- Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: If the Avalanche want to trade Ryan O’Reilly at some point, they are going to have to give him the minutes to put up the points. That would mean that either Matt Duchene or Paul Stastny would become their third line center. The other option would be to move Duchene to the left wing again, but he doesn’t like it, and not is it in the best interest of the team. Feb. 28th, 2014 is the earliest the Avs can trade O’Reilly. So it appears that Avs need to either trade one of their three centers or find better third line wingers to play with O’Reilly (played with John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk in his first game). Dater thinks that the Avs should consider trading Paul Stastny. Stastny has five goals and seven assists in 20 games so far. His point totals have decreased over the last three years from 79 to 57 to 53. He has one year left on his deal at $6.6 million.
- Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Penguins defenseman Simon Despres is available again. Three members of of the Blue Jackets organization were at the Penguins-Lightning game, GM Jarmo Kekalainen, assistant GM Chris MacFarland and senior advisor Craig Patrick. The Penguins are looking to add a defenseman that could play with Kris Letang, or for insurance if Letang is traded before his contract expires at the end of next season. GM Ray Shero said he hopes to sign Letang and Evgeni Malkin to contract extensions. Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson could fit along side Letang. Johnson has a cap of $4.35 million through 2017-18. The Penguins may also be intrigued with idea of adding winger Jarome Iginla.
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: ESPN’s Craig Custance on the Blue’s biggest issue:
“That’s a nice addition if he’s healthy, but their biggest need continues to be on defense, especially the left side. GM Doug Armstrong has made it clear he’s willing to be aggressive to improve this team because they have championship expectations in St. Louis. The challenge is finding a trading partner willing to move a quality defenseman, a commodity many teams are looking for.”
Ian Cole wasn’t able to fill in for the departed Carlo Colaiacovo. Wade Redden hasn’t worked out as hoped.
- Mike Chambers of the Denver Post: The Avalanche may be looking to trade a defenseman so they’d be able to keep Tyson Barrie up when Erik Johnson and Ryan Wilson return. Barrie and Stefan Elliott are the only two that don’t have to clear waivers.