Jason Brough

EDMONTON , AB - SEPTEMBER 21:  at Rexall Place on September 21, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.(Photo by Dan Riedlhuber/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** McDavid;

A potential trade target, Russell will be game-time decision for Flames

Flames defenseman Kris Russell will be a game-time decision tonight in Calgary against the Islanders.

Russell has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury. The 28-year-old has four goals and 11 assists in 51 games while averaging 22:52 of ice time. His 174 blocked shots are the second most in the NHL behind Colorado’s Francois Beauchemin (191).

He’s also a pending unrestricted free agent who may or may not be traded prior to Monday’s deadline.

There is a wide range of opinions on Russell.

Some think he’s got significant value:

Some do not:

Regardless, he may be tough for the Flames to re-sign, as they’ve already got Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland under contract through at least next season.

Russell’s current cap hit is $2.6 million.

The Flames have two games prior to Monday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline — tonight and Saturday (versus Ottawa).

Report: Blackhawks have ‘serious interest’ in Hamhuis and Vrbata


The Chicago Blackhawks, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, have “serious interest” in a pair of pending unrestricted free agents on the Vancouver Canucks — defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata.

Assuming the report is true, click here and here to better understand it from Chicago’s perspective.

It’s still not known if Hamhuis is willing to waive his no-trade clause. That’s a decision with which the 33-year-old has been wrestling.

“If you look at it from a pure hockey aspect — if I was chasing the money — leaving would be the best option to have the most exposure, if I was traded to a top-end team,” he told The Province recently. “But there’s more to it than that in my decision. I look at it that it’s a great situation in Vancouver for me and for my family. I certainly would consider what that would do to the family, too.”

As for Vrbata, some are skeptical about Chicago’s interest in the 34-year-old who’s currently out with an injury:

That being said, there have reportedly been scouts from the ‘Hawks taking a look at him.

As for a potential return, the Canucks could theoretically have interest in a young defenseman like Ville Pokka. It’s worth wondering if they’d be willing to take on Bryan Bickell’s contract to sweeten any deal.

Hamonic’s agent sees trade as more likely to happen in the offseason

Travis Hamonic, Tyson Strachan
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When Travis Hamonic‘s trade request became public knowledge in November, he quickly let it be known that he’d be willing to finish the season with the Islanders.

And that, according to his agent, remains the most likely scenario.

“I think it’s more of a trade that happens draft time, offseason,” Kevin Epp told TSN 1040 radio yesterday. “He’s playing such good hockey and the Islanders are in a playoff position.”

Hamonic, 25, leads the Isles in average ice time (23:44) and has four goals and 10 assists in 54 games. He’s under contract through 2019-20 for a cap hit just below $4 million.

It’s believed he’d like to be moved somewhere in Western Canada — if not Winnipeg (where he’s from), then possibly Edmonton, Calgary, or Vancouver.

The Oilers, of course, are desperate to upgrade their defense, and they’re willing to deal.

Related: With Byfuglien signed, what is Trouba’s future in Winnipeg?

Report: The Canucks are willing to trade a bunch of players with minimal value

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski connects for a goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Vancouver Canucks are “open for business” and willing to trade Linden Vey, Matt Bartkowski, Ronalds Kenins, Adam Cracknell, Chris Higgins, Brandon Prust and Yannick Weber.

Business may be slow.

Notably missing from the list are winger Radim Vrbata (currently injured, though not believed to be seriously) and defenseman Dan Hamhuis (who owns a full no-trade clause and doesn’t particularly want to leave). Both are pending unrestricted free agents.

Among the players reportedly available, Bartkowski could possibly have some value as a depth add-on. He’s a pending UFA with a $1.75 million cap hit. Then again, maybe not. He hasn’t exactly earned sterling reviews for his play, and his style is not particularly amenable to the rugged postseason.

The rest have probably been available all season for the right price.

Or any price at all.

Free, even.

Related: Finding no takers, Canucks assign Prust to AHL

Report: Kings will only add d-man if price is ‘modest’

2014 Stanley Cup Final Media Day

When Kings GM Dean Lombardi pulled the trigger on last year’s acquisition of defenseman Andrej Sekera, he knew the conditional first-round draft pick, plus prospect Roland McKeown, was a hefty price to surrender to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Lombardi defended the deal by arguing that Sekera “was one of the better defensemen on the market.”

But then the Kings missed the playoffs. And after that, Sekera signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers.

Which, upon review, made the trade a disaster.

This year, Lombardi is in a similar position, in that he wouldn’t mind adding a defenseman prior to the deadline. But according to the following tidbit from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, he might not be so aggressive this time around:

The Los Angeles Kings were looking hard at the market for the longest time, wondering what might make sense in terms of a defenseman. But a source suggested to me Tuesday evening that Kings GM Dean Lombardi has now decided the high prices on the thin rental-defenseman market may not be worth it. I still think Lombardi is willing to add a defenseman if the price is modest, but I don’t think he’s going to be as aggressive as he was last year when he went for Andrej Sekera for a first-round pick.

It’s worth noting that the Kings don’t actually have a first-round pick this summer; that belongs to Carolina. So even if Lombardi was willing to give up a first-rounder, it would have to be in 2017. And let’s not forget that the Kings traded their 2015 first-round pick to Boston as part of the Milan Lucic deal.

What about prospects? Well, the Kings don’t have a whole lot in the way of those either. Their best one is probably 19-year-old winger Adrian Kempe, and they’d be loath to give him up. He represents the only first-round pick they’ve made since 2012 (when they took Tanner Pearson 30th overall).

Related: Drew Doughty is logging a ton of ice time