NHL Free Agent News – May 2, 2011.

The latest on the Penguins, plus updates on Brad Richards and R.J. Umberger.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Ron Cook reports Penguins general manager Ray Shero has many questions to answer in the off-season, among them being which free agents to retain. Cook believes forward Craig Adams and Mike Rupp should be amongst those retained given their toughness and skill, plus noting Adams would be affordable, but he doubt Arron Asham will be back as he did little during the regular season.Cook casts doubt on Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot returning, suggesting head coach Dan Bylsma doesn’t appear to like Talbot as a player. Alex Kovalev won’t be back. Cook also noted the Penguins carry seven veteran defenseman under contract for next season, wondering if Shero might trade one or two for a scoring winger for Malkin or Crosby, as he lacks the cap space to sign on in the off-season.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Josh Yohe reports  Talbot and Dupuis are hoping to return but realize Shero only has so much cap space to work with. Yohe believes Adams and Rupp are more likely to return given their effectiveness on the fourth line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams and Rupp probably will return as they’ll be affordable fits under the Penguins tight cap for next season, but it could come down to deciding between Dupuis or Talbot, which one fits best into the roster for next season, as well as their salary requests.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reported Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger’s four-year contract expires at the end of next season, and the club can start negotiating an extension with him on July 1st. Portzline said he’ll meet with his agent to reflect on the last two years, talk about upcoming years and see what’s possible. It’s believed Blue Jackets management will try to re-sign him but Umberger suggested that could depend on what moves the club makes in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also think it’ll depend on how well the club performs next season. Umberger could certainly attract considerable attention in next summer’s UFA market, and it sounds like he wants to be on a team that’s going to regularly contend for the playoffs.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika recently reported Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk has several important decisions to make, including attempting to re-sign pending UFA center Brad Richards, but has to wait until the club’s ownership situation is resolved. Currently businessman Tom Gaglardi is in a 30-day exclusivity period to negotiate the purchase of the team and half-ownership of their arena but Nieuwendyk can’t move forward until sale of the team is complete. If the sale of the team is completed by June, Nieuwendyk could begin serious negotiations with Richards, although Heika suggested the center could opt for free agency but keep the Stars in the loop.

 

8 Comments

  1. Hate to keep saying this but Pit is gonna have to move Malkin at some point. Cros is safe and Stall being traded would be a major mistake. The team is very deep at center right now, Letestu showed he has what it takes to play in the majors this year. By moving Malkin you free up a ton of cap room. I mentioned to a friend, idea not a rumor, trade Malkin to Columbus for Hartnell, a resigned Umberger and a 2nd rounder. That wopuld give Pit 2 quality wingers( 3rd and 2nd line respectively ) a good draft pick and clear up a few mill against the cap to resign key fa’s and rfa’s as well as wiggle room come deadline if needed. This also gives Columbus the #1 center for nash they’ve needed since he was drafted and it’ll help put butts in the seats. If they bury Commodore in the minors, like they are probably gonna do anyway, it’ll give them some cap room to help replace the wingers they send. Win win imo
    Neal Cros Kunititz
    Umberger Stall Kennedy
    Dupuis Letestu Cooke
    Talbot Adams Rupp

  2. oops forgot Hartnell, lol, would be inserted in anywhere on the bottom 2 lines, could play third in a pinch, also leaves Jeffries, Conner (if resigned) and Tangradi if unable to resign Dupuis, Talbot, Adams, Rupp

  3. umm you know hartnell plays for philly, right?

  4. Great, except Scott Hartnell plays for the Flyers, not the Blue Jackets…

  5. I think any Malkin proposal needs a first plus a star winger and a good prospect. People seem to forget that at 25, Gino has two 100+ point seasons under his belt…with a ring to
    match. Two injury plagued seasons does not erase that.
    If I where Shero, I wouldn’t even consider moving him until he regains his form/value. If he was back on track career wise, he could do wayyyy better then that package.

  6. Malkin doesn’t have a trade clause, but the Penguins aren’t exactly hurting these days. Just a really terrible idea to trade him in my opinion.

  7. my bad all Upshall is the other guy i meant

  8. How about malkin to sabres for stafford, one of thier top prospects and picks……..maybe roy and stafford would they like oprik too.