Check out the latest trade and free agent news and speculation involving all seven Canadian NHL teams.
OTTAWA CITIZEN/OTTAWA SUN: Daniel Alfredsson is expected to sign a new contract today. Though it’s expected he’ll re-sign with the Senators, it’s not a certainty, as the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings have apparently made serious offers to him. Senators GM Bryan Murray expressed confidence in re-sign Alfredsson. Bruce Garrioch of the Sun claims the Senators have targeted David Clarkson in the free agent market, suggesting if they aren’t able to sign him, they could pursue Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan. In other news, the Senators yesterday re-signed NHL Coach of the Year Paul MacLean to a three-year contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if Alfredsson actually signs elsewhere. There’s concern Senators owner Eugene Melnyk won’t allow payroll to go above $50 million for this season (Senators currently have just over $43 million), but I’ll be very surprised if he wouldn’t allow management to exceed that ceiling to re-sign Alfredsson, in addition to re-signing Patrick Wiercioch and Erik Condra, plus add a scoring winger via trade or free agency.
**UPDATE** Color me shocked. Various sources report Alfredsson won’t be returning with the Senators, citing the Red Wings as front-runners to re-sign him.
TORONTO SUN/THE GLOBE & MAIL: Former Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski ripped Leafs coach Randy Carlyle’s handling of his ice time and his role last season, blaming Carlyle for the decline in his production. Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, the Leafs ownership, may be on the verge of hiring NHL legend Wayne Gretzky for an executive role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason for Grabovski’s decline, it spurred Leafs GM Dave Nonis to buy out the remainder of his contract, freeing up over $5 million per season in cap space, which will undoubtedly be used for trade or free agent acquisitions this summer. Gretzky, meanwhile, has been out of the NHL for some time, but joining the Leafs organization could be a good fit for him, though I suspect he’ll want to be more than just a figurehead.
RDS.CA: Michel Bergeron claims the Montreal Canadiens, having signed Daniel Briere, aren’t done making moves, suggesting center Tomas Plekanec might be shopped.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to “Steeve” from RTD Hockey for the link. Plekanec has three more years at a cap hit of $5 million per season remaining on his contract, and his production has been in steady decline since his career-best 70-point season in 2009-10. That might make him tough to move, though if the Oilers could find a taker for Shawn Horcoff and his two years remaining on his deal at $5.5 million per, maybe the Habs could find a trade partner for Plekanec this summer.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe lists Clarke MacArthur, Damien Brunner, Viktor Stalberg, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Nathan Gerbe as possible UFA targets for the Jets, and Joe Pavelski, Drew Stafford, Jiri Tlusty, Devin Setoguchi, and Joel Ward as potential trade targets. The Jets also re-signed goalie Al Montoya to a one-year, $601K contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Pavelski or Tlusty being available. The former is a core member of the Sharks, while the latter had a career year playing alongside Eric Staal and Alexander Semin last season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers GM Craig MacTavish’s trade of Shawn Horcoff to Dallas and buy out of Eric Belanger cleared up some cap space which he could use for additions via trade or free agency. MacTavish also suggested Ales Hemsky (one-year, $5 million left on his contract) could also be moved, though it’s not clear when that could happen. Winger David Clarkson could be a free agent target for MacTavish.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers certainly aren’t done making moves, and we could see a significant free agent signing today.
VANCOUVER SUN: Iain MacIntyre suggests former Nashville Predators defenseman Jonathan Blum could be an affordable signing for the Vancouver Canucks, whose limited cap space prevents them from making a big splash in this sumer’s market.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames GM Jay Feaster has plenty of cap room to go shopping for help via unrestricted free agency, but vows he won’t overpay to bring in veteran help for his club. The Flames also re-signed enforcer Brian McGratton to a one-year, $750K contract.