Reaction to Lightning announcement that Steven Stamkos won’t be dealt, plus updates on the Jets, Hurricanes, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets and Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
Stamkos won’t be dealt at the trade deadline.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Martin Fennelly and Tom Jones weigh in on Lightning GM Steve Yzerman’s announcement yesterday that he will no trade captain and pending UFA Steven Stamkos at the Feb. 29 trade deadline. While going over the various reasons behind Yzerman’s move, they agree it was done to prevent Stamkos’ contract status from being a distraction as the club battles for playoff contention. They also believe the Lightning’s chances of reaching the postseason and playing for the Stanley Cup this spring are better with Stamkos in the lineup.
SI.COM: Allan Muir also agrees Yzerman’s announcement on Stamkos will dispel unnecessary distraction over the star’s short-term future with the Lightning and improving their chances of winning the Stanley Cup this spring. Noting the effect to the depth of the Lightning’s blueline by Jason Garrison’s injury, Muir expects the Lightning will be aggressive near the trade deadline to address that issue. Suspended winger Jonathan Drouin could be used as a trade chip.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger commends Yzerman’s decision and taking this gamble despite the possibility he could lose the superstar this summer to free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman didn’t need to make that statement until the supposed “cryptic remarks” last week by Stamkos and his agent prompted a renewed flurry of trade speculation. I believe Yzerman wants to re-sign Stamkos and the latter wants to stay, but it’s going to take time to hammer out an agreement. Furthermore, Yzerman can use the remainder of this season and the playoffs to determine Stamkos’ worth to the club. And don’t forget, if Yzerman wants, he can still shop Stamkos’ rights once the season is over. Granted, he won’t get as much as he might’ve received at the trade deadline, but he’ll stand to get something just the same.
Latest on Ladd and Trouba.
TORONTO SUN: With Steven Stamkos off the trade block, Mike Zeisberger suggests Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd could be the biggest name available at the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Rumors are linking Ladd with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Tim Campbell reports Jets defeseman Jacob Trouba is trying to focus on his play and ignore the trade rumors swirling about him. With the Jets having re-signed Dustin Byfuglien to an expensive contract extension, there’s questions over whether they can afford to re-sign Trouba, who’s a restricted free agent in July. He’s been linked to New York Islanders defenseman (and Manitoba native) Travis Hamonic, who requested a trade last summer for family reasons close to his offseason home. There’s conflicting reports over the Isles supposed interest in Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Word out of New York is the Isles don’t want to move Hamonic now. A Trouba-for-Hamoni swap, if it happens at all, will likely take place in the offseason. As for Ladd, I believe he will become the top name available at the trade deadline. I’d add the Anaheim Ducks and maybe the New Jersey Devils to the list of possible trade destinations.
Will the Hurricanes buy or sell at the deadline?
THE CANADIAN PRESS (VIA THE GLOBE AND MAIL): Jonas Siegel notes the recent improvement of the Carolina Hurricanes has put them into contention for a playoff berth. While GM Ron Francis said he doesn’t intend to deviate from patiently rebuilding,Siegel wonders if the club’s surge in the standings (and the correlating uptick in attendance) could make Francis retain possible trade assets like pending UFA forward Eric Staal.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock believes Francis shouldn’t be swayed by the club’s recent improvement and trade Staal and fellow UFAs Cam Ward, Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles at the deadline.He believes it’s better to get something for those pending UFAs than lose them for nothing this summer. DeCock also encourages Francis to try moving Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner if there’s a market for those players. He also suggests the Hurricanes’ current crop of young players might benefit from the additional playing time by filling in for those departed players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m in agreement with DeCock, but only if moving out those pending UFAs fetch decent returns. Yes, you want to get something for them, but it shouldn’t just be, say, a handful of third, fourth or fifth round draft picks.
Latest on the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets and Senators.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: David Haugh hopes Blackhawks management will remain patient with young forward Teuvo Teravainen, who’s struggled at times this season. “For the Hawks to consider trading Teravainen for a more proven veteran would be reckless — and eventually regrettable,” writes Haugh, who also notes there’s a report speculating about a trade involving Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Blackhawks move Teravainen, who is only 21 and should have a bright future in Chicago. Shaw could be shopped, but I suspect GM Stan Bowman prefers to retain him. Bowman could try to land an affordable second-pairing defenseman with a draft pick or a prospect. He’d love to move winger Bryan Bickell, but his $4 million per season salary through next season has proven to be a tough sell.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets have a couple of veterans (winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Fedor Tyutin) who could be traded, but otherwise the Jackets roster won’t look much different following the Feb. 29 trade deadline. President of hockey operations John Davidson insists the Jackets won’t be moving their young talent at the deadline. “Oh, no. We’re not giving up on our future,” Davidson said. “No chance, unless it just makes a ton of sense. There’s no sense that happens. We’re going to continue to draft and develop and go through the process, whether it’s here, Cleveland, junior, college, Europe … whatever it is.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE:The salaries of Hartnell and Tyutin could be difficult to move, though not impossible. If they have a chance to go to a contender, perhaps they’ll waive their respective no-movement clauses.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes Senators GM Bryan Murray could be a seller at the trade deadline if his club doesn’t improve soon. He suggests “countless players” could be on the move next week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t know about “countless”, but I daresay a handful could move. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch seems a likely trade candidate, as his name has been bandied about the rumor mill a fair bit since last season.