Updates on Tyson Barrie, Matt Read and Jake Gardiner, plus the Minnesota Wild are getting calls about defensemen.
Latest Avalanche speculation.
SPORTSNET 960 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Elliotte Friedman reports a lot of teams have interest in Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, who’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. If contract negotiations don’t go well, interest in Barrie could increase.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs aren’t in any hurry to move Barrie. Indeed, if it appears he’ll be too expensive to re-sign, they could shop him at the 2016 NHL Draft next June. There’s no reason to move him this season and I doubt management is considering that possibility.
Friedman also reported the Avalanche had discussions with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding a swap of Ryan O’Reilly for Jake Gardiner (with other parts) but they could never get it done. O’Reilly was ultimately dealt to Buffalo. He doesn’t know if the Avs will revisit their interest in Gardiner or if the Leafs will revisit the Avs prior interest in the blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could, but I think the Leafs are keen to see how Gardiner performs under coach Mike Babcock. So far, he’s shown considerable improvement compared to when he was seemingly Randy Carlyle’s whipping boy. While that could bolster Gardiner’s trade value, it could also improve his chances of sticking with the Leafs beyond this season.
Could the Wild move a defenseman?
Friedman claims he’s keeping an eye on the Minnesota Wild, noting they’ve got a couple of young defenseman (notably Mike Reilly) in the minors who are close to NHL ready. Given the Wild’s blueline depth, and with several teams in the market for a defenseman, Friedman speculates they could move one. He claims the Wild are getting calls about their blueliners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The guy most often mentioned in Wild trade rumors is Jared Spurgeon, a puck-moving defenseman carrying a $2.66 million cap hit who’s a restricted free agent next summer. If the Wild decide to move a blueliner to address another roster need (and to free up cap space this season to do so), Spurgeon could be the one who goes. They won’t be moving Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella or Matt Dumba.
Could the Flyers trade Matt Read?
NJ.COM’s Randy Miller recently tweeted the following: “I see a deal coming soon. My guess is Read is first to go.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Read’s signed for two more years at $3.625 million per season. He’s on pace for 23 points, the lowest in his career. Though he plays a decent defensive game, Read hasn’t turned into the reliable second-line scoring winger he was envisioned to become. Moving him, however, won’t be easy at this time in the season. Not a lot of teams willing to take on that contract right now.