The latest on Ryan Miller, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Kevin Bieksa, R.J. Umberger and more.
STLTODAY.COM: In the wake of the Blues re-signing Brian Elliott and promoting Jake Allen to their goaltending tandem for next season, they won’t be re-signing Ryan Miller. Jeremy Rutherford reports if the Blues re-signed Miller before the NHL draft next month, they would’ve owed the Buffalo Sabres their first round pick (24th overall) to complete the trade with the Sabres for Miller. The same thing will happen if they trade Miller’s rights before the draft. If they deal his rights after making their first round selection, the third round pick they sent to the Sabres becomes a second round pick. Jeff Gordon speculates the Pittsburgh Penguins might be willing to give Miller a lucrative long-term deal.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl speculates there’s won’t be much of a trade market for Miller this summer as interested clubs can simply wait for free agency to sign him. He speculates Anaheim, San Jose and Vancouver could pursue Miller.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough lists Anaheim, San Jose, Vancouver, Minnesota and Pittsburgh as possible destinations, with an “honorary mention” to the Washington Capitals.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz believes Miller to the Sharks could make sense if they move out Antti Niemi, who has one season left on his contract. It would also depend on what other moves Sharks GM Doug Wilson has in store. Contract term could be a sticking point, as Kurz doubts the Sharks would go beyond three years for an aging goalie who could command between $5-$6 million as a free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of those conditions tied to the Blues’ deal with the Sabres for Miller, I don’t expect the club will shop his rights until after the draft, if at all. I’m not sure the Penguins would be interested, while the Canucks could stick with Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom. The Wild could be an option but that’ll depend on Josh Harding’s health and if they can shed Niklas Backstorm’s salary. The Ducks and Sharks are likely atop Miller’s wish list, as he could prefer signing with a California-based team to be closer to his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson speculates the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes could have interest in the Florida Panthers first round pick (first overall), which they’ve publicly acknowledged they’re willing to trade for the right deal…He speculates the Sharks might move Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau, believing the Maple Leafs and Lightning could pursue Thornton…Matheson also wonders if the Bruins could have interest in pending free agent defenseman Dan Boyle…He feels the Sharks could take a strong run at Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen if he hits the UFA market in July…He wonders if the Blues should zero in on Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa…With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane due for raises after next season, Matheson speculates the Blackhawks could dump salary as they did following their 2010 Cup championship…He also wonders if the Bruins might shop center Chris Kelly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers seek pieces which can help them now, so any team interested in that first overall pick should be prepared to part with a good player as part of the return…I doubt the Sharks shop Thornton or Marleau. Sure, it’s possible, but both just signed three-year extensions with full no-trade clauses…The Bruins have limited cap space for next season, which could put them out of the market for Boyle…The Sharks have decided to move Brent Burns back to the blueline, so they might not be keen to bid for Niskanen…The Canucks won’t make any roster moves until a new GM is in place…If the Blackhawks do dump salary it probably won’t happen until the end of next season. The difference is they won’t be as squeezed for cap space as they were in 2010.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets president John Davidson has confirmed forward R.J. Umberger requested a trade but said a move would be made only if it would strengthen the Jackets.