Looking ahead at the possible plans for the Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers and NY Islanders heading into the off-season.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater recently looked ahead at possible moves by the Avalanche this summer, noting the club has a good amount of cap space, and given the club’s improvement, could prompt ownership to spend more. Dater believes their biggest need is adding another scorer or two, as well as more consistency from Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene. He also speculated on the possibility the Avs might make a pitch for Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter if he’s available in this summer’s UFA market.
Dater also reports Avs UFA forward David Jones, who’s one goal away from 20 on the season, doesn’t know if he’ll be returning with the club next season. Penalty killer Jay McClement is another pending UFA whose future with the club seems uncertain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs currently have nine players under contract for next season at a cost of just over $22.358 million. Even if the salary cap “floor” should drop in the next CBA, they’ll still have to spend a considerable amount just to get above it. Much of that will likely go toward re-signing Duchene, Steve Downie, Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Johnson, Jamie McGinn and Ryan Wilson. After that, they’ll have to decide if Jones and McClement are worthwhile bringing back, or if they’re better served investing in other players. If they pursue a big-ticket player like Suter, they’d best be prepared to make him their highest-paid player. Currently, that honor belongs to Stastny, at $6.6 million per season.
EDMONTON SUN: Derek Van Diest reports the Oilers currently have 10 free agents on their roster, seven of them restricted. It appears they’re ready to cut ties with RFA winger Linus Omark. He also wondered if they might try to shop center Eric Belanger if they should draft center Mikhail Grigorenko in this year’s entry draft and bring Anton Lander back into the mix next season. It remains to be seen if Ryan Smyth will re-sign, though his options appear limited as he returned to Edmonton for family reasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Van Diest suggests, the Oilers roster could look pretty much the same next season as the current one.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple recently posed five questions about the future of the NY Islanders, pointing out the club’s biggest off-season need is to address their defense, though if they do, they’re not expected to spend big in this summer’s UFA market. They want to bring back P.A. Parenteau, but for fewer years and dollars than the four-year, $16 million deal Parenteau is seeking.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Potentially affordable blueline options for the Isles could include Boston’s Greg Zanon, Philadelphia’s Nicklas Grossmann, Colorado’s Shane O’Brien, Calgary’s Scott Hannan, or San Jose’s Jim Vandermeer. Otherwise, they might have to consider the trade market. As for Parenteau, he’ll find that four-year, $16 million deal on this summer UFA market, so it’s up to him to decide if he wants to cash in via free agency, or accept less to stick with the Islanders.