UFA Tracker

Rumor Roundup: Andrew Ladd should be most sought-after trade chip

The Lightning’s announcement that superstar Steven Stamkos won’t be dealt by the trade deadline could provide a boost to the trade value of Winnipeg Jets left winger Andrew Ladd.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s announcement that superstar Steven Stamkos won’t be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline could provide a boost to the trade value of Winnipeg Jets left winger Andrew Ladd. Like Stamkos, the 30-year-old Jets captain is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.

Since re-signing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year contract extension last week, it’s widely assumed the Jets will shop Ladd. Having already invested heavily in one 30-year-old star, it’s believed the Jets can’t afford to retain Ladd, who reportedly seeks a six-year deal worth over $40 million.

Ladd remains in limbo as Jets management evaluate their plans going forward and where their captain fits into them. With the trade deadline fast approaching, however, he won’t be in a holding pattern for long.

Should the Jets decide part ways with Ladd, the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger believes the winger could be the biggest name available at the trade deadline. The rumor mill has Ladd linked with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild.

Those aren’t the only clubs who could pursue Ladd. The Anaheim Ducks still need a boost on the left side, while the offensively anemic New Jersey Devils could look into his services. With winger Marian Gaborik sidelined until the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings could also have interest.


Throughout this season, it was assumed Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis would ship out pending UFAs like captain Eric Staal, goaltender Cam Ward, left wing Kris Versteeg and defenseman John-Michael Liles by the trade deadline. With the Hurricanes in the midst of a rebuild, it’s better for Francis to jettison most, if not all, of those players for the best possible return.

In recent weeks, however, the Hurricanes surged in the Eastern Conference standings. Only a handful of points separates them from a wild-card berth. Their improvement on the ice has sparked an uptick in attendance. Though Francis insists he’ll stick to his rebuilding plan, Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press wonders if he’ll reconsider shopping his UFAs.

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The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock hopes Francis resists the temptation of keeping those players for a long-shot hope of a playoff berth this season. He not only calls upon Francis to peddle those free agents, but also forwards Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal if there’s any market for them.

The next week and a half could determine what direction Francis takes. If the Hurricanes lose ground in the standings, he could be busy at the trade deadline.


With the Edmonton Oilers’ playoff hopes dashed once again, there’s speculation GM Peter Chiarelli will be active at the trade deadline. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports there’s interest in right wing Teddy Purcell and defenseman Justin Schultz.

Purcell, 30, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Given the Oilers’ depth in young scoring forwards, he doesn’t appear to have a long-term future in Edmonton. A former 65-point winger with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011-12, Purcell is on pace this season for a respectable 45 points.

Schultz, 26, is a restricted free agent who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. Having struggled to establish himself as a top-four defenseman with the Oilers, it’s unlikely he’ll get a long-term contract extension.

Earlier this season, there was talk of right wing Jordan Eberle hitting the trade block. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Eberle’s strong chemistry with rookie center Connor McDavid should ensure he remains an Oiler.


Big trade might be next desperate move by Wild

Stamkos, Drouin make Lightning team to watch at deadline

With nine UFAs, Maple Leafs aren’t done dealing


Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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