Latest on the Rangers, Panthers, Stars and Maple Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
Suggested Rangers trade targets.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard wondered what Rangers GM Jeff Gorton will do to address his clubs persistent unsettling results when he has a solid core of talent but also carries limited salary cap space and an unimpressive trade market. Leonard suggests St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk as a possible trade option, speculating the Blues (if willing to deal) could ask for Rick Nash or Chris Kreider in return. Nash no longer has a full no-trade clause and “reveres” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. Leonard believes trading Nash or Kreider could hurt the Rangers in the playoffs this year, but if Nash comes up short in the postseason again, he wonders if an off-season swap of Nash for Shattenkirk makes sense.
He considers defenseman Keith Yandle the Rangers’ best trade chip right now, but doubts they’ll get a better blueliner in a deal. The San Jose Sharks need blueline help and left wing Patrick Marleau reportedly included the Rangers in his list of trade destinations, but the Blueshirts can’t afford his $6.6 million cap hit next season. Leonard also wonders if Gorton might dangle defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a first-round pick to Tampa Bay for holdout Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin. Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd would be a good fit, but the Rangers cannot justify parting with a first-rounder for a pending UFA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Nash, particularly in a swap for Shattenkirk, is a move that happens in June, not during the trade deadline. I don’t think the Blues want to move Shattenkirk this season, preferring to keep him for the playoffs to see how things turn out. If Nash has another disappointing postseason, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gorton shops him during the NHL Draft weekend.
I don’t see Gorton trading Yandle just to get something for him, rather than risk losing him for nothing at the trade deadline. Ultimately, it’s about making a deep playoff run this year for the Rangers. If Yandle won’t fetch the type of return that addresses that need, there’s no reason to move him. I’ll be very surprised if they part with McIlrath and a first-rounder for Drouin.
Latest on Andrew Ladd.
NBCSN (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): TSN’s Darren Dreger claims the Winnipeg Jets aren’t shopping pending UFA left wing Andrew Ladd yet. If they do before the trade deadline, he speculates the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks could be interested.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks won’t want to part with much for a playoff rental like Ladd. And if they slide in the standings between now and Feb. 29, they’ll move from buyers to sellers. As for the Panthers, back in early-December, GM Dale Tallon said he’d like to add a scoring forward. Given the club’s improvement since then, maybe he’s changed his mind. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if Tallon tried to add to his lineup before the deadline. Whether Ladd becomes one of his trade targets remains to be seen.
Don’t expect Bruins to ship Loui Eriksson back to Dallas.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Responding to a reader’s e-mail wondering if the Dallas Stars could swing a deal with the Boston Bruins to bring back winger Loui Eriksson, Mike Heika doesn’t imagine that happening. He does wonder, however, if they might pursue Eriksson via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars could go after a big-name defenseman like Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien or the NY Rangers’ Keith Yandle if they hit the trade market. Don’t see them going after a winger right now.
Updates on the Maple Leafs.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons joins in the popular Toronto guessing game: “Which players will the Leafs move at the trade deadline?” Simmons considers defenceman Roman Polak and forwards Daniel Winnik, Shawn Matthias and P.A. Parenteau as the most likely to be dealt, and doubts anyone will have interest in Nick Spaling, Brad Boyes or Martin Marincin.