The latest on Ryan Miller, Paul Stastny, Jarome Iginla, and more.

Are Ryan Miller & Thomas Vanek playing their final games with the Sabres?

Are Ryan Miller & Thomas Vanek playing their final games with the Sabres?

BUFFALO NEWS: Jerry Sullivan believes goaltender Ryan Miller time with the Sabres is nearing an end, especially after his meltdown against the NY Rangers on Friday and his reaction to the jeers from Sabres fans in that game. Bucky Gleason agrees, and also believes winger Thomas Vanek has just about had enough.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s getting ugly in Buffalo. GM Darcy Regier claimed he’s recently approached the duo about remaining with the Sabres beyond July 2014, when they’re eligible for UFA status, but it’s hard to believe Miller or Vanek intend to re-sign. Both have one season remaining on their respective contracts, but it would be best to shop them, starting around the June Entry Draft weekend, and see what return they can get.  Regier has received considerable criticism in recent years, much of it justified, but he got a terrific return for Jason Pominville at the trade deadline, so he should get solid returns for Miller and Vanek. If the intent in Buffalo is to rebuild, then they should go all in and get the best returns possible for Miller and Vanek.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes the Flyers have little choice but to use compliance buyouts to shed the salaries of Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere. He also suggests GM Paul Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette could be replaced…The contracts of Coyotes GM Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett expire on July 1…Garrioch doesn’t expect the Canucks will buy out Roberto Luongo…A quick exit by the St. Louis Blues could result in coach Ken Hitchcock losing his job…New Oilers GM Craig MacTavish could get offers for Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky…The LA Kings could be a possible landing spot for Jarome Iginla as a UFA this summer because of his relationship with coach Darryl Sutter…

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If anyone gets fired in Philly, it’ll be Laviolette, not because he deserves to be fired, but as a scapegoat. Holmgren won’t be fired. Compliance buyouts are coming for the Flyers, it’s just a question of either buying out Bryzgalov and Briere this summer, or one this summer and the other the next…Regardless of the Coyotes ownership situation, if Maloney and Tippett want to stay, the league will work out new contracts for them…I agree the Canucks won’t buy out Luongo. It’s probably the sensible move, but they believe there’s still a market for him…I doubt the Blues fire Hitchcock if they make an early playoff exit…There’ll be plenty of interest in Gagner, but not so much in the oft-injured, expensive Hemsky…Garrioch keeps trying to tie Iginla with the Kings because of his previous relationship with Sutter, but as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun observed before the trade deadline, the Kings don’t need Iginla. Three years ago, yes, but that was before they landed Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. 

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater believes the Colorado Avalanche will have to move one of their top three centers “at some point”, believing the choice will come down to Paul Stastny or Ryan O’Reilly, who cannot be dealt until February 28, 2014.  He offers up a “wild conspiracy theory” suggesting if the Avs fail to secure the first overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft Lottery, they might offer up Stastny and their first round pick for the first overall and another player. He acknowledged Stastny’s $6.6 million salary for next season would be tough to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting theory, certainly makes more sense than most of the Stastny trade rumors. In recent years, however, teams with the first overall pick have retained them, and I doubt Stastny plus a first for the first overall and a roster player will do it.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford’s top priority is strengthening his defense corps. “Whether it be a physical defenseman, a puck-moving defenseman, two puck-moving defensemen, whatever it is, those are things the management team and the coaching staff will discuss at the end of the year,” he said. “That’s an area it’s clear we need to make stronger.” He also intends to seek depth for his checking lines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation Rutherford could lose his job, but I don’t believe that will happen. A rash of injuries to key players combined with this shortened season killed the Hurricanes playoff hopes, and that cannot be hung upon Rutherford.