Updates on the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild.
Changes coming for the Blue Jackets?
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Shawn Mitchell believes the Blue Jackets 0-6-0 start to this season “has left the coach Todd Richards walking a fine line and made an early-season roster shakeup a very real possibility.” Richards told Mitchell he’s received no personal reassurances from management about his status, though before the game, GM Jarmo Kekalainen claimed he had a good working relationship with his coach. Kekalainen also declined to speculate on the future of his players or coaches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen is probably getting plenty of calls from rival general managers keen to “help” him with some veteran players at the cost of one or two promising young players. While a trade is always possible, Kekalainen will have to get creative to get a return that helps his team and fits into his budget. The Jackets currently have $2.593 million in cap space, which doesn’t leave Kekalainen much wiggle room. That’s why I think a coaching change is more likely than a trade.
Flyers’ Simmonds attracts attention.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa repots “GMs went on the alert after Wayne Simmonds played only 8:41 in Philadelphia’s 1-0 win over Florida on Monday,” noting the winger skated on the Flyers’ third line. However, Simmonds played the following game on their second line and had a better performance. While the Flyers need to clear cap space, Shinzawa believes Simmonds’ contract ($3.975 million through 2019) is one GM Ron Hextall doesn’t want to move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Little-used defenseman Luke Schenn ($3.6 million cap hit and a UFA in July) or fading forward Vincent Lecavalier ($4.5 million through 2018) are more likely trade candidates than Simmonds. He’s not going anywhere this season.
Backstrom to Buffalo not likely to happen.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo notes a common question from Wild fans lately is whether GM Chuck Fletcher can peddle veteran goalie Niklas Backstrom to the Buffalo Sabres, who lost starter Robin Lehner six-to-eight weeks to a high-ankle sprain. Russo doubts that’ll happen, believing the Sabres could pursue younger, more affordable options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom would also have to waive his no-movement clause to make such a deal happen.