Latest on Jonathan Drouin, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglen and Matt Carle, plus an update on the Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.
Drouin trade coming soon?
SPORTSNET: Joe Pack cites a report from TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie claiming a trade of Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin could be coming as soon as Friday night (Jan. 15). The most persistent rumor has Drouin going to the St. Louis Blues.
TWINCITIES.COM: Chad Graff reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher attempted to acquire center Ryan Johansen from the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to his trade to Nashville and has inquired into Drouin’s trade status. it’s believed Fletcher is willing to trade one of his defensemen for a scoring forward. Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba or Marco Scandella could be the logical trade candidates. Graff also listed Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis or Jamie McGinn and Carolina’s Eric Staal as possible trade targets.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t ruling out adding an affordable forward. With $4.1 million in salary-cap room after last week’s trade of Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to Los Angeles, Hextall said he’d consider a deal that can improve his club without mortgaging the future. It’s believed he’s looking at Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Drouin goes get dealt today it’ll be very interesting to see where he ends up. Media consensus suggests it’ll be St. Louis for rookie winger Robby Fabbri, though I don’t see how that helps the injury-ravaged Blues, as it appears to be a sideways move on their part in the short term. The Lightning were reportedly seeking a defenseman with a right-handed shot who could help their power play.
What will the Jets do with Byfuglien and Ladd?
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Scott Campbell believes resolving the status of pending free-agent Jets Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd could be GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s defining moment. Does he re-sign both and try to add depth at the trade deadline? Does he trade them for prospects and picks if he can’t re-sign them before the deadline?
TSN 1040 (via Today’s Slapshot): Bob McKenzie reports executives around the NHL are watching to see how Cheveldayoff handles this situation. It’s anticipated at some point Byfuglien could be available before the trade deadline, as they don’t see how the Jets can afford to re-sign him and promising Jacob Trouba. If the Jets remain in playoff contention by the deadline, Cheveldayoff could keep Byfuglien and Ladd and hope to make the best playoff run they can.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Jets are still out of playoff contention, and it’s looking increasingly likely they will be, I think they should shop them both. The Jets have been spinning their wheels under Ladd and Byfuglien, who are supposed to be the veteran leaders. Time to shake things up.
An update on Matt Carle.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson reports one of the NHL’s worst-kept secrets this season is the Lightning want to trade defenseman Matt Carle, who’s now become the club’s seventh defenseman. However, with two years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million, moving him has proven difficult. Carle hasn’t been approached by management regarding his modified no-trade clause since submitting a list of acceptable trade destinations last summer as per his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A Carle trade is a remote option but not an impossible one. It might not happen during this season, but perhaps he can be dealt to a club with cap space this summer, provided the Bolts are willing to toss in a sweetener like a young player, a draft pick or a prospect.
Latest on the Bruins.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney believes his team could use a couple of more pieces at forward and on defense. He would most like to add a puck-moving defenseman, though that type of player is difficult to add. While he has six prospects from last year’s draft and two first-round picks in this year’s, Sweeney has currency to spend at the trade deadline. However, with the club rebuilding, he’s not about to sacrifice the future for a quick fix.