Reaction to the Oilers signing Nikita Nikitin, Canadiens have yet to make contract offers to Mike Weaver and Francis Bouillon, MLSE boss Tim Leiweke speaks out, reaction to the Canucks speaking to Ryan Miller and Dave Bolland, the Jets goaltending situation and who the Flames could select at fourth overall in this year’s draft.
EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: Reaction to the Oilers signing Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $9 million deal. The verdict: Yes, it’s an overpayment, but necessary for the Oilers to retain Nikitin, whose rights they acquired from Columbus earlier this month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also only for two years. Hopefully Nikitin will prove worthy of his $4.5 million annual salary. It also doesn’t bode well for the Oilers’ hopes of landing some decent free agent talent this summer.
LA PRESSE: The Canadiens have yet to make contract offers to defensemen Mike Weaver and Francis Bouillon. Weaver’s agent said his client hasn’t abandoned the idea of returning with the Habs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much could depend upon how much it costs the Habs to re-sign P.K. Subban. While they have plenty of cap space, they could also be looking at using their available space for other additions.
TORONTO SUN: MLSE president Tim Leiweke believes Toronto has earned the right to host The World Cup of Hockey, The NHL all-star game, The Winter Classic and The NHL draft. “As Toronto goes, so goes the (business) success of the National Hockey League. I firmly believe that,” Leiweke said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are the NHL’s wealthiest franchise and Toronto is the NHL’s biggest market. After years of fits and starts, business is finally booming for the NHL, but while Canadian franchises account for around 35 percent of that, much of the recent success is also attributable to the growth of the product in the United States. That’s particularly true in big markets like New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, as well as its resurgence in former powerhouse markets like Colorado and Dallas, along with its improvement in Minnesota. Hockey isn’t a hard sell in Canada, but it is in the United States, which is why the NHL is staging those events there.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher isn’t impressed by the Canucks speaking to the agents for Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller and Dave Bolland, believing they should instead be trying to add more scoring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks definitely need more scoring punch, but their goaltending is questionable, and if as expected they trade Ryan Kesler they’ll need depth at center. Just because they’re speaking with those players doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll sign them. If they get what they want for Kesler, they’ll also address their scoring woes.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait examines the Jets goaltending.
CALGARY HERALD: Kristen Odland believes Sam Reinhart would make a fine selection for the Flames with the fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft.