Updates on the Jets, Devils, Penguins, Oilers, Wild and Hurricanes in your latest edition of the NHL Rumor Mill.
Latest Winnipeg Jets speculation.
WINNIPEG SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ken Wiebe breaks downs which Winnipeg Jets’ free agents could be re-signed and those who won’t. Those who could return include Drew Stafford, Ben Chiarot, Paul Postma, Lee Stempniak and Anthony Peluso. Those who could move on include Michael Frolik, Jim Slater, Adam Pardy, Jiri Tlusty, Matt Halischuk and Keaton Ellerby.
Ed Tait observes the Jets must decide if they’ll re-sign Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglin (both eligible in 2016 for UFA status) to contract extensions this summer. Tait also wonders if defenseman Tobias Enstrom, slated to earn $5.75 million next season and carrying a no-trade clause, might become a trade candidate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the Jets’ unrestricted free agents, re-signing Stafford is a priority. He quickly fit in well with the Jets after joining them in mid-February in the Evander Kane trade. It could cost upwards of $5 million per season on a four-year deal to re-sign Stafford but he could be worth every penny. If Ladd and Byfuglien wish to stay for a reasonable price they should be re-signed this summer, so as to avoid speculation over their future becoming unnecessary distractions next season. Otherwise, peddle them this summer for the best return you can get. The Jets defense played well in Enstrom’s absence to injury, and given the depth in quality blueliners in their system they can afford to shop him.
Latest Penguins, Stars and Wild speculation.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Pittsburgh Penguins should entertain offers for Evgeni Malkin this summer if they hope to address their crumbling roster…He also feels the Dallas Stars could shop struggling starting goalie Kari Lehtonen to middle-of-the-road teams desperate for goaltending, like Edmonton or Buffalo, this summer… Matheson thinks the Oilers should keep an eye on Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who could become expendable with the rise of blueliner Matt Dumba. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual cap hit of over $2.6 million and is an RFA next summer. The Carolina Hurricanes could also have interest…The Oilers want to re-sign pending UFA center Derek Roy, but he won’t get more than a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Latest I read out of Pittsburgh claimed the organization has no intention of trading Malkin, who also has a full no-movement clause. Unless he wants out, they won’t move him…Lehtonen has three more years at $5.9 million annually left on his contract, plus he has a modified no-trade clause. Unless the Stars agree to pick up part of his salary and provided he’ll accept a trade, I doubt the Sabres or Oilers could have serious interest in him…The Wild could move Spurgeon for a draft pick in order to free up some cap space for futures signings. Could be worth keeping an eye on his status…If the Oilers want to re-sign Roy, he should take whatever they’re offering. At this stage in his career, he’s not going to get much better on the open market. Take a one-year deal and work on rebuilding your value for next summer’s UFA market.
Latest on the Devils.
NJ.COM/NORTHJERSEY.COM: Rich Chere reports New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello recently said he hasn’t reached a decision yet on re-signing team captain Bryce Salvador, who missed most of this season to nerve damage in his right leg. Lamoriello also declined to say if he’s started his coaching search. Tom Gulitti notes the Devils could get a good player with the sixth-overall pick in this year’s draft, but Lamoriello hasn’t ruled out shopping the pick for a player to help the club right away. With several clubs facing a cap crunch this summer, the Devils GM could shop the pick to one of them for a skilled young player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Devils re-sign Salvador, whose playing days are likely over. I also expect Lamoriello will peddle that pick to clubs like Chicago, Vancouver and Los Angeles, who must shed salary this summer if they hope to retain some key players.