Updates on the Hurricanes, Stars, Blackhawks, Flyers, Devils, Penguins, Capitals and Leafs in your NHL rumor mill. 

Latest on Eric Staal.

Could the Rangers pursue Eric Staal?

Could the Rangers pursue Eric Staal?

TSN: Frank Seravalli wonders if there’s a market for Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal. He points out there’s “only six playoff-bound teams can afford Staal’s full cap hit on Feb. 29: the Stars, Islanders, Panthers, Ducks, Avalanche and Predators.” However, Seravalli cites various reasons why Staal probably isn’t a fit with any of those clubs. To broaden Staal’s trade value, the Hurricanes could be forced to pick up part of Staal’s contract, take back a contract or both.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks expects Rangers GM Jeff Gorton to pursue Staal by the trade deadline. Brooks believes the Hurricanes’ captain is the only player in the trade market worth sacrificing a first-round pick for. Brooks also suggests forward Oscar Lindberg as part of the return and thinks the Hurricanes would have to absorb half of Staal’s cap charge. With the Rangers having improved in the past month, Brooks feels this season could be their last shot at winning the Stanley Cup before their window of opportunity closes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Hurricanes intend to move Staal, I expect they will pick up part of his remaining contract. It’s the best way to broaden interest. As for the Rangers pursuing Staal, they’re welcome to it, but I think their Cup window closed at the end of last season. Yes, once the playoffs begin, they have a chance, but I’m not convinced their current roster can go all the way this year, even if they included Staal.

Will the Stars make a deadline move?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika suggests Stars GM Jim Nill could be leery of pursuing veterans as rental players at the trade deadline, perhaps instead preferring a deal that can help in the short and long term. If Nill pursues a deadline deal, Heika lists defensemen like Toronto’s Roman Polak,Winnipeg’s Jacob  and Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis, along with forwards like Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker and Winnipeg Andrew Ladd as those who could help the Stars.

Updates on the Blackhawks, Flyers, Devils and Penguins.

CBS SPORTS: Chris Peters reports Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville believes his club should target forwards via trade. Peters points out the Blackhawks have $3.9 million in cap room to make additions at the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman will be busy at the trade deadline, likely in pursuit of a left wing who can skate on their top line. I think he’ll look at an affordable option like Carolina Hurricanes left wing (and former Blackhawks) Kris Versteeg.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports the PIttsburgh Penguins also have some cap space (around $2 million, according to GM Jim Rutherford) for deadline day additions. “That doesn’t mean Rutherford is itching to part ways with draft picks or any of the team’s top-end prospects, such as defenseman Derrick Pouliot, winger Daniel Sprong and goalie Matt Murray, in exchange for veteran players with expiring contracts.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford’s been very active in this season’s trade market and I expect he will remain so up to the deadline. Given how much the club has given up in draft picks and prospects in other deals in recent years, he’ll obviously be seeking a bargain depth player for perhaps a draft pick or one of his lesser prospects.


CSNPHILLY.COM:  Tim Panaccio believes Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall should go into sell mode at the trade deadline. suggesting blueliners Mark Streit, Nick Schultz and Evgeny Medvedev be put on the trade block. Panaccio doesn’t see anyone having interest in defenseman Andrew MacDonald or fading winger R.J. Umberger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Streit has another season at $5.25 million left on his contract with a modified no-trade clause. The Flyers will have to pick up a healthy chunk of that salary or take back another contract to move him at the deadline. Schultz is also signed through next season but at a more affordable $2.25 million and lacks a no-trade clause. The 33-year-old Medvedev is a UFA with a $3 million cap hit. 

**UPDATE** As one of my readers points out, the Flyers are already at the limit this year for retained salary (three players), so they can’t do that with Streit this season. 

NJ.COM: If the New Jersey Devils become sellers, Rich Chere lists defensemen Eric Gelinas and David Schlemko, as well as forwards Lee Stempniak, Stefan Matteau and Jordin Tootoo as possible trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stempniak and Gelinas would attract the most interest as rental players. 

Latest on the Leafs, Oilers and Capitals.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs pending UFAs like defenseman Roman Polak and goalie James Reimer acknowledge they could be moved by the trade deadline. Even center Nazem Kadri, a restricted free agent this summer, admitted there’s a chance he could be dealt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the Leafs UFAs, Polak, P-A Parenteau and perhaps Shawn Matthias seem the most likely to move. I still think the Leafs will re-sign Kadri and will try to re-sign Reimer. 

CSN MID ATLANTIC: Chuck Gormley speculates the Washington Capitals “will set their sights on a depth defenseman in the $1 million range who can fill in as a sixth, seventh or even eighth blue liner.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect a big splash by the Capitals at the deadline.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers winger Matt Hendricks is likely to draw interest at the trade deadline. His age (34) and $1.8 million salary for next season must be taken into account. Matheson suggests the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers are contending teams that know Hendricks best.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could seek a top-nine winger, but the Blackhawks are believed in the market for a left winger who can skate on the Toews line. That rules out Hendricks.