Five teams in need of a trade, players most likely to be dealt at the trade deadline, the Sabres likely to be sellers, plus the latest on Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Drouin in your NHL rumor mill.
Five teams in need of a trade.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers and Anaheid Ducks as the five NHL teams that need to make a move before the Feb. 29 trade deadline. The Canadiens are seeing a scorer. The Lightning want a skilled young defenseman in return for Jonathan Drouin. Allen wonders if the Blues might offer up blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk for Drouin. Though Keith Yandle seems like a player the Rangers shouldn’t move, he could be the best trade chip to help them out of their current funk. The Anaheim Ducks need offense and Allen suggests Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and his booming shot could help them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Shattenkirk-for-Drouin” has died out since reports emerged that the Lightning aren’t interested in adding to their contract concerns, as Shattenkirk is a UFA in 2017 and will seek a big raise over his current $4.25 million annual cap hit. The Bolts must also shed salary to take on his salary. I agree the Ducks need scoring, but they need a top-six scorer, particularly on the wing. They’re already very deep on defense, so adding Byfuglien won’t address that issue.
Players most likely to be dealt by the trade deadline.
SI.COM: Allan Muir lists Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin, the Rangers’ Keith Yandle, Carolina Hurricanes left wing Eric Staal, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, Buffalo Sabres forwards Jamie McGinn and Tyler Ennis, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Scott Hartnell, New Jersey Devils forward Lee Stempniak, Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd, Hurricanes’ defenseman Ryan Murphy and Toronto Maple Leafs winger P-A Parenteau as the players most likely to be moved by the NHL trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I published a similar list earlier this month on Bleacher Report, along with a stock watch of the top trade targets ahead of the deadline. Many of the same players are on those lists. Of Muir’s list, I don’t see the Jackets moving Hartnell because of his contract. That could be a move that takes place in the offseason. If the Devils remain in playoff contention, they won’t trade Stempniak, who’s been one of their best forwards this season.
Sabres could listen to offers for Ennis.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray could be willing to entertain offers for winger Tyler Ennis, who has three years at an annual cap hit of $4.6 million remaining on his contract. Murray will be a seller at the trade deadline and is willing to move veterans (especially those on expiring contracts) in exchange for young or future assets. Pending Sabres UFAs include forward Jamie McGinn, defenseman Mike Weber and goalie Chad Johnson.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington also weighs in on possible Sabres trade bait in the coming weeks. In addition to Ennis, McGinn, Weber and Johnson, Harrington also suggests defensemen Cody Franson and Carlo Colaiacovo, as well as forward David Legwand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With three seasons of over 20 goals and 40 points on his resume, Ennis could attract interest in the trade market once he returns from injury. His contract, however, could be a stumbling block.
Kings now closer to re-signing Kopitar.
TSN: Hours after Darren Dreger reported of a possible impasse in contract negotiations between Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings, it was reported an eight-year, $80 million deal is now in the final stages of paperwork.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings insider John Hoven at Mayor’s Manor has all the latest details regarding the latest developments in Kopitar’s negotiations. Sounds like this could be announced soon, perhaps by today.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith believes Kopitar’s contract could set a new comparable for Steven Stamkos in his contract talks with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It certainly will. However, Kopitar has led the Kings in scoring in every season since his sophomore campaign, plus he led them in playoff scoring during their two championship runs. Debate among yourselves if that’s a reasonable comparable for Stamkos, who has two Richards Trophies on his resume but has yet to win a Stanley Cup title and isn’t as complete a player as Kopitar.
Latest Drouin speculation.
TSN 690 (via Today’s Slapshot): Bob McKenzie speculated over the return for teams with interest in Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin. If Lightning GM Steve Yzerman talks to the Vancouver Canucks, McKenzie believes he’ll want Bo Horvat. If he’s talking to the Calgary Flames, it’s Sam Bennett. If it’s the St.Louis Blues, it’s Robby Fabbri. If it’s the Montreal Canadiens, he could ask for Alex Galchenyuk. If it’s the Anaheim Ducks, it’s Sami Vatanen or Hampus Lindholm.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford cites StarTribune.com’s Michael Russo saying he’s been told it’ll cost the Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba to land Jonathan Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie isn’t saying for certain that the players he listed are those that the Lightning want in return for Drouin. He’s merely speculating on the potential asking prices. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if those were Yzerman’s actual asking prices.
I am surprised over the Wild’s interest in Drouin, as GM Chuck Fletcher recently said his concern was bolstering his depth at center, which was why he was interested in Ryan Johansen before the Columbus Blue Jackets shipped him to Nashville last week. Perhaps Fletcher’s interest has shifted to just adding more scoring punch at forward regardless of position.