NHL Free Agency 2013: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Biggest Rumors

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IJuly 7, 2013

NHL Free Agency 2013: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Biggest Rumors

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    The opening of NHL free agency on July 5 was a huge bang for players such as the Toronto Maple Leafs' David Clarkson, the Detroit Red Wings' Daniel Alfredsson and various others, but there are still some big rumors percolating.

    Some involve free agents, free agents-to-be and players who are currently under contract. For example, goaltender Ryan Miller may still be up for grabs, the Pittsburgh Penguins might move a key player and Jaromir Jagr may finally sign a contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

    Here is an edition of fact or fiction with some of the biggest rumors currently circulating.

Will Ryan Miller Remain with the Buffalo Sabres?

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    Ryan Miller was the subject of trade rumors as early as this year's trade deadline, when it was reported by Sportsnet's Daren Millard that the Tampa Bay Lightning were interested in his services. Nothing ever came of it, and Miller finished the year with the Sabres.

    This summer was supposed to be an active one for goaltenders, but goaltenders such as Mike Smith and Niklas Backstrom re-signed with their respective teams and the number of goaltenders needed shrunk up.

    So after all of the fanfare, will Miller remain with the Sabres? Are the trade rumors a fact, or are they mere fiction?

     

    Fact or Fiction?: Fact

    The fact is that Miller has been named in trade rumors, and he will likely remain in Buffalo.

    NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported that there were talks of Miller being an option for the St. Louis Blues, but the price ended up being too rich for the Blues.

Michael Del Zotto to Be Moved by Rangers?

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    Michael Del Zotto is a polarizing defenseman for the New York Rangers. He is a highly skilled offensive defenseman, but he isn't the greatest defender. Fans love him for his offense, but vilify him when he misses an assignment or is the cause of a goal.

    The youngster has shown great success thus far, but his best is ahead of him. Due to the Rangers' cap situation, it was suggested by Rangers beat writer Sean Hartnett that Del Zotto could be the "odd man out." 

    However, will the Rangers deal their budding blueliner, or can this trade rumor be put to rest?

     

    Fact or Fiction?: Fiction

    When you read between the lines, the Rangers are going for it all this year. The decision to keep Brad Richards, the emphasis thus far of adding depth and retaining a majority of the roster indicates that this is the team they want to enter the season with.

    Glen Sather may feel comfortable with the roster, and maybe he feels that Alain Vigneault will get more out of the roster than John Tortorella did. However, if the Rangers thrive under Vigneault and more firepower is needed, don't be surprised if Del Zotto becomes a trade chip at the deadline.

The Penguins Are Considering Trading James Neal?

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins have a considerable amount of money tied up to a few players, and rumor has it they might consider trading James Neal. Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun believed that the Penguins would consider trading Neal up to free some cap space.

    Neal has a very affordable contract that counts $5 million against the salary cap, but are the Penguins truly considering dealing their young sniper?

     

    Fact or Fiction?: Fiction

    It doesn't make sense to trade James Neal. Right now, the Penguins should be able to make maneuvers to stay compliant with the salary cap. This roster is built to win this year, and with the salary cap set to increase, it would appear that Neal is safe at the moment.

Will Jaromir Jagr Sign with the Montreal Canadiens?

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    Jaromir Jagr wants to keep playing hockey, and according to Larry Lage of the Associated Press, Jagr has offers from at least three franchises. Of the three teams named, one is very intriguing because they seem to always be in play when Jagr's name pops up.

    The team in question is the Montreal Canadiens, and Jagr's agent has expressed that the 41-year-old winger would like to wear the Habs' red, white and blue.

    However, Josh Rimer sent out a tweet indicating that Jagr would not be signing with the Canadiens. With this much uncertainty, is it fact or fiction that Jagr will join Montreal?

     

    Fact or Fiction?: Fiction

    It is easier to believe Jagr and his agent saying they have interest than Rimer's tweet about Jagr not planning to sign with the Canadiens. However, the team decided not to sign a younger and more effective player in Michael Ryder, so it appears the Habs want to ice a young team.

    If Jagr was a little younger, it would make sense, but at this point, he should look elsewhere in free agency.