Having reject a big offer from the Penguins, is Kris Letang a goner? Which clubs could get into the bidding for Vincent Lecavalier? What’s the latest on Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell and Ray Emery? Read on to find out!
TRIBLIVE.COM/POST-GAZETTE.COM: report Kris Letang rejected an eight-year, $56 million contract offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s believed Letang seeks $7.5 million per season. His agent, Kent Hughes, maintains his client wants to remain with the Penguins and they haven’t quit negotiations with the club.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby wonders if Letang’s rejection of the Penguins latest offer could stoke speculation of him heading to the Maple Leafs via trade.
TORONTO STAR: Curtis Rush mused over the prospect of Letang and Vincent Lecavalier playing for the Leafs, though the price for landing both would be very expensive.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance lists the Montreal Canadiens, NY Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks as possible destinations for Vincent Lecavalier.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Ben Raby wonders if the Capitals might have interest in Lecavalier if they should part ways with Mike Ribeiro.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson lists potential free agent options for the Lightning to replace Lecavalier, including Mike Ribeiro, Daniel Briere, Derek Roy and possibly Tyler Bozak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Letang camp wants over $7 million per season, that could force GM Ray Shero to shop him. He’s worth a raise, of course, but not to $7.5 million per season. Still, if the Penguins don’t pay him, other deep-pocketed, free-spending teams might be willing to do so. I don’t think, however, the Maple Leafs would do it, especially when they’ve got to re-sign Phil Kessel, who will almost certainly seek over $7 million per season. Unlike Letang, Kessel would be worth it.
As for Lecavalier, I think what tips the scales is playing for a Cup contender. If the Blackhawks came calling, I think Lecavalier would be seriously tempted, but the ‘Hawks are pressed for cap space. If the Rangers shed Brad Richards, I could see them going hard for Lecavalier. Playing with Alex Ovechkin in Washington could be a strong enticement for Lecavalier. As for the Habs, that’ll depend on if GM Marc Bergevin thinks Lecavalier’s a good fit on his rebuilding team, and if Lecavalier would be comfortable living the fishbowl existence of a Hab. The Leafs could use him, but is he still capable of playing as a first line center? Given his age, injury history and declining production, I have my doubts.
CSN CHICAGO/ESPN CHICAGO/NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Tracey Myers reports Blackhawks center Dave Bolland is taking the recent trade rumors about him in stride. “I’d love to be back here next year, but whatever happens, happens,” he said at Thursday’s media availability. “It’s the NHL. Trades happen. I’d love to be back here, I love Chicago. But it’s a game and this is what can happen.” Myers also reports pending UFA winger Bryan Bickell wants to re-sign with the Blackhawks, a feeling mutually shared by GM Stan Bowman. Scott Powers reports Blackhawks backup Ray Emery would love to re-sign. Joe Yerdon cites reports the Blackhawks intend to buy out Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz, which should put a end to speculation the Blackhawks might shop Marian Hossa in a salary-dumping trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bolland is dealt, I believe that’s to clear his $3.375 million salary in order to re-sign Bickell. As for Emery, it could depend upon what he’s seeking for a salary. No surprise Montador and Olesz will be bought out.