Latest on the Avalanche, Stars, Sharks, Flyers, Sabres and Devils.
ESPN.COM/DENVER POST: Craig Custance believes the Colorado Avalanche must re-sign Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly, plus add an impact defenseman via trade or free agency. Considering the lack of skilled defensemen in this summer’s free agent market, a trade might be the best way to go. Custance suggests revisiting talks with the Florida Panthers over Dmitry Kulikov. Mark Kiszla, prior to Game 7 of the Avs-Wild series, noted the pressure upon Paul Stastny, wondering if he re-signs with the Avs if they fail to advance beyond the first round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny has said he’d consider a hometown discount (down from his current $6.6 million per season) to re-sign with the Avs, who reportedly want to keep him. We’ll see if that actually comes to pass. It will cost over $6 million for the Avs to qualify O’Reilly’s rights, perhaps more to re-sign him. Given his solid play they have little choice but to do so. I also expect they’ll draw from their depth in young talent in hopes of landing a quality defenseman via trade this summer.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports the Stars probably won’t re-sign pending UFAs Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler. There will be cap space for make a significant trade or signing but GM Jim Nill doesn’t expect to go crazy with those options. Heika also reports Nill and coach Lindy Ruff will examine their defense corps in the off-season. Heika wonders if they’ll buy out or trade Sergei Gonchar or Aaron Rome. He also suggests Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff, Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov and Vancouver’s Alex Edler as possible trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While they should look to bolster their defense, I believe a priority is landing another top-six winger. The bulk of their offense was carried by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin this season. While they have some promising young forwards like Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin, they’re not fully ready for prime time yet.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance believes the Sharks should seriously consider a goaltending change (St. Louis’ Ryan Miller could be available) and adding a top-four defenseman. Custance also believes the Flyers should try to squeeze another season out of Kimmo Timonen, get faster and make a call on Brayden Schenn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would stay far away from Miller if I were Sharks GM. He’s 34 and his best seasons are obviously behind him. Look elsewhere for goaltending help if necessary. As for the Flyers, Timonen’s done. Shop Brayden Schenn and see if you can use him to land some blueline help.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports winger Drew Stafford could still be part of the Sabres roster next season but Christian Ehrhoff might not. The Sabres lack depth at forward which would make retaining Stafford worthwhile, while their defense prospects could push out Ehrhoff. “I think if they want to move me, they can move me,” said Ehrhoff, who thinks he’ll be back next season. “So far, I do. We’ll see. Obviously, it’s not up to me and that remains to be seen.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could move Ehrhoff if they get a decent offer. There’s some teams that could use his puck-moving skills. As for Stafford, his stock has fallen so much that it would be difficult finding an interested club to take him off their hands.
NJ.COM: With Jaromir Jagr now re-signed, Rich Chere reports the Devils will shift their focus to re-signing goaltender Cory Schneider, who has one year left on his current contract.