As former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla pursues a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, there's speculation over where he'll play next season.
Iginla is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Considering the Penguins have a little over $7.8 million in cap space next season, he could end up testing the market.
Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch doubts Iginla returns to the Flames as long as Jay Feaster remains their GM. The fact Iginla has also put his Calgary home up for sale indicates he has no intention of returning to the Flames.
Garrioch believes the LA Kings could be a destination because of Iginla's relationship with Kings coach (and former Flames coach and GM) Darryl Sutter. The Kings' priorities, however, are their blueline and goaltending depth.
Defensemen Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez and Keaton Ellerby are restricted free agents, while Robyn Regehr and Rob Scuderi are unrestricted free agents. Backup Jonathan Bernier is a restricted free agent who last year requested a trade, and it's expected he'll be shopped in the off-season.
With over $49.6 million invested in 13 players for next season and a number of key players to be re-signed, the Kings lack the cap space to add an ageing power forward like Iginla.
NO MORE MILLER TIME IN BUFFALO?
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller's meltdown during last Friday's 8-4 loss at home to the New York Rangers fuelled speculation he could be shopped this summer.
Miller, who gave up four goals on 14 shots before giving way to backup Jhonas Enroth, at one point gave a sarcastic wave to the jeering Sabres fans. That reminded Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan of Patrick Roy's final game with the Montreal Canadiens, suggesting it's “in everyone's best interest” for the Sabres to move Miller.
Sullivan's colleague Bucky Gleason echoed that opinion, and believes winger Thomas Vanek could follow Miller out of Buffalo.
Both players have a season remaining on their respective contracts, with Miller earning $6.25 million and Vanek a cap hit of over $7.142 million. Miller also has a limited no-trade clause in which he lists eight clubs to which he won't accept a trade.
GM Darcy Regier wanted to speak with Miller and Vanek about their future plans, but it's doubtful either will sign contract extensions. If so, it would be best to shop them this summer, rather than allow trade rumors about the duo to become an unnecessary distraction next season.
Their respective cap hits for next season are expensive, especially with the salary cap dropping to $64.3 million for next season. Still, the lack of star talent in this summer's free agent market would make Miller and Vanek attractive trade commodities.
Regier got a very good return at the trade deadline when he shipped Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild, landing two promising prospects, a first round pick in 2013 and a second rounder in 2014. Miller and Vanek could fetch considerably more.
MAJOR CHANGE ON THE WAY IN EDMONTON?
The Edmonton Oilers recent management shakeup continues to stoke speculation in the local media over the club's potential off-season moves.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal believes the Oilers will get plenty of offers for second-line center Sam Gagner, a restricted free agent seeking a long-term deal potentially worth between $4.5 – $5 million per season.
Matheson speculates the Anaheim Ducks could have interest in Gagner. Though acknowledging he was engaging in conjecture, Matheson wondered if the Ducks would part with defenseman Cam Fowler.
Ducks GM Bob Murray could have interest in Gagner, but not if the asking price is the promising young Fowler.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile could be in the market for a center this summer.
The Tennessean's John Glennon reported top-two centers David Legwand and Mike Fisher are now 32 with 13 years of NHL experience, while it remains uncertain if wingers Colin Wilson and Craig Smith can make the adjustment to center.
Glennon also noted playing center for the Predators isn't easy for offensive-minded players as coach Barry Trotz demands defensive accountability at that position.
Options appear limited via free agency, where Stephen Weiss, Tyler Bozak and Derek Roy are the best 30 and under options.
Poile acquired Fisher via trade with Ottawa in February 2011, so don't be surprised if he goes the trade route again to bolster his depth at center.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).