NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2022

Updates on Johnny Gaudreau, Claude Giroux and David Pastrnak plus the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON GAUDREAU, GIROUX AND PASTRNAK

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Johnny Gaudreau’s sincerity over his public statements that he loves playing in Calgary. He thinks the 28-year-old left winger will give the Flames a chance to sign him. However, LeBrun wouldn’t be surprised if the Gaudreau camp decides to test the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils have been mentioned as a potential suitor for Gaudreau given their salary-cap room. LeBrun also suggested the Seattle Kraken as a bit of a wild card but they also have the cap space and could be aggressive in the UFA market.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian included the Devils among her list of potential destinations for Gaudreau. The Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators are other possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Flames will do all they can to keep Gaudreau in the fold. Still, you can’t blame him if he wants to consider all his options.

The Devils are an up-and-coming team in need of an established first-line winger. Gaudreau was born and raised in South Jersey. It’s only natural to assume they’d be among his pursuers.

It’s easy to dismiss the Kraken because they’re a new team still building their roster. However, general manager Ron Francis raised eyebrows by signing Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz last summer. It’s a long shot but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Gaudreau landing in Seattle.

I don’t see the Flyers and Islanders signing Gaudreau unless they’re prepared to clear cap space for what could be a seven-year, $70 million contract. The Penguins would have the cap room if Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang depart via free agency The chance to play alongside Sidney Crosby could be tempting.

Predators GM David Poile could be in the market for a new left winger if he fails to get Filip Forsberg under contract. If he balks at signing Forsberg for $8.5 million annually, I don’t see him handing out up to $10 million annually for Gaudreau.

Turning to Claude Giroux, LeBrun said the 34-year-old center’s priority is re-signing with the Florida Panthers. It won’t be easy given their salary-cap limitations but they’ve informed him that they’re interested in signing him.

Failing that, he wants to find a team where he can chase the Stanley Cup but also a place for his young family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following Giroux’s trade to Florida, there was speculation he could sign with his hometown Ottawa Senators if he won a Cup this spring. That faded after the Panthers were eliminated in the second round. We’ll see if it gets resurrected if he goes to market in July.

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports David Pastrnak’s agent refuted a recent report claiming his client had an issue with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. The report cited a source close to Pastrnak saying he wouldn’t sign with the Bruins if Sweeney remain GM.

In an email to Conroy, JP Barry said he spoke with the winger and they have no idea where that story came from. “We both have a strong relationship with Don and the plan hasn’t changed one bit. We will sit down in July and begin extension negotiations.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is slated next summer to become a UFA. The recent firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy, uncertainty over captain Patrice Bergeron’s future and injuries sidelining Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy from the start of next season contributed to concerns over the club’s ability to sign the talented winger.

Barry’s remarks should alleviate some of the concern about Pastrnak’s future among Bruins fans. However, that speculation will return and grow the longer he goes unsigned over the course of this summer.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples listed the highlights of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s season wrap-up press conference on Wednesday.

Holland indicated he’s interested in bringing back Evander Kane. The 30-year-old winger meshed with Oilers captain Connor McDavid after coming to Edmonton in January as a free agent. He doesn’t know if Kane wants to return but intends to meet with him next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers got Kane for a bargain at $2 million for this season. He’s going to want much more than that on his next contract. Finding the cap space to keep him will be challenging for Holland.

The Oilers GM appears uncertain about Jesse Puljuarvi’s future. He intends to meet with his agent, admitting he has to sort out where the 24-year-old restricted free agent winger fits into the club’s plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s already speculation that Puljujarvi could get traded instead of re-signed this summer.

Staples’ colleague Jim Matheson wondered if the winger could be shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dylan Strome, who was Connor McDavid’s former junior teammate. However, he cautions the Oilers should be careful not to give up too soon on Puljujarvi.

