The latest on the Canadiens UFAs, Leo Komarov hopes to return to the Maple Leafs, plus updates on the Oilers, Jets and Flames.
SPORTSNET.CA: Sources claim pending UFAs Thomas Vanek, Douglas Murray and George Parros won’t be returning with the Montreal Canadiens.
LA PRESSE: Richard Labbe reports the Canadiens hope to re-sign captain Brian Gionta, who’s also a UFA. Gionta’s declining production means he would have to accept a lesser role with the club as well as less money than the $5 million per season he made on his current contract. Gionta’s agent claims his client is aware of these realities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise Vanek, Murray and Parros won’t be back. While Vanek didn’t rule out re-signing with the Canadiens, his disappointing performance in this year’s playoffs means the Habs will consider other options. My guess is the Habs want to re-sign Gionta to a two-year deal worth around $3.5 million annually.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ted Wyman notes the Jets need to improve in goal, on defense and at center, and calls upon GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to make a trade to address at least one of these needs, citing Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien as possible trade chips.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But while the usually cautious Cheveldayoff be so bold? It would certainly take moving one of their better core players to bring in a top-line center.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mike Johnston reports pending UFA winger Leo Komarov would love to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they won’t overpay to bring him back. Chris Johnston reports Leafs GM Dave Nonis doesn’t see a fit financially for Komarov with the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the Leafs have other plans for their money. Unless Komarov wants to return on the Leafs terms, he’ll have to consider his options elsewhere.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples weighs in on reports the Oilers are among the teams interested in trading up for the first overall pick, held by the Florida Panthers. Staples doubts the Panthers will trade the pick and doesn’t expect any change in the draft order of the teams with picks among the top ten of the first round.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames prospect Michael Ferland is currently on trial in Calgary on an assault charge. Ferland admitted he punched a man two years ago outside a Cochrane bar but claimed it was in reaction to being struck in the eye.