Nichols' Notes

Related: Nichols' Notes (June 25) Related: Trade Watch: Jason Spezza Edition

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The Province's Jason Botchford examines the possibility of the Vancouver Canucks adding Ryan Miller on a short-term deal, since the team has already reached out to him during this free agent interview period. Botchford notes it's believed the Canucks are his No. 1 choice.


Good insight from DallasNews.com's Mike Heika on the 19-year working relationship between Joe McDonnell, Stars' direction of amateur scouting, and GM Jim Nill. They were together for years with the Detroit Red Wings before Nill was hired to run the Stars, after which McDonnell followed him over.

Nill: “We’ve been together so long that I think we know each other pretty well. I’m not out there seeing the players as much as I have been in the past, so I trust his eyes.”

McDonnell: “Honestly, since we first started together, we were pretty much identical in how we saw things. We would fill out our own scouting reports or prepare a draft list, and it was like looking in a mirror. We’ve always been on the same page.”


A source tells The Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe that he wouldn't be shocked to see Jets winger/defenceman Dustin Byfuglien moved this weekend. Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien are reportedly on the radar of the Philadelphia Flyers.


Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley was interviewed at the draft on Sportsnet 960.

“I think that people really respected our work ethic,” Hartley said. “But having said this, we’re in the business that working hard – it should be normal. Like, in any job that you do, you should be a hard worker. You’re not paid to be lazy. You’re paid to be a hard worker. But at the NHL level you need results. You need to perform. You need results. And that’s where we’re at.

“Finishing 27th last year doesn’t sit too well with us; but having said this, we understand we have lots of young players and we love what they did last year and I feel really good about their progression, but we need to move ahead. We need to be a playoff team. We’re representing a very proud community and we understand, just like our fans, that... the first gauge of success is to be part of the playoffs. A top 16 team.”


Gino Odjick’s last fight: Beloved Canucks enforcer battles terminal heart disease

Via Ed Willis, Vancouver Province


Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, via Michael Russo:

“What’s become clear to me is more players are interested in talking to us now than what would have been two or three years ago," Fletcher said. "The perception of our team has changed based on the conversations I’m having with people. People see us as being a competitive team and people believe if they come to Minnesota they’re going to have a chance to be on a team that’s trying to win a Stanley Cup. To me that’s great to hear. It shows we’re going to have opportunities every year to be a player in the free-agent market.

"We weren’t always that way. I guess where I’m going with that is I think we can look for the right fit. If it’s not there, we can be patient because if some of these guys want really long-term deals, you’re talking locking them in for a long time. Who’s to say we can’t do something better this year via trade or next summer via free agency?

"It’s been good. If we can get the right player for our fit, we’ll do it. But we’re not really in a position to just be chasing players and throwing whatever at them. We’ve done that and we’ve got our big guys locked in, and we’re thankful for that, we’re happy for that. But now we’re going to get certain players at certain fits to make us better. That’s what we’ve expressed to people. In a lot of situations, term is a big issue for us. We have some cap space obviously, but we want to be careful with what we do with it.”

There are a number of length, quality quotes from Fletcher on free agency and trades. Read the whole blog. Great stuff. Updates on multiple players and a phenomenal anecdote on Dany Heatley, which I tweeted. Fletcher also said there were three or four names Russo had NOT included in Thursday's paper to which he had spoken. 


The Buffalo News' John Vogl goes over the changes the NHL is making to the draft lottery system, along with how this could impact the Sabres.


Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman's thoughts on trades and the draft are targeted by Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. Yzerman is open to dealing either of his first round picks. TV analyst Craig Button believes the organization is well-stocked with depth and suggests one route the Lightning might want to try is trading for Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk or Mike Green from the Washington Capitals.


George Richards of the Miami Herald recaps Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon's media availability from Thursday afternoon, and what's going on with the No. 1 pick.


