Latest on Andrew Ladd, Loui Eriksson and Jared Cowen, plus another look at possible Maple Leafs trade candidates in your NHL rumor mill. 

Jets to part ways with Andrew Ladd?

Growing speculation suggests Jets winger Andrew Ladd could be shopped before the trade deadline.

Growing speculation suggests Jets winger Andrew Ladd could be shopped before the trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen says recent reports claiming the Winnipeg Jets could put their focus on re-signing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien casts into doubt the long-term future of left wing and team captain Andrew Ladd’s future. Trade speculation began swirling yesterday when a report emerged claiming contract talks between Ladd and the Jets had broken off.

TSN.CA: Gary Lawless believes it’s time for the Jets to part ways with Ladd, suggesting the distraction over the latter’s contract status is contributing to the club’s malaise. Lawless believes the Jets have chosen Byfuglien over Ladd and it’s time to trade the veteran winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Jets should part ways with both players, as the club hasn’t made any significant improvement under their leadership. However, if they’re going to pick one over the other, it’s a mistake to retain Byfuglien and dump Ladd. Byfuglien is turning 31 ,frequently injured and is seeking considerably more money. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. 

Bruins appear likely to trade Loui Eriksson.

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty believes Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is very hesitant to re-sign right wing Loui Eriksson to a five- or six-year deal worth $6 million annually, which Eriksson will easily get via free agency. Haggerty also notes Eriksson’s agent is J.P. Barry, pointing out that Sweeney recently traded away two Barry clients in Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton. He feels Sweeney will do the same with Eriksson if he’s unsigned before the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

While Eriksson could fetch a first-round pick and a prospect as a rental player, Haggety believes the Bruins will seek a more substantial return to help them right now. Citing the Bruins need for blueline depth, Haggerty speculates they could be interested in Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella or Matthew Dumba, Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, He wonders if those clubs would be interested in a package of Eriksson, a first-round pick and goalie prospect Malcolm Subban.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks and Jets have sufficient goalie depth so I doubt they’ll have interest in Subban, and the Jets won’t pursue Eriksson unless he’s guaranteed to re-sign with them. The Ducks and Wild have plenty of blueline depth and need a scoring forward, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they had interest in Eriksson. 

Latest Maple Leafs speculation.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle weighed in with his take in everyone’s favorite guessing in Toronto: “Which players will the Leafs shop at the trade deadline?” Among the usual trade candidates like Roman Polak and Shawn Matthias, Mirtle claims players with term on the contract like forward Daniel Winnik and goalie Jonathan Bernier are also available. Mirtle also touches on the reasons why it’s difficult to swing a trade right now, including the high number of playoff contenders and teams with limited salary-cap space. He also suggests the Leafs will be working on moving players in the shadow of some bigger deals that could happen including notables like Eric Staal, perhaps Steven Stamkos, Andrew Ladd and others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have several pending UFAs on affordable contracts who will attract interest among playoff contenders seeking short-term depth. Moving out players with term who’ve had bad seasons, like Winnik and Bernier, is a tough sell at this time of year. There will be more interest in a guy like Leo Komarov, but he’s the type of player the Leafs probably prefer to retain. 

Update on Jared Cowen.

TSN: Frank Seravalli suggests a buyout cap credit could actually enhance the trade value of struggling Ottawa Senators blueliner Jared Cowen, who’s under contract through next season at a cap hit of $3.1 million, though he’s slated to earn $4.5 million in actual salary. “If Cowen is bought out of the final year of his deal in June, the net result will be a rare $650,000 salary-cap credit for next season, which could help a team cover potential overage penalties paid out from this season,” writes Seravalli. For teams that face carrying an overage into next season, this could help them get back on the happy side of the ledger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an intriguing suggestion by Seravalli, but will one of those NHL clubs facing a potential overage next season actually consider it? The Senators are interested in moving Cowen, but as Seravalli notes, they’re not about to just give him away.