Updates on Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Nikita Nikitin and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Latest on Ladd and Byfuglien.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The contract statuses of pending UFAs Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien is the dominant question facing the Winnipeg Jets this season. The closer they get to the Feb. 29 trade deadline with both still unsigned, the zanier things could get. It’s expected things could fall into place with the first signing (“likely with Ladd”), as the club also must re-sign pending restricted free agents Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Adam Lowry and Michael Hutchinson.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ted Wyman reports Andrew Ladd won’t discuss his contract status with the media and could shut down contract negotiations with the club once the puck drops on their regular season. It was assumed the Jets would get their captain re-signed before the season began.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The status of Ladd and Byfuglien will be the “elephant in the room” for the Jets throughout this season. There’s simply no escaping it. Perhaps Jets management wants to evaluate their respective performances before committing to new deals. Maybe Ladd and Byfuglien want to see if the club is making real progress as a playoff contender. If the Jets are out of contention near the trade deadline, you can bet the trade speculation over these two will ramp up in a big way.
Nikitin to the KHL?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples recently cited a report out of Russia claiming Nikita Nikitin’s old KHL team, Avangard Omsk, is interested in signing him and negotiations have already begun. The Oilers recently demoted Nikitin to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. It’s up to Omsk to contact the Russian Federation so they can obtain Nikitin’s transfer card from the Oilers. However, there are reportedly no plans by the Oilers to loan Nikitin to the KHL for the season. He will still count against the Oilers’ cap and their 50-player roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nikitin cannot sign with Omsk as a free agent unless the Oilers terminate his contract. So far, it doesn’t appear as though the Oilers are going that route.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wondered if the Edmonton Oilers “was at all interested in Derek Roy after he was cut by Washington.” It would probably be for less than what the two sides discussed before free agency, but Friedman claims that idea “was shot down.”…Martin Havlat’s PTO with the Florida Panthers still hasn’t had a clear ending. It could be decided by their season opener on Saturday…The Winnipeg Jets claimed when Alexander Burmistrov returned that they weren’t getting him back to trade him, but Friedman wonders about where he’ll fit in among their rising young forwards.