At this time last season, the first major trades were already in the works. Now, early in November, we could see some defensemen switching teams as the trade market continues to heat up.
SI.com columnist Allan Muir observes it was around this time a year ago the first significant trades of 2013-14 took place, most notably the Buffalo Sabres shipping Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson and two draft picks. Muir, Sarah Kwak and Brian Cazeneuve speculated about which NHL teams could be the first to swing a significant trade this season.
Cazeneuve notes “a lot of teams” would love to land Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. Though he doesn’t recommend it, he believes moving Myers could fetch a return to address several areas on the Sabres requiring short-term help. Kwak points out injuries to the respective defense corps of the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers could force them into the trade market, though the market is currently thin for blueliners.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson believes the Sabres intend to hang onto Myers to see if the Detroit Red Wings becomes “more interested” in the 6-foot-8 blueliner. Matheson claims the Sabres want either Anthony Mantha or Dylan Larkin as part of the return for Myers. Quite understandably, the Wings are reluctant to part with either prospect.
Matheson believes the Dallas Stars could also be a good fit for Myers, as such a move was reunite him with former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. The Stars, however, lack what Matheson calls a “high-end offensive kid” except for Valeri Nichushkin. Don’t expect Dallas GM Jim Nill to part with the promising Nichushkin.
Muir acknowledges the recent trade rumors regarding Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, but believes the Hurricanes will ride out this season with the focus on getting the highest pick possible. He adds the Arizona Coyotes to the list of teams needing blueline help, suggesting they need a stay-at-home defenseman to make struggling Coyotes goalie Mike Smith‘s life a little easier.
Outside help for the Coyotes, however, isn’t likely to come anytime soon. The Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan reports the trade market is “almost gridlocked” by players carrying cumbersome contracts. The Coyotes also can’t make any significant moves until after new majority owner Andrew Barroway takes over, which Maloney told McLellan is still several weeks away.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also notes the Bruins and Flyers blueline woes, wondering why they didn’t consider Sabres blueliner Andrej Meszaros, who previously played with both clubs. Friedman suggests Meszaros $4.125-million contract for this season was the issue. It’s more likely because the 29-year-old didn’t make a favorable impression with either club.
The Edmonton Oilers recent four-game winning streak dampened the trade rumors dogging the club since the season began. Friedman, however, believes there’s still interest in Oilers blueliner Jeff Petry from the Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and possibly the Anaheim Ducks.
Petry is a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot, which should make him a much-prized commodity in this season’s trade market. Despite all the speculation, however, Petry remains an Oiler. Either the teams interested in him aren’t keen to pick up his $3.075-million salary, or Oilers management aren’t willing to move him right now.
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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