The latest on Dion Phaneuf, Ryan Miller, Martin Havlat, Michael Del Zotto, Ales Hemsky, Mikael Backlund and more.

CBC.CA: Glenn Healy reported contract talks between the Toronto Maple Leafs and pending free agents Dave Bolland and Jay McClement, while suggesting if Dion Phaneuf “gets his term” he’ll have to accept less money to stay with the Leafs, noting the club’s other free agents to be re-signed…Elliotte Friedman reports the Flames Mikael Backlund could be available, and the club is making moves now to “take the Brian Burke trade freeze” ten days prior to the league-wide freeze of December 19th. He believes there are teams interested in Backlund who’d like to see how he’d do with a fresh start.  He also believes the Flames will wait until the New Year to make plans on which of their pending UFAs they’ll attempt to re-sign…Friedman believes there was “a conversation” between the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers over Michael Del Zotto but doesn’t think it’s going anywhere. As for the rumors of the Senators pursuing Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky, Friedman doesn’t believe the Senators can afford to do that…Healy noted the Leafs were scouting the Hurricanes to look at defenseman Tim Gleason. He doesn’t believe a Gleason for John-Michael Liles swap might not work without another player in the mix.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phaneuf and the Leafs will work something out whereby he gets around $7 million per season…Backlund could prove an affordable option for teams in need of depth at forward…Sounds like the Senators are going to stick with their current lineup for now. They could revisit their interest in Del Zotto later in the season. Hemsky’s $5 million salary is simply too much for the budget-conscious Sens…Gleason makes $4 million per season, so the Hurricanes will either have to pick up another salary from the Leafs along with Liles, or eat half of Gleason’s remaining contract to make it work.

Kings interested in Ryan Miller?

Kings interested in Ryan Miller?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Buffalo Sabres president of hockey ops Pat LaFontaine wants to have a new GM in place before Christmas. That GM will have to decide Ryan Miller’s future. Garrioch claims the LA Kings might have interest in Miller with Jonathan Quick currently sidelined for at least another month. While noting Ben Scrivens has played well, Garrioch says Kings GM Dean Lombardi has been sniffing around. The St. Louis Blues have also been linked to Miller…The Rangers are trying to clear cap space and Michael Del Zotto ($2.55 million) is available. Garrioch claims the “Senators, Hurricanes, Oilers and Sharks” are interested but the Rangers want a defenseman in return. Garrioch believes it’s in the Rangers best interest to move Del Zotto as they need to clear cap space to re-sign their key UFAs…The San Jose Sharks are shopping Martin Havlat. The Rangers and Florida Panthers have “mild interest”…Before acquiring Kris Versteeg, the Chicago Blackhawks apparently explored the possibility of acquiring Rene Bourque from the Montreal Canadiens. Garrioch claims Habs GM Marc Bergevin wants to make a major move but won’t get much for Bourque or Brian Gionta…The Panthers aren’t done dealing. GM Dale Tallon wants to move ” RW Scottie Upshall, LW Tomas Fleischman, RW Brad Boyes, RW Tomas Kopecky, C Marcel Goc and C Shawn Matthias” before the trade deadline…The Flames are shopping Mikael Backlund and Shane O’Brien…The Edmonton Oilers need help everywhere but rival clubs only want their young players in return. Garrioch believes they could get a top pick for Ales Hemsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings might be sniffing around for possibly another goalie but as long as Scrivens plays well they won’t panic. I don’t see them seriously chasing Miller unless Quick is out much longer (like most of the season) than expected. As long as Jaroslav Halak keeps playing well, the Blues won’t pursue Miller…I believe the Rangers want to move Del Zotto for the right price, but it has nothing to do with re-signing their key UFAs next summer, as Del Zotto is an RFA next summer, so he has no salary carrying over into next season complicating things for the Rangers…I don’t see much interest from anyone in Havlat, given his injury history and $5 million salary for next season…It’s rumored the Canadiens have some interest in Shawn Matthias…If your definition of “top pick” is at best a second rounder, then yes, the Oilers will get a “top pick” for Hemsky.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers aren’t interested in Martin Havlat. He also wondered if the New Jersey Devils might buy out the final seasons of Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador next summer.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames forward Mikael Backlund acknowledge the recent rumors but insists he’s not seeking a trade.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis examines the potential trade chips Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has to offer up for a top-pairing defenseman, including his 2014 draft picks, prospects like Oscar Klefbom, Ales Hemsky, Marc Arcobello, Nick Schultz, Philip Larsen and Corey Potter. Willis doesn’t see much there to tempt other clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless MacTavis is willing to include one of his good young forwards in the mix, there’s nothing there which will land them a top-pairing defenseman.