The latest on the Thrashers, Wild and Red Wings.
AJC.COM: Chris Vivlamore reported Thrashers GM Rick Dudley has several priorities to address this off-season, including the addition of a top-six forward and perhaps a top-five defenseman. Dudley didn’t rule out the possibility of using an offer sheet to sign away a top-six restricted free agent forward from a rival team that’s up against the salary cap, plus he’d also prefer to re-sign RFA forwards Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler. He would also consider a deal that brings in a top-three defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Notable RFA forwards on cap-strapped teams who might be considered potential offer sheet targets if Dudley goes that route includes New Jersey’s Zach Parise and the NY Rangers’ Ryan Callahan or Brandon Dubinsky, if the Blueshirts were to sign Brad Richards to an expensive contract and weren’t able to agree to terms with one or the other. Notice I said “potential” targets, as in all likelihood those three will be unavailable, so don’t freak out, Devils and Rangers fans.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo recently reported Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold isn’t happy with his team’s failure to make the playoffs for the past three seasons, and acknowledged his club needs more depth if they’re to become more competitive. Leipold spent toward the salary cap this season but was unhappy over the end result.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It won’t get much better for Leipold next season as the Wild have over $52.4 million tied up in 20 players for next season. Not bad, but it still won’t leave a lot of cap space to bring in a big name via free agency. That’s why there’s speculation one or two current roster players of value, notably defenseman Brent Burns, could be dealt this summer for more scoring depth.
ESPN.COM: recently reported Detroit Red Wings forward Mike Modano admitted he’ll retire once the Wings complete their playoff journey this spring. He’s hopeful of getting back into the game after being made a healthy scratch in the Wings Conference QF series opening game against Phoenix.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Modano is one of the greatest American-born players in NHL history but he should’ve retired at the end of last season. Injuries hampered his performance this season but it was also obvious he’d lost more than a step as age had finally caught up with him. It remains to be seen if he’ll get in a game or two during this spring’s post-season.