Montreal Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy suggested Puljujarvi could be a fit with the rebuilding Canadiens. Sammi Silber of Washington Hockey Now thinks the Capitals should keep an eye on the Oilers winger.

Holland indicated that salary-cap constraints will make it difficult to keep his current roster intact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, some players who are unrestricted free agents won’t be back. There could also be one or two cost-cutting trades to free up cap room for other additions.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

The Blues defeat the Avalanche to stave off elimination, the latest news on the Flames-Oilers and Hurricanes-Rangers series, updates on the Panthers, Tom Wilson undergoes knee surgery & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Bozak’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Blues overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits, setting the stage for Bozak’s OT heroics. Robert Thomas scored twice, Nick Leddy collected three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick for the Avalanche, who hold a 3-2 lead in this series as it returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seemed to have this game in the bag, holding a 2-0 first-period lead and 3-1 after the second. However, they let it slip through their fingers in the third by playing to protect the lead, enabling the Blues to tie the game. MacKinnon’s breathtaking end-to-end goal late in the third restored the Avs’ lead but the Blues pulled goalie Ville Husso and tied it again with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Before the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube spoke out against the racist threats aimed at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. Claiming he’s not on social media, Berube said he was aware that a threat had been made against Kadri but didn’t know about the “racist stuff.” The threats led to heightened security by St. Louis police around the Blues arena (Enterprise Center) and the Avalanche’s hotel before and during Game 4.

DAILY HIVE: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane didn’t join his teammates in Calgary yesterday as he took time away to be with girlfriend Mara Teigen for the birth of their child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates today and be in the lineup for tonight’s Game 5 against the Flames. The Oilers hold a 3-1 series lead.

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Flames, three Calgary businessmen have engaged with the club in hope of reviving and mediating arena talks between the club’s ownership and the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are in need of a new arena to replace the nearly 40-year-old Saddledome. After talks with the city fell through, ownership indicated they will not relocate the Flames but will continue to operate out of their current arena. Nevertheless, everyone understands that’s not a viable long-term solution. Time will tell if these efforts to restart those negotiations will be successful.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour called out his struggling scorers to step up their performances. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas have been outplayed by the Rangers. Brind’Amour praised rookie winger Seth Jarvis for his effort during their two losses against the Rangers but felt the 20-year-old can’t be their best player.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ power play was a key factor in the club’s two wins to tie their series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov endorsed interim coach Andrew Brunette. “He did an unbelievable job,” said Barkov, stressing how much the players respected Brunette and enjoyed playing for him this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers enjoyed their best regular season in franchise history under Brunette, taking the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings and winning their first postseason series since 1996. Still, there remains uncertainty over whether he’ll return on a full-time basis or be replaced by a more experienced head coach.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton said he hasn’t put any thought yet toward his future following the Panthers’ second-round playoff elimination. The 42-year-old forward intends to take the offseason to consider his options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was sidelined for 20 games by injury and used sparingly by the Panthers, appearing in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer but I think his NHL playing days are over.

Claude Giroux can see himself returning with the Panthers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers acquired Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers before the trade deadline. A pending free agent, he was a terrific fit with his new club. However, they might not have the cap space to bring him back unless he accepts a significant pay cut from his current $8.275 million cap hit.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His recovery timeline is six-to-eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The earliest he could return to action is late November.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr was unharmed when his vehicle and a tram collided in Prague. He took responsibility for the accident, saying his view was partially obscured by traffic before crossing into the tram’s path.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy to hear Jagr wasn’t hurt in the accident. The photo he shared on Instagram showed his vehicle suffered significant damage.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a new contract for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is expected to be announced in the near future.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said the knee injury suffered by Tim Stuetzle during the World Championships is the same ailment he dealt with during the regular season. He’ll require a two-week recovery period.

THE PROVINCE: The agent for Alex Chiasson denied a report his client might sign with HC Lugano in Switzerland. The Vancouver Canucks winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. However, his agent said Chiasson wants to stay with the Canucks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Juuso Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamm of the Swedish Hockey League.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2022

A look at the Panthers’ potential offseason plans plus the latest on the Islanders and Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PANTHERS?

