The St. Louis Blues’ acquisition of goaltender Ryan Miller and winger Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres has sparked speculation over how their Western Conference rivals will respond.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal wonders if the Los Angeles Kings will pursue Thomas Vanek or the more affordable Matt Moulson, or if the Anaheim Ducks will make a pitch for Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. Matheson also wonders if the Sharks have interest in the Sabres’ Christian Ehrhoff or the Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, and mused about the Blackhawks pursuing Nashville center David Legwand or Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov as a backup for Corey Crawford.
The Kings’ sputtering offense makes them the most likely of this group to make a move. Vanek, Moulson or Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri could be on their radar. The Ducks have two first round picks in this year’s draft and could dangle one along with a prospect or young player to bolster their blueline. However, it could cost more than that to pry Myers out of Buffalo.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson usually makes a deal near the trade deadline. With injured forwards Logan Couture and Raffi Torres having returned to the lineup, he could stand pat. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman claims he’s pleased with his current roster. He’s also handcuffed by limited cap space.
Matheson overlooks the Colorado Avalanche among the Blues’ western rivals. Only three points separate the two clubs in the standings. The Blues won both meetings earlier this season, but the two clubs will square off twice more before season’s end. The Avs aren’t expected to make any major deals, but could pursue a veteran defenseman on deadline day.
HALAK, STEWART, NOT LIKELY TO BE IN BUFFALO FOR LONG
Speaking of the Miller trade, The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports the two players the Sabres received in the deal – goaltender Jaroslav Halak and right winger Chris Stewart – might not be in Buffalo for long. There’s speculation the Minnesota Wild will pursue Halak while the Ottawa Sun reports the Senators still have interest in Stewart.
It’s not unusual for a traded player to be flipped to another club, but such moves usually occur within hours of the initial trade. It’s rare for a player to be dealt again within days of his initial trade.
By trading Miller, Sabres GM Tim Murray has already displayed a willingness to make bold moves. If the Wild or Senators were to make the right offer for Halak or Stewart, Murray would certainly consider it.
THE CALLAHAN WATCH CONTINUES ON BROADWAY
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports sources claim Ryan Callahan has slightly reduced his contract demands from seven years to six. Dollars, however, remain an issue. He’s seeking around $6.5-million per season, while LeBrun believes the Rangers prefer $6 million.
It’s widely assumed Rangers GM Glen Sather will shop Callahan if he’s unsigned by deadline day. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks suggests peddling the 28-year-old winger to Tampa Bay for Lightning star Martin St-Louis. Sather unsuccessfully attempted to acquire St-Louis by offering Callahan straight-up, but Brooks believes the Blueshirts should add a sweetener to their pitch.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson wonders if the Detroit Red Wings would make a pitch for Callahan. While he would undoubtedly be a good fit with the Wings, GM Ken Holland has repeatedly stated he’s not interested in an expensive rental player. He prefers shoring up his defense rather than adding depth to his scoring lines. CBC’s Glenn Healy, meanwhile, believes Callahan will re-sign with the Rangers.
FLYERS STILL NEED TO IMPROVE THEIR DEFENSE
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Sam Carchidi reminds Flyers GM Paul Holmgren time is running out to add a defenseman. Carchidi lists Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, the Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, Buffalo’s Christian Ehrhoff and Dallas’s Trevor Daley among possible trade targets.
Forget about Byfuglien or Daley being available. The Jets and Stars are jockeying for the final wild card berth in the Western Conference and aren’t sellers at this point. The Islanders’ asking price for MacDonald (first round pick) is too expensive. The return for Ehrhoff could be more than Holmgren is willing to pay.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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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