- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The unrestricted free agent pool is not deep, so teams may look towards the trade market. The Penguins and Sharks could be looking to make some big changes. Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t afraid to make a big move, and may look to do so again.
Penguins winger James Neal may become available. Pending UFA Jussi Jokinen will get some interest this summer. Rutherford may be interested in keeping him around. Gordon thinks Jokinen could be a “bad contract waiting to happen.” Marc-Andre Fleury has one-year left on his contract at $5 million. He has limited no-trade clause, but if an inquiring team offered a contract extension, he may be more receptive to waive it. Could the Penguins look at bringing in Martin Brodeur? Kris Letang’s eight year, $58 million contract with a no-trade clause that kicks in on July 1st. Matt Niskanen will get big money, and could lead to the Penguins trading Letang or letting Brooks Orpik hit the open market.
If Dan Boyle hits the open market, the Red Wings and Lightning will be interested.
The Blackhawks need to find a second line center to replace Michal Handzus.
Blackhawks Nick Leddy has one year left at $2.7 million and could become a trade target of some teams as he’ll be looking for nice raise next year and might be available.
The Ducks would love to get Ryan Kesler, but it’s hard to see new GM Jim Benning wanting to send him to the Ducks or to the Blackhawks. Can expect at least six teams, including the Flyers, to make a serious bid for him.
The Canucks may be looking for a veteran goalie and to move up in the draft.
The Senators want a player, prospect and a first round pick for Jason Spezza. The Ducks and Blues could be good fits.
If the Rangers buy out Brad Richards, the Blues, Ducks and Blackhawks could kick tires on him.
Teams in the East could be interested in Sabres Chris Stewart. He has one year left at $4.1 million and has said he wouldn’t mind staying in Buffalo.
Salary cap concerns may lead Bruins to look at moving Brad Marchand and his three year, $13.5 million contract. Added cap space would make the re-signing of Jarome Iginla a little easier.
- Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Penguins pending UFA Matt Niskanen is paying attention to their coaching search. Niskanen had a close relationship with fired coach Dan Bylsma.
“Dan being dismissed won’t affect my decision,” Niskanen said. “However, I will pay attention to what the coaching staff is going to look like. It’s not the only factor in the decision. But it is a factor.”
Retaining Niskanen won’t be easy for the Penguins.