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton previews the Florida Panthers’ potential offseason plans after being swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The first will be deciding if Andrew Brunette becomes their full-time head coach or is replaced. Brunette took over on an interim basis in October after Joel Quenneville stepped down. He’s a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year after guiding the Panthers to their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy with the NHL’s best record and their first playoff series victory since 1996 with their first round elimination of the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brunette’s done enough to earn the job full-time. However, general manager Bill Zito could be tempted into hiring a better-experienced bench boss like Barry Trotz, John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness or Paul Maurice. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

Shilton also felt the Panthers will have to replace Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot. They acquired the duo before this year’s trade deadline. Both are unrestricted free agents this summer and it’s unlikely they’ll re-sign long-term with the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space will be an issue for the Panthers. According to Cap Friendly, they have $78.6 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23. That includes over $6.5 million in dead cap space due to the buyouts of Keith Yandle and Scott Darling.

In addition to Giroux and Chiarot, Joe Thornton and Mason Marchment are also eligible for UFA status in July. The 42-year-old Thornton is facing retirement and won’t be back. Marchment, however, blossomed into a reliable middle-six forward this season. The 27-year-old winger would be more affordable and worthwhile to retain.

Philly Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi wonders what the future holds for Giroux. He was a great fit with the Panthers but will be expensive to sign. Carchidi pondered whether Giroux might return to the cap-strapped Flyers or perhaps return to his hometown of Ottawa and sign with the Senators.

The latter theory, by the way, was based on a rumor out of Ottawa that depended on whether Giroux won the Stanley Cup with the Panthers. It could also be applied to the Flyers. Both scenarios could be dashed if playing for a contender becomes the determining factor in where he decides to continue his NHL playing career.

Shilton expects Zito will spend the summer upgrading the Panthers’ blueline. She also believes it’ll be on whoever is their coach next season to improve their forwards’ defensive game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barry Trotz could certainly improve the Panthers’ team defense. Food for thought.

As for improving the defense corps, that could take dollar-for-dollar trades considering how little cap room Zito has to work with for next season. Maybe he tries to move forward Patric Hornqvist ($5.3 million cap hit) to a club that isn’t on his eight-team no-trade list. Perhaps Zito shops a forward lacking no-trade protection like Sam Bennett ($4.425 million) or Anthony Duclair ($3 million).

LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS AND BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked about the futures of New York Islanders forwards Oliver Wahlstrom, Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey.

Kurz felt the Islanders still believe Wahlstrom can develop into a top-six forward despite his struggles this season. However, he sees Beauvillier as a possible trade chip to bring in a more consistent winger or a left-shot defenseman to pair with Noah Dobson.

Bailey, meanwhile, could still attract interest in the trade market though the winger’s $5 million salary-cap hit is a bit inflated. His contract has just two years remaining which makes it more palatable. Clubs with depth issues at forward, such as the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers or Calgary Flames, could use someone with Bailey’s experience and two-way skills.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wahlstrom won’t be going anywhere as the Isles will want to see if his performance improves under new head coach Lane Lambert. Beauvillier, 24, has shown the potential to be a more reliable top-six scorer. He’s under contract for two more years but teams could balk at his $4.125 million annual average value.

Bailey lacks no-trade protection but his age (32) and that $5 million cap hit could make him difficult to move. I don’t see him as a fit cap-wise with Flames, Oilers and Stars given the limited room they’ll have once they’re done signing their key free agents this summer. Still, there could be other clubs with the cap space seeking someone with his skills.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis recently reports Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson is interested in acquiring a first-round pick in this year’s draft. The Blackhawks’ 2022 first-rounder belongs to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of last summer’s Seth Jones trade.

