The latest on Eric Staal, Shane Doan, Adam McQuaid, Cody Hodgson, Jonathan Bernier, Nazem Kadri and more in your NHL Rumor Mill.
Highlights from Elliotte Friedman’s Latest “30 Thoughts”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders what it will mean for the Arizona Coyotes (particularly GM Don Maloney, coach Dave Tippett and captain Shane Doan) if the club drops to third in the upcoming NHL Draft lottery. There was varying opinion that Doan may have wanted to be moved at the trade deadline, but there’s some skepticism about it. If the Coyotes land Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the draft, they’ll want Doan with him…There’s talk the New Jersey Devils could shop defenseman Eric Gelinas this summer for a scoring forward…The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to reopen contract talks soon with RFAs Jonathan Bernier and Nazem Kadri…Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could draw upon his depth at center to bolster his blueline via trade…Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill believes adding a strong stay-at-home defender will likely come via trade rather than free agency…The Carolina Hurricanes could seek a defenseman to play alongside top blueliner Justin Faulk. Hurricanes GM Ron Francis said he’s received no indication captain Eric Staal wants to move on to a playoff contender. Friedman speculates that will become a topic in the rumor mill closer to the NHL Draft in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Coyotes land either McDavid or Eichel it could jump start their rebuild. They’ll want Doan to be part of that. Ultimately, Doan controls his future. If he wants to stay, he’ll stay…Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has repeatedly said he wants to add two scoring forwards this summer. He’ll draw upon his blueline depth for trade bait…I believe the Leafs intend to re-sign Bernier and Kadri as they see them as part of their future. Besides, they’ll need a reasonably experienced group to rebuild around should they dump most of their current core players this summer…Artem Anisimov’s name popped up briefly last fall in the rumor mill. Perhaps the Jackets will use Anisimov as trade bait to bring in an experienced defenseman…The Stars could try moving one of their promising young blueliners to add a more experienced defender…Staal so far is saying he wants to remain with the Hurricanes. That’ll depend upon whether Francis sees him as part of their long-term future and the cost of re-signing his captain, who is slated for UFA status in 2016.
Latest on the Bruins.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins face a tough decision regarding pending UFA defenseman Adam McQuaid, who hopes to re-sign with the club. The 28-year-old McQuaid had a solid performance this season, finishing third on the Bruins in hits and blocked shots. However, the Bruins have over $59 million committed to next season’s payroll and must re-sign RFAs Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly and perhaps goalie Niklas Svedberg. That might not leave much space to re-sign McQuaid (current annual cap hit of $1.55 million) and have room to re-sign their RFAs and address their other roster issues.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford reports the agent for Bruins pending UFA center Carl Soderberg shot down a rumor claiming his client might play in Switzerland next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins can free up some cap space they could try re-signing McQuaid to a $2.5 million per season contract on a three-year deal. McQuaid’s injury history, however, could hurt his chances of re-signing with the Bruins. Consensus among Boston pundits suggests the Bruins aren’t likely to re-sign Soderberg, who could be a nice bargain signing for an NHL club seeking an affordable forward who can play center or wing.
Updates on the Sabres.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports this season was a bad one for Sabres sharpshooters Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson. Vogl believes Moulson will get an opportunity to redeem himself with next season, but speculates the one-dimensional Hodgson could be bought out in June. Vogl also reports pending UFA forward Patrick Kaleta hopes to re-sign with the Sabres. He also notes Mikhail Grigorenko’s entry-level contract is coming to an end. While Grigorenko could return to Russia to play in the KHL, he tells Vogl his intent is to stay in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I suspect the Sabres could keep Hodgson, who has four years remaining on his contract, for another season to see if he’ll regain his scoring touch under a new head coach. Hodgson struggled under now-former bench boss Ted Nolan. Kaleta could be an affordable re-signing, provided GM Tim Murray wants to bring him back. I think Grigorenko gets an affordable two-year bridge contract with the Sabres.