Latest Flyers, Sharks, Blue Jackets & Stars Rumors – May 2, 2014

As the Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars head into the off-season, find out what moves could be in store for these clubs.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has a substantial off-season “to-do” list. Noting their lack of offense in their series against the NY Rangers, Carchidi speculates Wild forward Matt Moulson could be on the Flyers’ radar if he hits this summer’s UFA market. Frank Seravalli believes defense should be the Flyers’ priority this summer. The club is also anxiously awaiting word from Kimmo Timonen if he’ll return next season. He’s 39 and a UFA this summer but could lean toward retirement. He also wonders if they’ll shop pending RFA center Brayden Schenn for defensive help. Given the lack of defensive depth in this summer’s free agent market, a trade could be in order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space is an issue. They currently have only a projected $6.5 million for next season. That’ll increased in October by $4.9 million when they place Chris Pronger on LTIR again, but that won’t leave enough to bolster their defense and re-sign or replace Timonen, Schenn and others. 

Are big moves coming for the Sharks this summer?

Are big moves coming for the Sharks this summer?

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Mark Purdy and David Pollak speculate over possible moves by the Sharks, doubting a significant roster overhaul is in order because of the number of key players under long-term contract with no-trade clauses. Purdy also points out ownership could frown on a rebuild for fear it’ll hurt attendance. It’s possible pending UFA defenseman Dan Boyle won’t be re-signed. There’s speculation over the Sharks’ possibly using a compliance buyout to shed the final year (and $5 million cap hit) of Martin Havlat’s contract, though as a rule management doesn’t do buyouts. Purdy also suggests starting goalie Antti Niemi, who struggled against the Kings in their opening-round series, “can’t feel too secure”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if ownership replaces Doug Wilson as GM. Wilson seems entrench in his role so I’d be surprised if he gets the ax. Coach Todd McLellan could be replaced. I believe they must buy out the final season of Havlat’s contract and use the savings to re-sign or replace key players and bring in additional depth. Boyle could be a goner.  They currently have around $13 million in projected cap space. 

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline notes re-signing RFA Ryan Johansen will be a priority for the Blue Jackets this summer. UFA Derek MacKenzie would love to return, while it remains to be seen if they’ll re-sign Blake Comeau. Part of their decisions on defense will be deciding on re-signing UFAs Nikita Nikitin and Nick Schultz. Portzline doubts the Jackets buy out James Wisniewski and R.J. Umberger. He anticipates management could be busy on the trade front this summer to bolster the club’s speed and skill. He won’t move any of his core players (“The Ryans, Boone Jenner or Sergei Bobrovsky. Defenseman Jack Johnson and center Brandon Dubinsky”). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline doesn’t expect sweeping changes for the Blue Jackets. They’ve got a good core plus some promising young talent so there’s no need for major moves. I do expect, however, management will go the trade route to bolster their speed and skills. They could try to move Umberger or Wisniewski, though their contracts and no-trade clauses makes them difficult to move. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika suggests contract term could result in pending UFA Vernon Fiddler to depart. While he likes playing for the Stars and could be affordable to re-sign, if he wants a three- or four-year deal he likely won’t get it from the Stars. Heika also guesses Avalanche pending UFA center Paul Stastny could be on the Stars radar this summer. He also has doubts former Star Matt Niskanen would be keen to return if he hits the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have a projected $20 million in cap space for next season, so there’s room to make a significant move or two this summer. GM Jim Nill showed a willingness to make big splashes last summer, so don’t dismiss the possibility he’ll do so again.


  1. I think Columbus should move Dubinsky, Anisimov Erixon and a 1st rounder to NY for Rick Nash…….oh wait……

    • Is it just me or does Rick Nash Always try to do too much on his own? sometimes I feel he hogs the puck a little when he could use his line mates more. I’ve only seen a couple rangers games plus the playoffs but am I crazy or do you agree?

      I’m not saying he isn’t a good player just wondering.

      Also Columbus is a good hard working team, good too see Johansen starting to shine, hopefully he keeps it up!

      • If Horton is ever healthy and their young guys continue to develop this team is built very similar to a good western confrence team, physical hard working Im not sure that they need to make many moves maybe a d man and 1 more speedy skill type guy but more speed and skill will come as the younger players develop I only really seen a game or 2 in the regular season but they looked pretty good in the first round not many if any big holes in that roster.

        • 29 other teams need a D man and a speedy skill type guy.

      • I agree 100%. Rick Nash tries to do way too much with the puck on his own. The guy could be a much better play maker if he would try to do a little less on his own. I think he is one of the best I have ever seen at shielding the puck with his body, but it doesn’t do any good if you aren’t going to pass the puck more.