A source tells Tom Gulitti that (unrelated to the charity golf appearance with David Clarkson) the Toronto Maple Leafs may actually be interested in Martin Brodeur to back up and mentor Jonathan Bernier.



Chad Graff of The Pioneer Press revisits last year's Minnesota Wild trade of Cal Clutterbuck to land Nino Niederreiter from the New York Islanders, speaking with the latter winger himself.

"I'm very pleased I got the opportunity during the season to show off my skills," Niederreiter said in a phone interview from Switzerland. "I'm very fortunate to be there, and I'm happy with the way the season went."

Niederreiter, an RFA, is expected to sign a contract next month.


The Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe recaps Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's Thursday presser. Evander Kane trade talk, potential moving up from the Jets' No. 9 slot in the draft, free agent interviews and the need to upgrade his roster overall were all on the docket.


The Vancouver Sun's Iain MacIntyre writes about Canucks GM Jim Benning's update on Ryan Kesler Thursday.

"We're talking to teams," Benning said. "But at the end of the day, we're going to do what makes sense for us and to try to help Ryan out. If we don't think we can get a fair deal, we're going to keep him and he's a Vancouver Canuck. And we're happy to have him back because he's such a great player."

Kesler has a short list of teams to which he'd accept a trade, but MacIntyre points out Benning said he has no problem trading within the West or even the Pacific Division.

The Province's Jason Botchford believes if Kesler wants out so badly, he may have to expand his list.

“It does (handcuff) you,” Benning acknowledged. “You don’t get to deal with a lot of teams.

“We’re talking to his agent on a daily basis. We’re talking to teams. We’re hoping to figure something out that he’s happy with and we’re happy with.”

Botchford's article, as has been the case with Kesler reports lately, indicates the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks are Kesler's preferences. The Pittsburgh Penguins are off the list.


Pierre LeBrun's Rumblings passes along that around 15 teams had made contact with Paul Stastny's camp as of late Thursday afternoon. Interestingly, the Winnipeg Jets are one of those teams.


A Thursday TSN video indicates Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon told Darren Dreger Wednesday night that there was a 70 percent chance he'd trade the No. 1 pick. Interest has escalated Thursday though. The Vancouver Canucks have made an offer on it. The Edmonton Oilers, Dreger says again, are willing to move the No. 3 pick and/or Sam Gagner in the right situation.


Michael Russo's latest blog on Thursday indicates he does not get the impression that the Minnesota Wild can be a serious suitor on Paul Stastny, although Chuck Fletcher has called on him. Russo continues to indicate he thinks the Wild would like to sign Thomas Vanek to a shorter term deal, while the organization has big interest in Matt Niskanen. Russo has been told the Wild has not contacted Dan Boyle's camp.


What does Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff have to say on the subject of Evander Kane? Free Press writer Tim Campbell has it, from whether or not Kane asked for a trade to being open to take phone calls on any player on the team.

"There are lots of conversations that go on," Cheveldayoff said Thursday. "I’m sure there were levels of frustration at different points in time for individual players. From our standpoint, Evander is a Winnipeg Jet and I know that there’s obviously been lots of different rumours out there. At this point in time, that’s how we’re going to proceed. As far as any demands, we’re working as normal here."


Don Meehan reiterates to The Boston Herald's Steve Conroy that he'll be meeting with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli about Jarome Iginla on Thursday. With Daniel Alfredsson not 100 percent locked in yet, the Detroit Red Wings are believed to have interest in Iginla as well.


Hall of Famer Ray Bourque was on Brady & Walker on Sportsnet 590 Thursday morning for a six-minute interview, which included his thoughts on free agency when he was a player and how things are different today with more player movement. He also reflects on his draft day.


The New York Post's Larry Brooks indicates that a well-placed source tells him the Rangers have not inquired about Paul Stastny and aren't expected to do so either. Why? So little cap space. They may be dipping into the vintage 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning well again, this time with Dan Boyle, but perhaps only if they're unable to get Anton Stralman signed.