No shortage of trade talk — just a shortage of trades ... Isles must be nervous about Tavares situation ... Senators could be busy ... What’s with Jagr?
The talk is finally starting to heat up leading into the Feb. 26 trade deadline, but National Hockey League general managers are still at the tire-kicking stage.
The usual problem exists: Buyers far outnumber sellers.
Sure, there was one trade last week, when the Edmonton Oilers sent a fourth-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for
Al Montoya, backup goalie but there should be bigger deals than that as the playoff race heats up in the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Right now it’s a waiting game. Asking prices are high from those looking to move players.
“There’s not a lot of teams that are out of it right now,” one league executive said Saturday. “Yes, a lot of teams are calling around, but it’s going to take some time before the market gets set.”
Most teams are just sitting down for their annual scouting meetings to determine the next steps. Sure, there’s a lot of preparation for the NHL draft at Dallas in June, but much of the work involves what will happen at the trade deadline.
Does a team want to add? Subtract? Should they sit still? Does a team on the outside want to add another piece that might help vault it into playoff position? Decisions made in the next seven weeks will go a long way in charting the future course.
Sooner or later the first domino will fall and there will be a push to get deals done.
OFF THE GLASS
There’s talk the New York Islanders are getting more and more nervous about
John the future of captain Tavares,
who has a cap hit of $5.5 million in the final year of his contract. There is talk Tavares’ camp isn’t keen on talking about a deal during the season, which doesn’t help if the Isles are listening to trade offers. They went into their game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils only two points out of the final wild-card spot in the East, so Tavares isn’t going anywhere if they stay close. This will be an interesting situation to the trade deadline at the end of February … San Jose Sharks
Doug general manager Wilson
has been calling looking for a forward.
AROUND THE BOARDS
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion
has spent lots of time on the phone, and plenty of counterparts are willing to help if Dorion wants to trade, but don’t expect anything before the club’s scouting meetings. There’s interest in forwards Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith,
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and while a few teams have called
Cody about defenceman Ceci. One player who won’t
Derick be moved is centre Brassard.
Teams have called because of his ability to perform in the post-season, but the Senators feel he’s part of the solution. The St. Louis Blues have shown interest in Hoffman and had a scout in the building for the Senators’ game Friday night against the Sharks, when Brassard scored for the first time in 14 games.
Johnny Oduya, Veteran who will receive a $250,000 bonus if he hits the 41-game mark after the Senators return from their mandated break later this month, likely will be moved to a contender looking for defensive help. His experience would be a good asset for anybody down the stretch … You have to wonder what’s next for the Calgary Flames and 45-yearold
Jaromir Jagr, forward who is day-to-day with an unspecified injury. Jagr has had only a limited role when he has been in the lineup, plus he missed training camp, which was important for him. It’s believed Jagr could be released by the Flames to play for the Czech team at the Winter Olympics, but everybody is being tightlipped. Flames general
Brad Treliving manager has been sniffing around for forward help.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
There’s a lot of talk about Vancouver Canucks
Erik defenceman Gudbranson.
It makes sense since he can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and several teams are in the market for a blueliner. Gudbranson, who turns 26 Sunday, will attract a lot of attention because he’s young and has lots of experience and went to the playoffs twice with the Florida Panthers. The Maple Leafs, looking for a defenceman, got a firsthand look at Gudbranson on Saturday night, when the Canucks visited Air Canada Centre. The Canucks are also listening to offers for
Ben Hutton defenceman … What’s this about the asking price for Montreal
Max Canadiens winger Pacioretty
being high? Word from league executives is that
Marc Habs general manager Bergevin
wants to hit a home run if he’s going to deal the club’s captain. What exactly is that? The belief is that the Habs want a top forward and a No. 1 pick for Pacioretty, who has one year left with a cap hit of $4.5 million. The 29-year-old had nine goals and 13 assists in his first 41 games this season, so it’s doubtful anybody would give up much to make that deal.
Have a nice Sunday and Happy New Year!
John Tavares is in the final year of his contract with the New York Islanders, and isn’t likely to talk about a contract extension during the season.