Don’t expect the Sabres to be done quite yet. There are a few players who could still be on their way out of Buffalo. Meanwhile, the Devils and Blues are in the trade market heading up to the March 2 deadline.
The Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets rocked the hockey world this week with their eight-player blockbuster trade. Having swapped Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, don’t expect the two clubs to be idle leading up to the March 2 NHL trade deadline.
Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun notes the Jets were seeking a top-nine forward prior to Kane being sidelined by season-ending shoulder surgery. That need hasn’t changed by replacing Kane with Stafford. He also points out the Jets swapping Bogosian for Myers still leaves them with a glut of defensemen. Wyman expects they’ll try to move one of their depth blueliners for a checking-line forward.
The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports the Sabres are still peddling pending free-agent forwards Chris Stewart and Torrey Mitchell. Vogl expects both players will be gone by the trade deadline. Stewart’s been linked to the Boston Bruins for months, but the Sabres rumored asking price of a first- or second-round pick and a top prospect remains a stumbling block.
Vogl’s colleague Bucky Gleason reports center Cody Hodgson faces an uncertain future with the Sabres. A frequent healthy scratch, his production has significantly declined from his promising 34 points in 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. With only eight points so far this season, he’s fallen well short of expectations.
Gleason notes, however, Hodgson still has four more seasons and $25.5 million remaining on his contract, which could prove difficult to move. If the Sabres fail to find any takers in the trade market, they could consider a buyout in June. However, as he’s under 26-years-old, it would be at one-third the remaining value over twice the remaining tenure.
The Sabres appear stuck with Hodgson for the time being. It’s notable that his production appeared to decline soon after Ted Nolan was hired as head coach last season. There’s speculation Nolan could be fired at season’s end and replaced by Binghamton Senators bench boss Luke Richardson. They could hang onto Hodgson in hopes he’ll regain his form under a new head coach.
JAGR AVAILABLE FOR TRADE
New Jersey Devils veteran right wing Jaromir Jagr is drawing plenty of attention in the rumor mill. With the Devils well out of playoff contention and the trade deadline fast approaching, it’s believed the 42-year-old Jagr could be playing for another team very soon.
TSN’s Darren Dreger claims Devils GM Lou Lamoriello still believes his club is in playoff contention and Jagr doesn’t want to bail on the Devils. They could revisit the possibility of a trade next week.
Earlier in the week, NJ.com’s Rich Chere reported Jagr believed the Devils could trade him if they get a good offer. Lamoriello claimed he wasn’t thinking about the trade deadline, which Chere doubted was the truth.
Jagr downplayed a report of his agent recently meeting with Lamoriello, but NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti believes Jagr sounds like a player who could use a change of scenery. It’s thought he prefers a trade to a playoff contender.
Despite his age, Jagr is still putting up decent offensive numbers (29 points in 50 games) on a lousy offensive team. The Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals could consider him an affordable rental player.
SHATTENKIRK INJURY PUTS BLUES ON THE MARKET
The St. Louis Blues defense corps suffered a significant loss when all-star blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk recently underwent abdominal surgery. It’s unknown how long he’ll be sidelined, which is raising some questions over how the Blues could cover off his absence.
Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speculates GM Doug Armstrong could consider adding a short-term replacement. He notes the Ottawa Sun reported Armstrong could have interest in Arizona Coyotes veteran Zbynek Michalek, a pending free agent who several clubs are watching.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Blues, for the right price, could add a physical depth defenseman. Even with Shattenkirk on the shelf, LeBrun claims they’re confident about their blueline depth. He notes they have around $5.9 million in cap space to make a move if they want to.
If the Blues add a depth defenseman it’ll likely be a rental player. While they have cap space this season they cannot afford to take on significant salary beyond this season. They have over $56 million invested in 15 players for 2015-16, with rising young superstar Vladimir Tarasenko in line for a substantial raise. Promising goalie Jake Allen is also a restricted free agent.
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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