Latest on Ryan Callahan, Andrei Markov and Jaromir Jagr, plus speculation of changes for the Jets and Panthers.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have indicated to Ryan Callahan’s agent their intent to re-sign him. Callahan, an unrestricted free agent this summer, was acquired by the Lightning at the trade deadline. GM Steve Yzerman acknowledged he’d love to re-sign Callahan but said contract talks will wait until season’s end…LeBrun believes it’s increasingly likely John Tortorella will be fired as Canucks head coach…Contract talks between the Canadiens and Andrei Markov’s agent have resumed…A source tells LeBrun the agent for Jaromir Jagr met a few days ago with Devils GM Lou Lamoriello…Randy Carlyle’s future as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs will no doubt be on the table if the Leafs miss the playoffs.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports among the priorities for Florida Panthers management is to find the right veterans this summer. Former Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos believes they need size and toughness on defense and on the wings. Possible free agent targets could include Ales Hemsky, Steve Ott and Brooks Orpik.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning won’t pay what Callahan sought from the NY Rangers (over $6.25 million annually for seven years) before he was dealt to Tampa Bay. If Callahan enjoys his time with the Lightning, however, he could accept a lesser offer from the Bolts…It remains to be seen what happens with Tortorella and Carlyle, but it certainly doesn’t look good for both men to retain their current jobs…I expect Markov and Jagr will remain with their current teams. If the cap reaches $71 million the Panthers will have over $28 million to spend this summer and ownership has approved spending up to the cap if necessary. They went on a major spending spree three years ago and could do so again.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS/WINNIPEG SUN: Gary Lawless believes the status quo won’t do for the Jets after missing the playoffs again. Lawless considers Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba the Jets’ only untouchables. Lawless claims an NHL GM told him Evander Kane could fetch the Jets a major return (roster players plus prospects and/or draft picks). Tobias Enstrom could also bring a good return. Lawless advocates retaining Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little. Kirk Penton believes a major trade or two could help the Jets, but suggests there’s not much GM Kevin Cheveldayoff can do after locking up most of his core players to long-term contracts unless he gets creative. Otherwise, expect another summer of minor upgrades.
SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox wonders if Leafs coach Randy Carlyle or goaltender James Reimer could end up in Winnipeg this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets need a significant shake-up but it remains to be seen if the patient, cautious Cheveldayoff will do so this summer. Kane’s injury and the effect it had on his performance this season could hurt his trade value. Besides, unless Kane demands a trade it would be best to retain the still-promising 22-year-old winger. Enstrom has a full no-movement clause and another three years at an annual cap hit of $5.75 million remaining on his contract. Moving him won’t be impossible but it will be difficult. Dustin Byfuglien could attract attention though he also have a hefty salary and a partial no-trade clause. If they pursue Reimer they could be forced to trade or buy out goalie Ondrej Pavelec.