LATEST NHL CHATTER
— The chances of Eric Staal being moved during the season is extremely small, rival executives with knowledge of the Hurricanes thinking say. New Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is committed to playing this season out and evaluate the future for Staal after the season. The Hurricanes want to see how this team performs fully healthy under head coach Bill Peters before making any moves that could alter the franchise.
The Hurricanes, though, will continue to be a team that scouts will be flocking to watch.
Jiri Tlusty is a hot name in scouting circles, a player several teams have their eye on but with Francis scouring the market for another scorer, Carolina doesn’t seem too inclined to move the 26 year old forward.
Lots of teams are obviously waiting to see what the Hurricanes decide to do with defenseman Andrej Sekera.
— The New York Islanders on paper are a much better team this year but continue to be plagued by the inability to keep the puck out of their net. New York is 28th in the NHL in goals against, giving up 3.42 goals per game. At somepoint they have to look at the head coach as Jack Capuano continues to struggle to get the forward group to buy into playing a 200 ft game.
— Blue forward Vladimir Tarasenko looks like the next emerging NHL star. Former Penguins GM Ray Shero was never high on drafting Europeans, especially in the first round, but the Penguins thought so highly of Tarasenko in the 2010 draft, they tried multiple times to move up in the draft to select Tarasenko. Penguins scouts had him rated as a top-5 prospect on their board and thought they had a deal in place with the Ducks to move up the No. 12 spot (if Tarasenko was still there). The deal fell through once the Rangers passed on Cam Fowler at 10 and Anaheim kept the pick and swooped Fowler up at No. 12. Pittsburgh then tried to move to 16, the Blues kept the pick and took Tarasenko.
— Within weeks after signing Christian Ehrhoff, word leaked of a long-term extension for Ehrhoff being very likely after January 1, once he’s eligible for a new deal. Will the Penguins have a change of heart and let Ehrhoff play out the season? Ehrhoff is a player whose value is greatly diminished if he’s not a primary player on a No. 1 power play unit. That isn’t the case right now and won’t be in the foreseeable future as Derrick Pouliot is a dynamic power play quarterback that scouts can’t stop raving about.
If the Penguins leave the cap space open for a top-4 defenseman, it’s a near certainty the Penguins would be an aggressive suitor for New York’s Marc Staal as a free agent, sources say.
— New GM, same targets? Jim Rutherford is on the hunt for a top-6 winger and like Ray Shero in the past, Rutherford is looking to lay the groundwork months in the advance for an impact move that can put the Penguins over the top. Often times there isn’t a trade to be made and teams end up with rentals like this years potential crop, Erik Cole and Drew Stafford, but now is the time where GM’s poke around on some big names in the hopes of something developing a few months down the road.
That’s exactly what Rutherford is doing.
One name the Penguins have shown significant interest in is a player they’ll see tonight, Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd.
Ladd, 28, has a past history with Rutherford and is the type of player the Penguins are looking to bring into the organization, one scout alluded to.
The Penguins have made their interest known and will continue to poke around on Ladd in the coming months. Winnipeg’s message to interested teams is they’re not looking to move anyone from their core at this point.
Winnipeg came close at the draft to trading Evander Kane for Bryaden Schenn.