The latest on Brad Richards, Mike Smith and Sergei Bobrovsky, plus updates on the Red Wings, Capitals, Wild and Avalanche.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers have yet to inform center Brad Richards if he’ll be a compliance buyout. GM Glen Sather told the Post he’s made his decision but declined to reveal it as he prefers to keep his options open. The buyout period begins 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final (late Wednesday) and ends at 5 pm ET on July 4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Richards could be kept waiting for just over another week before getting word from Sather if he’s staying or going.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a report from Russia in which KHL president Alexander Medvedev trumpeted the excellent offer SKA St. Petersburg made to Columbus Blue Jackets RFA goalie and Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky could make a lot of money on a short-term offer from the KHL, but he will have more financial security by signing with the Blue Jackets. The expectation is the Bobrovsky camp is merely using the KHL as leverage to get a better deal from the Blue Jackets. Time will tell.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports the Phoenix Coyotes re-signing of head coach Dave Tippett has had a positive effect upon the Coyotes negotiations with pending UFA goalie Mike Smith. Management and Tippett met with Smith and his agent in Vancouver last week to discuss contract term and salary numbers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a positive sign, but the club’s future in Glendale could be the determining factor.
DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: Helene St. James reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland will explore ” a trade or two. Maybe a two-for-one deal, maybe a three-for-one, or three-for-two.” He’s also held contract talks with pending UFAs Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner. Ansar Khan, meanwhile, reports Holland will try to alleviate his logjam at forward with trades before turning to compliance buyouts. Khan cites a source claiming winger Jordin Tootoo is available, as well as fourth liner Cory Emmerton. He also suggests Filppula’s rights could be shopped.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Holland intends to be quite busy over the next seven-ten days. I could see him shopping Filppula’s rights, and wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Tootoo. He needs to free up some cap space to retain a number of their key players, and I believe Holland would prefer re-signing Cleary and Brunner.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK/CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Mike Halford cites reports out of Washington noting Capitals GM George McPhee intends to match any offer sheet for Karl Alzner or Marcus Johansson, and he has no intention of trading goalie Michal Neuvirth. Chuck Gormley, meanwhile, wonders if the Capitals buy out Jeff Schultz if they’re unable to trade him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have limited cap space and must re-sign Alzner and Johansson, plus they must re-sign or replace pending UFAs Mike Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks. A compliance buyout of Schultz may be necessary if a trade partner cannot be found.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild’s re-signing of Niklas Backstrom to a reduced salary gives the Wild some additional cap space, but GM Chuck Fletcher cannot retain everyone, and could either trade Tom Gilbert ($4 million for next season) or buy him out, plus its’ believed Justin Falk and Zenon Konopka are available. Cal Clutterbuck is an RFA and could accept a cap friendly one year contract, but he has trade value, as it’s believed the Edmonton Oilers have interest in him.
DENVER POST’s Adrian Dater reports the following via Sulia: “Speculation heating up that Florida really wants (Nathan) MacKinnon. But Avs own the first pick. So they’d need to give up something off roster to make Avs do a swap to No. 2. The Avs I’m hearing want Erik Gudbranson, a young D. That probably is asking too much, but I hear that’s the price for now.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Avs are willing to part with the first overall and the chance to draft MacKinnon for Gudbranson and the second overall.