Latest on the Sabres, Panthers, Predators, Rangers and Blue Jackets.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports Buffalo Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine said if a rival team contacted him with interest in goalie Ryan Miller they wouldn’t necessarily wait until they hire a new GM to make that move if it makes sense… Friedman also reports of talk around the league the next Florida Panther who could be dealt is forward Shawn Matthias, claiming the Vancouver Canucks could have some interest. He’s been told defenseman Bryan Campbell won’t be dealt…Three Columbus Blue Jackets scouts took in the Edmonton Oilers game last week against Chicago. The Blue Jackets are looking for speed and the Oilers like defenseman Nikita Nikitin, but Friedman isn’t sure if those talks are going anywhere…Glenn Healy doubts Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto will be traded, citing his $2 million-plus cap hit and the inability to find a better player for that money. Healy also claimed Nail Yakupov had been talked about in a trade but didn’t elaborate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LaFontaine might be willing to listen to offers for Miller while he’s still seeking a new general manager, but I don’t believe he’ll make a move until the GM chair is filled…Matthias has another season remaining on his contract at an affordable annual cap hit of $1.75 million, but it could still take some time to move him if that’s the Panthers intent. Even if the Panthers wanted to move Campbell, his $7.142 million per season contract is impossible to move…Nikitin’s been linked to the Oilers for a few weeks now but there doesn’t seem to be serious interest on their part…The Rangers would probably want a decent blueliner who can log over 19 minutes per game in return for Del Zotto…If we take Oilers GM Craig MacTavish at his word, Yakupov won’t be dealt.
USA TODAY: With Pekka Rinne sidelined indefinitely due to complications in his surgically repaired hip, Kevin Allen believes the Nashville Predators need to shop for a new goaltender or risk falling out of playoff contention by the end of this month. He suggests they contact the Anaheim Ducks, who are deep in goalies this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile claimed he’d wait for the results of an MRI on Rinnie’s hip at the end of this month before deciding if he’ll shop for help.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers should get working on a contract for right-handed defenseman Anton Stralman, who could command $3 million per season on the open market next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers priorities are Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi. If the salary cap goes up to $70 million next season, they’ll have over $38 million in cap space, and only nine players currently under contract for next season. Those three will eat up a big chunk of that cap space, but there should be enough for Stralman if he wants to stay
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Ray Stein doubts the Blue Jackets will bring back free agent forward Vinny Prospal.