- Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: There is increasing talk that the Sabres will trade goalie Ryan Miller, and it could happen before the Olympic Break. The goalie market is limited though. The Blues are mentioned, but GM Doug Armstrong continually backs Jaroslav Halak. The Wild could be another landing spot as Josh Harding is out indefinitely due to MS complications. If the Sabres are asking for a Miller is reasonable, they might be interested. The asking price could be a player, prospect and pick.
Capitals GM George McPhee may be feeling the heat and has been calling GMs to see if he can make a deal to turn his team around. He doesn’t have a contract beyond this season. Martin Erat and Michal Neuvirth have asked for trades.
Coyotes GM Don Maloney is getting calls on Radim Vrbata. The Coyotes won’t know what they want to do with him until they find out if he wants to re-sign or if they are out of the playoff race by the trade deadline.
The Canadiens have been putting Brian Gionta’s name out there.
The Flames have talked with Mike Cammalleri to see if he wants to re-sign.
The Olympic roster freeze is Friday February 7th at 11:59 pm:
“A lot of teams are nervous,” a league executive told Insider Trading. “I really think there are some teams that are in playoff races that want to make changes. You have to think there’s going to be some trades before players going to the Olympics because teams aren’t going to want to wait until March 5 to position themselves.”
The Penguins, Kings and Sharks want to be active.
The Islanders want to keep Thomas Vanek, but if he doesn’t want to re-sign, they’ll move him. Teams have called, but GM Garth Snow has shot down all offers so far.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has been working the phones. The Jets are playing better under Paul Maurice, but they are still talking to teams about potential deals. Jets trade options include: Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets may only move one of those players.
The Coyotes, Kings and Canucks have called the Stars about Ray Whitney. Vernon Fiddler could also be dealt.
Rangers Dan Girardi isn’t close to re-signing and could be on his way out.
Maple Leafs Nazem Kadri’s name continues to be in the rumor mill with the emergence of Peter Holland.
- Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News: Sabres GM Tim Murray wouldn’t say what will happen with any of their pending UFAs, but did say that he’s casually talked with Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott. Murray did make it clear that they won’t be moved unless they get a significant return.
“I told them not to believe everything they read or everything they’ve heard on the sports channels. But certainly their names are in play and we’ll see what happens but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll be moved at all. For me, it’s all about return. These are good players. So if the return was up to a certain point and not great and we then decide we want to talk to them about staying, then that’s an option too.”
Murray said teams have contacted him to see what his plans are for the Sabres.
“There’s been lots of interaction, a lot of early talking,” he said. “There’s been no real specifics. I think teams are just trying to feel us out, feel me out on what we want to do. There’s certainly been discussions. I’m not sure there’s any artificial deadline. I think people are in a wait-and-see mode, to tell you the truth.
“People are concerned about injuries this far out. If a contending team makes their one big move and that guy is not available when he needs to be, there’s concern there from those teams. I’m really not sure a lot of teams want to pull off the big trade this far out. It could happen, but it doesn’t seem to me there’s any urgency right now.”
- Jonas Siegel of TSN: Maple Leafs James Reimer wants to fight to get his No. 1 status back and has no intention of asking for a trade. Reimer will be a RFA at the end of the season and has arbitration rights. He could receive a raise and more than likely will be traded by next fall, if not sooner.
- Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe: The Penguins are tight up against the salary cap ceiling, so any deal will have to be money in, money out. Three defenseman trade targets for the Bruins could be Andrew MacDonald, Chris Phillips and Henrik Tallinder. It could be a quiet trade period as so many teams are up against the cap and have their own players re-sign this summer. Prices for rentals will be “stupid high” according to one executive. If Sabres GM Tim Murray is able to get another 1st round pick by trading any of Tallinder, Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott, they could look to move one their current ones (their own, the new pick or the Islanders conditional 1st) for NHL ready player(s).
- Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: There was talk that the Penguins may look to move Simon Despres, but it sounds like they still think he has the potential to be an impact player.
“Where he is right now, in terms of his career, he’s in a good spot,” Shero said. “In terms of the progression he’s made and his maturity, on and off the ice, I think that’s coming.
“Even though he’s not [in the NHL now], we still believe he’s a very good prospect for us and will be an NHL player, for sure.”
“In terms of our long-range plans, we’ve got some pretty good players here , and some good young players coming,” Shero said. “The good news is, he’s one of them.”
- Adrian Dater via Sulia: Scouting the Avalanche and Lightning: Red Wings (2), Blue Jackets (GM Jarmo Kekalainen), Blackhawks, Penguins and Rangers. Dater has also heard John Mitchell’s name pop up in the rumor mill of late.