Check out the latest on a rumored Oilers-Ranger swap, plus updates on Martin Brodeur and Jonas Hiller.
SPORTSNET.CA: Nick Kypreos noted the recent trade speculation linking the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. Citing the Rangers need for offense and the Oilers need for defense, he suggested sophomore winger Nail Yakupov to the Rangers for defenseman Michael Del Zotto, though he wondered if that might be enough for Yakupov, the first overall pick in 2012. John Shannon believes the Oilers will make some changes, suggesting Ales Hemsky could become trade bait even though his $5 million salary could scare some teams away.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers don’t need a puck-moving defenseman like Del Zotto, and believes the Oilers should move Hemsky rather than Yakupov, though he admitted if there’s a chance to get a good player for the young Russian winger the Oilers should make the move.
Jim Matheson, meanwhile, believes the Rangers would part with winger Chris Kreider if Yakupov were in the mix. However, Matheson believes the Oilers are pitching Hemsky, not Yakupov, noting the Oilers have long liked Del Zotto.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek weighed in on the rumors, noting the Oilers can spare a winger or two (Hemsky or Yakupov), while the Rangers have a nucleus of “quietly effective” defensemen, including Del Zotto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky’s salary ($5 million) means the Oilers either have to take back some salary in order for his contract to fit under the Rangers cap, or the Blueshirts will have to dump salary elsewhere before making this deal. I’m guessing the Rangers would prefer the former. I agree with Staples that the Oilers don’t need another puck-moving defenseman. Unless the Rangers are willing to move either Dan Girardi or Marc Staal, the Oilers might not have much choice if they’re keen to deal with the Blueshirts but to take on Del Zotto. The two teams have the pieces to help each other out, they must now try to find the right deal. Perhaps they could do a multi-player deal rather than player-for player, though it could be tricky to make the dollars work at this point in the season.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports long-time Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur didn’t fully rule out the possibility of accepting a trade to another team later in the season if the Devils are out of playoff contention. ”I hope it will never happen, but if there is a situation that could be really fun for me and really good for the Devils, why not?”, said Brodeur, adding he’s 99 percent certain he’d say no if approached now to waive his no-trade clause.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Brodeur said he would never ask GM Lou Lamoriello for a trade, adding he would consider a trade only if it came from Lamoriello.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Brodeur isn’t completely ruling out a trade, but he won’t seek one and prefers to stick with the Devils and help them make the playoffs. If Lamoriello offered him a trade to a Cup contender with a good return for the Devils, perhaps Brodeur considers it. In the meantime, he’s not going anywhere, and I still doubt he gets moved by the trade deadline.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller doesn’t know if this will be his final season with the club. Hiller’s a UFA next summer and he could be pursued this season by clubs seeking to deal for a goaltender. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau dismissed the notion the club’s depth in goal makes Hiller expendable.