Top Line: NHL silly season perils; Sharks play relocation card; more

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Ryan O'Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche

Lady Byng finalist Ryan O’Reilly is going to the arbitration mat with the Avalanche. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• With the relationship between the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan O’Reilly rapidly cooling, Adrian Dater thinks it’s only a matter of time before a trade makes the split permanent. The Avs will be under the gun if that’s the case. They’ll need to get something done with the restricted free agent before the negotiation window opens on July 1.

• Aaron Portzline breaks down a situation that’s nearly as ugly in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets are now actively trying to move R.J. Umberger. If they can’t work out a swap, the buyout option remains on the table.

• The next two weeks are full of promise and peril for the Maple Leafs. The key for Toronto here is choosing a path to redemption…and then sticking to it.

• Chuck Gormley examines the the trade rumors surrounding Dion Phaneuf and wonders whether the Washington Capitals should kick the Leafs captain’s tires. Hey, they clearly need a left-handed defenseman and they have some intriguing assets. But is GM Brian MacLellan gutsy enough to make this kind of splash with his first deal?

• The task is equally daunting for new Canucks GM Jim Benning, but at least he enters the silly season armed with enough cash and cap space to perform a dramatic makeover in Vancouver.

• Benning is busy on the coaching front as well, looking into the availability of one of Alain Vigneault’s top assistants in New York.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford had himself a busy day yesterday, interviewing seven of his eight candidates for the head coaching job in Pittsburgh. Dave Molinari breaks down the frontrunners.

• Gary Lawless says that change has to come for Winnipeg, but is an Evander Kane trade the best option to help the Jets win now?

• Here’s a shocker from the broadcast booth: Drew Remenda won’t be back as the TV analyst for the Sharks. Remenda spent the past 13 years in the San Jose booth building up a reputation as one of the best in the business. Hard to imagine what the team is thinking, but some other club’s broadcast is about to get a whole lot better thanks to his addition. Rogers, perhaps?

• Speaking of the Sharks, they have a lousy broadcast deal with Comcast. It’s so bad that they say it could threaten their continued existence in San Jose. OK, they’re allowed to make noise about a terrible deal, but playing the relocation card isn’t going to gain a lot of traction when their building is sold out night after night. They might get a few extra bucks, but this is a bed that the team made.

• Some happy broadcast news: a pair of Hockey Night In Canada mainstays have signed on with Rogers. Great move for all involved.

Joe Haggerty says the Boston Bruins are facing a salary cap penalty that’s approaching $5 million next season. With eight NHL defensemen on their roster, I’m guessing they’ll look to sacrifice a blueliner to create some of the space needed to take care of a slew of free agents, including UFA Jarome Iginla. And for what it’s worth, I’m not convinced that Haggerty’s figure is correct–it could be as low as $3.7 million–but the thought process remains the same.

• The New Jersey Devils still have one compliance buyout in their holster but two contracts they’d like to move off the books. GM Lou Lamoriello weighs his options.

The Nashville Predators are shopping the 11th overall draft pick. Their asking price: a top-six forward. In other news, I’m looking to swap my old truck for a new Corvette. I’ll let you know how that goes.

• This was probably the hardest hit of the Stanley Cup Final:

• The KHL’s Ukrainian-based Donbass squad will go inactive next year because of the country’s current instability.

• Patrick Nemeth closed the door on the 2013-14 hockey season last night by delivering the overtime dagger that clinched the Calder Cup for the Texas Stars. Pretty amazing run for Dallas’ top farm team, including three consecutive OT wins on the road to seal the championship.

• Here’s a look at Nemeth’s beauty of a winner, along with the postgame ceremonies:

  • Published On Jun 18, 2014