Assorted lists of players potentially available by the NHL trade deadline and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Lists of top NHL trade bait.
TORONTO SUN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and left wing Andrew Ladd top Michael Traikos list of the top names on the NHL trade deadline market. Others include Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin, Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer, Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen’s lists includes New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle, St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Dan Hamhuis and right wing Radim Vrbata and Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Roman Polak.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance’s list includes Arizona Coyotes right wing Mikkel Boedker, San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, Calgary Flames right wing Jiri Hudler, Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Scott Hartnell, Carolina Hurricanes winger Kris Versteeg, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown and Edmonton Oilers winger Teddy Purcell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the players on these lists, I consider Hamonic, Eberle, Shattenkirk, Boedker, Pavelec, Hartnell and Brown as unlikely to move. The Isles want a comparable defenseman for Hamonic and that’s a hard deal to swing right now unless a third team can get involved. I believe the Oilers prefer to retain Eberle and move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Blues could retain Shattenkirk for the remainder of this season and perhaps explore a trade in the offseason. Boedker’s among the Coyotes leading scorers and could remain a key part of their rebuilding process. Pavelec’s inconsistency and $3.9 million cap hit through next season aren’t big selling points. The contracts of Hartnell and Brown are difficult to move.
Updates on the Sharks, Blues and Canadiens.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz speculates if the San Jose Sharks make a big move, it’ll involved veteran forward Patrick Marleau. His agent is reportedly exploring trade options for his client, who is believed to have listed the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers as potential trade destinations. Kurz claims the Rangers have scouted the Sharks in recent weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers play in San Jose on March 19, which could be why they’re scouting the Sharks. I don’t think the Blueshirts are keen to add an aging winger carrying a cap hit of over $6 million for next season.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jeremy P. Rutherford reports the Blues are hoping to improve their offense. They could get a boost from left wing Jaden Schwartz’s eventual return from a fractured ankle. GM Doug Armstrong has also been scouring the market for help. “In addition to Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin, some of the names that appear to be available are Columbus’ Scott Hartnell, New Jersey’s Lee Stempniak, Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd, Boston’s Loui Eriksson, Calgary’s Jiri Hudler and Carolina’s Kris Versteeg.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues could be waiting to see how Schwartz performs before deciding if they need to pursue another scorer via trade. Schwartz could be back in the lineup by next week.
SPORTSNET.CA: Renaud Lavoie believes the floundering Montreal Canadiens will be sellers by the Feb. 29 trade deadline. He expects pending UFAs like Tom Gilbert, Dale Weise and maybe Tomas Fleischmann will be shopped. He doesn’t expect veteran defenseman Andrei Markov will be dealt, though that could change.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markov is an aging defenseman whose best seasons are behind him carrying an annual cap hit of $5.75 million through next season with a modified no-trade clause. While his actual salary for next season drops to $4.25 million, he’ll still be a tough sell at the trade deadline.