Joe Yerdon

Wild GM says Granlund or Coyle could center second line

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Now that Matt Cullen has taken his game to Nashville, the Minnesota Wild could’ve been in the market for a second line center. Instead, they’re looking at doing things internally.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher tells Michael Russo of the Star Tribune that either Mikael Granlund or Charlie Coyle could fill that spot next season.

“We’ll see if they’re ready for it,” Fletcher said. “Granlund’s a talented, young player and we feel he’ll be a good NHL player in time. Whether that happens right away or not will be up to him. Charlie Coyle’s a player that proved to all of us that he can play in the NHL last year.”

Granlund had his ups and downs with the Wild last season bouncing between the AHL and NHL. Coyle, meanwhile, played right wing on the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.

Both players are natural centers and guys the organization is very high on. They both also made their NHL debuts this past season. Youth may be served in St. Paul.

With Roy in St. Louis, Backes may move to the wing

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Derek Roy signing a one-year deal with the Blues gives coach Ken Hitchcock some options what he can do with his lines. Roy’s a playmaker and if there’s something St. Louis could use it’s more offense.

One move they might make, as Norm Sanders of the Bellevue News-Democrat shares, is to move David Backes to the wing. GM Doug Armstrong says Hitchcock has plenty of flexibility now.

“I think it has a chance to be a very difficult group to defend,” Armstrong said. “I think Ken’s got a lot of different options. We have a lot of options and we’ve found a natural center iceman that can produce points.”

There’s no question the Blues are tough to play against and moving Backes perhaps to Roy’s wing would give them one definitive scoring line.

St. Louis has loads of talent, but getting consistent offense will push them to be Stanley Cup contenders. That and not playing the Los Angeles in the playoffs would help too.

Stars to talk with Seguin about social media slip-ups

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Tyler Seguin’s arrival in Dallas this week will also come with a sit-down with the team about his exploits on social media and otherwise. After recent Twitter “hacks” and not-so flattering appearances on video, the talk of his off-the-ice lifestyle has gotten a lot of run.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News spoke with Stars GM Jim Nill and finds out that they’re going to have a nice talk to get to the bottom of what’s going on with Seguin.

“My problem with social media is you just don’t know how much of it is true,” Nill said. “I think, as a society, we are trained to believe 100 percent of it is true, and that’s obviously not the case. It’s difficult to validate how things might happen, whether someone was truly hacked, or just what might have happened. I can’t go off hearsay, I need to ask questions.”

Seguin’s supposed party-boy lifestyle was already set to be a topic of discussion with the Stars but maybe the best thing he can do here is just be a bit more serious about his life on the ice.

After all, no one will ask any questions about what you’re doing away from the rink if you’re scoring in bunches on it.

Update (12:30 p.m. ET): Seguin takes a good first step and tweets that he’s shutting down his account for a while.

https://twitter.com/tylerseguin92/status/353913187126611970

With Alfredsson gone, Spezza could be next Senators captain

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Daniel Alfredsson’s departure to Detroit did more than leave the fanbase hurting, it left the captaincy open in Ottawa.

Alfredsson became Senators captain in 1999 after Alexei Yashin left town, and now that he’s gone as well the Sens have to find someone to fill those big shoes. After all, 14 years is a long time.

Now it might be Jason Spezza’s turn with the “C” and Ottawa Sun writer Don Brennan supports it as does an anonymously quoted player.

“If they held a vote in the room by show of hands,” one recently retired player said Saturday, “they’d all pick Spezz.”

When you look at the guys on the Senators roster who could be captain, finding a veteran who has put in their time is a bit tricky and Spezza stands out as the lone wolf there. If putting the “C” on a young and likely cornerstone player is your thing, Erik Karlsson is right there.

No matter what, it’s going to look odd in Ottawa next season without Alfredsson there leading the way.

Jackets coach won’t put Horton and Gaborik on same line

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The one catch for Columbus signing Nathan Horton is that he’ll need shoulder surgery this summer so it’ll be a while before he officially suits up for the Blue Jackets.

When he does, however, don’t expect him to be on the same line with Marian Gaborik as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shares. Richards wants other teams to make a decision on who they send their best defensemen after.

“It makes them make a decision: ‘Who are we going to go after?’ ” Richards said. “If they have one shut-down (defensive) pair, that’s going to leave something a little more open for us, maybe.”

So how will he set up the lines? Young forward Cam Atkinson may have to slide to left wing to play alongside Horton. Brandon Dubinsky and either R.J. Umberger or Atkinson could wind up skating with Horton. Meanwhile, Gaborik will likely stay with Artem Anisimov while Umberger or Atkinson lands on their left side.

Sounds pretty good either way for the Eastern Conference-bound Jackets.