A collection of recent updates on Mike Smith, Tyler Bozak, Patrik Elias, Shawn Matthias, and Mark Fistric.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle recently reported on the tough decisions facing the Maple Leafs regarding linemates Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak. Mirtle believes Kessel, who has one year remaining on his current contract, could command a raise between $7-$8 million per season, while Bozak could seek a deal comparable to the four-year, $19 million deal of Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu. Every indication suggests the Leafs hope to re-sign the duo.
TSN RADIO: Darren Dreger recently claimed he was told Bozak “will command better than 5 (million).”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The automatic assumption is there’s no way the Leafs would pay Bozak that much. Then again, they also paid Mikhail Grabovski $5.5 million per season,
Dion Phaneuf $6.5 million per, Tim Connolly $4.75 million per and Mike Komisarek $4.5 million per. Yes, I know, Brian Burke was the GM who signed them to those contracts, but current Leafs GM Dave Nonis was his assistant and would’ve played a role in some of those signings. It’ll be interesting to see how Nonis handles the Bozak situation.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently speculated on Mike Smith’s future with the Phoenix Coyotes. Smith is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, but the Coyotes ongoing ownership woes casts his future with the club into doubt. Matheson also reports Oilers defenseman Mark Fistric is “nervous” over the possibility of becoming an unrestricted free agent.
NEW YORK TIMES: Tom Pedulla yesterday reported long-time New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias faces a murky future. The Devils have yet to open contract negotiations with Elias, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. “It’s special for me to play for one team,” he said. “It would be special to play here my whole career. But I understand the business side.” GM Lou Lamoriello has expressed a willingness to retain Elias, calling him “an invaluable player”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 37, Elias’ NHL career is winding down, but with 31 points in 42 games this season, he remains an effective top-six forward. He won’t command another big contract like the one he’s currently on (worth a cap hit of $6 million per season), but I could see him getting a two-year deal at $5 million per season. I expect Lamoriello and Elias will reach an agreement before July 1.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov recently speculated Florida Panthers forward Shawn Matthias and Peter Mueller could receive long-term contract extensions. Both are restricted free agents this summer.