Latest on the Flyers, Red Wings, Penguins and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 

Flyers free-agent options.


The Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings could have interest in St. Louis Blues captain David Backes this summer.

St. Louis Blues captain David Backes could be a free-agent target of the Flyers and Red Wings via free agency this summer.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi lists St. Louis Blues center David Backes, Colorado Avalanche left wing Mikkel Boedker, Blues right wing Troy Brouwer, Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson, Chicago Blackhawks left winger Andrew Ladd, Los Angeles Kings LW Milan Lucic, Anaheim Ducks left wing Jamie McGinn, New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos as the pending UFAs who could attract the interest of Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall when the market opens on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carchidi’s list is in alphabetical order by last name and not by Hextall’s supposed preference. He believes the Flyers need two scoring wingers but cap constraints means he can only add one via free agency. The Flyers have over $63.8 million invested in 18 players for 2016-17, leaving around $10 million if cap space if the ceiling reaches $74 million as projected. Braydon Schenn, Radko Gudas, Nick Cousins and Brandon Manning are restricted free agents. Raises for those players will take up most of that cap space. If Hextall wants to add a forward via free agency, McGinn is probably the most affordable option. He’s completing a two-year deal at an annual cap hit of $2.95 million per season. His feisty style of play would make him a good fit with the Flyers. 

Red Wings UFA options.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan lists Steven Stamkos, David Backes, former NHL winger Alexander Radulov, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ladd, New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle, Dallas Stars blueliner Kris Russell and Vancouver Canucks rearguard Dan Hamhuis among the Detroit Red Wings UFA options. He also includes re-signing center Darren Helm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings currently have over $58 million committed to 16 players for 2016-17. However, GM Ken Holland could free up an additional $7.5 million by finding a trade partner for the remaining year of Pavel Datsyuk’s contract if he decides to finish his career next season in Russia. While Holland must re-sign RFAs such as goalie Petr Mrazek, defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forward Riley Sheahan, if he sheds Datsyuk’s contract he could have more than enough to re-sign Helm and add a top UFA forward or defenseman this summer. There’s been some speculation the Wings could be a strong candidate to pursue Stamkos if he hits the opening market. They’ve also reportedly had discussions with Radulov’s agent. 


The Penguins goaltending situation in an expansion draft.

NBC SPORTS: Ryan Dadoun wonders which goaltender – Marc-Andre Fleury or current playoff hero Matt Murray – the Pittsburgh Penguins will protect if there’s an expansion draft next year. It’s been reported players carrying no-movement clauses must be protected in that draft. Fleury has a no-movement clause when it comes to waivers and demotions but a partial no-trade clause in which he must provide a 12-team “no-trade” list. That means he could be left unprotected in an expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins won’t have to rush into that decision. They can maintain the Fleury-Murray tandem for next season and then decide later which one they’ll protect. If they decide it’s Murray, they can simply leave Fleury exposed in the draft,  trade him before the draft to at least get something for him or they can cut a side deal with the expansion team or teams to ensure he doesn’t get selected if left unprotected. I doubt there will be anything preventing the Penguins from employing the latter option if they wish,as the expansion draft rules must be within CBA guidelines.  

Senators coaching list.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could finish their coaching interviews by Friday. After that, it’s believed they will have a short list of two or three candidates. Team owner Eugene Melnyk said the list could be down to two candidates by Friday, and the club could announce its new bench boss within the next two weeks. It’s expected GM Pierre Dorion will meet with former Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday. He could also reach out to recently fired Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley.