Eric Stephens of the OC Register: Ducks prospect Justin Schultz may become one of the top free agents this year without ever playing a NHL game. Schultz was a 2nd round pick in 2008 and spent 4 years at Wisconsin. Ducks GM Bob Murray has been in contact with Schultz’s advisor, Wade Arnoott, and hope to get a decision from Schultz soon. Schultz is writing exams and should be finished next week. Sometime after that an answer to if he’ll sign with the Ducks or hit the free agent market on July 1st should be known.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: Maple Leafs assistant coach Scott Gordon, who’s been coaching Team USA at the World Championships has told people he isn’t sure if he’s returning next to the Leafs next year. Scott Arniel has been rumored to become an assistant and Gordon and probably Geg Cronin will be let go. If Dale Hunter doesn’t return to the Capitals next season, names that could end up there are: Paul Maurice, Marc Crawford and Bob Hartley.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: The Rangers need a winger like Rick Nash to “book-end” Marian Gaborik. Some sources say that Brandon Dubinsky, Jan Erixon, J.T. Miller and maybe Stepan were on table at the trade deadline. Howson wanted Chris Kreider and/or Michael Del Zotto. Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is said to be lukewarm on Dubinsky. Saku Koivu’s $3 million deal with games-played bonuses may be something the Oilers and Ryan Smyth can use. Paul Maurice may go coach Magnitogorsk of the KHL next year. Matheson wonders if the Blues would offer up T.J. Oshie or David Perron for a Dman that could play with Alex Pietrangelo on the top pairing. Matheson can see the Flyers trading for Ryan Suter’s rights. Some think that Alexander Radulov’s “party-boy antics” will be forgotten when contract talks start. Some think that both Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn have burned their bridges with the Predators. Some think that the Predators will trade Radulov’s rights. The Blue Jackets could offer back the 1st round pick the Kings owe them in 2012 or 2013 for Jonathan Bernier. The Devils will likely forfeit their 1st round pick this June from the Kovalchuk contract issue. They are in the bottom 4.
Mark Everson of the NY Post: Pending Devils UFA Zach Parise opens up a bit:
“I’ m enjoying this, we’re playing well. It’s not even crossing my mind,” Parise said, at first.
“It means a lot,” Parise told The Post. “It means we have a lot of good, young players who are going to be here a long time.”
Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: If Jordan Staal hits the open market after next season, he could get around $7 million. The Penguins already have $40 million committed to 10 players, not including Sidney Crosby who may get $10 million. Reports are that the Hurricanes and Oilers could be interested. Yohe offers up the most logical trade partners for the Penguins. 1. Carolina Hurricanes – have the cap room and assets. They could offer center Brandon Sutter. They have the 8th overall pick this year and some other strong prospects. 2. Toronto Maple Leafs – Brian Burke is a big Staal fan, and Ray Shero and Burke are friends. The Leafs have Nazem Kadri and stay-at-home defenseman Luke Schenn, a type of Dman the Penguins need. 3. Edmonton Oilers – the Oilers could use and accomplished center. The Oilers have the 1st overall pick. 4. Minnesota Wild – the Wild are a “no-name squad looking for an identity” and could use a name like Jordan Staal. Cal Clutterbuck and Devin Setoguchi may be 2 players that would interest the Pens. The Wild also have the 7th pick in the draft.
Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News: Due to the salary-cap tagging rule, the Flyers won’t be able to sign Matt Carle before July 1st. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he wants to re-sign Carle. Carle earned $3.47 million this past year, and could get in the $5 million range on his next deal.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t work out a deal,” Holmgren said. “His demands, when I spoke with him and his agent, nothing was ever out of line. Could we get him under market value? I would say that we probably could. I don’t see any issues there.”
Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch: There are different reports on what was/wasn’t offered by the Rangers at the trade deadline for Blue Jackets Rick Nash. The Rangers weren’t willing to move Chris Kreider. The Jackets were asking for Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, Dreider and a 1st round pick. Another report was they wanted Dubinsky, another forward like Stepan, a prospect (not Kreider) and a 1st round pick, maybe 2. This offseason, teams will have move flexibility with their roster and salary cap. The Sharks and Bruins should be interested, possibly the Rangers again.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: Garrioch thinks the next stop for Alexander Semin is the KHL. He had 3 goals and 1 assist in 14 playoff games. The Blue Jackets have quietly continued to try and trade Rick Nash, but it’s hard to fin serious interest now. Sharks GM Doug Wilson is rumored to be interested in revisiting talks. Wilson may have told the Jackets that they could sweeten the pot in June. Expect the Maple Leafs to make a pitch for the 1st overal pick. Expect the Flyers to make a pitch for Ryan Suter’s rights if he doesn’t re-sign with the Predators. The Wings and Wild will be interested as well.