Could the Maple Leafs look outside their organization for a short-term replacement for the suspended David Clarkson? Is there any progress in their contract talks with Cody Franson? Could new ownership for the Florida Panthers spell a contract for Tim Thomas? Which forwards could the Blues move to make room for Brenden Morrow?

NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos reports Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis believes his club has enough depth to off-set David Clarkson’s absence during his ten-game suspension. ““Unless something picks up [on the trade market] and there is a better fit, we are comfortable with the way that some guys have played and that we can make it through the 10 games,” Nonis told Traikos yesterday.

There’s also nothing new to report regarding Cody Franson’s stagnant contract talks, but the club would probably like to keep some money available in hopes of reaching a deal. The Leafs currently have less than $1 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Nonis can free up some salary via waivers, demotions or a salary-dumping trade, it appears the Leafs will begin the season without Franson and Clarkson.  UPDATE: Franson has reportedly accepted a one-year, $2 million contract. More to follow shortly.

Panthers to sign Tim Thomas?

Panthers to sign Tim Thomas?

TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports New York businessman Vincent Viola is expected to be announced Friday as new owner of the Florida Panthers. It’s believed once Viola is officially named Panthers owner, the club will sign goaltender Tim Thomas, who is currently with them on a tryout basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Thomas is signed (probably to a one-year deal), they’ll either shop or waive current backup Scott Clemmensen, or demote Jacob Markstrom, who is exempt from waivers.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports one of the Blues “regular” checking line forwards could be moved to make room for new Blues winger Brenden Morrow. Lowest-paid forwards Chris Porter and Adam Cracknell are assumed the likely to be moved, but head coach Ken Hitchcock said not to make that assumption, stressing it’ll depend upon how they mold their team.