Could the Red Wings buy out Stephen Weiss and pursue Dion Phaneuf? Which Stars might not return to Dallas next season? Read on for the latest.
Will the Red Wings buy out Weiss, pursue Phaneuf?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan speculates on the possibility the Detroit Red Wings could buy out the remaining three years and $16 million on center Stephen Weiss’ contract. They might try trading Weiss, though it could mean picking up a portion of his salary. Khan also suggests the Wings might revisit their trade talks for Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf, which fell through at this year’s trade deadline. The Leafs declined picking up part of Phaneuf’s $7 million-per-season salary and had requested prospect Anthony Mantha. They also balked at taking back a toxic contract like Weiss’ in the deal. The Wings could also use Brendan Smith or Jakub Kindl as trade bait for blueline help.
THE DETROIT NEWS: John Niyo reports the Wings still need to add a top-four defenseman who can man the point on the power play, plus another big forward or two to help the Wings undersized scorers. Niyo also notes the Wings must shed Stephen Weiss’ salary, either via buyout or perhaps packaged with some young talent for Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf. While GM Ken Holland stated his intent to retain goalie Jimmy Howard, Niyo isn’t ruling out a trade after July 1 when Howard’s no-movement clause softens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If trading Weiss is out of the question a contract buyout before June 30 seems likely. As there’s no more compliance buyouts, the cost to the Wings’ cap space will be $1.067 for next season and 2016-17, $2.567 million in 2017-18, followed by $1.667 million per season from 2018-19 through 2020-21. It’s understandable why Holland likely prefers trading Weiss, even at the cost of picking up part of his remaining salary.
Which Stars might not return in 2015-16?
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: provides a look at which Stars players might not return next season. Among the possibilities are goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Jhonas Enroth, defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and twice-suspended winger Ryan Garbutt. Forward Shawn Horcoff is a UFA and unlikely to be re-signed. Rich Peverley (heart condition) is expected to retire for health reasons. Among their potential free agent targets this summer are Washington’s Mike Green and Joel Ward, Buffalo’s Andrej Meszaros, San Jose’s Antti Niemi, Winnipeg’s Michael Frolik, Montreal’s Jeff Petry and Chicago’s Johnny Oduya.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending is a key issue for the Stars this summer. They could add Niemi but only if they ship out Lehtonen. They could use another experienced top-four defenseman and could get into the bidding for Green or Petry. I think GM Jim Nill prefers to go the trade route rather than take on too much salary via free agency.