Mikkel Boedker (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Three big names to watch as the trade deadline approaches are Andrew Ladd, Eric Staal and Mikkel Boedker, all of whom could be dealt by next Monday. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers could consider moving their first-round pick, and the Canadiens could be ready to deal.
The NHL's Feb. 29 trade deadline is only a week away. As the big day approaches, Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd, Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal and Arizona Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker top the list of players expected to be on the move.
According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers are possible destinations for the 30-year-old Jets captain. Both teams have the cap space to take on the remainder of his $4.4-million cap hit. Friedman also speculates the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks could get in on the bidding.
TSN's Gary Lawless also believes the Panthers, Blackhawks and Ducks could pursue Ladd, along with the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. He claims the Jets received an offer from one club of a first-round pick and a prospect, though he didn't indicate where it came from.
If the Jets trade Ladd, they could seek a return that helps them now and in the future. With the Islanders and Panthers having depth in good young forwards, that could give them an edge over the Blackhawks and Ducks. As for the Capitals, recent reports out of Washington suggest they're in the market for a depth defenseman, not a first-line left wing.
STAAL NOT ASKED TO WAIVE NO-MOVEMENT CLAUSE
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun believes the Hurricanes could move the 31-year-old Staal. He cites a league source claiming the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers could be interested.
If Hurricanes GM Ron Francis intends to move Staal, he's not in a hurry. Sportsnet's Damien Cox reports the Hurricanes haven't asked Staal to waive his no-movement clause and he hasn't volunteered to waive it. There's also been no discussion about Staal accepting a hometown discount to re-sign with the 'Canes.
The Hurricanes are still jockeying for playoff position, which could account for Francis' seeming reluctance to trade Staal. On the other hand, he could be waiting until deadline day in hopes of improving Staal's value on the trade market.
BLACKHAWKS A POTENTIAL FIT FOR BOEDKER
The Buffalo News' Michael Harrington suggests the Blackhawks could be a good fit for the 26-year-old Boedker. The 'Hawks have the cap space to take on the remainder of his $3.75-million cap hit. They also have a trade history with the Coyotes, shipping a first-round pick and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to Arizona last February for center Antoine Vermette.
OILERS’ FIRST-ROUNDER A TRADE OPTION?
The Edmonton Oilers enter this week sitting dead last in the NHL's overall standings. They could still be in that position by season's end, which of course will increase their chances of winning the draft lottery for the fifth time in seven years.
If that happens, some observers assume Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will shop the pick for a top defenseman. For teams seeking depth at center, swinging a trade for a shot at top prospect Auston Matthews could be tempting.
The Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones suggests Chiarelli not bother waiting for the outcome of the draft lottery, calling upon the Oilers GM to entertain offers for his first-round pick at the trade deadline. Jones points out there's a 20-percent chance the Oilers pick could be selected first overall and just over a 13-percent chance it'll be second overall.
Those odds could be attractive to a rival GM with a willingness to gamble, and there's certainly no harm in Chiarelli looking into the current value of his first-round pick. Most likely, however, Chiarelli will find his peers prefer waiting until the results of the lottery are known.
Meanwhile, Chiarelli will focus on finding decent returns for pending free-agents like right wing Teddy Purcell and defenseman Justin Schultz. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Oilers are also shopping winger Lauri Korpikoski, who has a $2.5-million cap hit through 2016-17.
The Edmonton Journal's Jonathan Willis reports the Oilers will showcase Nikita Nikitin this week in hopes of moving him at the deadline. Nikitin, 29, spent most of this season in the minors, in part because there weren't any takers for his $4.5-million cap hit.
SUBBAN STAYING, BUT WEISE, GILBERT AVAILABLE
Forget about the P.K. Subban trade speculation that emerged late last week. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said the 26-year-old superstar defenseman isn't being traded.
Bergevin is expected to be a seller at next week's trade deadline, but it's unlikely he'll move any of his core players. Pending unrestricted free agents, like winger Dale Weise and defenseman Tom Gilbert, are expected to hit the block.
TVA Sports' Louis Jean reports of no contract discussions between Bergevin and Weise's agent. Jean claims several teams are interest in the 27-year-old checking-line winger.
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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