The Leafs could face a bidding war this summer for David Clarkson, the best option to replace Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov talking to KHL team, possible targets for the Oilers, and Alex Burmistrov wants out of Winnipeg.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons recently the Maple Leafs might have to jostle with about 20 other teams for David Clarkson if the Devils forward tests this summer’s UFA market. Simmons also noted Clarkson’s agent also represents Leafs Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. Speaking of Bozak, if the Leafs fail to re-sign him, Simmons believes Florida’s Stephen Weiss would be the best replacement.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Maple Leafs RFA blueliner Carl Gunnarsson hasn’t thought much about his strategy heading to the negotiating table, saying the ball is in the Leafs court right now. Gunnarsson earned $1.35 million this season.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a tweet from Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov on Leafs free agent forward Leo Komarov, who acknowledged he’s in negotiations with his former KHL team Dynamo Moscow, but is expecting a new offer from the Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Clarkson, Weiss would attract considerable interest if he hits the UFA market. That’s not to suggest the Leafs couldn’t land either guy, but just because they’re Ontario boys doesn’t mean the Leafs automatically have the advantage. Gunnarsson’s stock dropped this season and there’s been talk of the Leafs shopping him this summer. As for Komarov, it’s not unusual for Russian players to talk contract with KHL teams whilst in negotiations with their NHL teams. It’s a leverage move, one anyone in their position would use.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently responded to his readers’ emails regarding possible moves by the Oilers. Matheson reminds folks a bought out player cannot be re-signed by his former team for one calendar year after the buyout. He doubts the Oilers would have interest in 39-year-old Sergei Gonchar, who apparently wants to stay in Ottawa. He also doubts the Oilers have interest in promoting Jonathan Cheechoo to their lineup. He doesn’t see the Avalanche parting with Matt Duchene, and believes the Oilers could use Boston’s Nathan Horton, despite his injury history, but noted other clubs will also have interest in Horton. He’d also like the Oilers to take a run at dealing for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin, noting the Blue Jackets need wingers.
David Staples noted the decline of Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff, but doubts the Oilers buy him out this summer, believing they’ll give Horcoff one more season, depending of course on what’s available on the free agent market this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gonchar is willing to accept a one-year salary for less money, the Sens might be willing to keep him. Cheechoo, sadly, is no longer an effective NHL player. The Avs aren’t parting with Duchene, and I think Horton would prefer sticking in the Eastern Conference if he becomes a UFA. Unless the Oilers are willing to part with Nail Yakupov or Taylor Hall, I don’t believe the Blue Jackets would part with Tyutin. As for Horcoff, as Staples noted, a buyout or trade this summer could depend upon their cap space. I doubt there’s much of a trade market for Horcoff, unless the Oilers are willing to pick up part of his salary.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless cited two league sources claiming Jets RFA forward Alexander Burmistrov has no intention of re-signing with the Jets and wants to move on. “The Jets attempted to trade Burmistrov and reportedly had discussions with the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders at the deadline”, writes Lawless. “The names Jakob Silfverberg, Drew Stafford and Kyle Okposo have all been attached to Burmistrov trade rumours.” Burmistrov’s agent, Mark Gandler, declined to comment, other than to say his client has no plans to sign with a KHL team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I suggested earlier this year Burmistrov could become a trade chip for the Jets, as he’s struggled to crack the lineup on a regular basis. Forget about landing Silfverberg or Okposo, but if the Jets want to take Drew Stafford off the Sabres hands, GM Darcy Regier could accept Burmistrov in return.