Latest on the Leafs, Kings, Bruins and more in your NHL rumor mill.
What next for the Maple Leafs?
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: In the aftermath of the Dion Phaneuf trade, James Mirtle examined other possible trade deadline moves for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He believes pending free agents like goaltender James Reimer and winger P-A Parenteau could be easy to move for something of value based on their performances this season, perhaps second-round picks or solid prospects. Mirtle suggests Reimer could interest a playoff bubble club having issues in goal, like the Nashville Predators.
He also speculates defenseman Roman Polak could fetch a third-round pick, but doesn’t expect their other UFAs (Michael Grabner, Shawn Matthias, Nick Spaling, Mark Arcobello, Brad Boyes, Rich Clune) will fetch much for returns. As for players with term remaining on their contracts,
Mirtle doubts the Leafs will find any takers for oft-injured winger Joffrey Lupul, but feels center Tyler Bozak and goalie Jonathan Bernier could have some value, possibly bringing in second- or third-round picks simply to shed salary. Winger Daniel Winnik might fetch a mid-round pick.
Mirtle considers it unlikely the Leafs move young players like James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly or Jake Gardiner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure there will be some Leafs fans who’ll disagree with Mirtle’s assessment of the trade value of those players, but I believe his evaluations are spot on. Picks and prospects are the best they’ll get for most of these guys. If they want more, they’ll have to move van Riemsdyk, Kadri, Rielly or Gardiner.
Examining the trade market following the Phaneuf trade.
TSN: In the wake of the Dion Phaneuf trade, Bob McKenzie attempted to “size up some of the situations/players we’ll be watching and talking about” between now and the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Regarding the New York Islanders, McKenzie gets the sense from teams interested in defenseman Travis Hamonic that Isles GM Garth Snow would prefer waiting until this summer to address the blueliner’s trade request to a Western-Canadian team. There’s “no real sense” the Isles could move pending UFA forwards Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen.
Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning wants to see how his club performs over the next week or two before reaching pre-deadline decisions. Canucks defenseman and pending UFA Dan Hamhuis could be a trade candidate, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause. He’d like to re-sign with the Canucks, who haven’t ruled out the possibility though there’s been no contract discussions.
The Calgary Flames would like to re-sign pending UFA blueliner Kris Russell and he’d like to stay, but how much of a hometown discount is he willing to accept? McKenzie speculates he could get a five-year deal between $5-$5.5 million annually, maybe more, on the open market.
Frank Seravalli also weighed in, echoing McKenzie’s claim that the Islanders don’t appear to be in a hurry to move Travis Hamonic. He suggests Hamhuis, Russell and Justin Schultz of the Edmonton Oilers could be the next echelon of available defensemen on the trade market. Seravalli reports of talk the Flames wanted to move Dennis Wideman, but it remains to be seen how his recent 20-game suspension affects his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles are jockeying for a playoff berth, so they’re not moving three of their best players now. If Hamhuis is willing to accept a one- or two-year extension for a lower annual salary than his current $4.5 million, maybe he stays in Vancouver. Otherwise, if they ask him to waive his clause, he could see the writing on the wall and accept. I still think the Flames will re-sign Russell. I believe it’s only a matter of time until the Oilers part ways with Schultz.
Latest on the Kings and Bruins.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford cites reports suggesting the Los Angeles Kings might set their sights on Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings were thought to be interested in Dustin Byfuglien before he re-signed with the Jets, suggesting their interest is more in adding a top-four defenseman than another left wing. Still, if that’s not possible, perhaps loading up on scoring depth is the next best thing.
CSNNE.COM: In the wake of the Boston Bruins’ humiliating 9-2 defeat at the hand of the Kings, Joe Haggerty suggests it’s time for management to keep building for the future while attempting to remain competitive for a playoff spot. He recommends shopping pending UFA Loui Eriksson if the winger is unwilling to sign a team-friendly deal, consider trading defensemen Zdeno Chara (if the big blueliner is willing to accept a trade) and Dennis Seidenberg, and look into takers for Brett Connolly and Kevan Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if Bruins GM Don Sweeney will heed Haggerty’s advice.