Morning Rumors: Vrbata, Stastny, Reimer-Bernier and Yakupov-Murray

  • Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic: Radim Vrbata and the Coyotes have shelved contract talks until the end of the season. Vrbata is in the last year of three-year, $9 million deal. He’s scored 90 goals over the past four seasons.

    “Radim’s intent at this time is to focus on playing,” Evans said. “We had some discussion with the team. I’m not going to get into details, but we had discussions with them up until the day before the season started and when it didn’t lead to a new deal, we made it clear that from that point forward Radim was going to focus on playing.

    “So any type of contract discussion would be a distraction for him. It’s an important season for him and an important season for the Coyotes, and he’s focused on playing the game and helping his team win.”

    Vrbata had hoped to get a deal done before the season started.

    “If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s going to get paid more,” General Manager Don Maloney said. “We have no problem paying on performance. We’ve always been able to find ways, for the most part, to keep the people we want to keep. So he seems comfortable with it and if (Thursday) night is any indication, he’s going to have a monster year, and I hope he does.”

  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: Many people think the Avalanche will have to trade one of their centers, Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny or Nathan MacKinnon, with the odds on favorite being Stastny. Stastny is in the last year of his deal that is paying him $6.6 million. If Stastny changed his game into more of third line role (and took less money) and was happy with that, may be the only hope for him remaining with the team. Unlikely. The Avs need help on the blueline and Stastny could be that trade chip. The Avs play over the first two-thirds of the season could determine what happens with Stastny. He could be a rental if they are out of it.
  • Michael Grange: Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle after James Reimer was pulled after allowing four goals and Jonathan Bernier coming in and not allowing a goal and picking up the shootout win: “It makes is easier, it makes it easier.”
  • Bob McKenzie: “To answer @FriedgeHNIC‘s on air question, re: Yakupov vs Murray, and I suspect he knew answer: Yes, majority of EDM scouts wanted Murray. Decision to take Yakupov over Murray came from a higher authority. That’s not indictment of decision, only saying how it was arrived at.”