        Also agree about Columbus (AKA mini Rangers) They have become a pretty fun team to watch.

      • He has a frustrating tendency to make the extra move instead of getting the puck to the net. That doesn’t work in the playoffs.

        • And he doesn’t use his size to get to the dirty areas to score goals. He plays like he’s 5’9

    • I dogged that trade at the time, saying that Columbus got swindled. I stand corrected. B Dubinski has rebounded from earlier injuries to become an outstanding two-way player for Columbus.

      I do think the Rags got the best of Columbus on the Gaborik trade. I’ve been impressed with Brassard and J Moore.

      • Before the trade I hated it, But most Ranger fans strongly disagreed. They swore (like they do with most shinny objects) that Nash was the answer to all their prayers and improving the power play. My thoughts were the PP was putrid because of the system they played under Torts. A system flaw, more than a personnel flaw.

        Dubinsky was always a solid 2 way guy, he was dogged more for his offensive struggles at times than anything else in NY, Another system flaw. But my stance on this trade never changed, Why give up two 40-50 point guys + for one 50-60 point guy? Rick Nash is now and always been a little overrated and over paid.

        All that being said, I honestly don’t think Dubinsky would fit into the Rangers current blueprint under AV.

        • When the Rangers sent Dubinsky and Anisimov to Columbus for Nash, I thought Columbus was the winner. I liked the way Dubinsky played and hoped he would end up with the Sabres – he’s similar to Drury, Callahan and Stepan. To me, Nash always seems he’s on his own – perhaps that is where he is perceived to “Do too much”.

          • I don’t think the perception comes from nowhere. I think anybody that watches him play would agree that he tries to do too much with the puck on his own. I cannot answer for his game in game out performances in Columbus, But I can say as a Ranger he has done this throughout his time there.

            I guess you could look at it as if he isn’t doing enough as far as scoring / assisting to erase the perception of him “doing to much”. But he can gain gain the zone, maintain the zone, slip by most defenders a lot of the time while making difficult plays look easy. He just needs to time his passes and shots a little better. And more importantly understand the difference in how the offensivef play is developing before he chooses to pass or shoot.

  2. oooops “offensive play”

    • As a devoted Flyers fan who even watched replays of some of the First Round NYR-PHI series, I think that Nash did a lot of great things on the ice. A lot of the offensive players (on both teams) saw their offensive production held back in this series due to style of play, strong goaltending, etc. If I’m a Rangers fan, I back off of Nash a little bit and recognize that he created a lot of scoring chances even though he didn’t put the puck in the net. With that said, there are aspects of his offensive game that could use some improvement (such as better vision and burst). However, going back to the original trade I think the Blue Jackets have been winner because of the volume of players they received that have produced at a high level.

      • I don’t think Nash is useless by any means. And while I agree in principal about what you are saying on him creating chances, I am judging by his entire year this year not just the Philly series.. Nash is a guy who has averaged 30 goals and roughly 26 assist per year. He fell a little short in goals (26) but his assist dropped of by half (13) lowest of his career. That seems like a clear cut indication that he is failing to recognize how offensive plays are developing at times. And watching him all year only further confirms it. So many times I’m thinking (or shouting) drop it back ! drop it back! and he is trying to slice through 2-3 players when someone is wide open.

        If they have any hope of beating Pittsburgh (and I honestly believe they do) Nash and some others need to show up. Take NY’s bottom 6 out of the Philly series Boyle, Pouliot, Zuccarella, Moore, Brassard etc. Ny never passes Philly. Nash has to up his level. Hopefully Kreider can return to help that out. They cannot continue to hope their 3rd line carries them.

        Anyway, Great series!!! Congrats to you and all Philly fans.

        • Yeah I Really only noticed Nash in game 7, he was playing hard and creating plays, aside from that..he always took one extra deke attempt or something to lose the puck or get a weak shot. He has the ability to obviously be a great impact player BUT i didn’t see much from him at the Olympics or this series aside from one game. I would like him to do well because he does have size and skill many players don’t in the league.

          • Agreed. The only other Ranger in recent memory more frustrating to watch at times was Kovalev. Insane amount of skill, yet did not use it to the best of his ability.

            Ps…..Sorry all for turning today into NY Rangers show everybody, it really wasn’t my intention.

  3. If Kimmo Timonen retires the Flyers will be hard-pressed to replace his veteran presence (even though he’s clearly lost a step). He does so many things right. It does (should), however, open the door for at least one of the youngsters (Erik Gustafsson, Shayne Gostisbehere) to step in and play a key role — making the defense definitely faster. The list of UFA d-men is fairly unimpressive although there are some intriguing RFAs, and we all know Paul Holmgren is not afraid to ruffle the feathers of his colleagues.