The Blackhawks don’t have many players who could fetch a first-rounder. Someone will have to step up with a big offer for Davidson to consider shopping winger Alex DeBrincat. The only way Patrick Kane gets moves is if he requests a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roumeliotis suggested Connor Murphy as a “maybe” in that category. His long injury history, however, hurts his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2022

Do Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews fit into the Blackhawks’ rebuild process? What could be in store this summer for the Islanders and Kraken? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Phil Thompson reported Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson cleared up any ambiguity about a fast rebuild for his club. He didn’t put a timeline on it but suggested it could take at least three-to-five years.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews recently remarked they saw no reason the club couldn’t turn things around within a year or two. With a year remaining on their respective contracts, they have no choice but to go along with Davidson’s plans unless they agree to waive their no-movement clauses and ask to be traded.

Davidson believes Kane and Toews have a place in the club’s plans and made his expectations clear to both during their exit interviews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis reported Davidson also said those conversations were healthy and productive and he’s pleased with how they went. It’s believed the Blackhawks GM intends to keep his two aging stars in the loop regarding the club’s direction.

Whether that silences the trade speculation about those two (especially Kane) that surfaced in the final weeks of the regular season remains to be seen.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently examined the New York Islanders’ offseason priorities.

Finding a high-end winger for first-line center Mathew Barzal topped his list. He advocated the cap-strapped Islanders pull off some “salary-cap gymnastics” to pursue Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, Nashville’s Filip Forsberg or Florida’s Claude Giroux if they become available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Isles with $70.2 million invested in 18 active players for 2022-23 with Noah Dobson as their only notable free agent to re-sign. General manager Lou Lamoriello would have to shed considerable salary to free up space to make a serious offer for Gaudreau, Forsberg or Giroux.

Gaudreau could seek $10 million annually if he hits the open market while Forsberg could come in around $8 million. Giroux is 34 and would be more affordable but a lot could depend on how well the Panthers do in this postseason.

Kurz also suggested the Isles need to sort out their goalie tandem. Semyon Varlamov made it clear he was happy not being moved at the March trade deadline. However, it remains to be seen if he’s willing to take a back seat next season to Ilya Sorokin.

If not, perhaps the Isles should attempt to trade Varlamov and the remaining year on his contract this summer. He carries a $5 million cap hit plus a 16-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk of teams calling the Islanders about Varlamov. Given general manager Lou Lamoriello’s secretive nature, we have no idea if those calls were seriously entertained or even took place.

Moving Varlamov and his cap hit would make it easier for Lamoriello to pursue a top-six winger for Barzal’s line. Sorokin has proven himself as an NHL starter but he and Varlamov work well together as a tandem. Lamoriello could be reluctant to break that up for next season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Geoff Baker reports Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis intends to see more goal-scoring for his club in the offseason via free agency. He’ll be looking for someone who can play in their top-six or top-nine. Francis also mentioned he could seek a blueline upgrade, especially for someone who is offensively inclined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken has the cap space to invest in a scoring winger or a puck-moving defenseman this summer if they’re willing to spend toward the cap. They have $59.6 million committed to 14 players next season with no expensive core players to re-sign.

Francis was able to woo Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz to Seattle in last summer’s UFA market. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of him landing another notable free-agent player.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022

More speculation about the Jets plus an update on the Senators’ off-season plans in today’s NHL rumor mill.

JET GM CHEVELDAYOFF FACING A CHALLENGING SUMMER.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes how Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff proceeds with Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois will determine the club’s future.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Meeting with the media yesterday, Cheveldayoff said Scheifele, who made eyebrow-raising comments on Sunday about his future in Winnipeg, has not submitted a trade request nor have the two held an exit interview yet. The Jets GM also attempted to diffuse Scheifele’s comments, as well as those of several of his teammates over their frustration and disappointment about the team’s failure to reach the playoffs. He chalked them up to their competitive nature.

Wiebe believes Scheifele would draw plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff were to put the 29-year-old center on the trade block this summer. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $6.125 million.

