NHL Rumor Wire – May 1st, 2011

Buffalo Sabres forward Mike Grier wants to play another year in Buffalo. He has lost a stop, but is still a leader in the Sabres dressing room. Grier also knows that retirement is possible.

From Bill Hoppe

“It’s been a tough couple days the way the season ended,” said Grier, who had five goals and 16 points in 73 games this season. “I’m not sure yet. I’ll talk to (coach) Lindy (Ruff) and (general manger) Darcy (Regier) and see what they say about things. But at this point I could go either way.”

He added later, “If I play again, I’ll be here. Then if not, that’ll probably be it.”

Grier, a wildly popular teammate, returned for a second stint here last season after three years in San Jose. He immediately boosted the Sabres’ penalty killing and became arguably the Sabres’ most respected voice in the dressing room. In November, he became the 30th American-born player to appear in 1,000 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward, R.J. Umberger, has a contract for next season. Blue Jackets would like to give him an extension, but will he take one to stay in Columbus?

From Aaron Portzline (The Columbus Dispatch)

Clearly, the expectation is that the Blue Jackets will try to extend Umberger’s contract before the final year expires.

But what is Umberger thinking?

The Blue Jackets haven’t done much winning, making the playoffs only once in 10 seasons. That single playoff bid was Umberger’s first season in Columbus, and the run ended quickly, after only four games.

The last two seasons have been highly disappointing, “tough to take,” Umberger said.

New Jersey Devils Lou Lamoriello is expected to sign, Ken Hitchcock. Devils head coach vacancy came after Jacques Lemaire decided to retire.

From Larry Brooks (Slap Shots)

So the name this time, the coach several sources have told Slap Shots that Lou Lamoriello intends to hire this summer, is Ken Hitchcock.

And that makes perfect sense because the Devils general manager, who in the previous six summers since the lockout hired Larry Robinson, Claude Julien, Brent Sutter, Jacques Lemaire and John MacLean, has to go for the safe pick this time, has to go for a coach who will grab every one of his players’ attention and command every one of his players’ respect the moment he walks in the room the first day of training camp.

Steve Simmons, from the Toronto Sun, brings up a good suggestion. He points out the possibility of Toronto Maple Leafs going after restricted free agents. Names he listed, Shea Weber, Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty.

From Steve Simmons (Toronto Sun)

Just how much would Shea Weber, Steven Stamkos or Drew Doughty be worth to the Maple Leafs?

Are they worth relinquishing four years of first-round draft picks for?

Are any one of them enough to turn the Leafs from also-rans to Stanley Cup contenders?

New York Rangers captain Chris Drury, is not going to be the next Wade Redden. Drury has a no Movement clause and can not be hidden in the AHL. However, a buyout is very possible.

From Pierre LeBrun (ESPN)

The fact is, they can’t. He’s got a no-movement clause. You can’t do a thing to a player with a no-movement clause.

So, Drury holds all the cards. He did come back from a serious knee injury this year and that’s something he’s going to look at this summer, how he feels physically. But I don’t sense he’s going to do the Rangers any favors and retire. He’s either on the team next year or the Rangers bite the bullet and buy him out. A buyout would count $3.7 million against the Rangers’ cap next season and $1.6 million in 2012-13.

The Dallas Stars may have found a new head coach. RDS reports Kirk Muller will be named head coach, after sale of team is finalized. Muller has been an assistant coach for the Montreal Canadiens, since 2006.

From RDS.ca (Translated by Google)

Everything therefore indicates that Muller will not be back with the Canadiens next season because, according to The Gazette, it will become the coach of the Dallas Stars.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are going into off-season, with 10 unrestricted free agents. The Problem? cap space.

From Lyle Richardson (Spectors Blog)

The problem for Shero is cap space. He’s currently got over $55 million invested in 17 players for next season. Assuming the salary cap goes up to $62-$63 million for next season, that still won’t leave enough cap space to re-sign all his key players, and flesh out the rest of his roster.

Shero would probably prefer to retain Talbot and Dupuis, who’ve been key members of the Penguins roster over the past three seasons. Godard, Asham, Conners, Johnson and Adams could end up cut loose. Kovalev and Comrie won’t be back.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Chris Drury Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Drew Doughty Jacques Lemaire Ken Hitchcock Kirk Muller Lou Lamoriello Mike Grier Montreal Canadiens New Jersey Devils New York Rangers Pittsburgh Penguins R.J. Umberger Shea Weber Steven Stamkos Toronto Maple Leafs Wade Redden

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