With the Winnipeg Jets re-signing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien earlier this week, teams that were interested in trading for him must look elsewhere for blueline help. Their focus could shift toward pending unrestricted free agents like the New York Rangers' Keith Yandle and the Vancouver Canucks' Dan Hamhuis.
Yandle's been the subject of considerable trade speculation this season. There was talk of the Rangers peddling him at the trade deadline for a top-six forward. However, the New York Post's Larry Brooks reports a suspected concussion suffered by blueliner Ryan McDonagh could force the Rangers to hang onto Yandle for the remainder of the season.
TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings had internal discussion about the 33-year-old Hamhuis. He also suggests the Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals could be interested.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman believes the Stars are a good fit for Hamhuis. He doubts the Capitals can fit the blueliner within their limited cap space with sidelined Brooks Orpik returning to their lineup.
Hamhuis' no-trade clause could complicate things. LeBrun isn't sure if he'll waive it or finish out the season in Vancouver. With the Canucks transitioning toward a younger roster, he doesn't appear to have a future in Vancouver. If management approaches him about waiving it, he could consider that as the writing on the wall. An opportunity to skate with a contender could be tempting for Hamhuis.
PREDATORS LOOKING FOR MORE OFFENSE
The Nashville Predators' recent addition of center Ryan Johansen won't keep them from seeking more offense in the days leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Responding to a reader's question, The Tennessean's Adam Vingan points out Predators GM David Poile recently told ESPN.com he'll continue to scour the market for additional scoring.
Vingan believes the Predators need a physical left winger who can skate on the first line with Johansen and right winger James Neal. He suggests Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Scott Hartnell as a hypothetical who could address that need.
The 33-year-old Hartnell began his NHL career with the Predators, playing six seasons with them until being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007. He also played played for Predators head coach Peter Laviolette during their days with the Flyers.
It's been suggested the Blue Jackets might be willing to move Hartnell as they shake up their lineup. However, he has three years remaining on his contract at an annual salary-cap hit of $4.75 million. He also carries a no-trade clause. Given the Predators' cost-conscious mindset, pursuing someone like Hartnell could be a tight fit on their long-term payroll.
MORE RUMOR ROUNDUP:
- Byfuglien deal, Phaneuf trade impacts trade market
- Now expensive backup, Jimmy Howard could be dealt
- Bruins face tough decision on Eriksson
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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