In the wake of the Maple Leafs extending coach Randy Carlyle’s contract, could roster changes be next? What options do the Red Wings have to acquire a right-handed defenseman?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau expects big changes to the Maple Leafs’ roster with Randy Carlyle returning as head coach next season. “Reimer is a certainty to move on and it’s unlikely unrestricted free agents David Bolland and Nikolai Kulemin will return, but replacing them won’t be enough,” writes Proteau. He also takes a dim view of retaining Carlyle. “(T)here’s something to be said (and not something positive) for rewarding failure. That’s what Carlyle’s return feels like.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how the club has collapsed over the past three seasons (which includes Game 7 in last year’s playoff series against Boston), they probably won’t return with the same roster. One assumes the Leafs will try to bring in players who can thrive under Carlyle. Proteau suggests the core will have to be shaken up, but which players get dealt? Phil Kessel? Dion Phaneuf? Trading the former would be ridiculous, and moving the latter difficult given his expensive, long-term contract. Do they trade James van Riemsdyk, who’s coming off a fine offensive performance? Does Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak become trade bait?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan lists free agent and trade targets for the Red Wings in their off-season pursuit of a right-handed defenseman. Matt Niskanen, Dan Boyle, Marek Zidlicky, Derek Morris, Tom Gilbert and Matt Greene are the free agent options, while Shea Weber, Tyler Myers, Dustin Byfuglien, Cody Franson and Dennis Wideman were listed as target targets. Khan admits acquiring Weber is probably a pipe dream, doubts the Sabres party with Myers, and believes the Flames would have to pick up part of Wideman’s contract in a trade, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wings go the UFA route there isn’t many options. Niskanen could prove too expensive and Boyle’s career is winding down. Gilbert could be affordable but he might not be a good fit. Forget about Weber, while the Sabres would want one of the Wings good young players as part of any return for Myers. The offensive-minded Byfuglien might not fit coach Mike Babcock’s puck-possession system. Franson could be an affordable option.