- Doug Mittler, Rumor Central
The Blues are a bona fide Stanley Cup contender and are built to win now, prompting GM Doug Armstrong to pay a stiff price, says ESPN.com’s Craig Custance. In exchange for Miller and Ott, their captain, the Sabres acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a conditional 2016 third-round pick.
Now that two key bargaining chips are off the table, who else will be dealt prior to Wednesday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline? Here’s the latest buzz:
• The Pittsburgh Penguins might have emerged as the front-runners to land Canucks center Ryan Kesler. According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a proposed deal would send Kesler to the Penguins in exchange for center Brandon Sutter, two 2014 draft picks -- likely a first- and a third-rounder -- and the Canucks' choice of defensemen Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin.
• St. Louis was considered a possible destination for Thomas Vanek and/or Andrew MacDonald of the Islanders, but the Blues are likely out of the equation following the deal for Miller and Ott, reports Arthur Staple of Newsday. Earlier reports had the Kings and Sharks inquiring about MacDonald.
• Vanek and MacDonald almost certainly will be dealt this week, wrote Staple. The Islanders lost to the Panthers on Sunday, dropping them even further in the wild-card chase, so the trade-off makes sense.
• Chris Phillips will have to decide in the next couple days whether he wants to accept a contract extension offer from the Ottawa Senators, reports Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. If a deal isn't reached, the Senators are not a lock to deal Phillips, but they reportedly will at least explore what they could get in return.
• Ryan Callahan, a pending unrestricted free agent, has yet to come to terms on a contract extension with the Rangers. GM Glen Sather appears committed to moving the winger if he can't get him under contract soon, says Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork.com.
• Before Saturday’s Stadium Series game with the Penguins, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said he does not intend to make a big trade before the deadline, according to Chicago Tribune reporter Rich Campbell. Bowman said the Blackhawks consider their notable move to be the the acquisition of forward Kris Versteeg in November. Chicago did end up making a smaller move Sunday, though, acquiring a third-round draft pick in the 2014 draft and a fifth-round pick in 2016 from Florida for prospect Brandon Pirri.
• The Red Wings have a streak of 22 straight playoff appearances on the line, so will they be buyers or sellers? It could be neither, reports the New York Times. GM Ken Holland might be more inclined to go with his current roster, especially with winger Johan Franzen recently returning to the lineup.
• Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported last week the Rangers have tried to acquire Martin St. Louis from the Lightning for Callahan, a report that prompted Phil Esposito, a Tampa Bay radio announcer, to reportedly blow a fuse, according to CBS New York.
• Michael Russo of the Star Tribune hears the Wild have been in contact with New Jersey about future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, who might be willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to Minnesota. The Sabres are reportedly shopping the newly acquired Halak, and he could be the Wild's backup plan.
• It could be a while before we find out exactly why Pat LaFontaine abruptly resigned as Buffalo's president of hockey operations Saturday. This could make things difficult for new GM Tim Murray as he looks to stock his roster in July. “If you think the Sabres appear to be a dysfunctional franchise, imagine what people are thinking outside of Buffalo. Seriously, why would anyone want to play here?” writes Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News.
The Buffalo Sabres put the NHL trade sweepstakes in high gear Friday night with the blockbuster deal that sent star goaltender Ryan Miller and center Steve Ott to the St.