Should the Leafs pursue Vincent Lecavalier? Should the Oilers make a pitch for Kris Letang? Are the Flyers interested in Jaroslav Halak? All this and more in this evening’s rumor mill.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox acknowledged recent speculation suggesting the Maple Leafs pursue UFA center Vincent Lecavalier, but reports the Leafs prefer to re-sign Tyler Bozak, ahead of Lecavalier, Stephen Weiss, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy. Cox cites Bozak’s chemistry with top Leafs scorer Phil Kessel. Still, if Bozak seeks more than $5 million per season, the Leafs could look elsewhere. Cox also believes Lecavalier could get a better offer elsewhere that what he might get from the Leafs.
TSN’s Mark Masters attended today’s press conference held by Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who said talks with Bozak are on hold until after the draft, plus it’s unlikely Dion Phaneuf gets moved as he’s received no inquiries from rival clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs fail to sign Bozak I believe they pursue Weiss. Indeed, if they can acquire Weiss’ rights from the Panthers this weekend, kiss Bozak goodbye. No surprise there’s no interest in Phaneuf, given his cap hit for next season ($6.5 million) and his eligibility for UFA status next summer. Sure, that could change, but I don’t think there’s much of a market for the Leafs captain right now.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis suggests if the Pittsburgh Penguins decide to trade Kris Letang, the Edmonton Oilers should make a pitch for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could seek a good young player, a top prospect and a first round pick in return, plus the Letang camp is reportedly seeking $7.5 million per season. While I appreciate the Oilers need for more skill on their blueline, Letang is probably too rich for their blood.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports an NHL source claims the Philadelphia Flyers have made some inquiries into the availability of St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, who has one year at a cap hit of $3.75 million left on his contract. “The Flyers have been told it’s going to take a very good player, but it won’t take one of their top guys, which Philadelphia was worried about,” the source said. “He could be their No. 1.” Other possibilities include former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, former Flyer Ray Emery, Roberto Luongo (if he’s bought out by the Canucks) and Jose Theodore.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were the Flyers GM, I’d wait out the Canucks and hope they’ll be forced to buy out Luongo. He’s the best of the aforementioned bunch, and would be a solid addition for an affordable three-four year deal. Halak has an injury history so buyer beware there. I’m not convinced Thomas wants to return to the NHL (see below). Theodore or Emery could be good backups and mentors for Steve Mason.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Joe Yerdon cites a report claiming Calgary Flames winger Mike Cammalleri is available but there’s currently little interest in him. Flames GM Jay Feaster is willing to field inquiries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Flames pick up half of Cammalleri’s remaining salary for next season ($6 million cap hit, $7 million in actual salary), he won’t be going anywhere unless they decide to go the buyout route.
NESN: Mike Cole reports former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is still undecided about returning to the NHL next season.