- Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Red Wings GM Ken Holland won’t let teams talk to their Grand Rapids (AHL) coach Jeff Blashill. They can’t afford to lose him if they can’t sign coach Mike Babcock to a long-term deal. It doesn’t sound like Babcock wants to leave though.
Matheson wonders if the Sharks would look to trade Joe Thornton. Thornton has a no-trade clause. Martin Havlat could be bought out. The Sharks may look at moving Brent Burns back to the blueline next season.
Matt Niskanen will be a popular free agent if the Penguins can’t re-sign him. The Avs will definitely go after him. The Sharks could also be interested if they let Dan Boyle go to free agency. The Capitals and Red Wings will also be interested in Niskanen.
The Stars won’t give Vern Fiddler a three year deal, so he’ll test the free agent market. Matheson could see Fiddler in Calgary.
- David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: Dan Boyle may have played his final game in a Sharks uniform if term remains an issue. The Sharks need to make some changes and the 37-year is a pending UFA. His locker room voice may not be easily replaced if he moves on.
- The Fourth Period: The NY Post cited sources in saying there was a “mutual interest” from Wayne Gretzky and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. TFP has confirmed there is interest from both sides, as well as two different sources saying that Gretzky has been approached by several teams. The Maple Leafs and Canucks spoke to Gretzky before they hired Brendan Shanahan and Trevor Linden. The Leafs offered Gretzky a position but couldn’t agree on terms.
- Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: The Maple Leafs will decide this week if Randy Carlyle will be back as their head coach next season. The Maple Leafs key management will be in Las Vegas at their annual scouting meetings.