- Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Brad Richards skated for the 1st time since Feb. 13th yesterday.
“He skated today, and I haven’t heard anything else besides that,” Crawford said. “I think the news is good on him, and let’s hope the news continues to be good. You hope we get another shot in the arm with the return of Brad and the return of Nick Grossman (at some point). You just have to be patient, because those are injuries where you just have to do what the medical people tell you.”
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk has talked to Richards about the possibility of a trade, and both understand each other. “It’s a complicated process and there is a lot to consider, but we believe we’re prepared for all possibilities,” Nieuwendyk said. “There is so much speculation out there, but it’s not coming from our side. The bottom line is we are on the same page and Brad understands what we are doing.”
- Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is not an active seller these days, and there have not been as many scouts attending Oilers games lately. He’s fine if they don’t make any trades by the deadline. There were 6 scouts watching the Oilers-Wild game (2 from the Blackhawks, 2 from the Rangers, and 1 from the Capitals and Thrashers). In Denver, one scout (Martin Lapointe from Chicago) watched them again, maybe looking at Jim Vandermeer. A scout from the Kings and Penguins was also at the Colorado game. For a Hemsky to LA deal, they may be able to get at least a 1st, 2nd, and a top prospect like Colten Teubert or an NHLer in Wayne Simmonds. Ladislav Smid is getting interest the Predators.
- Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province: The Canucks may be in the market for a 3rd/4th line center, and should take a look at Panthers center Marty Reasoner. Reasoner is 54.5% in the faceoff circle, and kills penalties. He could be had for a likely a late round pick, several teams could be interested.
- Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald: The Blackhawks are on the lookout for a defenseman, and may have targeted Lightning’s Brett Clark according to his sources. Clarke carries a $1.5 million cap hit, is under contract next season, and may require them to give up a forward off their roster. The ‘Hawks could also be looking at Ladislav Smid and Jim Vandermeer according to Jim Matheson.
- Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch: “Our team has put itself in position to challenge for a playoff spot,” Howson said yesterday. “We want to try and help if we can; we want to try to add to the team.” They need a playmaking center and power play quarterback. Howson says he’s “one of 25 buyers.” The Blue Jackets have inquired about Brad Richards. Steve Weiss and Tim Connolly could be available, Connolly more affordable. John-Michael Liles could be the top Dman available but he has a limited no-trade clause, and the Blue Jackets are not on his list of preferred teams. Also available are Bryan McCabe (no-trade), Joni Pitkanen (‘Canes still in 8th), and Dennis Wideman. Howson may prefer not to disrupt team chemistry, may have to part with 1st rounder or Nikita Filatov. Canadiens, Kings, and Penguins have inquired about Rostislav Klesla.
- Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun: The Maple Leafs may be looking to do one more deal, with Burke talking to up to 5 teams about a defenseman. He’s not close to anything.
- Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star: John-Michael Liles will earn $4.5 million next season with a $4.2 million cap, and the Leafs maybe trying to get him cheap. They may have offered the 3rd round pick they got from the Versteeg deal. The Leafs have been talking to Clarke MacArthur, he may be asking for a 3 year, $9 million deal. If they can’t re-sign MacArthur they may look to move him. Would the Canucks or Kings be interested? Cody Hodgson could be in play for the Canucks. Burke could also be interested in Stephen Weiss and David Booth from Florida. The Leafs could get in on Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky. The problem for the Leafs could be what to give up for these guys.
- Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger: The NJ Devils are on a 16-1-2 run, and Jason Arnott must decide by Sunday night whether to ask for a trade or remain with the Devils in hope that they can continue to push for the last playoff spot. “Yeah, it does change it. We’re getting closer to the playoffs. It’s going to probably be a tough decision when Sunday comes around,” Arnott said today after practice in Brandon. “I’m sure the next few games will tell a little bit more.