We are precisely one month away from the NHL trade deadline, and with an eight-point cushion separating those Eastern Conference teams in the playoff picture and those on the outside looking in, it has become clear who the buyers and sellers will be on the right side of the bracket.
As we charge toward the March 2 trade deadline, here is a rundown of the rumours making the rounds around the league.
Coyotes want to beat the rush
No general manager has been more vocal about his eagerness to deal than the Arizona Coyotes. Don Maloney appeared on Ottawa radio Friday and said captain Shane Doan was the only “untouchable” on his roster.
Following up on his Hockey Night in Canada report that the competition has been inquiring about Coyotes centre Martin Hanzal, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman hopped on Sportsnet The Fan 960 Monday.
“Maloney wants to beat the rush. If you make him the offer now, he will do it,” Friedman said on air. “I think Vancouver, for example, would be interested. They’re not going to pay what [Maloney] wants. I look at what Vancouver’s got, and I don’t know this for sure, but I guarantee he’s talking like [Bo] Horvat and a pick. And I just don’t think the Canucks are going to do that.”
Senators say no to Lazar deal?
The asking price on Arizona forward Antoine Vermette (a rental player whose deal is up July 1) needs to come down — and, best guess, it will.
The Ottawa Senators expressed interest in the scorer, but, the Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch writes, “the asking price may have been top-prospect Curtis Lazar or another high-end prospect.”
If true, yikes.
Red Wings unlikely to pony up for Yandle
The most intriguing Coyotes trade chip, in these eyes, is defenceman Keith Yandle, who has a year and a half left on his deal. Because Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 23, is so awesome and Connor Murphy, 21, is developing into something worth holding onto, Yandle might be expendable for a decent return.
The 28-year-old American will be the oldest player on Arizona’s blueline after the Coyotes deal Zbynek Michalek (likely) or let him walk in free agency.
Who loves kicking tires on D-men? Detroit!
But MLive.com reports that the Wings are unwilling to pay the price for Yandle, which is a top prospect and/or a good, young roster player.
Ducks hunting for D-man
During his 960 appearance, Friedman said he believes Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray is looking for a big blueliner to help his playoff run.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can move the puck,” the insider said. “I think he’d love – not that he’s available – but if there’s a Johnny Boychuk-type defenceman, I do think Anaheim would love to add somebody like that.”
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun writes that Murray is targeting Tyler Myers of the Sabres.
“He’s got the bargaining chips and there’s a ton of interest in Myers,” a league exec told Garrioch.
The Avalanche has also kicked tires on Myers, according to the Sun.
Hodgson’s ‘bad situation’
Cody Hodgson, once believed to have been a steal for the Sabres when they acquired him from Vancouver, has scored just twice in 48 games this season for Buffalo and was healthy-scratched against the Canucks.
“It’s just a bad situation,” the underachieving centre told the Buffalo News. “Obviously, it’s not my decision. You want to play, and you want to play as well as you can. You have to talk to them about what the decision was ultimately. Obviously, I know going forward I can play better.”
Hodgson will return to the Sabres lineup Tuesday in Montreal.
Three teams interested in Phaneuf
If the suddenly goal-deficient Toronto Maple Leafs do trade their captain, most expect a deal to take place after the season’s over.
Garrioch writes that the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames (Brian Burke! Cap space!) and Dallas Stars all have an interest in Toronto’s top defenceman.
Rangers looking for a rental?
With a fierce battle for supremacy in the East, Newsday looks at five non-Vermette trade-bait fits for a Rangers squad looking to return to the final: Mike Santorelli (Maple Leafs), Andrej Sekera (Carolina), Cody Franson (Maple Leafs), Chris Stewart (Sabres) and Marek Zidlicky (Devils).
Because of last year’s Martin St. Louis deal, New York is that rare team without a first-round pick in 2015 to dangle in return. This should hurt the Rangers in a bidding war.