Latest on Travis Hamonic, Andrew Ladd and Loui Eriksson, plus updates on the Capitals and Red Wings in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
Oilers interested in Hamonic or Vatanen.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited a recent radio interview by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman with 630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer, who claimed the Oilers are trying to upgrade at right defense by moving for either New York Islanders blueliner Travis Hamonic or Anaheim Ducks rearguard Sami Vatanen. Both clubs could use a scoring winger. Friedman believes the day is getting close when the Oilers shop one of their good young forwards, like Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for a young defenseman. He also feels Justin Schultz’ tenure with the OIlers could be coming to an end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders GM Garth Snow reportedly wanted a defenseman comparable to Hamonic in return. Unless he’s changed his mind and now wants a scoring winger, Hamonic stays put. I think Nugent-Hopkins is the player Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli prefers to move, especially given recent speculation claiming RNH was offered up to the Nashville Predators for Seth Jones prior to the latter’s trade to Columbus. Maybe Chiarelli’s moved off that and is looking at Eberle instead.
Ladd to the Ducks?
WINNIPEG SUN: If the Jets decide to trade pending UFA left wing Andrew Ladd by the trade deadline, Ken Wiebe suggests the Anaheim Ducks as the likely destination, citing the Ducks need for a left winger. He notes the speculation suggesting the Ducks could have a difficult time re-signing either Sami Vatanen or Hampus Lindholm, but also wonders if they might part with Cam Fowler. Considering what Antoine Vermette fetched for the Arizona Coyotes at last year’s trade deadline (a first-round pick and a prospect), that might also be a good return for Ladd.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd could be an interesting pickup for the Ducks. As Wiebe pointed out, Ladd and Getzlaf were teammates in Junior hockey, so maybe reuniting them could provide the necessary offensive spark to elevate the Ducks into a playoff berth.
Wild expressed interest in Eriksson.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild reportedly inquired about Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson, who’s a pending UFA at season’s end. Citing Eriksson’s possible asking price of $6 million per, Russo believed the winger would be a rental player for the Wild unless they can free up cap space. With the Bruins battling for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference, Russo doubts they’ll move Eriksson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of chatter out of Boston speculating the Bruins could trade Eriksson if he’s unsigned before the trade deadline, but I agree with Russo’s take. Unless the Bruins take a swan dive in the standings between now and Feb. 29, they could retain Eriksson for the rest of the season, even at the risk of losing him to free agency.
Capitals could target a defenseman.
CSN MID ATLANTIC: Chuck Gormley believes the Washington Capitals will try to acquire a veteran defenseman before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, in part based upon the health of blueliner Brooks Orpik. who’s missed 33 games to a lower-body injury. He feels Capitals GM Brian MacLellan could pursue Vancouver Canucks rearguard Dan Hamhuis, speculating the asking price could be their first-round pick and either a prospect or a roster player like Stan Galiev. Gormley noted Hamhuis’ recent facial injury, but also points out he played for Capitals coach Barry Trotz during their years with the Nashville Predators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Caps will do something before the deadline. There’s been speculation for several weeks suggesting the Capitals could add a defenseman to bolster their blueline for what they hope will be a Stanley Cup run this spring. While the Capitals were linked to Dustin Byfuglien, Hamhuis could be a more affordable pickup for the Caps.
Latest on the Red Wings.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James believes the Red Wings power play needs more juice to help them reach the playoffs this season. Unless GM Ken Holland swings a deal involving a regular roster player, the Wings won’t have sufficient cap space to add a player before the trade deadline. She also notes there’s isn’t a much urgency to bolster the defense as in recent years, given their organizational depth. She claims the Wings like Winnipeg Jets blueliner Dustin Byfuglien, but notes they’d not only have to clear cap space to add him, but would also want to be certain the pending UFA will re-sign with them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t dismiss entirely the notion of Holland shopping around at the trade deadline, but St. James is right about the difficulty of adding a player with their limited cap space.