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Are the Canadiens poised to buy out Scott Gomez? What are the top issues facing the Senators?  The answers, plus an update on the Hurricanes off-season plans.


Could Habs buy out Gomez?

YAHOO.COM: Greg Wyshynski referenced an interview given by Sportsnet’s Louis Jean, who suggested the Canadiens will buy out Scott Gomez  “even before Bergevin comes in. It’s Geoff Molson saying, ‘OK, let’s get this done.’  “Buying out Scott Gomez … this is a Geoff Molson thing. I think it really shows that this is Geoff Molson’s team.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Gomez said he hasn’t spoken with the Canadiens regarding his contract status, though he said such a move would be a management decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jean was suggesting the Canadiens owner will make the decision to buy out Gomez before Bergevin officially takes over, that it would be Molson’s decision and Bergevin will have to go along with it. That remains to be seen, but one person who doubts this will happen is TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who explained via Twitter it wouldn’t make sense for the Canadiens to do this, citing the cap hit, the fact the deep-pocketed Habs would be better off burying Gomez in the minors or overseas, and the possibility there could be an amnesty buyout period in the next CBA. If the Canadiens were to buy out Gomez, they cannot do it until the buyout period, traditionally the last two weeks in June. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported on Senators obvious need to re-sign Erik Karlsson, citing the potential difficulties (salary, term, impact on salary cap and efforts to re-sign other players) in getting a deal done. Garrioch listed re-signing Karlsson as the second most important priority (after convincing Daniel Alfredsson to return for one more season), and believes the Senators should try to bring back Chris Kelly via free agency, attempt to trade Sergei Gonchar either this summer or at the trade deadline at the latest, and buy out Bobby Butler.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What pundits believe a team should do, and what general managers actually do, are usually two different things. For example, Garrioch last year believed the Senators should to move Filip Kuba, who became one of their better defensemen last season, earning praise from GM Bryan Murray in the process. I agree bringing back Alfredsson is a priority, but re-signing Karlsson is the top one.

Trading Gonchar? Not a good idea for a team lacking experience and leadership on their blueline, especially if Kuba is allowed to walk via free agency. Gonchar is an offensive blueliner, but his skills and experience were valuable in the Senators improvement this season, and should be again next season. If the Senators stumble next season and appear out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, then sure, shop him at that point. Not during the off-season.

As for buying out Butler, I can see that if his salary made it difficult for the Senators to bolster their depth elsewhere. Otherwise, bring him back for the final year of his contract and see how he performs. Bringing back Kelly is a good idea, but he reportedly wants to re-sign with the Bruins, and while it remains to be seen if he’ll stay in Boston, it’s also no certainty he’ll return to the Senators. If he does, he’ll want a deal similar to whatever he sought from the Bruins, which might not fit into the Senators cap space. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander recently interviewed Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford on his off-season plans. While Rutherford cannot directly state which players he’s interested in pursuing via trade or free agency this summer, he indicated the front office is working on landing a top player, be it a center or winger, noting Eric Staal could move to the wing. He also wouldn’t rule out going the trade route, acknowledging the difficulty in winning a bidding war for a top free agent. The Hurricanes also hold the eighth overall pick, which Rutherford said he’d be willing to move but only for the right offer. Rutherford also suggested it’s unlikely pending UFA blueliners Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek will be re-signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting bit there from Rutherford that he wouldn’t just limit himself to adding a first line winger if he could find a first line center and move Eric Staal to the wing. It’s expected the Hurricanes will be among the serious bidders for New Jersey winger Zach Parise if he tests the UFA market, but there aren’t any centers of the same calibre in the UFA market, so Rutherford would have to go the trade route to land that type of forward. With their depth in promising young blueliners, it’s not surprising Allen and/or Spacek might not be re-signed. Then again, Rutherford suggested Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Gleason might not be re-signed during the season and would up re-signing both, so don’t fully dismiss the possibility of Allen and Spacek returning.


  1. 1) Buying out Gomez is a terrible idea. hteir best bet is to put him in the AHL, or loan him overseas. I think it is evident that he cannot continue on the active roster at shuch a high cap it. Bergevin will make the decisions, not Molson. He’s just the banker.

    2) Karlsson needs to be kept, long-term. The kid is one of the best offensive defenseman since Brian Leetch.

