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LATEST NHL CHATTER

Dustin Byfuglien agreeing to a 5 year, $38 million extension with the Winnipeg Jets Monday has been met with disappointment among Stanley Cup and playoff contenders.

Several teams had Byfuglien as their No. 1 trade target in the event that the Jets might put him on the market.

The Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers were two notable teams said to be preparing big runs at Byfuglien and chatter in league circles had the Capitals not ruling out a pursuit of Byfuglien. Just about any contender with a need on the blueline was going to look into Big Buff.

Here’s some scuttlebutt coming from scouts, executives with Byfuglien now locked up and the trade deadline 19 days away:


— Following the Dion Phaneuf trade, the Leafs as they should are getting high praise for their ability to dump bad contracts and retain little to no salary. Over the last year Toronto has traded David Clarkson ($5.25 million cap hit), Dion Phaneuf ($7 million cap hit) and Phil Kessel ($8 million cap hit), retaining just a total of $1.2 million per season on Kessel’s deal.


Christian Ehrhoff’s level of play has been on a steep decline for the last year and it became clear he wasn’t going to finish the season in Los Angeles. Buzz among scouts is Ehrhoff playing tentative in the defensive zone was a problem from the get-go in Daryl Sutter not being a fan but most baffling to evaluators has been Ehrhoff’s struggles in exiting the zone. The Kings couldn’t find a trade for him but have to think someone takes a chance on him with the low cap hit.


— Lot’s of eyes are on the New York Rangers and what they decide to do with Keith Yandle. New York for the moment is not entertaining trade offers for Yandle but most executives feel a decision from New York will go down to the wire, though, the general feeling is the Rangers keep Yandle and go for it. With a $2.65 million cap hit, Yandle is highly coveted. Los Angeles loves him. How Rangers GM Jeff Gorton views his club will be telling. The Rangers appear to be taking a step back but at the moment still have the 3rd best record in the East.


— Some NHL exec’s feel Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is fully prepared to let the Jonathan Drouin situation drag on to the summer but the sense seems to be a good enough offer will come the Lightning’s way by Feb 29.


Dan Hamhuis doesn’t want to come East, he can block any trade and some doubt he will accept a trade anywhere, but there is believed to be one possible exception out there he may consider in the East — The Washington Capitals — Lots of speculation league wide of Hamhuis landing in Washington and reuniting with Barry Trotz. Washington seeks depth on their blueline as insurance for the possibility that Brooks Orpik gets injured again upon his return. With Hamhuis just returning from injury, no interested teams nor the Canucks are in any rush here. If Hamhuis moves it won’t be till right around the deadline.


— One front office executive put the percentages at 75% that the Bruins trade Loui Eriksson.


— Vancouver still thinking long-term and wanting to get younger will be very open to moving Radim Vrbata. With the Flames asking price for Jiri Hudler already being established as a second round pick, the Canucks are expected to seek a second round pick or solid prospect. That said there’s some talk both may go for as low as a third round pick. Pittsburgh is considering Hudler as a trade option.


Many teams are taking a close look at Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin this month. The 32 year old has two seasons left on his deal with a $4.5 million cap hit.


— The Penguins like many teams are monitoring the situation in Calgary to see if Kris Russell hits the trade block. It’s anticipated he will in the next 10-14 days. High volume of suitors expected.


— A tough deal to make in-season but the Penguins interest in Jets def Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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