Detroit Red Wings forwards Darren Helm (back/groin) and Patrick Eaves (sprained left MCL/ankle) are expected to return to the lineup this Saturday when the Wings face the New York Rangers.
That's potentially bad news for right winger Jordin Tootoo, as the Wings must clear cap space when Helm and Eaves come off long-term injured reserve.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press wrote Tootoo ($1.9 million per season) could be placed on waivers if the Wings can't trade him for a draft pick.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported sources claimed Tootoo is “in play” and noted the Wings also wish to clear cap space to recall winger Gustav Nyquist from their AHL affiliate.
The Wings reportedly had talks this summer with the Nashville Predators about returning Tootoo to where he began his NHL career. It remains to be seen, however, if the Predators are interested in revisiting those discussions.
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reported there was “some discussion” of the Oilers pursuing Tootoo, but considered it a long shot, noting the winger's expensive salary for someone playing fourth-line minutes.
The Montreal Canadiens, with Brandon Prust and George Parros currently on LTIR, could also have interest in Tootoo.
THE LOWDOWN ON LILES
Dreger also reported the Toronto Maple Leafs are willing to “retain a significant portion” of defenseman John-Michael Liles’ contract if it would encourage a trade.
Liles, 32, struggled to fit into Leafs coach Randy Carlyle's defensive system and was demoted to the minors at the start of the season.
His contract runs through 2015-16 with an annual cap hit of $3.875 million. Under the new CBA, the Leafs only receive $925,000 in cap relief by keeping him in the minors.
Clubs in need of an experienced puck-moving defenseman would have interest in Liles if his salary were reduced. Should the Leafs offer to pick up half his remaining contract (the maximum allowable under the new CBA), it should improve their odds of moving him.
Liles also has a modified no-trade clause, but at this point he might accept a trade anywhere if it means returning to the NHL.
AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT MESZAROS
The Philadelphia Flyers should consider doing the same thing with defenseman Andrej Meszaros.
CBC's Elliotte Friedman reported Meszaros, a healthy scratch in the Flyers last three games, is the “first occupant of coach Craig Berube's doghouse.”
Friedman noted the Flyers attempted to trade Meszaros during the summer. The blueliner's $4 million cap hit, injury history and eligibility for unrestricted free agency next summer hampered those efforts.
Still, if the Flyers offered to absorb half his remaining cap hit, it could improve his trade value. Given their limited cap space, Meszaros could be had for a draft pick.