Latest on Jonas Hiller and Ryan Miller, plus updates on the Devils, Penguins, Flames and Canucks.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lance Pugmire reports Jonas Hiller’s strong performance this season will earn the pending UFA a significant raise over his current salary of$4.5 million per season. Hiller said his agent has spoken with Ducks management a couple of times this season but is uncertain what they want to see before a deal is made. Ducks GM Bob Murray praised Hiller’s performance but declined to comment on contract negotiations. The Ducks depth in promising goaltenders (Frederik Andersen, Viktor Fasth, John Gibson) has generated speculation Hiller could be moved by the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pugmire also pointed out Murray declined to comment on contract talks with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry last season. That generated chatter one or both would be traded, yet the Ducks re-signed both. Hiller is playing very well this season and the Ducks don’t appear to have any significant weaknesses in their roster which would necessitate moving him for depth elsewhere in their lineup. He’s also the only goalie in their system with playoff experience. My guess is they retain Hiller and see how well he plays in the post-season before making any decisions on his future in Anaheim.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov suggests the Florida Panthers should try to sign Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Miller is aware of the changes in the Panthers under new owner Vincent Viola plus he also has family in the area.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Miller decides to become a free agent this summer I believe he’d prefer to sign with a Cup contender rather than a rebuilding team, even if the latter is offering more money.
NJ.COM: If the New Jersey Devils shop for a scorer by the March trade deadline, Randy Miller lists Colorado’s Paul Stastny, Buffalo’s Matt Moulson, Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri, Winnipeg’s Olli Jokinen or Devin Setoguchi and Florida’s Brad Boyes as trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re all unrestricted free agents so the asking price for all except Stastny shouldn’t be expensive. If the Avs shop Stastny I believe it’ll be for a top-four defenseman. The rest could be had for draft picks and/or prospects, depending upon their value and how they’re playing leading up to March 5.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen believes the Pittsburgh Penguins, using the cap relief they’ll have from Pascal Dupuis going on LTIR, will acquire a scorer, suggesting a rental player like Moulson, Setoguchi, Jokinen or Calgary’s Lee Stempniak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Ray Shero would prefer landing a player who can help his club over the long term, like his acquisition a few years ago of James Neal. Still, if that type of deal isn’t available, I expect he’ll try to add an affordable short-term solution.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis believes the Flames could send pending UFAs Cammalleri, Stempniak, Matt Stajan and Chris Butler packing, and maybe even defenseman Dennis Wideman if they can find a club willing to pick up the remainder of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt there will be considerable interest in those Flames’ UFAs by the trade deadline. As for Wideman, perhaps a team needing to reach the cap floor for next season could have interest in his $5.25 million per season contract, but that depends on his willingness to waive his no-movement clause.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough cited a recent radio interview by Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis, in which he stated there’s very little trade discussion going on among NHL teams right now. He cited the reduced salary cap for this season and the limited financial resources for many clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Business could pick up toward the end of this month and early February leading up to the Olympic trade freeze period.