Updated on Alexander Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane, Shea Weber, Marc-Andre Fleury, Marc Staal, Kris Versteeg, Joni Pitkanen, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Cleary and more.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin dismissed comments made by the general director of Moscow Dynamo claiming he wants to return to the KHL. Ovechkin said his intent is to honour the remaining eight years and $79 million of his contract with the Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sadly, as I observed on Twitter, some fans don’t believe him because, y’know, he’s Russian. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski has the best take on this situation.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Expect the Blackhawks to begin contract negotiations next summer with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who will be heading into the final season of their current contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews and Kane undoubtedly want to remain with the Blackhawks, but re-signing the duo who carried the ‘Hawks to two Stanley Cups won’t be cheap.
The Blackhawks currently have around $36.6 million invested in just seven players for 2015-16. Assuming the salary cap increases by an average of $5 million per season as it did under the previous CBA, that’ll put the cap for ’15-’16 at $74 million, leaving them with around $37 million in cap space.
Assuming the duo accept pay raises of an average annual cap hit of $9 million apiece, that’s $18 million it’ll cost to retain them. Sure, the Blackhawks can afford it, though it’ll only leave $19 million for 14 players. Of course, the duo could accept “hometown discounts” (like maybe $8 million apiece), but it’ll still be expensive and take up a big chunk of their payroll.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are considering pairing rookie blueliner Seth Jones with captain Shea Weber on their top defense pairing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Jones has the skills, why not pair him with Weber early in the season and see how things go? At worst, it doesn’t work out and Jones drops down in the defense pairings. At best, you’ve found your replacement for Ryan Suter.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is hoping to rebound as the club’s starting goalie after a poor performance in last year’s playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury’s playoff decline wasn’t just limited to last season. The Penguins need him to regain his championship form if they hope to march to the 2014 Stanley Cup.
NEWSDAY: NY Rangers defenseman Marc Staal claims he’s recovered from a season-ending, career-threatening eye injury, but can he return to form?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping he does. It would be a shame if his career suffers as a result of that injury.
MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers winger Kris Versteeg is hoping to be ready for the club’s season opener in October. Versteeg suffered a season-ending knee injury last March.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes are awaiting the result of a CT scan on Joni Pitkanen’s broken left heel bone, which has taken longer than expected to heal.
MLIVE.COM: Daniel Cleary has received an invitation to attend the Detroit Red Wings training camp on a tryout basis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings management would like to re-sign him but need to shed salary and three players from their roster. If he agrees to a PTO, it’ll give the Wings the option to re-sign him by the end of pre-season.
AARGAU columnist Marcel Kuchta reports via Twitter former NHLers Peter Mueller and Jim Vandermeer have signed with the Kloten Flyers of the Swiss National League A.
STLTODAY.COM: Hall of Famer and former Blues superstar Brett Hull has rejoined the club as vice president.