    3) Alfredsson will return. I beleive he wants to play in the Olympics, so he will likely play a full-season next year, andpossibly the year after, or, play in Sweden for hal a season leading up to Sochi 2014.

    4) Trading Gonchar would be stupid. Sure, he’s not the 30 goal scorer he once was, but he is still an elite passer and playmaker. There would be a lot of teams interested in him to bolster their chances for a cup run.

    5) Eric Staal on the wing? Maybe when he turns 35 years old. Until then, he remains one of the best centres in the East, and will continue to play that position, regardless of who Carolina signs at centre. Everyone on Carolina’s roster is movable in a trade except for Staal, Ward, and Skinner.

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I expect Rutherford to make a pitch for Jordan Staal. Whether or not Shero moves him his another debate. Jordan could anchor Eric and Skinner. Pit might not bite though.

  3. @ NIkk

    Gomez …Good call ..thats there bast option as if they buy him out it still creates a cap hit over the term and they loose money as well….its a business!!
    But they have to bury him ..hes useless and hurting the club by not being able to have someone else in the position and by not having extra resources to briung in better talent!

    Ottawa has all ready made this mistake with Chiara and have grown to regret it…they got burned by letting him go ….they cant do this again ..they need to sign a long term deal between $5 -$6 million for 5 years and just move forward ..this should not be a hard decision to make !

    GONCHAR ….should be traded to help with Ottawa signing new contrtacts…he is not as dependable as it seems anymmore and is costing to much cash!!!
    If trhey can get rid of him they should do so at a moments notice …there are much better options out there …

  4. Stall will be dealt, i could see a package with Martin. It frees up cap space and gets you a swap of 1st’s and a mix of 2-3 young top prospects and a good young defensemen

    My Top Four Teams:
    1. Tor 1st Swap, Kadri, Schenn, Ashton
    2. Mtl 1st Pick, Plakenic, Beaulieu
    3. Car 1st Swap, Sutter, Skinner, Mcbain
    4. Col 1st Pick, savard, Johnson, Umburger (Hometown Kid)

    This should be fair trade dont want 1st overall don’t neednother “Sure Thing” also restocks Ahl as we have players ready to come up.

    • 1 year of Staal is not worth near any of those packages. Look at what Kovalchuk got as a rental for reference.

      1st, 2nd pairing D, 2 mid level prospects

      8th Overall, Sutter, Skinner, and McBain? That is a Malkin package.

  5. Who are Stall and Chiara?

    Rutherford bungled the off season last year and now knows that he must get some help for Eric Staal. Either that or he is just trying to placate the season ticket base.

    Hopefully, Kelly re-signs with the Broons. Perfect 3rd line centre.

  6. I think that you’re going to see Staal and Martin packaged up and sent to a team. It’s no secret that Martin has under achieved with the Pens and is on the block. I think that if you see Staal sent to the Leafs you’re going to see the deal look like this: Staal and Martin for Schenn, 2013 first round pick, Komisarek and Ashton. I really don’t think that the Leafs have any intention of trading this years first round pick or swapping it out for a lower pick. They have the full intention of selecting Galchenyuk in the first round.

    There’s the other possibility that the Pens retain Staal and deal Malkin. As far as I see it, the following teams would be possible destinations for Malkin: Flames, Wild, Oilers, Avalanche, Stars and Blue Jackets. However, I don’t think you’ll see Edmonton, Columbus or Colorado being the leading candidates. I would honestly put Calgary at the top of that list. I think you’ll see Malkin + Martin sent to Calgary for Iginla, Giordano, 1st rounder and a blue chip prospect.

    I do fully expect the Canes to be the frong runner in the bidding for Staal. It’s the most logical fit. Crosby isn’t going anywhere, he will play his entire career with the Pens.

    Sens – The Sens overachieved this year. I think that they have a bright future but i think next year they will be on the outside looking in, probably 10th or 11th. I think you will see Karlson resigned to a contract which would have a cap hit around 5m per season for 4-5 years. Gonchar will be traded next season around the deadline. A team on a playoff push will overpay dramatically for him.

