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Would Ryan Miller for Paul Stastny make sense?

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny and Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller are eligible for unrestricted free agency next July, so naturally their names are frequently appearing in this summer's trade rumors.

Sportnet's Josh Rimer recently reported he'd been told to not be surprised if the Avalanche shipped Stastny to the Sabres for Miller.

The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla enthusiastically embraced the notion, imploring Avalanche executive VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic (the club's de facto GM) to “go get Miller”.

Kiszla's colleague Adrian Dater, however, subsequently cited “reputable sources” (likely from the Avalanche) dismissing the Stastny-for-Miller speculation.

At first glance, a Stastny-for-Miller trade seems sensible. The Sabres would land an experienced first-line center, while the Avalanche would bolster their goaltending with a Vezina Trophy winner.

Their salaries (Stastny will earn $6.6 million this season and Miller $6.25 million) are comparable and wouldn't hamper a potential deal.

One glaring problem, however, is the uncertainty over the respective futures of both players. Unless they are willing to ink contract extensions, the Sabres and Avalanche risk losing them to free agency next summer.

Another issue would be what to do with the current Avalanche goalie tandem of Semyon Varlamov and J-S Giguere. One of them would have to be dealt, either packaged with Stastny or in a separate trade.

The Avalanche's biggest problem last season wasn't their goaltending, but their porous defense, which wasn't suitably addressed this summer.

Miller also struggled over the past two years behind the Sabres declining defense, so there's no guarantee joining another team with an equally shaky blueline will improve his game.

Should the Avalanche shop Stastny during the upcoming season, they would be better off seeking a return that bolsters their defense.

HOW TO READ THE SITUATION IN PHILLY?

It's been an awkward off-season for Philadelphia Flyers winger Matt Read, who recently told USA Today's Dave Isaac he's done his best to ignore trade speculation.

Rumors earlier this summer linked Read to the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

The trade talk has since died off and Read claims he's focused on remaining with the Flyers beyond this season.

Read, 27, will earn $1 million (cap hit of $900,000) this season and is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Should he match or exceed his 2011-12 debut numbers (24 goals, 47 points) he'll be in line for a significant raise.

The Flyers, however, have more $53.5 million invested in 15 players for 2014-15. Though the salary cap is expected to increase next summer, they'll also have to re-sign or replace goaltenders Steve Mason and Ray Emery, defensemen Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Erik Gustafsson, Marc-Andre Bourdon and center Brayden Schenn.

A strong performance by Read would improve his trade value, but could also make him invaluable to the Flyers.

ONE LAST SWIM

Teemu Selanne's long-anticipated return to the Anaheim Ducks was finally made official last Friday, courtesy of a humorous video clip via the club's website.

Selanne inked a one-year, $2-million deal (with a no-movement clause), down significantly from his $4.5-million salary of last season.

NHL.com correspondent Chris Zupke speculates Selanne's return takes the Ducks out of the running for another expensive free agent forward.

With only $1.47 million in cap space and Selanne back in the fold, the Ducks appear set for the upcoming season.

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.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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