Latest on Steven Stamkos, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ondrej Pavelec in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

Would the Red Wings pursue a UFA like Stamkos?

Could the Detroit Red Wings pursue Steven Stamkos via free agency.

Could the Detroit Red Wings pursue Steven Stamkos via free agency.

TSN 1260 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie said he’d be curious to see if the Detroit Red Wings pursue Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos if he tests this summer’s UFA market. While he doesn’t know if Wings GM Ken Holland would invest over $10 million annually on a player in a salary-cap world and still build around them. However, if Wings ownership is willing to flex its financial muscles as they used to, Detroit could be an attractive destination for any free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Told you the speculation over Stamkos’ future wasn’t going away with the NHL trade deadline in the rear-view mirror. In my opinion, Holland won’t pursue Stamkos. He’s too costly an investment for the Wings. They’ve got some good young players (Petr Mrazek, Danny DeKeyser, Riley Sheahan, Teemu Pulkkinen,Tomas Tatar) to re-sign over the next two years. I’m not saying Holland won’t add a UFA or two, but I suspect he’ll look at more affordable options than Stamkos.

Highlights from Matheson’s “Hockey World.”

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if the Winnipeg Jets can find a taker for veteran goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think they’ll try, as he’s carrying only a $3.9 million cap hit for next season. Still, there won’t be many trade partners out there. The Calgary Flames are the best candidate, but they will likely consider other options. 

Matheson believes the Minnesota Wild will look at trading one of their defensemen for a center. He’s already suggested a swap of Jonas Brodin for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He wonders if a shoulder injury to promising Gustav Olafsson (“a bigger Brodin with a harder shot”) might adversely affect a ready-made trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodin seems the likely trade candidate for the Wild, and I can see them offering him to the Oilers for Nugent-Hopkins. However, Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli could have other trade options planned for RNH. 

He also wonders if Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin might consider replacing Michel Therrien with bilingual former NHL coach Marc Crawford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Bergevin will stick with Michel Therrien, citing the almost season-long absence of Carey Price.