Latest on Ryan Miller, Scott Hartnell, Vincent Lecavalier, James Reimer, Ryan Johansen Brayden Schenn and more.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa considers it doubtful the Blues re-sign Ryan Miller, in part because they’ll have to give up their first round pick in this year’s draft if they do. He speculates Miller could land with the Sharks if they decide to part ways with Antti Niemi, who has one season left on his contract…The Red Wings seek a right-handed defenseman. Shinzawa suggests Calgary’s Dennis Wideman, who has three years at $5.25 million per season left on his contract, could be a good fit. They could target Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen via free agency but would have to overpay to sign him…He doesn’t see many high-impact signings (Thomas Vanek, perhaps Ryan Miller) in this summer’s UFA market…If the Avalanche don’t re-sign Paul Stastny, they could use the savings to improve their defense…Shinzawa suggests the Bruins shop defenseman David Warsofsky to the Buffalo Sabres…He also wondered about Scott Hartnell’s future with the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Miller as much of an improvement over Niemi…The Flames would probably love to move Wideman’s contract, but I think they’ll have to pick up part of it to trade him and I’m not sure the Wings are interested in him. Most of the chatter links them to Vancouver’s Alex Edler…Shinzawa incorrectly wrote July 5 was the start of free agency. That was for last year only because of the shortened season. It’s July 1st as usual starting this summer. Other than that, I agree with his take that there are few high-impact players available in the UFA market…The Avs hope to re-sign Stastny but that’ll depend upon how much of a hometown discount he’s willing to accept. They could go the trade route to address their defense…I doubt the Flyers will find many teams willing to take on Hartnell’s contract, unless they’re willing to pick up a good chunk of it.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons cites an NHL executive suggesting the Maple Leafs shouldn’t bother tendering a qualifying offer to goalie James Reimer, as he has poor trade value and they would risk being stuck with his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On his own, perhaps Reimer doesn’t have much value, but just cutting him loose and allowing him to sign elsewhere as a UFA doesn’t sound like smart business to me. Reimer’s an asset, he still has some value, and if packaged with another player could fetch a reasonable return.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders what it would cost the Oilers to land the Panthers first round pick (first overall) in this year’s draft. He suggests offering up their own first rounder (third overall) plus an attacking forward like Sam Gagner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers should be very careful here. While I know a lot of Oilers followers would love to land that pick and use it to select defenseman Aaron Ekblad, they must ensure not to give up too much. As it stands we don’t know if the Oilers are interested in such a move.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline looks at what could be a busy off-season for Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Topping the list is re-signing Ryan Johansen, who could receive an offer sheet if contract talks stretch into the summer. Portzline speculates the Jackets would like to sign him to a three-year bridge contract. Kekalainen said he isn’t concerned about re-signing Johansen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Jackets get Johansen inked to a two- or three-year deal worth between $3.5 – $4 million per season, and will do so before July.
PHILLY.COM/CSNPHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t have much cap flexibility this summer, in part because of overpaying Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, whose contracts he expects to be stuck with. Holmgren will have to make a trade if he hopes to sign a speedy winger this summer like Matt Moulson, Mason Raymond or Benoit Pouliot. Carchidi also believes the Flyers would be hard-pressed to free up sufficient cap space to pitch an offer sheet to Montreal’s P.K. Subban. He also kept alive the long-shot dream of acquiring Nashville’s Shea Weber, despite the constant insistence from Predators GM David Poile that Weber won’t be traded. Tim Panaccio speculates the Flyers might have to trade Brayden Schenn in order to move Lecavalier up to second-line center for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about signing away Subban, the Habs will match whatever offer is pitched for him. I have my doubts he’ll still be unsigned when July rolls around. Forget about acquiring Weber. Ain’t happenin’, at least not this year. Schenn is among the few attractive trade chips the Flyers have, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s dealt for either a winger or a defenseman.