Latest on the Flyers & Devils plus updates on Steven Stamkos, Eric Staal, James Reimer, Troy Brouwer and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.  

Eric Staal

Eric Staal isn't ruling out returning with the Rangers or Hurricanes.

Eric Staal isn’t ruling out returning with the Rangers or Hurricanes.

YAHOO SPORTS: Greg Wyshynski reports New York Rangers Eric Staal will be looking to join a team where he can play a vital role, something he didn’t get the opportunity to do in his short tenure with the Blueshirts. He isn’t closing the door on returning with the Rangers or with his former club, the Carolina Hurricanes. Wyshynski notes Staal will be “looking for a contract that obviously won’t be the $9.5 million base salary he has now, nor the seven years, but will be fair for a 31-year-old top six forward.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal is no longer a top-six forward. He’ll have to get used to being a third liner. I saw nothing in his performance this season with the Hurricanes or Rangers that indicates he can turn things around. Buyer beware when he hits the UFA market. 

Devils and Flyers. 

NJ.COM: Steve Politi recently reported New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero has the cap space (more than $20 million) to invest in his roster this summer, particularly their scoring, but it remains to be seen how much he’s willing to spend. Some of it will go toward re-signing key free agents, such as winger Kyle Palmieri. Given Shero is taking the long view with his roster, he’s unlikely to pursue expensive UFAs such as Steven Stamkos or Eric Staal. Shero assures Devils fans Palmieri will be re-signed one way or another, preferably avoiding arbitration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another RFA who’ll be re-signed is Devante Smith-Pelly, who played very well for the Devils after being acquired before the trade deadline from Montreal. The Devils were the lowest-scoring club this season. While Shero will be sensible with his cap space, I believe he will invest in bolstering his offense via trade or free agency. 

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall want to retain his goaltending tandem of Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth but won’t rule out moving one of them for the right deal. He adds it’s not something he’s focusing on.

Other recent speculation.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently speculated the cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks could try to include Bryan Bickell into any possible trade of RFA forward Andrew Shaw. He thinks the Edmonton Oilers could be interested in that deal. He also suggests the Hawks listen to offers for young forward Teuvo Teravainen.

He wonders how much Steven Stamkos’ UFA value will be affected if the Tampa Bay Lightning win two playoff rounds without him. Stamkos is still recovering from blood-clot surgery.

The St. Louis Blues will be investigating deals for enigmatic, big-bodied Dmitri Jaskin.

Matheson expects the Detroit Red Wings will pursue St. Louis Blues pending UFA winger Troy Brouwer.

THE BOSTON GLOBE:  Fluto Shinzawa recently suggested salary-cap constraints will hamper the Columbus Blue Jackets’ efforts to bring in complimentary players to build around their core of young talent. In order to re-sign defenseman Seth Jones (possibly up to $6 million annually) could mean shedding some salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets reportedly tried to move veteran winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Fedor Tyutin during the season. Don’t be surprised if their names resurface in the rumor mill leading up to the NHL Draft in late-June. 

With goaltender Jonas Hiller heading to Switzerland, the Calgary Flames will chase San Jose Sharks backup James Reimer via free agency in July.