Dubois, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a two-year, $10 million contract. Cheveldayoff met with the 23-year-old center yesterday and was encouraged by what he heard, though he added the contract negotiations will take time.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes this is a mess of Chevelodayoff’s making. With his new contract, he’s got three years to clean this up, suggesting the number of players making their frustrations public isn’t normal or healthy behavior.

McIntyre claims Scheifele isn’t the only player seeking an exit plan but he’s the only one to say so out loud. While he expects the center is likely a goner this summer, he also believes his frustration is a disturbing trend, citing the recent departures of several Jets including Dustin Byfuglien, Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, Jacob Trouba and Andrew Copp. He also pointed to head coach Paul Maurice’s unexpected resignation last December.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen called on Cheveldayoff to ship out Scheifele, citing the latter’s comments about the club’s plans and whether he fits within them. He also believes the Jets GM should hire a tough coach who will demand accountability from the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ woes appear tied to a broken culture within the dressing room that’s been ongoing for some time. Some of those earlier departures McIntyre mentioned could be put down to difficult contract negotiations. Some, like Laine, Roslovic and Trouba, weren’t happy with their roles with the clubs.

At the time Maurice stepped down as head coach, he claimed the team needed a new voice behind the bench. That suggests some of the core players may have been tuning him out while others could share the same concerns that led to some of those aforementioned departures.

Hiring a tougher coach could help provided he earns the players’ respect. As for trading Scheifele, he’s under contract for two more seasons. Cheveldayoff can afford to take his time to evaluate trade offers. Scheifele could return with the Jets next season unless he’s the main reason behind his teammates’ discontent. That could spur the Jets’ general manager to seek a trade sooner rather than later.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club won’t spend to the $82.5 million cap next season but they will increase their salary budget. He also indicated he’ll be starting contract talks soon with restricted free agent center Josh Norris. The club has also held contract discussions with defenseman Erik Brannstrom, who shares the same agent with Norris.

Dorion said he would like to bring in a player to help his young talent play meaningful games by the end of next season. That player could be acquired via trade or free agency. Dorion didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping his first-round pick in this year’s draft provided the Senators don’t win next Tuesday’s draft lottery and they remain seventh in the selection order.

Garrioch said it’s no secret the Senators would like to add a top-six right winger to skate alongside center Tim Stutzle. While promising young defenseman Jake Sanderson could become an impact player, they might want to add a little more support around him by acquiring a veteran blueliner.

The Senators could be among the clubs interested in Ottawa native Claude Giroux if he hits the open market this summer. Garrioch reports they’ve also been linked to Kevin Fiala but Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin could find a way to re-sign the pending restricted free agent winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Senators have $59.1 million invested in 14 active roster players for 2022-23 with Norris, Brannstrom and forward Alex Formenton as their notable restricted free agents. Re-signing those three could push their payroll closer to $69 million. They’ll still have room to add a veteran or two but they might be unable to chase someone like Giroux or Fiala if they’re not going to be a cap team next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2022

A look at the potential off-season plans for the Senators and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SENATORS?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch looked at some potential offseason moves for the Senators. They need to determine Matt Murray’s status as the oft-injured goaltender was sidelined for the final 30 games of the season with a neck/head injury. He’s appeared in just 47 games over the last two seasons with the Senators and has two more years remaining on his contract.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

The 27-year-old Murray will have to earn his job back if he returns next season. Anton Forsberg was their best goaltender this season and signed a three-year contract extension in March. Filip Gustavsson had a strong finish and is signed to a one-way deal for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch recently spoke with colleague Wayne Scanlan and the Senators’ French play-by-play man Nicolas St-Pierre to get their thoughts on Murray’s situation. Both suggested buying out the veteran netminder but Garrioch doesn’t see that happening because the Senators aren’t likely to be a cap team.

