Five possible destinations for Andrew Ladd, a list of NHL GMs feeling the heat and the latest on the Lightning in your NHL rumor mill. 

Potential trade destinations for Andrew Ladd.

Left wing Andrew Ladd facing an uncertain future with the Jets.

Left wing Andrew Ladd facing an uncertain future with the Jets.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators as five ideal destinations for Jets left wing Andrew Ladd. The Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators are other clubs to watch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d consider the Ducks, Predators and Rangers as perhaps the most interested. The Ducks and Preds need an offensive boost. However, those clubs will dangle blueliners in return. The Jets already have plenty of defensive depth, so unless they’re also trading away Byfuglien, there’s no reason to acquire yet another defenseman. The Rangers would offer up Keith Yandle, but given his UFA status, I don’t think the Jets are interested in a rental player. Ditto the Habs, especially if they keep sinking in the standings, which is what I expect they’ll do. The Panthers could look to boost their roster for the playoffs, but they appear content with their current group. It remains to be seen if GM Dale Tallon merely tinkers or pursue a big fish like Ladd at the deadline. 

The Senators are among this season’s worst defensive teams. They need a skilled shutdown defenseman more than they need a rental winger. The Bruins could be in the market for a good young blueliner, so I don’t see Ladd as a fit there unless they trade away right wing Loui Eriksson for a rearguard. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman’s been very active throughout this season, but I’m not sure he’d want to bring back Ladd. Perhaps he looks at adding another defenseman or more grit on the checking lines. 

Five NHL GMs facing big trade-deadline decisions.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun recently listed five NHL general managers feeling the heat as the trade deadline nears. Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets tops the list, as he must decide if he’ll re-sign or trade pending UFAs Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning is next, as he still has to re-sign Steven Stamkos and find a suitable return for disgruntled winger Jonathan Drouin. Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is next, who’ll have to decide if he tries to make a season-saving deal or stand pat and ride out the season. Ron Francis of the Carolina Hurricanes must either re-sign or deal Eric Staal and Cam Ward, while Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher hopes to find a scoring forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Conflicting reports out of Winnipeg claim Cheveldayoff is leaning toward re-signing Byfuglien, but he hasn’t starting shopping Ladd yet. If the Jets fall further out of contention between now and the last week in February, I wouldn’t be surprised if both guys get dealt. Stamkos won’t be traded, but Drouin might, though Yzerman holds all the leverage with the young winger and can take his time fielding offers for the youngster. I don’t think there’s a season-saving trade to be had for the collapsing Canadiens. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are in striking distance of a playoff spot. If they gain more ground in February, Francis could retain Staal and Ward. Fletcher’s going after a scoring forward and he’ll move one of his defensemen (perhaps Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba) to get one.

Latest Lightning speculation.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman intends to do some minor-league scouting during the NHL All-Star weekend. Where he turns up could indicate possible trade destinations for unhappy holdout winger Jonathan Drouin. Smith also reports it doesn’t appear Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be a factor in the upcoming trade deadline. Yzerman insists there’s no deadline for Stamkos to re-sign with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a total breakdown in contract talks that prompts Stamkos to request a trade, which I don’t believe will happen, the Lightning won’t be trading their captain by the Feb. 29 trade deadline. I believe it’s more likely we’ll see Drouin traded before Stamkos by the deadline.