With the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators eliminated from the playoffs, what will be their off-season plans? A look ahead, plus a suggestion for the Senators to sign Dustin Penner this summer as a UFA.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Nashville Predators now face some tough questions as they head into the off-season regarding the futures of RFAs Shea Weber and Alexander Radulov and UFA Ryan Suter. LeBrun doubts Radulov and UFA forward Andrei Kostitsyn, who were both suspended for missing a team curfew during the series against the Coyotes, will be back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov will either become an unrestricted free agent and shop his services around the league, or return to the KHL. Ditto Kostitsyn, who did nothing with the Predators to shed the reputation he had in Montreal as a streaky scorer who enjoys the nightlife a little too much. The Predators will try to re-sign Weber and Suter, hoping to convince them they’re heading in the right direction and need the pair onboard. Speculation over the future of the pair will be churning in the rumor mill for the next couple of months.
STLTODAY.COM: Bernie Miklasz and Jeff Gordon look ahead at the potential off-season moves for the Blues. Miklasz points out the Blues could use someone who can score more than 25 goals per season, as well as additional blueline depth, but has his doubts incoming owner Tom Stillman will significantly increase the team’s payroll for next season. Gordon, meanwhile, also believes the Blues must improve their scoring, and feels RFA winger Chris Stewart (who struggled this season) should be given another chance to prove himself. He doesn’t believe the Blues will be among the bidders for potential UFA Zach Parise, and doesn’t expect UFA blueliner Carlo Colaiacovo to be re-signed. It also remains to be seen if long-time Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman (also a UFA) will be re-signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the new ownership doesn’t significantly increase the budget, GM Doug Armstrong will have to go shopping via the trade market to bolster his scoring punch and still make the dollars fit within their self-imposed cap. Affordable blueline depth can be found in this summer’s UFA market, so he has that option if he decides to replace Colaiacovo, Jackman and Kent Huskins.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan suggests the Senators should consider signing LA Kings winger Dustin Penner if he become a UFA this summer, citing Penner’s offensive resurgence in this year’s playoffs and his prior ties with Senators GM Bryan Murray, who as
Kings Ducks GM in 2004 signed the undrafted winger to his first NHL contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Penner’s offensive inconsistency, I doubt Murray would seriously consider him as an option to bolster the Senators scoring depth, but if so , it should only be on an affordable one-year contract.