New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise is the most talented player in this summer’s pool of potential unrestricted free agents and would attract several suitors if he tests the market.
If Parise is available, Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News believes the Stars would make a serious pitch. Same goes for Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter.
The Stars have a new owner willing to improve the roster and with just $43 million invested in 15 players for next season, the team has the cap space to land both players.
Their first order of business, however, should be re-signing RFA left winger Jamie Benn, which will cut deep into that available space.
Parise, meanwhile, admitted he admires the puck possession game of the Detroit Red Wings and called Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk his favourite player to watch.
Parise’s comments will only stoke speculation he will sign with the Wings. Detroit has more than $43 million invested in 17 players for next season and are expected to be major bidders for the best available UFA talents this summer.
FLAMES BUZZ BURNS BRIGHT
The Calgary Flames may have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs, but speculation over their off-season plans is keeping them in the headlines.
Most of the focus, of course, is on where right winger and team captain Jarome Iginla – who has one year remaining on his contract for $7 million – fits into the club’s future.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported a Calgary source claimed there was no appetite among the Flames front office for a major overhaul, but LeBrun feels it’s time for management to meet with Iginla and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff to determine their willingness to remain with the team if it engages in a retooling.
Iginla’s future is expected to be the prime topic for debate among the Flames front office this summer and for the first time he appeared to express doubt over his future in Calgary.
Iginla, who will turn 35 on July 1, is not unhappy in Calgary, but he understands his playing career is winding down and his chances of winning a Stanley Cup become slimmer if the Flames decide to rebuild.
Iginla’s contract contains a no-movement clause, giving him full control over whether he stays or goes and, if it were the latter, where he would go.
Kiprusoff is also a question mark, but with two years remaining on his contract the Flames have more time to determine his future than they do with Iginla. Kiprusoff’s no-movement clause expires on July 1, making it easier to shop him.
The long-time Flame remains among the league’s elite goaltenders and would attract considerable interest from teams in need of such a player.
Trading Kiprusoff would leave a huge gap between the pipes for the Flames as there’s no one within their system or available via free agency to suitably replace him.
He acknowledged the possibility of being traded, but on Friday told reporters he would prefer to return.
George Johnston of The Calgary Herald doesn’t buy into the conjecture over Iginla’s future and doubts management would trade away Kiprusoff, suggesting it would be “a bold, bold move” for an organization that practices extreme caution.
The pair isn’t the only Flames whose future in Calgary is cloudy.
Olli Jokinen, a pending UFA center, was criticized for his poor performance during the club’s final month. His agent blamed it on a mid-body injury, but there’s some debate over whether it was the type of ailment that would have significantly hampered his performance.
Defensemen Scott Hannan and Cory Sarich, along with center David Moss and right winger Tom Kostopoulos, are also pending UFAs.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla’s Korner.