Oh, boy. Today’s roundup of NHL rumours features the latest on Eric Staal, P.K. Subban, Brian Campbell, Keith Yandle, Eric Gryba, James Reimer, as well as the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. Wonderful time of year.
Staal sure sounds like he’ll be fine with a trade
Eric Staal, 31, is getting more forthcoming with what is looking more and more like the inevitable. Staal told reporters in Ottawa that he’s had contract discussions with Carolina and that he wants to win another Stanley Cup.
“I’m not going to be crushed if a decision is made and I’m moving on for a different opportunity,” Staal said. “Decisions are going to have to be made. I haven’t been approached about waiving [my no-move clause] at this point.”
Staal said he sees brighter days ahead for the organization and is focusing on helping the team win over the next 11 days.
“I’d be doing everything I could if I’m [GM] Ron Francis to move him,” says Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.
Agreed. Problem is, Staal is making $9.5 million in real money this season and carries an $8.25-million cap hit. Steep price for a leader still hunting his 10th goal.
Larry Brooks of The New York Post argues that Staal is the missing piece the Rangers need to make another run to the Cup Final.
Even with the return of concussion-cleared Ryan McDonagh, Brooks doesn’t see the Rangers peddling UFA-to-be defenceman Keith Yandle,
“Their biggest need remains the same as it was through the last two springtimes. They need a formidable, physical top-six winger who will bring a presence to the down-low, grinding game and to the power play,” Brooks opines. “It seems as if there is one impact rental out there, only one worthy of even considering sacrificing a first-rounder, and it is Eric Staal.”
P.K. Subban in the centre of frustration, again
“It’s so emotional in Montreal now, you wouldn’t believe it,” TVA Sports insider Renaud Lavoie told The Jeff Blair Show, after the Canadiens lost Wednesday’s emotional game in Colorado.
Head coach Michel Therrien is likely done after this season — without Carey Price, his team has been the NHL’s worst since Dec. 1 — and tossed P.K. Subban under the bus for the “individual mistake” he made in the third period.
Lavoie said Subban will not make Canada’s initial roster, which will be announced March 2. Whether the risk-taking Subban — a 2015 Norris finalist who won gold playing a support role in Sochi — even makes his country’s 23-man roster is a “good question,” said Lavoie. “As of right now, there’s a lot of doubt about that possibility.”
Warning against overreaction in Montreal, Lavoie did mull the possibility of trading Subban, noting that the star’s no-move clause kicks in July 1.
“Management has to make a decision. If he’s still with the team after July 1, hopefully those two sides are going to find a way to work with each other,” he said. “I don’t expect P.K. to be traded, to be honest with you.”
Who will be the odd man out in Winnipeg?
“Andrew Ladd is going to move somewhere,” Kypreos told Dean Blundell & Co. Thursday. “It doesn’t seem like they’re able to bridge anything on a contract negotiation. He’s been linked to a few spots: Anaheim, Chicago. Lots of talk about Chicago giving up some prospects.”
Jets insider Kelly Moore of CJOB Winnipeg brought nice insight to the situation on Wednesday’s Hockey Central at Noon.
Agreeing that Ladd is likely gone, Moore doesn’t foresee a total teardown and says that Jacob Trouba has endeared himself to the organization despite the defenceman’s mediocre season. That Ladd has a more cap-friendly contract than Staal makes him the more attractive piece for buyers.
If a Winnipeg defenceman does get pushed out as a result of the Dustin Byfuglien commitment, Moore figures it’ll be Tobias Enstrom. One snag: Enstrom holds a no-move clause through 2017-18.
Oilers keeping Gryba regardless?
UFA-in-waiting Eric Gryba has an attractive $1.3-million cap hit, but the Edmonton Journal suggests re-signing instead of trading him. Even though the Oilers are sure to get calls on the depth D-man.
Campbell open to re-signing in Florida
Quietly one of the best defencemen on an expiring contract, Florida’s Brian Campbell and GM Dale Tallon both told beat reporter George Richards that the sides are looking to work out an extension.
Trade possibility on Reimer’s mind
Goaltender, and impending UFA, James Reimer addressed the deadline Wednesday.
“You think about it like anybody,” said Reimer. (I think he’d be a perfect rental for a contender seeking depth in net.) “This time of year – heck, even if your name isn’t being tossed around – you never know what’s going on. It’s a time of year when things happen, the unexpected happens.”
Welcome to the Sabres’ annual clearance sale
A selling team not based in Canada (but pretty close) is the Sabres. Mike Harrington examined the club’s trade chips for the Buffalo News.
One of the more interesting ideas: GM Tim Murray rents winger Jamie McGinn, then re-signs him as a free agent, as he did with Matt Moulson. Harrington also suggests there will be interest in defenceman Mike Weber and forwards Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis.