Updates on Nazem Kadri, Dion Phaneuf, P.K. Subban, Brian Gionta, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen, Jared Cowen and more.
SPORTSNET/TORONTO STAR/TORONTO SUN: Contract negotiations between the Maple Leafs and center Nazem Kadri and defenseman Cody Franson remain at a standstill, raising the possibility both could miss the start of training camp. Regarding Kadri, it’s believed he’s seeking an expensive multi-year deal while the Leafs would prefer signing him to a short-term, affordable “bridge contract”. Kadri has also become frustrated with what he considers “unfair” public sentiment suggesting he shut up and sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on the Kadri contract speculation in my “Rumors” section. For now, it appears Kadri and Franson will engage in a game of “chicken” with Leafs management, who have roughly $4.9 million in cap space and intend on re-signing both within their cap constraints.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is unconcerned that contract talks with the Leafs haven’t begun. Phaneuf is eligible for UFA status next summer and hopes to remain in Toronto for a long time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Phaneuf is willing to accept a shorter, more affordable contract, the Leafs should re-sign him. If not, they could cut him loose and seek a replacement via trade or free agency next summer.
TSN.CA: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin hopes to have captain Brian Gionta (biceps surgery) and recently-acquired enforcer George Parros (rotator cuff surgery) in the lineup when the club opens the upcoming regular season in October. Bergevin is also willing to discuss a contract extension with P.K. Subban but added, “it takes two to tango”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the hard line Bergevin took with the Subban camp last season, I expect the latter is in no hurry to talk contract this season. He’s coming off a Norris-winning season and if he has a Norris-contending performance this season, Subban could become the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL, an honour currently held by Nashville’s Shea Weber ($7.857 million per season). As for Gionta and Parros, if they miss the start of the season, it doesn’t sound like they’ll be out for long.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited a “tweet” from TSN’s Bob McKenzie saying not to expect much from Ales Hemsky’s press conference today, suggesting it’s likely a “turn-the-page” presser. Jim Matheson reports Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins claims his surgically repaired shoulder “feels really good”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Hemsky’s planning to retire and if it were a trade, they wouldn’t announce it at a press conference with Hemsky in attendance. This ain’t the Gretzky Trade. As McKenzie suggests, it’s probably to allow Hemsky and GM Craig MacTavish to publicly address the winger’s status with the team this season.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS/WINNIPEG SUN: Evander Kane claims he’s recovered for off-season surgery on his left foot which limited his ice time, adding he’s close to being in game shape. Olli Jokinen, meanwhile, believes he still has four or five NHL seasons left.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Training camp will be the perfect opportunity for Kane to get fully fit. As for Jokinen, he’s in the final season of his contract with the Jets, and will need a strong performance to prove he’s worth a new deal.
OTTAWA SUN: Contract talks between the Senators and defenseman Jared Cowen remain stalled, which could keep Cowen from reporting to training camp next week if still unsigned. The Senators eight-year, $28 million offer remains on the table, but it appears the two sides are working toward a deal in the three-to-five year range.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Cowen camp accept that eight-year offer, as his actual value could be worth much more over the term of that deal. It was reported several weeks ago the two sides were making progress, so we can’t rule out an agreement before training camp.
CALGARY SUN: Ten Flames prospects to watch at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, BC.