Updates on Derek Stepan, Jose Theodore, Ryan Miller, Simon Gagne and more, plus the latest on the Capitals.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports contract negotiations between Derek Stepan and the NY Rangers have stagnated in the wake of Rangers GM Glen Sather’s remarks that he didn’t think Stepan would be “big enough of a fool” to risk missing the season. Brooks noted the Rangers appear to have all the leverage (barring an offer sheet) against Stepan, but they also face starting the season without top-six wingers Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, and now could be without their first-line center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stepan camp could be hoping a slow start by the Rangers could force the club to improve its offer, especially with Callahan and Hagelin likely to be on long-term injured reserve early in the season.
RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reports Jose Theodore doesn’t intent to retire, despite the “dirty trick” the Florida Panthers played by giving Tim Thomas the position they apparently promised him. Theodore has an offer from Avangard Omsk of the KHL, but he’s also had preliminary talks with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who’ve lost backup Tomas Vokoun indefinitely as he recovers from a surgical procedure to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis. The Penguins are waiting to hear a timetable for Vokoun’s return before continuing negotiations with Theodore. They would have to place Vokoun on LTIR before signing Theodore. The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks also reportedly had some interest in Theodore.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Theodore prefers to remain in the NHL, but he’ll have to be patient. His best bet could be with the Penguins if Vokoun should be sidelined for a lengthy period. The Predators and Sharks have been trying out young goalies with little NHL experiences as backups, so there could be a fit with one of those teams. This could stretch into the start of the season next week for Theodore before he knows for certain where he’ll play.
TVASPORTS.CA: The recent signings of Brenden Morrow and Damien Brunner is giving hope to UFA winger Simon Gagne he could also get an NHL contract offer, though he acknowledged he might have to wait until the regular season to get one. Gagne claimed he’s still in discussion with several teams. He’s currently skating with the Quebec Remparts and has no retirement plans.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley speculates on the possible Capitals trade candidates as they try to make room for prospect Tom Wilson. “ The most likely candidates are center Mathieu Perreault [one year, $1.05 million cap hit] and left wing Aaron Volpatti [2 years, $575,000 cap hit].”, writes Gormley, who also speculates rival clubs could have interest in Jason Chimera.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports Ryan Miller referred to himself in an interview over the weekend as a “tradeable asset” but was told by the Sabres it was critical for him and Thomas Vanek to set a positive example while still in Buffalo. Miller tangled with fellow goalie Jonathan Bernier during the Sabres-Maple Leafs donnybrook on Sunday…If Cody Franson signs with a European team, he’ll have to clear waivers before he could return with the Maple Leafs…There could be some interest in defenseman Paul Postma if the Winnipeg Jets opt to trade him…Several teams apparently have some interest in defenseman Tom Gilbert, who’s on a tryout with the Florida Panthers.