Latest on Brad Richards, Milan Michalek, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Mason, Dmitry Kulikov and more.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson speculates the NY Rangers could use their remaining compliance buyout next June on Brad Richards to free up cap space to re-sign Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi…He believes the Ottawa Senators “will unload” struggling winger Milan Michalek…The Rangers are getting lots of calls about Michael Del Zotto, but they could retain him if Marc Staal (possible concussion) is sidelined for a lengthy period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, we can’t dismiss the possibility of the Rangers buying out Richards next June to free up cap space for other signings…If the Senators are still well out of playoff contention in another month or so they could turn from buyers into sellers, and Michalek (a UFA at season’s end) could be among those on the move…Staal’s injury could indeed have an effect upon Del Zotto’s trade status.

Steve Mason could get a big raise from the Flyers.

Steve Mason could get a big raise from the Flyers.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Pannacio reports the Philadelphia Flyers want to re-sign goalie Steve Mason, who’s an RFA at season’s end and currently on a one-year, $1.5 million deal. His agent suggests Montreal Canadiens Carey Price’s contract (six-year, $39 million) is a good comparable. Panaccio doubts Mason gets that much but believes he’ll get at least $4 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would show considerable restraint on the part of Flyers management, who have a habit of re-signing key players to expensive, long-term contracts. Perhaps Mason gets a five-year, $4 million per deal? 

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports NY Islanders GM Garth Snow is considering all options to improve his struggling club but won’t discuss them publicly. Staple cites sources claiming Snow’s been shopping for a goaltender for weeks but cannot find a satisfactory deal.

MIAMI HERALD: George Richards reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon denied a report by CBC’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the reason Dmitry Kulikov was a healthy scratch last week was due to a trade which ultimately fell apart.

NEW YORK POST: In the wake of another NY Rangers loss, Larry Brooks called upon GM Glen Sather to do something to shake up the roster sooner rather than later.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports a lack of offense is what’s hurting the Nashville Predators, sitting 26th overall in goals-per-game. He wondered if they might explore a “rent-a-player” option with Buffalo’s Matt Moulson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are likely to seek young players, picks and/or prospects for Moulson. Perhaps the Predators can draw upon their defensive depth in their system as trade bait for a scorer.