Exploring where Ryan Miller will end up this summer and whether or not he'll make it to July 1 unsigned; how the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres could help each other out of the basement; and could Thomas Vanek stay with Montreal?
The St. Louis Blues are very pleased with the performance of goaltender Ryan Miller, who was acquired from Buffalo days before the trade deadline. Miller is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer and Blues management hope to open contract talks at season's end.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the 33-year-old goalie could wait for free agency to see if the Anaheim Ducks are still interested in his services. McKenzie claims there was early-season speculation the Ducks unsuccessfully attempted to acquire Miller from the Sabres. Anaheim could be a good fit for Miller as his wife is a Hollywood actress.
The Ducks' interest will depend on how far they advance in the upcoming playoffs with Jonas Hiller between the pipes. Like Miller, the 32-year-old Hiller is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Earlier this season Hiller was a frequent target of trade rumors until Ducks GM Bob Murray said in mid-January his goalie wasn't going anywhere. A strong performance by Hiller in this year's post-season could ensure he remains a Duck for some time.
IS VANEK DESTINED FOR MINNESOTA, OR COULD HE SIGN WITH MONTREAL?
Since the Montreal Canadiens acquired Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline some Montreal pundits have wondered if he would consider re-signing with the Habs. Vanek's eligible for UFA status at season's end and his agent told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun the 30-year-old winger still intends to test this summer's free agent market.
But LeBrun suggests there’s a possibility Vanek will change his mind if he has a “magical spring” in Montreal. That doesn't appear likely. Since the season began it's been widely speculated Vanek will sign with the Minnesota Wild. He played his college hockey in Minnesota, met his wife there and lives in the state during the off-season.
The Wild currently have over $50 million invested in 16 players next season. With Dany Heatley's $7.5 million cap hit coming off the books this summer, they have sufficient cap space to sign Vanek and address their other roster needs.
HOW THE SABRES AND OILERS CAN HELP EACH OTHER
After watching the 30th overall Buffalo Sabres tangle last week with the 29th overall Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones wondered why the two clubs haven't done any business together. Jones noted the Sabres lack offensive talent, but have defensive depth while the Oilers have plenty of scoring talent, but their blueline is a mess.
It wasn't for lack of trying by the Oilers. Prior to the trade deadline, the Edmonton Journal's David Staples cited Buffalo News reporter John Vogl claiming the Oilers had interest in Sabres' defenseman Tyler Myers. Sabres GM Tim Murray was apparently unwilling to move his non-free agent players. Staples suggested offering up center Sam Gagner as part of the return for Myers. CBC's Elliotte Friedman claimed Myers' name was mentioned in talks between the two sides, but nothing came of it.
The Sabres and Oilers can draw upon their own roster strengths to address each other's weaknesses, but finding the right deal is another matter. The two clubs could revisit discussions in the off-season, perhaps during the NHL Draft weekend in late-June. If the Oilers seriously want Myers it'll cost them more than Gagner to get him.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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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