Could the early playoff exits of the Predators and Flyers bring about roster changes this summer? What’s the latest on the Lightning’s goalie plans? Read on for the latest.
THE TENNESSEAN: John Glennon reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile expects changes to his roster this summer but hopes to keep his core intact, though with 15 players eligible for free agency (eight of them UFAs), it won’t be possible to retain everyone. Of particular concern are defense stars Shea Weber (RFA) and Ryan Suter (UFA). Forward Alexander Radulov (RFA) was tied for team lead in playoff points this spring but was also suspended by the team for one game for missing curfew, and has yet to indicate what his plans might be. Long time
CoyotesPredators forward Jordin Tootoo (UFA) is also another potential departure.
FOXSPORTS TENNESSEE: John Manasso also reported on the difficulty facing Predators management in retaining their key free agents, and wondered they might try to package Radulov with an asset like goalie Anders Lindback (RFA) for a significant return. “Could the Preds swing a deal with Pittsburgh – whose general manager Ray Shero worked under Poile as the Preds’ assistant GM – with Radulov for Jordan Staal, who becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2012-13 and fits Nashville’s style?…. Could the Preds land perennial 20-goal scorer Ryan Malone from Tampa for Lindback?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov for Jordan Staal? Don’t see that happening, and if the Lightning were to offer up Malone for a goaltender (and there’s no indication they’ll go that route), it would likely be for Roberto Luongo, not for an unproven goalie like Lindback. Suter to Detroit, however, stands a more realistic chance of happening, though it’s not a sure thing.
The Predators ownership are willing to spend to retain their best players, so money won’t be the issue. What it’ll come down to is if Suter -and Weber, for that matter – still believe their best chance of winning a championship lies in Nashville. If not, one or both could be playing elsewhere next season, and the Red Wings would be a serious bidder, especially for Suter. As for Tootoo, the fact he saw little action in this year’s playoffs could affect on his future plans.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi wondered if pending UFAs Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle will return with the Flyers next season, while Sam Donnellon speculated over the future of veteran blueliner Kimmo Timonen, who still has a year left on his contract, but at 37 has begun to show the wear and tear of a long NHL season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Carchidi noted, the Flyers currently have $61.2 million committed to payroll, though if Chris Pronger is unable to play (concussion) next season, they’ll be able to go over the cap by the equivalent of his $4.9 million salary. The salary cap is expected to rise to $69 million, though it’s also possible that could decline if the league succeeds in getting the players to agree to a 50-50 split of revenue in the next CBA. Carchidi also suggested they could get some cap relief by trading winger James van Riemsdyk and his $4.25 million salary. I doubt they’ll re-sign Carle, but if Jagr wants to return, they could find some room. Carchidi also pointed out the Flyers could have interest in Ryan Suter, which will only grow if Pronger can’t return and Timonen decides to call it a career, or were to be bought out of that final season. van Riemsdyk was oft-mentioned in trade rumors this season linking him to Toronto and Luke Schenn, so expect those to ramp up again in the coming weeks.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson reports the Lightning hold two first round picks and four second round picks in this year’s entry draft, speculating on the possibility of GM Steve Yzerman using some of those picks to perhaps acquire a new starting goaltender, or using one of those high picks to select a goalie who could be developed into a future starter.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently speculated Yzerman could get into the bidding for Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. He also suggested the Flyers could have interest in Predators pending UFA blueliner Ryan Suter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning desperately need a quality starter, and while Yzerman would’ve preferred landing someone like Cory Schneider, he’ll have to consider an established option like Luongo. He could also have interest in the Kings’ Jonathan Bernier or the Predators Anders Lindback, though neither have any real experience as an NHL starter.