Latest on the Islanders, Hurricanes, Devils, Jets and Ducks.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports NY Islanders GM Garth Snow faces three choices with his 2014 first round pick (fifth overall). He can either send it to Sabres to complete the Thomas Vanek trade made earlier in the season, retain the pick and use it himself, or keep the pick and trade it…Vogl speculates Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller is safe for now, but Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is expected to step down soon, leaving it up to the new GM to sort out possible dissension between Muller and Hurricanes stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation the Isles could retain that pick for their own use…I believe Muller’s a goner, but so too is Ward via trade, though the ‘Canes will probably have to pick up part of his remaining salary to make a deal. I’ll be very surprised if they trade Eric Staal.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the New Jersey Devils have cap space to re-sign pending UFAs Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky…If Bruins backup Chad Johnson isn’t re-signed, Shinzawa suggests the Winnipeg Jets should pursue him, as they need reliability in goal…Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller’s poor performance down the stretch led to his being benched in favor of backup Frederik Andersen in the opening two games of their divisional semifinal against Dallas. Hiller’s a UFA this summer and it’s possible the Ducks could let him walk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Devils will re-sign Jagr, but it remains to be seen if they’ll also re-up Zidlicky…Johnson will attract considerable interest if he hits this summer’s UFA market. If Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is smart he’ll go after Johnson, but he seems to have a blind spot when it comes to his goaltending…At this point it appears a certainty Hiller will become a UFA. Andersen’s gotten the start in both Ducks games against the Stars so far and coach Bruce Boudreau is likely to stick with him.