How the rising salary cap for next season could affect several clubs, Predators GM David Poile not panicking over his team’s sluggish performance, and another pundit speculates about the trade status of Evander Kane.

Alexander Steen could be a big name in this summer's UFA market.

Alexander Steen could be a big name in this summer’s UFA market.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance lists several clubs which should benefit from the rising salary cap for next season. He believes it will open cap space for the Pittsburgh Penguins to re-sign pending UFA blueliner Brooks Orpik and for the San Jose Sharks to re-sign Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle. Not every club will benefit, noting the St. Louis Blues (which has its own budget) could still find it difficult re-signing Alexander Steen.

TORONTO SUN: Chris Stevenson points out the new Canadian TV deal (which kicks in next season) should ensure a steady increase in the salary cap. He wondered about the effect that could have upon P.K. Subban’s contract talks with the Montreal Canadiens, as he could decide to sign a shorter-term deal in order to cash in on a bigger deal later as an unrestricted free agent…Stevenson also joins the chorus of pundits speculating the St. Louis Blues could be a destination for Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: David Pollak also believes the rising salary cap could help the Sharks re-sign Thornton, Marleau and Boyle.

WGR 550: Howard Simon believes the rising cap for next season could benefit whoever becomes the new GM of the Buffalo Sabres if ownership is willing to spend up to the $71.1 million ceiling. Simon also suggests more cap space could be freed up by buying out the contract of disappointing forward Ville Leino. Simon believes NY Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen are two intriguing options for the Sabres if those players test the free agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no question the rising salary cap will be a boon for clubs willing to keep pace with the higher cap ceiling, making it easier to re-sign their key free agents. Steen says he wants to remain with the Blues but that’ll depend on how much they’re willing to spend to keep him. It’s believed the Canadiens want to re-sign Subban to an eight-year deal, but I can’t help wondering if their hardball tactics last season could cost them this time around, as the temptation to re-sign a shorter term to make bigger bucks later as a UFA could be a strong one for Subban.  The Sharks want to re-sign Thornton, Marleau and Boyle and they want to stay, so the cap increase certainly makes that task easier. As for the Sabres, I think they have little choice but to cut their losses with Leino and use the cap savings to bolster their depth. Forget about landing Callahan,as I believe the Rangers will re-sign him. If Steen becomes available, the Sabres could face a bidding war with other clubs for his services.

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty is the latest pundit to take note of speculation Evander Kane might be unhappy playing for the Winnipeg Jets. He believes the Bruins would be interested if Kane became available.  “Would anybody take big issue with the Bruins dealing Brad Marchand, Jordan Caron, Malcolm Subban and a high draft pick in exchange for the unhappy Kane if push comes to shove in Winnipeg?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins fans love Marchand but he hasn’t been the same since his buddy Tyler Seguin was traded to Dallas last summer. I doubt they’ll be too upset if he were in a package like that for Kane. Still, I have my doubts over these reports that Kane might be angling to get out of Winnipeg. His on-ice struggles this season appear injury-related.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile remains patient with his struggling club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect a major trade or coach Barry Trotz to be fired.