Although Antoine Vermette’s suspension was a CBA-mandated 10 games, there is a growing suggestion that it could be cut in half via the appeal process, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes in his latest 30 Thoughts column. He believes that this could be something that the league and the Players’ Association were working on which could explain the delay in the suspension being announced in the first place (not to mention how quickly it was announced that an appeal had been launched).
However, this doesn’t appear to be something that the NHL officials would be too happy with so this is far from a sure bet. Many officials are still unhappy with Gary Bettman’s decision to reduce the ban on Dennis Wideman last year and Friedman could see the officials pushing back on this one.
As always, the full 30 Thoughts are well worth the read but here are a handful of the highlights:
- The Red Wings are telling teams that they are “open for business” when it comes to the trade market. However, they’re unwilling to move any key youngsters unless a young, top pairing defenseman is involved in the discussions. He notes that Detroit will talk to defenseman Brendan Smith about a possible contract extension in the coming days before committing to moving him as a rental by March 1st. We took a closer look at Smith’s case recently in our Trade Candidates series.
- While Dallas blueliner Johnny Oduya would be an ideal target for many contenders, there is concern over the shape of his ankle, which has caused him to miss time twice already this season (he currently is out of the lineup as a result of it). If he’s able to return in the coming days (or is at least close), there should still be some interest but if not, the Stars may be in tough to get the type of return they’re hoping for. Still with the Stars, there are no talks on an extension with pending UFA winger Patrick Eaves. With 21 goals and a cap hit of just $1MM, there will be plenty of teams interested in him over the next week.
- Friedman expects that the Flames haven’t finished making moves yet after their acquisition of defenseman Michael Stone earlier this week. He notes that they’re looking for some grit on the wing and also wouldn’t be surprised if they look at the goaltending market. Calgary sits 24th in team save percentage this season and both Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson are slated to be unrestricted free agents in July. There are more notable goalies available than usual this season so the time might be right for GM Brad Treliving to try to upgrade that position.