Rumor Roundup: Avalanche’s O’Reilly, Sabres’ Myers center of trade talks

Ryan O'Reilly (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche’s struggles this season continue to provide fodder for trade rumors involving versatile forward Ryan O’Reilly, winner of the 2014 Lady Byng Trophy.

It’s well known the Avalanche lack skilled blueline depth, which is reflected in their woeful shots-against per game and puck-possession numbers. Some pundits believe the 23-year-old O’Reilly could fetch the Avs a top-two defenseman. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests shipping O’Reilly to Arizona for Coyotes blueliner Keith Yandle makes sense for both clubs, though O’Reilly’s unrestricted free agent status in 2016 could be a sticking point. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Coyotes, Oilers, and Hurricanes trade buzz

Yandle Featured

With the Arizona Coyotes’ playoff hopes dimming, GM Don Maloney made what could be the first of several deals before the March trade deadline, shipping goalie Devan Dubnyk to Minnesota for a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The Dubnyk trade increases focus upon the Coyotes’ plans for several of their notable veterans. They made clear last week via Twitter, long-time captain Shane Doan isn’t available. It remains to be seen what the future holds for center Antoine Vermette, who’s an unrestricted free agent in July.

While Vermette’s status dominates the Coyotes trade watch, rumors persist over the future of defenseman Keith Yandle. The 28-year-old has one season remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. He’s among the Coyotes’ leading scorers this season and there are rival clubs who could use his puck-moving skills on their bluelines.

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa believes Yandle, a Boston native, would be a perfect fit with the Bruins. The asking price, however, could be steep. Shinzawa speculates it could cost the Bruins Torey Krug, “maybe another young roster player, a pick and a prospect” to land Yandle.

In recent weeks there’s been suggestions the Coyotes should peddle Yandle to the Colorado Avalanche straight up for versatile forward Ryan O’Reilly. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman thinks such a deal would make sense for both clubs. The Avalanche land an experienced top-two defenseman and the Coyotes get a possible replacement for Vermette. Friedman claims, however, there’s skepticism around the league Maloney will move his best trade chip for a player who could bolt via free agency in 2016.

Yandle’s future will be determined by whatever plans new Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway has in store for the club. If a major rebuild is in order, Yandle could be dealt before the trade deadline. A more likely option, however, is Maloney fields trade offers in the off-season, where teams have more cap space to work with.

TEAMS SEEKING SEKERA

Expect considerable interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera if he’s placed on the block before the March trade deadline. Sekera, 28, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and it could take double his current annual cap hit of $2.75 million to keep him in Carolina.

Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the New York Rangers could be among the suitors. TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes the Los Angeles Kings could consider Sekera as a short-term option to replace the suspended Slava Voynov.

The Rangers have limited cap space this season so they’ll either have to move some salary to the Hurricanes in the deal or shed dollars in a separate deal. The Kings have some wiggle room thanks to Voynov’s suspension but could run into cap difficulties if he returns later in the season.

PETRY ON THE MARKET

Teams in need of an affordable defenseman with a right-handed shot could be in touch with the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline. Blueliner Jeff Petry is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and could test the market this summer.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson considers Petry’s days as an Oilers are numbered, believing the 27-year-old rearguard has value as a trade asset. He speculates the Pittsburgh Penguins or Detroit Red Wings could come calling.

It’s no secret the Red Wings have been in the market for some time for a top-four blueliner who shoots right. The Penguins, however, have considerable depth in young defensemen. Even with Olli Maatta sidelined for the rest of the season to a shoulder injury, there’s sufficient depth there to offset his absence.

Keep an eye on the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars if Petry hits the market. Like the Wings, the Ducks and Stars could use another right-handed shot on their respective bluelines.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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Rumor Roundup: Kessel, Phaneuf could be traded in off-season

Kessel-Phaneuf (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

In the week since the Toronto Maple Leafs replaced coach Randy Carlyle on an interim basis with Peter Horachek, trade rumors continue to dog the club. Much of it centers upon Leafs star Phil Kessel, whose critics were out in full force last week.

During the Kessel-bashing fest, Sportsnet’s Luke Fox noted Nashville Predators GM David Poile appeared on TSN radio to defend the 27-year-old winger. Poile was the architect of the 2014 Men’s Olympic hockey team and Kessel was part of the lineup. Fox claims Poile’s comments “raised eyebrows”, pointing out the Predators GM expressed interest in trading for Kessel in 2009 before the winger was dealt by the Boston Bruins to the Leafs. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Senators searching for offense, Wild eye Ward

Wardedit

Passing the midway point of the season, the Ottawa Senators have considerable ground to gain in the Eastern Conference standings if they hope to make the playoffs. Entering their Jan. 13th game against the Dallas Stars, the Senators were eight points out of the final wild-card berth.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators management prefers to be buyers as the March 2 trade deadline approaches, but that won’t happen unless the club can overcome their current deficit in the standings. While the Senators record is better under new coach Dave Cameron, there remains room for improvement.

Garrioch claims GM Bryan Murray is actively seeking a top-six forward to boost the Senators offense. Murray said he’s spoken with several teams about an experienced point getter. Such players, however, aren’t easy to find right now. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Vermette may stay in Arizona, Jagr could be out of New Jersey

Antoine Vermette (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Trade rumors continue to dog Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and with the struggling Coyotes under a new majority owner it’s believed Vermette could be dealt at the trade deadline.

That opinion, however, could be hasty. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance cites an unnamed NHL GM saying Vermette’s status is currently in a holding pattern, claiming Coyotes management still hopes to re-sign the 32-year-old center. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Minnesota mired in goaltending woes, Devils might deal

Lyle Richardson
(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild are struggling to keep their post-season dreams alive. Having won only twice in their last 10 games, the Wild find themselves six points out of the final wild card berth in the Western Conference.

Goaltending is their biggest problem. Though the Wild have given up the fewest shots-against per game, they’re among the league’s worst teams in goals-against per game.

Darcy Kuemper, 24, was struggling as the Wild’s starter before being recently placed on injured reserve, while age and injury have caught up with 36-year-old backup Niklas Backstrom. Josh Harding remains sidelined by multiple sclerosis symptoms and isn’t expected to return. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Flyers futility could force Hextall’s hand

Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers

As the Philadelphia Flyers approach the mid-season point of their schedule they find themselves in danger of falling completely out of playoff contention. Heading into the Jan. 8 match-up with the Washington Capitals, the Flyers were nine points out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t ready yet to overhaul his roster. If the club continues on its current downward spiral, however, Carchidi believes it’s only a matter of time before Hextall makes some changes. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Trade winds blowing after Maple Leafs fire Carlyle

Lyle Richardson
Cody Franson, Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk

It didn’t take long to for the Toronto Maple Leafs firing of head coach Randy Carlyle on Jan. 6 to ramp up the Leafs trade speculation. Before the day was over the Toronto media was ruminating over which Leafs were most likely to hit the trade block.

Leafs GM Dave Nonis fuelled the conjecture during the press conference announcing Carlyle’s firing, pointing out his players were “moveable” while noting none had full no-move clauses. TSN’s Darren Dreger went one step further, claiming all the Leafs players were “potential trade targets.” Read more