Latest on Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Mike Richards, Matt Moulson, Jonas Hiller and more
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek believes the Penguins made a mistake firing GM Ray Shero. His replacement will have to improve the quality of the Penguins’ goaltending, try to trade defenseman Rob Scuderi to free up cap space, and explore Kris Letang’s trade value…He believes the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks provide Ryan Miller with his two best options to sign with a West Coast team…Duhatschek wonders if the Kings could use a compliance buyout to shed the remainder of Mike Richards’ contract, thus freeing up room to re-sign winger Marian Gaborik…He doubts the Canadiens re-sign struggling Thomas Vanek and wonders if the Minnesota Wild will sign him after watching his poor performance in this year’s playoffs. He also suggests the Islanders kiss and make up with Matt Moulson, who they dealt to Buffalo earlier in the season for Vanek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could find it easier to move Scuderi ($3.375 million per season for next three years) than Letang ($7.25 million annually for the next eight years), unless they’re willing to pick up part of the latter’s contract. Even then, Letang’s health issues will make him tough to move…I’m not sure the Canucks would take on Miller unless he’s willing to accept a short-term deal. Besides, their biggest concern is their lack of scoring punch. The Sharks would have to trade away or buy out Antti Niemi if they’re to add Miller, who isn’t an improvement over Niemi…Richards’ play has improved of late but his declining speed should be a concern. If the Kings re-sign Gaborik I’m guessing it’s a short-term deal for just over $5 million per… Vanek’s performance isn’t exactly attracting rave reviews, and it could adversely affect his efforts to land a lucrative new contract, especially if he’s hoping to go to Minnesota. As for Moulson and the Islanders, I think that ship has sailed.
LOS ANGELES TIMES/VANCOUVER PROVINCE/CBS EYE ON HOCKEY: Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray might revisit his trade deadline attempt to land Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler or pursue other upgrade. Jason Botchford wondered what Murray offered up for Kesler, and doubts Devante Smith-Pelly is available. Brian Stubits reports Ducks long-time starting goalie Jonas Hiller is sad knowing his time with the club is coming to an end. Hiller joins Ryan Miller on the free agent market, and wonders if the Ducks could consider Miller as a replacement for Hiller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray also reportedly has interest in Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, but Kesler would be more affordable and a better fit as a second-line center. Murray must also decide if he’ll stick with his current tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson or bring in Miller to tutor young Gibson while shipping Andersen elsewhere.
USA TODAY/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS/THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Brehm recently examined possible free agent destination for Ryan Miller, listing the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild as possible destinations. David Pollak doesn’t believe Miller is a fit with the Sharks. Bucky Gleason believes the Buffalo Sabres should resist the temptation to sign Miller as a free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sharks do sign Miller they must trade Antti Niemi. I don’t believe the Capitals will pursue Miller, preferring to stick with Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. I also don’t see Miller as an improvement over Marc-Andre Fleury, while the Wild could go with Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper next season.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wants to ensure he has sufficient cap space for long and short term signings.