Ottawa deals with losing Daniel Alfredsson and gaining Bobby Ryan, the Maple Leafs re-sign Jonathan Bernier, plus updates on the Jets, Oilers, Canucks, Flames and Canadiens.
OTTAWA CITIZEN/OTTAWA SUN: Senators fans are dealing with the loss of long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit via free agency and the addition via trade of scoring star Bobby Ryan. The Sun’s Bruce Garrioch examined Alfredsson’s departure, which ultimately came down to a desire to play for a Stanley Cup contender this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was as surprised as most by Alfredsson’s departure, but it’s understandable why he did it. At 40, he probably only has a year or two left in his NHL playing career and believes his best chance of winning a Cup now is with Detroit. The Senators are a rising young club but aren’t Cup contender material yet. Still, it would be ironic if the Senators actually wound up in the Cup Final next spring.
Ryan is a terrific replacement whose long-term offensive value is better for the young Senators than Alfredsson’s at this point, but Ryan won’t replace Alfie’s leadership.
Some Senators fans are calling Alfredsson a traitor. For what? He gave your team seventeen seasons. He could’ve bailed two years ago when management blew up the roster to rebuild but stayed. Alfredsson gave everything he had for the Senators, and was a pillar in the community, contributing to local charities. He owes the Senators nothing. Senators fans, meanwhile, owe “Alfie” a debt of gratitude for a fine career.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK/NATIONAL POST: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Jonathan Bernier to a two-year, $5.8 million contract yesterday. Meanwhile, on Prince Edward Island, Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf will marry actress Elisha Cuthbert today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Decent contract for Bernier, who’ll be jockeying with James Reimer for the starter’s role this season. Congratulations to Phaneuf and Cuthbert on their nuptials. No, I didn’t get an invitation. Such a shame, I just got my tuxedo t-shirt out of the dryer…
EDMONTON SUN: Terry Jones believes the moves made by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish ( “goaltender Jason LaBarbera (Phoenix), defencemen Andrew Ference (Boston) and Philip Larsen (Dallas) as well as forwards Boyd Gordon (Phoenix), Jesse Joensuu (NY Islanders) Will Acton (Toronto AHL) and Ryan Hamilton (Toronto AHL”) make the club better, but he still has work to do. Jones writes the Oilers still need a top-six power forward, a top-two defense partner for Justin Schultz, and depth on their checking lines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay MacTavish will continue to check out the remainders in the UFA market to address some of those needs. If he seeks a top-two defenseman, he’ll have to go to the trade market. There’s speculation MacTavish is still interested in Flyers blueliner Braydon Coburn, but landing him could cost a good young player as part of the return.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will put his focus upon re-signing key RFAs Zach Bogosian, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little. Cheveldayoff didn’t make any UFA signings but acquired winger Devin Setoguchi via trade from the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits were ripping Cheveldayoff yesterday for not making a big splash, overlooking the fact they have to re-sign Bogosian, Wheeler and Little, whose raises will eat up significant cap space. Unless Cheveldayoff shakes things up by trading Evander Kane or Dustin Byfuglien (which I don’t anticipate), don’t expect him to make any significant additions this summer.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames GM Jay Feaster kept busy yesterday making minor moves, including acquiring defenseman Kris Russell from the St. Louis Blues via trade. He still needs to add some veteran depth at center, especially on the second line.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks, lacking cap space to make any major free agent signings, made a value signing by inking forward Brad Richardson to a two-year, $2.3 million contract.
LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday acquired enforcer George Parros from the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor leaguer Philippe Lefebvre and a seventh rounder in 2014.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move was made to take pressure off Brandon Prust from being in the enforcer role. I hope Parros is prepared to play more than six minutes per game in ice time, as coach Michel Therien usually prefers his enforcers take regular shifts on the checking lines.