The latest speculation on Dustin Byfuglien, Thomas Vanek, Patrik Elias, Marc Staal, Daniel Briere and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch also reported the Dallas Stars could replace Joe Nieuwendyk as GM with Detroit Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill. The Colorado Avalanche could also consider a management change…Speculation persists the Flyers could buy out Danny Briere this summer. Garrioch suggests the Canadiens as a destination…Coyotes GM Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett might not re-sign with the club if they’re bought by a group they consider underfunded. If Coyotes goalie Mike Smith hits the UFA market, the Flyers might have interest if they buy out Ilya Bryzgalov. Ray Emery could be another UFA goalie worth watching…It’s believed there’s a 50-50 chance Patrik Elias re-signs with the Devils. The Flyers, Leafs, Wings, Habs and Sharks could be among those who could have interest in Elias…The Sabres could shop Ryan Miller this summer, with the Coyotes a possible destination if they remain in Phoenix…A “good bet” for Penguins UFA forward Jarome Iginla next season: Dallas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No official word yet on Nieuwendyk being replaced but no denials either…Just what the Canadiens need: a small, ageing winger with a concussion history…We probably won’t get a clear picture on the Coyotes owership situation until June. If Smith hits the market there will be considerable interest in him. The Panthers, Sabres, Devils, Flames and Oilers would certainly be among those putting in a call to his agent. Ditto Emery…If Miller wants to live closer to his wife, who works in Hollywood, Phoenix could be his best option if the Coyotes stay put…If the Stars hire Jim Nill as GM, I don’t see him pursuing expensive, ageing free agents like Iginla. The Stars tried that this season under Nieuwendyk and it didn’t work.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Staal family reunion this week in Carolina (featuring Eric, Jordan and called-up Jared) should worry the NY Rangers when blueliner Marc Staal becomes a free agent in two years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t assume Marc will bolt the Blueshirts to play with his brothers in two years time. Sure, it could happen, doesn’t mean it will. Staal is among the Rangers key players and GM Glen Sather will offer up big bucks to retain him.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless believes the Jets should rid themselves of Dustin Byfuglien, citing his inconsistency as harmful to the Jets development.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The real question is, does Jets management feel the same as Lawless? If not, Byfuglien’s not going anywhere. if they do, he would have considerable trade value if they wish to bolster their scoring depth at forward.
BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres forward Thomas Vanek reiterates it would be best for him and the Sabres to part ways if management engages in a lengthy rebuild. Vanek, 29, has one year left on his contract and becomes a UFA next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why I believe Vanek will be dealt this summer. He doesn’t appear keen to re-sign, and GM Darcy Regier has already admitted rebuilding the Sabres will take time.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports Patrik Elias isn’t sure he would sign with the NY Rangers if he become an unrestricted free agent, while David Clarkson refused to discuss the subject.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how the Devils offense was weakened by failing to re-sign or suitably replace Zach Parise and Petr Sykora last summer, I believe the Devils will push hard to re-sign Elias and Clarkson.