With Randy Carlyle returning as coach, could the Leafs trade Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner? Could the Rangers trade Rick Nash this summer? Are the Lightning considering changes to their backup goaltending? Could the Wild re-sign Dany Heatley?
NEW YORK POST: Noting Rick Nash’s lengthy playoff scoring drought and his recent serenading by New York boobirds, Larry Brooks recently wondered if Nash would be amenable to waiving his no-trade clause this summer. Given the decline in Nash’s play, Brooks doubts there would be as much of a bidding war for the winger’s services this time as there was two years ago. They could use their remaining compliance buyout on Nash, but Brooks points out that would mean the Rangers would be stuck with Brad Richards’ contract through 2019-20, as well as the salary cap recapture penalties if he retires before then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash has four years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $7.8 million, but his actual salary steadily rises with each season, reaching $8.2 million in the final year of the deal. The Rangers would be better off using their remaining compliance buyout to shed Richards salary (they can afford the payout), then agree to pick up a part of Nash’s contract (provided he agrees to waive his NTC) in hopes of enticing a rival team in need of a big scoring winger.
THE SPORTING NEWS: With the Toronto Maple Leafs confirming the return of head coach Randy Carlyle, Sean Gentille cites a tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming the Leafs have had trade discussions with a number of teams involving Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and even pending UFA’s Nikolai Kulemin and Dave Bolland.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big changes could be coming to the Leafs lineup, but it won’t involve shedding expensive players like Dion Phaneuf. The Leafs could seek players who can play Carlyle’s system. Or, if you’re a Carlyle apologist, his new assistants’ system. Moving the negotiating rights of Kulemin and/or Bolland for whatever they can get before July 1 isn’t a bad idea. Kadri and/or Gardiner are decent trade chips, but don’t expect them to fetch a big return. GM Dave Nonis previously said he won’t move either player without getting a good player of comparable age in return. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s willing to move off that stance this summer.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sid Hartman reports Dany Heatley has become a vital contributor to the Wild since he was put into the roster midway through their opening-round series against Colorado. Heatley’s an unrestricted free agent and GM Chuck Fletcher said he’ll see where the veteran winger fits into their plans beyond this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Heatley is willing to accept a massive pay cut and a lesser role with the Wild, they could consider bringing him back next season.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Damian Cristodero reports the Lightning’s glut of backup goalies (Anders Lindback, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Kristers Gudlevskis) gives the Lightning some options this summer, which could include using one of them as trade bait.