Looking ahead at possible off-season moves for the Islanders and Canadiens, plus Linus Omark has earned a shot with the Oilers or elsewhere.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports NY Islanders RFAs Travis Hamonic and Josh Bailey are “almost certain to return”, but the future is less certain for Mark Streit and Evgeni Nabokov. Streit was seeking a three-year, $16 million contract before the trade deadline, which was too expensive for Isles GM Garth Snow, while Nabokov struggled at times during the Isles series against the Penguins. Staple suggests Snow might see what’s available via the trade and free agent market before committing to Nabokov for another season. Staple also believes pending UFA winger Brad Boyes could return for a reasonable price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic and Bailey will return, as could Boyes, but it remains to be seen what happens with Streit and Nabokov. It’s possible Nabokov could be re-signed for another season and Snow shops for a younger starter. As for Streit, if he doesn’t lower his asking price, he could depart via free agency, leaving Snow scrambling to find a suitable replacement.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports Canadiens defenseman Tomas Kaberle is expected to be bought out of the final season of his contract. RFA blueliner Yannick Weber was encouraged by his exit meeting with GM Marc Bergevin but knows there’s no guarantee he’ll be back with the Habs next season. UFA center Jeff Halpern said he’ll sign with the first team that calls him, while Colby Armstrong hopes to re-sign with the Habs. UFA Michael Ryder, acquired at mid-season, isn’t expected to be re-signed.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis recently suggested Linus Omark’s performance this season in Switzerland has earned him another shot at the NHL, either with the Oilers (who own his rights) or another NHL team. Willis expects Omark’s rights could be shopped this summer, and wondered if the Detroit Red Wings might have interest, as Omark had terrific chemistry with Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner during the lockout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings interest could depend upon how much cap space they have after re-signing their key free agents, and how active they might be in the UFA market this summer.