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Could Buffalo's asking price for Ryan Miller in a trade be too much and could they instead re-sign him?; plus rumors on the Coyotes and Ryan Whitney and if the Dallas Stars will move out veterans.
The status of Buffalo Sabres' goaltender Ryan Miller is an ongoing hot topic in the NHL rumor mill.
Sabres GM Tim Murray told The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington he's getting lots of trade offers for Miller and his fellow pending UFAs Matt Moulson, Steve Ott and Henrik Tallinder. Murray said he's willing to listen to offers for any player on his team, but any deal depends upon the return. Harrington concluded those teams interested in Miller, Moulson and Ott should be prepared to pony up.
It's rumored the asking prices for the trio will be expensive (especially for Miller) with Murray seeking young players, draft picks and/or prospects. In an earlier interview with Harrington, Miller didn't rule out re-signing with the Sabres, but said he hasn't been approached about a new contract or a trade. He holds a partial no-trade clause in which he can reject up to eight teams as trade destinations.
In recent weeks Miller's been linked to the St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals. Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Jaroslav Halak's recent struggles will lead to more “Miller-to-St. Louis” chatter. Though Wild management rejected a recent rumor claiming they were close to acquiring Miller, the uncertainty over Josh Harding's health keeps them tied to the Sabres goaltender. Capitals GM George McPhee raised eyebrows by claiming his team would be 10 points higher in the standings if they had better goaltending.
These clubs, however, are uncomfortable paying a high price for a 33-year-old goalie who could depart via free agency this summer. The Blues would have to shed salary to comfortably absorb the remainder of Miller's $6.25-million salary, which risks upsetting team chemistry.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher shipped some young assets to the Sabres at last year's trade deadline for winger Jason Pominville, but he's reportedly unwilling to do the same for Miller.
The Washington Post's Neil Greenberg doesn't believe Miller is the solution for the Capitals woes, citing his free agent status, the Capitals limited cap space and the Sabres' asking price.
It's possible one of these clubs (or maybe another) will get desperate enough to acquire Miller. However, if the Sabres are unwilling to be flexible they could price Miller out of the trade market.
COULD WHITNEY IMPROVE COYOTES OFFENSE?
Could the Phoenix Coyotes deal for a blast from their past to bolster their offense?
Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona reports there's talk the Coyotes have interest in Dallas Stars winger Ray Whitney, who played two seasons in Phoenix before going to Dallas as a free agent in 2012.
Whitney has a partial no-trade clause and could accept returning to the Coyotes. However, the Coyotes and Stars are currently jockeying with the slumping Vancouver Canucks and resurgent Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card berth in the Western Conference. Given how tight the clubs are in the standings it's unlikely the Stars will send the 41-year-old winger back to the Coyotes.
SPEAKING OF STARS VETERANS…
Speaking of the Stars, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports veteran forwards Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff are in a grey area as Stars management must decide if their experience and leadership is worth retaining.
Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. Horcoff will earn $3 million in actual salary next season, but his cap hit is $5.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause for this season. Cole will make $4 million in actual salary at a cap hit of $4.5 million with a full no-trade clause.
Any moves by the Stars leading up to the trade deadline will be determined by their place in the standings. If they're still in playoff contention they won't engage in a sell-off of free agents or aging veterans.
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.).
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