Brian, 32, could be in his final week in a Lightning uniform, depending on how things develop at the March 1 trade deadline.
Boyle, who can be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is drawing interest from several teams looking for a versatile veteran for a playoff push.
The Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets (with Boyle’s former Rangers coach, John Tortorella) are reportedly among the suitors. So are the Oilers, which the Lightning hosts Tuesday.
Understandably, a Dennis Wideman demotion doesn’t attract the same sort of front-page attention as Johnny Gaudreau’s.
It is, however, representative of one of the biggest problems the Calgary Flames have faced all season long.
This team is devoid of a quality no. 4 defenceman.
It’s part of the reason T.J. Brodie has struggled to regain the scoring touch and effectiveness he enjoyed last year while he was paired on the top line with Mark Giordano.
The right-winger is currently on a one-year, $5.75-million contract and is looking to “hit a home run” in his impending free agency, said Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos during Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment on Saturday.
“Long term. That’s what Radulov wants,” said Kypreos. “This is his window of opportunity to get a long-term deal.”
Francis said, “I’m always open to anything that will make our team better.” Like nearly all GMs in February, he has been working the phone, although he has a lot more salary-cap flexibility than a lot of other GMs.
Given the defensive depth in the organization, Francis might look to deal a defenseman, if the trade makes sense. There are teams desperate for defensive help and might be willing to part with a top-six forward who could help the Canes.
If the Canes struggle in the homestand, Francis also might go in the other direction — perhaps look to deal some of the Canes’ pending unrestricted free agents.
Could a reunion with his former Calgary Flames coach/GM Darryl Sutter be a possibility? A source told ESPN.com that the Los Angeles Kings have kicked around the merits of that idea, given that history between their coach and Iginla. Whether the Kings act on it and call Colorado about it remains to be seen.
The Kings have struggled offensively, so the question is whether Sutter feels he can get some juice out of Iginla at this point of his remarkable career.
If Kings GM Dean Lombardi does decide to proceed on the Iginla front — and again, let me stress he might not — that $5.33 million cap hit will be an issue.
There’s no question if the Colorado Avalanche are going to trade Gabriel Landeskog, for example, to the Boston Bruins, there’s no question that they’re going to absolutely insist on Brandon Carlo being part of the deal. Quite aside from the fact that he’s from Colorado Springs, but he’s what – a 20-year-old, going on 21-year-old, defenseman who’s proven that he’s an NHL defenseman right now.
“And the Avalanche don’t want to load up on a whole bunch of guys that have just been drafted at 18, although a guy like Sergachev may yet have appeal as part of a package. But what they’re really looking for is somebody who’s 20 or 21 or 22 or 23 that they can insert immediately into the lineup, along with a first-round pick and a couple of really good prospects.
If the Red Wings sell, they’re only dealing rentals (player slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the season).
Thomas Vanek tops that short list. He is tied for the team lead with 14 goals and is second with 36 points, in just 43 games. His $2.6 million salary would make him easier to fit under the cap for teams seeking an offensive boost. Vanek missed Sunday’s game in Minnesota due to an ankle injury but might be ready to play Wednesday.
The Red Wings might be able to land a second-round pick or some combination of picks and a prospect for him.
Brendan Smith, another impending UFA, doesn’t have as much trade value but defensemen usually are in demand at the deadline.
Assuming the Stars plan on being sellers at the trade deadline, who could we expect to be available? Obviously Patrick Sharp has been thrown around as a possibility, but are there any other names you’re hearing about?
Heika: Because so many teams are up against the cap, I think players like Patrick Eaves ($1 million), Lauri Korpikoski ($1 million) and even Jiri Hudler ($2 million) could be gold at the trade deadline.
I would expect Las Vegas and Florida to seek permission from BOS to talk to fired head coach Claude Julien about their coaching vacancies.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 9, 2017
Benning was quite candid last month about potentially using the franchise’s defensive depth to acquire a forward if the right deal were to come along.
“I think that’s the one area where we have some depth now,” Benning mentioned on TSN 1040 January 19. “With Olli Juolevi coming now too, I think we have some players now – I like our defense going forward. Troy Stetcher, for a first-year player, he’s been excellent this year.
“So if we decide we’re going to do something – teams, when they call us, they look at our depth on defense and they ask about our defensemen. So if we are going to make a move to try to improve up front, it would be maybe with one of our defensemen.”
For the most part, Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock have been quick to come to the defence of their defence this season.
That continues to be the public stance as the team prepares for what it hopes will be a serious and successful playoff run. In reality, however, defence remains the biggest area of concern, as it has been throughout this breakthrough Leafs season.
Working on Metro trade deadline primer .Wonder if Devils would move Keith Kinkaid (UFA on 7/1) in right deal to team that needs a G.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) February 6, 2017
The Boston Bruins fired Stanley Cup-winning coach Claude Julien on Tuesday as the team was in danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season.
He was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.