Monday June 30th, 2014

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

• Steve Yzerman had a glut of forwards and too much cash on the books. He took care of both problems with a wild night of swapping that saw him flip Sam Gagner in a matter of minutes and clear more than $5 million from his cap while adding three depth picks. This guy might turn out to be a pretty decent GM, eh?

• The Phoenix Coyotes, looking for a center to replace the recently bought-out Mike Ribeiro, were thrilled to take Gagner off Yzerman's hands for the bargain price of a sixth rounder. The deal looks even better with the Bolts holding on to $1.6 million of his salary.

• Jim Matheson writes that after seven seasons without a playoff appearance, it was the Oilers who let Gagner down, and not the other way around.

• With Gagner gone, Edmonton now has two holes to fill at center ice. Just a guess here, but I don't think free agency will provide the answers.

• It's clear after this weekend that GM Tim Murray has replaced the departed Ryan Miller as the face of the Buffalo Sabres. It hasn't taken him long to make a strong impression both in the city and around the league.

• Jason Botchford says it's time for the Canucks to start spending some money.

• Ryan Miller might be willing to take some of it off of Vancouver's hands.

Contract negotiations are at a standstill between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen. The Jackets wisely want a bridge deal, while the young center is looking to cash in long-term. You can't blame him for trying, but hopefully he's not dug in. It's fine as an early negotiating ploy, but he has to realize that he's a kid with one good NHL season on his resumé. The Jackets need him, but not at any price.

• Stop me if you've heard this one: James Neal walks into a bar and...

• New Capitals coach Barry Trotz has taken a gentle first step in the effort to remake Alex Ovechkin, saying the superstar forward needs "less glide" in his game. Well, that's certainly a diplomatic way of saying it.

The Capitals are looking to remodel their blueline via free agency and they're hoping to land two of the best options: Christian Ehrhoff and Matt Niskanen.

James Reimer has reportedly asked the Maple Leafs for a trade. Can't blame him after the way he's been treated over the past year. Winnipeg might want to give Toronto a call.

• Steve Politi warns Martin Brodeur about the notorious history of superstars who make late-career team changes. I'm guessing Marty will take it under advisement.

• It's looking more like three Montreal Canadiens veterans are heading to free agency. Pat Hickey names names and has the latest on the P.K. Subban negotiations as well. Spoiler alert: if Subban is not the lead, you can bet they're not going well.

• Subban says he's too busy to worry about contract talks, or give much thought to hockey, over the summer.

• Well now, here's something we didn't know about Sam Reinhart.

• Canucks fans rallied at a Vancouver hospital in support of the ailing Gino Odjick. And then this happened.

• Here's a look at the surprising decision to set next year's salary cap at just $69 million.

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