    Habs – Gomez will NOT be bought out. His play, contract amount and lack of effort has more than earned him a one way ticket out of Montreal. However, to do so would cripple the Habs cap wise for many years to come. The NHL has shifted from an all about hockey league to one which is a business and about the numbers. Buying out Gomez does not make sense financially and he will be retained and burried for that reason.

  7. Karlsson is the #1 priority for the Sens. Alfie 2nd on the list of things to do.

    Trading Gonchar.. at any time… what team would take him?

    At the beginning of this season the Sens took a lot of teams by surprise which won’t happen this year. But they hung in there in the playoffs taking the #1 seed in the East to 7 games.. right down to the last seconds.

    Will they make the playoffs again next season? Who knows? Injuries are a factor… how other teams play…

    As for the Leafs getting Staal… if you don’t include a 1st round pick.. you won’t get him….

  8. Giordano wont be traded…

  9. It’s funny the disconnect between reporters and GMs, and then the even deeper separation between fans and the GMs.

    This will be an interesting summer to be honest. There might be the real changing of the tides for a lot of organizations.

    I don’t think Karlsson deserves the long term deal yet. I truly believe 10 million for 2 years is the right duration. Long enough to see if he’s a gamer and short enough to not be handcuffed if he can’t build on this amazing season. We tend to forget Dion Phaneuf was an amazing young player, a few years removed and he’s an average player at best (who is all kinds of overrated by simply putting on the blue and white). I mean, Leafs are still stuck with his ridiculous contract, and you don’t want that from Karlsson.

    I mean, Alfie, it’d be nice to see him back in Ottawa for one last swan song… but in all honesty, I think he’s played long and hard enough to not have to be convinced to come back and to be allowed to retire in peace. Additionally, a lot of people had the Sens finishing dead last or near there this past year. It would REALLY suck if he comes back for one last year for them to bottom feed.

    Bury Gomez, or hope for a free buyout. A buyout would be a miserable cap hit. Like, just miserable (3.5 next year, 4.5 the year after and then 1.7 two after that).

    It’s funny when I read Carolina rumours. They won the cup not too long ago, have a top tier player in Staal… and yet I honestly forget they’re in the NHL a lot of the time LoL.

    Just so everyone’s on the same page. A Malkin deal with cost… God knows how much. And a Staal deal will also cost the buyer a ton, even if they have to take on a scrub like Martin (overrated, always) on.

  10. I can’t see the Habs buying out Gomez – the price is too high in the long term. Maybe a new GM could be the spark Scotty needs? Who knows, but it would kill me to see

  11. It would kill me to see Gomez be successful somewhere else. I know he’s a big waste of money, but I keep thinking he’s gotta come out of it at some point.

    • at 7 million, after 2 terrible seasons, and the habs having the worst season in many years.. theres no way anymore “chances” are going to be given to Gomez by the habs, i would bet on it.

  12. I stillbelieve BB is deperate enough to pursue Stall a “Canadian” Kid that is big and strong and provides some defensive responsibility on a line with Kessel.
    Look at what he has thrown at other free agents with no real luck. Stall is only 23 and could be the face of Tor for many years think Sundin, but born in Thunder Bay

    He will command a huge return. Look at what the are projecting for “Top Tier” free agents signings, plus this year Stall only costs you 4.5M

    It would be novel to have 3 of the 4 Stall’s playing in Carolina, but Jordan wants to be the Face of a team, not sit behind older brother Eric

  13. @overpay
    You may be right about BB’s options. He has been high on the Staal boys. I think they need the scoring threat to be more effective. I’m not sure Staal is that guy.

    Karlsson – 2 years at $10 million each??? This is more than crazy, it’s down right stupid. No team is going to give this kid anywhere near that kind of money. You can tell its not your money you are spending.

    I think a deal can be done for Staal without the 1st rounder, but it still may be lopsided.

  14. Why doesn’t Pitts shop stall and some other assets for nash?

  15. Carolina just doesn’t have the roster that Pittsburgh needs for Staal. The Penguins need a stay-at-home defenceman that can move the puck quickly and a top six wing. A deal for Staal and Martin should provide both. Toronto would be a better fit, if the Penguins would have decide to move Staal.

  16. If the Habs land Grigorenko with the third overall pick, this could make Plekanec available since they would almost have to put Grig in the lineup immediately or lose him to the K. With Kirk Muller now coaching the Canes, Pleks might be the center they are looking for.