Latest on Matt Duchene, Ryan Miller and Mika Zibanejad in your NHL rumor mill.
Duchene, Avs corp could be under the microscope this summer.
TSN: (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger reports Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy’s harsh comments over center Matt Duchene celebrating his first 30-goal season during a recent 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues will “fuel and breed ongoing speculation” over Duchene’s future with the Avalanche. He noted the center’s name came up in trade rumors last November loosely linking him to the Ottawa Senators. Roy’s comments will ensure trade speculation will hang over Duchene in the offseason.
Frank Seravalli noted Roy also ripped the core players of his team, including Duchene, following that loss to the Blues. While Roy’s job security has come under fire, Seravalli points out Roy has a hand in many player decisions with GM Joe Sakic. He also referenced the Duchene trade rumors back in November and believes the 25-year-old would attract considerable attention if he hits the trade block this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy’s comments may have been to hold the club’s core talent accountable and his remarks about Duchene perhaps nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. However, they’ve already reignited speculation over Duchene’s future in Colorado. After missing the playoffs for the second straight season following their surprising 112-point campaign two years ago (and that due largely to the goaltending of an overworked Semyon Varlamov), Roy and Sakic could consider shaking up the roster next season. If so, Duchene could be part of the changes.
Could the Canucks shop Ryan Miller?
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford doesn’t believe Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning wants to trade goaltender Ryan Miller. Given Miller’s recent performance, however, he could have some value on the trade market this summer if the Canucks “are willing to retain salary and cap space.” Given Miller’s preference to remain on the West Coast, Botchford wonders if the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks might be interested this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If, and that’s a big “If”, the Canucks shop Miller this summer, the options are limited. He has a five-team list of acceptable destinations on his modified no-trade clause. You can bet three of them include Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles, as he wants to be as close to his wife (actress Noureen DeWulf) as possible during the season. If the Ducks keep the tandem of John Gibson and Frederik Andersen together for next season, they’re not a destination. The Kings can’t afford Miller even if they could get him for half his cap hit, especially if they re-sign Milan Lucic. The Sharks could surprise folks by perhaps re-signing pending UFA goalie James Reimer as a backup for Martin Jones. Even if they don’t, they could find more affordable options than Miller.
Mika Zibanejad facing uncertain future in Ottawa.
OTTAWA SUN: Given Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s recent promise of offseason changes, Don Brennan wonders if it’s a good idea for Senators center Mika Zibanejad to be building a $2-million home in the Ottawa area. Though Zibanejad is the club’s fifth-leading scorer this season, Brennan claims more was expected of him and it’s unclear where he fits into the Sens’ future. Brennan believes someone could get traded this summer. “Part of me believes Zibanejad can still be a big-time player, but after four seasons of waiting, part of me also thinks he shouldn’t have bought that house,” said Brennan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad’s also carrying an affordable $2.625 million cap hit for next season, after which he’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. It’s possible the Sens could avoid that potential hassle by shopping him this summer, but I still think Mike Hoffman is the most likely trade candidate.