The Minnesota Wild face some vexing salary cap issues. Winger Dany Heatley’s injury prevents the team axing him with a compliance buy-out, so other moves must occur to make the numbers work.
This has triggered speculation that agitating winger Cal Clutterbuck could exit via trade. The team tendered him a contract to protect its rights in restricted free agency, but cap issues may preclude him from sticking around.
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has been seeking a second-round draft pick in return Clutterbuck. The team spent its first-round pick to get winger Jason Pominville.
By getting another second-rounder, the Wild could package some picks to get into the first round. Or the team could exploit the depth of this draft to add another prospect to the pile.
The Buffalo Sabres definitely need to freshen up their offense this season. That is why coach Lindy Ruff will start the season with youngster Marcus Foligno playing with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford on his two scoring units.
That line finished last season with a flourish.
Ruff also wants to see what rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko can do. The youngster got extra time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League due to the lockout and he dominated, predictably. The World Junior Championships offered a greater challenge.
“I think everyone is intrigued,” Ruff told reporters in Buffalo. “He’s had an elite year at junior. He’s got very good hands, is a very good playmaker. Now you take that to a level where you’re going to play against even stronger competition, bigger bodies, guys that are heavier on the puck, that compete at a stronger level.
“I think he’ll be able to make plays,” Ruff said. “I’m intrigued to see what he can do against and with top NHL players.”
The Sabres lost Derek Roy to Dallas, so Cody Hodgson figures to center the other scoring line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Ville Leino and newcomer Steve Ott are among the third-line candidates. The team could also re-sign old friend Jochen Hecht.
How Russians sell hockey tickets
The Hot List
Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Getzlaf, Alexander Semin.
The Cold List
Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers,John Tavares, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Vancouver Canucks,