Latest on the Flyers, Avalanche and Panthers – April 7, 2017

Latest on the Flyers, Avalanche and Panthers – April 7, 2017

Claude Giroux has no intention of leaving the Philadelphia Flyers.

Updates on Claude Giroux, Michael Del Zotto and Semyon Varlamov, plus the Panthers could see a shift in management. 

CSN PHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux doesn’t anticipate any of the club’s core players to be traded this summer. Giroux, who carries a no-movement clause, said he hasn’t thought about being dealt and doesn’t plan on leaving.

Panaccio also cites club sources saying Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has no intention of moving Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds or Brayden Schenn. When asked about removing a core forward, Hextall said he’d speak to the media about that when the season’s over. 

PHILLY.COM: Marc Narducci reports pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto acknowledged this season could be his last with the Flyers. “Being unrestricted this summer, there haven’t been any talks [with the Flyers]. We’ll see what happens,” he said. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have over $59 million invested in 16 players for 2017-18. Their most notable restricted free agent is Shayne Gostisbehere, who’ll likely get a bridge deal coming off his entry-level contact after struggling through his sophomore campaign. Del Zotto, Steve Mason and Nick Schultz are their top UFAs and I don’t anticipate they’ll be back.

As for the Flyers’ core players, there’s no need to move any of them for cap reasons or to shake things up. Giroux was hampered throughout this season by the after-effects of last year’s hip surgery but I expect he’ll return to form next season. Voracek, Simmonds and Schenn remain consistent performers. The Flyers need better goaltending and to sort out their defense. I suspect that’s where Hextall’s focus will be this summer. Those issues can be addressed via free agency or by dangling a promising young blueliner as trade bait. 

THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei reports Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov feels good after undergoing surgery earlier this year on both hips. He anticipates he’ll be fully healthy and ready for a fresh start when training camp opens in September. Varlamov, 28, has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.9 million. He could be left exposed in the expansion draft.

Given Varlamov’s salary, inconsistency and injuries, Frei doubts the Vegas Golden Knights will select him. He also points out Golden Knights general manager George McPhee traded Varlamov to the Avs several years ago when he was GM of the Washington Capitals after balking at paying him as a starting goalie. Varlamov acknowledged the rumors but insists he wants to remain with the Avalanche and help them reverse their fortunes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe McPhee is interested in selecting Varlamov if he is available in the expansion draft. At this stage in Varlamov’s career, I also doubt another club is interested in taking him off the Avs’ hands via trade. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe won’t be returning next season as their head coach. Harvey Fialkov reports Rowe also sounds like he might not be back in the general manager’s role. When asked about the difficulty of compiling the Panthers’ list of protected players for the June expansion draft, he laughingly said it wouldn’t be difficult for him because team president Dale Tallon was going to handle it. He adds he expects he’ll be sitting down with Tallon to discuss that list after the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Rowe was simply joking. Perhaps he’s staying in the general manager’s job but is handing off the expansion draft list for Tallon. Or maybe he’ll be moved out of that job and into another role with the club. We’ll likely learn more about the Panthers’ management and coaching plans in the coming weeks and what part, if any, Rowe will play. 

Latest on the Panthers and Red Wings – April 4, 2017

Latest on the Panthers and Red Wings – April 4, 2017

Will the Florida Panthers bring back Jaromir Jagr for another season?

Another look at what the offseason could hold for the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Craig Davis recently noted there are several issues the Florida Panthers must address in the offseason following this disappointing campaign. Apart from possible shakeups behind the bench and in the front office, Davis wondered if 45-year-old veteran winger Jaromir Jagr will return? If not, who replaces him on their top line with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau? He also wondered how they’ll shore up a defense that generated offense from the blueline but struggled to keep the puck out of their own zone. 

Davis’ colleague Harvey Fialkov last night reported Jagr, a pending unrestricted free agent,  hopes to return with the Panthers. “I love it here, any minute I was here,” Jagr continued. “The organization was so good to me. They gave me a chance. They traded for me. They gave me a great opportunity. I love it. I play with very good and talented players the last few years here. I love it. I love it here and nothing has changed.”  Panthers general manager and interim coach Tom Rowe and president of hockey operations Dale Tallon will discuss Jagr’s future after this season ends. 

MIAMI HERALD: George Richards reports Rowe would like to return as head coach on a full-time basis next season. However, “numerous sources” say Rowe’s tenure as coach will end after this season. “With three years remaining and the trust and friendship of ownership, Rowe will be offered a position within the front office,” writes Richards. However, it’s unclear who will take over the GM’s role. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting that Rowe might not be returning to what was previously his full-time role as general manager. He took over that job last summer when Tallon was kicked upstairs into hockey ops, but he gave up those duties to Tallon and two others when he took over as interim coach.

The club’s disappointing performance this season after winning the Atlantic Division crown a year ago, as well as the hasty early-season firing of former coach Gerard Gallant, may be casting some doubt over Rowe’s management abilities. Whoever takes over as general manager will have to not only decide if they’re bringing back Jagr on another one-year contract but also how they’ll bolster their porous blueline. 

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen recently offered up a five-step plan to get the Detroit Red Wings back on track. Finding a premium defenseman is the top priority. Kevin Shattenkirk is the best bet via free agency but Allen doubts he’ll sign with the Wings. He suggests pursuing one via trade, though that could prove an expensive undertaking.

Allen also recommends shedding the salaries of some aging or disappoint veterans, such as Niklas Kronwall ($4.75 million per season), Justin Abdelkader ($4.25 million) or Gustav Nyquist to provide salary-cap flexibility. He also advocates adding another scorer, perhaps bringing back Thomas Vanek via free agency on a short-term deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I anticipate Red Wings GM Ken Holland could target teams that risk losing a quality defenseman via the June expansion draft, such as the Anaheim Ducks or Minnesota Wild, in the trade market. It’ll be very difficult to move the contracts of players such as Kronwall, Abdelkader or Nyquist unless Holland either picks up part of their annual cap hit or agrees to bundle a top prospect into the deal. Vanek expressed interest in returning to the Wings, but maybe Holland will look at younger options via trade or free agency.