Flyers may be out of the Bernier sweepstakes, an update on Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, the Avalanche’s motivation for suggesting they’ll pass over Seth Jones at the draft, and more.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have apparently made a significant bid for LA Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, which may explain why they’re hesitant to make a final decision on buying out Ilya Bryzgalov. Panaccio claims the “Leafs, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and now the New Jersey Devils reportedly are in the bidding”, but the Leafs are offering more than the others are willing to pay. A Flyers source claimed they and the Kings “aren’t really talking”, which could mean GM Paul Holmgren can’t match what the others are offering for Bernier.
Panaccio also claims the Flyers still have interest in Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan and the NY Rangers Brad Richards, though it sounds as though new Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wants Richards retained.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi also reported a Flyers source claimed his club would be interested in Brad Richards if the Rangers buy him out, seeing him as a potential replacement for soon-to-be bought out Danny Briere. Frank Seravalli, meanwhile, reports Flyers UFA forward Simon Gagne hopes to be re-signed once the club sorts out its cap situation.
NJ.COM: Charles Curtis wonders if the Devils might consider signing Briere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing new in the Toronto media earlier today about the Leafs supposed interest in Bernier, though I daresay that’ll increase between later today and Saturday morning. Regardless of the Leafs interest, it sounds as though the Flyers are out of the running for Bernier, which could keep Bryzgalov in Philadelphia for at least one more season.
The Ducks prefer to retain Ryan, but could be forced to part with him to free up salary cap space. If Ryan is shopped, I expect the Flyers will make a serious push for him. As for Richards, it’s now possible the Rangers could retain him in hopes he’ll regain his offensive touch playing for Vigneault.
Gagne could be an affordable re-signing, but he might not fit into the Flyers future plans. As for Briere, I anticipate a number of clubs will have serious interest in him, as he should be a bargain signing. Despite his age and injury history, he’s a proven playoff performer.
THE BUFFALO NEWS/WGR550: Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier would like to move up in the first round of this year’s NHL Draft, but he yesterday told reporters moving up into the top four spots would be very difficult, if not impossible. Regier holds the 8th and 16th overall picks, and is exploring options with the clubs holding the fifth (Carolina), sixth (Calgary) and seventh (Edmonton) overall picks.
John Vogl of the Buffalo News also reported the agents for Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek said they’ve had no contract extension talks with the Sabres. Both players have said they’re open to the idea of being dealt. Regier also said at this point he has no plans to buy out any of his players this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving up into those other spots in the draft could be easier for the Sabres. I also expect they’ll be quietly shopping Miller and Vanek, though it wouldn’t surprise me if both start the season with the Sabres and end up as possible deadline day trade bait.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Colorado Avalanche VP of Hockey OperationsJoe Sakic isn’t wavering from his recent claim his club could pass over defenseman Seth Jones in favor of selecting either Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin or Alexander Barkov with the first overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Sakic said his statement was meant more for Avalanche fans to know what the club is thinking going into the draft. Craig Custance, meanwhile, suggests Sakic may also have been trying to further drum up trade interest in that pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the Avs do with that pick come June 30th, they’ve certainly generated more-than-usual hype going into this year’s draft.