The only other option the trio sees is Murray returning healthy and battling for his job this fall. There was speculation about placing him on long-term injury reserve but they have no reason to believe Murray won’t play again.

Murray’s injury history makes a trade unlikely. His $6.25 million annual average value through 2023-24 and 10-team no-trade list also complicates things. It doesn’t mean Murray can’t be shopped if the Senators were to pick up a healthy chunk of his cap hit but concerns over his health should keep him in Ottawa for the foreseeable future.

The Senators will have to make a decision regarding Colin White, who missed most of this season due to shoulder surgery and was inconsistent on his return. It’s believed the Montreal Canadiens had an interest in the 25-year-old center before the trade deadline. Perhaps that deal is revisited if the two sides can work something out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether the Canadiens revisit their rumored interest in White will depend on how they go about addressing their needs during the offseason. They’ve got 14 picks in this year’s draft, with 10 of those in the first four rounds. They must determine whether Carey Price and Shea Weber will be returning next season and if they can find a suitable trade partner for defenseman Jeff Petry. They could find better options than White through this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.

Unrestricted free agents Chris Tierney, Tyler Ennis and Scott Sabourin likely won’t be back. Restricted free-agent defenseman Victor Mete requested a trade in March and probably won’t get a qualifying offer. Blueliner Michael Del Zotto has a year remaining on his contract and could be shopped this summer.

Garrioch also reports Senators fans will be keeping a close eye on Florida Panthers center Claude Giroux. There’s a belief the 34-year-old Ottawa native might be intrigued and interested in the possibility of playing for the Senators if he wins a Stanley Cup with the Panthers. He could play a big role in helping Ottawa’s young roster take the next step.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not dismissing the possibility of Giroux signing with Ottawa if he wins a Cup this spring in Florida. However, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high if I’m a Senators fan. A lot could depend on whoever replaces late owner Eugene Melnyk and what type of contract Giroux would seek to come home to play.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE RED WINGS?

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman offered up his thoughts on possible off-season moves by the Detroit Red Wings.

Making a decision behind the bench is the priority for general manager Steve Yzerman as head coach Jeff Blashill’s contract expires at the end of this season. While the rebuilding club showed improvement in the first half of the season, things went really sideways for them from late February onward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings head coach for seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for the club’s struggles through most of his tenure as management tore down and rebuilt the roster. However, they were expected to make significant strides this season. It may be time for Yzerman to find a new bench boss who can turn this roster into a legitimate playoff contender.

Yzerman could decide to bring in some veteran help via free agency and trades like the Los Angeles Kings did last summer. They have over $30 million in salary-cap space to make those investments if they wish to sign second-tier free agent talent (such as Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck or the Rangers’ Andrew Copp) to medium-term contracts. The Wings GM could also bide his time and wait for more prospects to arrive, or he could opt to sacrifice some of his current core players for more promising talent in order to build a playoff window for three or four years from now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman has observed that Yzerman likes to add players who are proven winners, such as Oskar Sundqvist from the St. Louis Blues and Jakub Vrana from the Washington Capitals. Copp, Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat and Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky were among his suggested free-agent targets.

Bultman suggests remaking the defense, bolstering their scoring punch, re-signing captain Dylan Larkin and deciding what to do with winger Tyler Bertuzzi should also be on Yzerman’s offseason to-do list. Larkin and Bertuzzi both have a year remaining on their current contracts and will be eligible next summer for UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman has been patiently rebuilding with youth while adding several veterans to provide some experienced depth and leadership. However, I think the time has come to make a bold move or two to get this club over the hump. I’m not saying he should blow all his cap space on an expensive addition but he can certainly bring in some secondary talent that won’t break the bank and provide some real improvement to the roster.

It’ll be interesting to see what Yzerman does with Bertuzzi and Larkin. Bertuzzi was the subject of trade speculation in the weeks before the trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up getting shopped this summer. Larkin could also hit the trade block if he’s grown weary of the rebuild and decides to move on to a playoff contender next summer.