps near the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Updates on the Oilers.
Friedman also weighed in on the possibility of Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli making an early-season minor move to spark his struggling club. While the Oilers could use a defenseman, so are the Bruins and Hurricanes, and there simply isn’t many available right now. The Philadelphia Flyers have extra blueliners, but the question is what they want in return.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson responds to a reader’s question about the Oilers getting rid of aging defenseman Andrew Ference’s contract, noting he has a no-trade, no-move clause for this season and next. If Ference continues as a sixth- or seventh-defenseman, Matheson thinks it’s possible the Oilers could buy out the final season of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli could go shopping for a defenseman, but he’s not going to make a move just for the sake of doing so. I concur with Matheson that they’ll likely buy out Ference next summer. I don’t see anyone having interest in him at this stage of his career.
Blue Jackets won’t move Johansen.
Friedman was asked if he thought other clubs might try to pry center Ryan Johansen away from the Columbus Blue Jackets, citing the contentious contract history between the two sides. He doesn’t believe the Jackets will trade Johansen, who’s their top-line center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansen’s under contract through 2016-17 and will be a restricted free agent. They’re not trading him.