NHL Rumors II: Jagr, Ward, Avalanche, Mantha and Capitals

  • Stephen Whyno: Jaromir Jagr just said that he doesn’t know if next season will be his last in the NHL.
  • Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe: Hurricanes GM Ron Francis will try to find a take for Cam Ward. He has two years left at a $6.3 million salary cap hit. The Hurricanes can’t afford to pay Ward that much to be a backup.
  • Mike Chambers of the Denver Post: Chambers thinks pending UFA Matt Niskanen is what the Avalanche need. He will likely double his $2.5 million salary. The right-handed shooting defenseman will get plenty of interest this summer if he hits the open market.

    “Right-shot defensemen are at a premium in the league, and I mean ones that can play on the point on the power play and get points,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Detroit reporters. “We’d like to get a right-handed shot defenseman. Can we make it happen? We’ll find out.”

    The Avs have 17 players under contract for next year at $45.1 million. They have pending free agents: Paul Stastny (UFA), Ryan O’Reilly (RFA), Jamie McGinn (RFA), Tyson Barrie (RFA) and Stefan Elliott (RFA).

    Chambers lists the top five defenseman that the Avalanche could be interested in: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Dan Boyle, Matt Greene and Andrei Markov. Other pending UFAs include: Nikita Nikitin, Derek Morris, Ron Hainsey, Raphael Diaz, Kyle Quincey, Willie Mitchell, Andrej Meszaros and Marek Zidlicky.

  • Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press: Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha could be playing in the NHL next year.

    “He’s going to get a chance to make our team,” general manager Ken Holland said Friday. “He’ll play five or six or seven exhibition games, and if he belongs in the NHL, we’ll put him in.”

    Mantha will be 20 next September, so if he doesn’t make the Wings, he’ll be in Grand Rapids.

  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “There is a fair bit of chatter around the league right now [RE trades] not just with the Leafs, but teams in general”
  • Hope Smoke: Darren Dreger: “I did hear Dave Poulin’s name thrown out there as a potential GM in Washington. They haven’t asked for permission yet” … “Poulin is a guy who is ready to be a GM in the NHL”