NHL Morning Rumor Mill – March 15, 2014

A list of the top-25 NHL free agents, speculation on potential off-season changes for the Predators, plus updates on Jaromir Jagr and Steve Downie.

Paul Stastny could be among this summer's top free agents.

Paul Stastny could be among this summer’s top free agents.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance lists the top-25 NHL free agents. Topping the list is Ryan Miller, Paul Stastny, Ryan Callahan, Thomas Vanek, Jonas Hiller, Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Matt Moulson, Marian Gaborik and Jaromir Jagr. Other notables include Andrei Markov, Jarome Iginla, Andrew MacDonald, Brooks Orpik, Dave Bolland, Mikhail Grabovski, Kimmo Timonen, David Legwand, Mike Cammalleri, Daniel Alfredsson, Willie Mitchell, Stephane Robidas, Radim Vrbata, Steve Ott and Ales Hemsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s more depth in this summer’s free agent market compared to last summer’s, but nearly half the players on this list could be re-signed by their current teams before July 1. Miller, Stastny, Hiller, Jagr, Markov, MacDonald, Orpik, Bolland, Grabovski, Alfredsson, Vrbata and Hemsky could fall into that category. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper wonders if this coming summer could be the one where the Predators finally acquire a big-name scorer. He suggests Colorado’s Paul Stastny could be a good fit, and speculates the Preds could shop some grit for offensive help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny has said he’s willing to accept a “hometown discount” to re-sign with the Avalanche. Failing that, however, he will certainly be among the most pursued players in this summer’s UFA market. The Predators should be prepared to pay big if they want him.

NJ.COM’S Rich Chere recently reported via Twitter Jaromir Jagr’s first choice is re-signing with the New Jersey Devils but so far there’s been no talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello almost never negotiates with his pending UFAs during the season. I expect he’ll make a serious push to re-sign Jagr before July 1.

PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli recently reported Flyers forward Steve Downie would love to re-sign but the fact there’s been no contract talks probably isn’t a good sign.



  1. There are a few UFA’s on the list that IMO could help Bflo – but, I it depends on the salary the player wants. I never thought I would say this, especially at this age, but Jagr could be a really good signing – he has a great work ethic, knows how to play the game and has adapted his playing style as he ages. More importantly, he is working with NJ’s youngsters and I think this could be invaluable to Buffalo’s youngsters.

    As much as I want ROR, perhaps the answer would be Statsney – depending on what he’s asking. While I really like Steve Ott, if for some reason he doesn want to resign or is too much – then I think a Steve Downie or Dave Bolling are decent replacements at a cheaper price. I would also like to see Moulson come back.

    To me, the bottom line is that Bflo needs at least 2 UFA -possibly 3 to work with our youngsters – an that is with keeping Stewart, Stafford, Conacher and Ennis.

    Now, I guess my question would be….can the Sabres sell Leino’s contract to a Euro team? If not, then I think it is time for Bflo to part ways with him. Personally, i have given him the benefit of the doubt since his signing – attributing his performance or lack thereof to injuries and never really developing chemistry because of position or line shifting – but I now see it is more than that – he just doesn’t have the heart to compete. Say what you will about Kaleta, but he always gave 125%. So its time to cut bait.

    • Jagr would help the team but Statsny IMO wouldn’t. We have enough #2 centermen on the Sabres. Don’t need anymore.

      I think resigning Ennis, Scott, Mitchell, Conacher, Tallinder and D’Agostini is a must

      Trade Ehrhoff, McBain and Weber

      Buyout Leino

      Sign Orpik, Stempniak and Jagr

      • Stasny has 20 goals 50 points plus 10 good faceoff guy hard to play against and you would rather have Stempniak and/or Jagar? Why?

        • Has Stempniak even got 10 goals? He is a third line winger. Buffalo has more third liners than second line players, and Id take. Stasny and Hodgeson as a 1-2 down the middle could be a pretty good step forward. An opportunity to quit rushing young guys in to the line up, if they dont want to end up like the Oilers.

      • Jes, why would the Sabresresign Tallinder? Also I would get rid of McBain and trade Weber. We have a stable of D-men that are itching for the opportunity to play in the bigs.

        I agree – do something with Leino. As I stated, I think Jagr would be a really good pickup as a mentor for our youngsters, but perhaps we should go after Statsney – because he can score and is a beast. Any combination of Steve Ott,Steve Downie, Dave Bolland or Matty Moulson works for me.

        To be honest, Orpik just doesn’t get it for me – perhaps I would have advocated signing him a few years ago, but I think at this point a good pickup would be Raphael Diaz. He brings grit, stays at home and will play physical.

  2. Steve Ott re-sign? You guys traded him to St.Louis.

    • Ott is a UFA after this season. It is possible Buffalo could sign him.

      Steve, I don’t think you can sell contracts to European teams. It’s either a buyout or keep him around to hit the cap floor.

    • Ott wanted to stay in Buffalo and be a part of the rebuild. I believe he has family only a few hours away from Buffalo and he enjoyed living and playing in Buffalo. Also, Buffalo has given him the opportunity to win a cup – as such, would that give him the desire to return to the Sabres? Who know, but stranger things have happened.

  3. I’d like to see them get stasney. I’m not a fan of his but he could help buffalo. I think they are a year away from adding big time free agents. They should move erhoff at the deadline for more picks. They have so many picks they just need to be patient. As a leafs fan I’m scared at what the team will look like in 2 or 3 years