NHL Rumors: Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, and the Buffalo Sabres

Alain Vigneault, Anders Lee, Andreas Johnsson, Antti Niemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Brett Kulak, Buffalo Sabres, Charles Hudon, Chris Taylor, Christian Folin, Clark Donatelli, DJ Smith, Guy Gadowsky, Jared Spurgeon, Jay Leach, Jeff Skinner, Joel Armia, Jordan Weal, Jordie Benn, Kirk Muller, Kyle Connor, Mel Pearson, Mike Reilly, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nate Leaman, Nate Thompson, NHL Free Agents, NHL Rumors, Ralph Krueger, Rikard Gronborg, Ryan Dzingel, Sheldon Keefe, Stu Barns, Todd Nelson
Spurgeon on an extension

Michael Russo: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon on the possibility of signing a contract extension this offseason: “Obviously my family loves it here. We love it here. I want to win here so you can just go about it the way you can and let your agent to do his thing.”

Would make sense for the Canadiens to lock up a couple of their pending UFA defensemen

Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn is one of their five pending unrestricted free agents – Christian Folin, Jordan Weal, Nate Thompson, Antti Niemi – and he’s hopeful that he’ll be back.

“It’s not going through my mind now, but I hope it’s not my last game here.”

Pending restricted free agents include Brett Kulak, Mike Reilly, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen and Charles Hudon.

It makes sense for the Canadiens to try and re-sign Benn and Folin, their third pairing.

It’s likely that they re-sign Kulak.

Coaching options outside of McLellan for the Sabres

Joe Yerdon of The Athletic: (Coaches the Sabres could look if they are not able to land Todd McLellan)

NHL veterans – Alain Vigneault, Kirk Muller, and Todd Nelson.

Fresh faces – Chris Taylor, DJ Smith, Sheldon Keefe, Clark Donatelli, Jay Leach,  and Stu Barnes.

European route – Rikard Grönborg, and Ralph Krueger.

College coaches – Nate Leaman, Mel Pearson, and Guy Gadowsky.

Sabres could still get Skinner signed, but a few options if they can’t

John Vogl of The Athletic: Sabres GM Jason Botterill believes that they can still get Jeff Skinner signed before he hits free agency.

“Both sides have continued to focus on, ‘How do we get a deal done?’” Botterill said. “He’s a fun player. He’s an energetic player. You love watching Jeff Skinner out there. I think the relationship for both sides – for the player and for the team – has been a positive one. That’s why we’re trying to find a resolution.”

If the Sabres aren’t able to re-sign Skinner, Ryan Dzingel and Anders Lee may be the only viable unrestricted free agent targets who could be a replacement for Skinner.

If they look at the trade or offer sheet route, two options could be Winnipeg Jets Kyle Connor and Toronto Maple Leafs Andreas Johnsson.

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