Updates on Thomas Vanek, Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov, Mikhail Grabovski, Damien Brunner, Dan Cleary and Ryan Whitney.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited an interview by Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek with a Minneapolis TV station where he spoke about his preparations for next season. Vanek said playing for a rebuilding team, rather than a contender, may not be the ideal situation at this point in his career, but he noted the Sabres have lots of good young players. “We’re rebuilding, and I’m hoping we have the right pieces to accomplish something”, said Vanek, who is in the final year of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vanek and Ryan Miller (who is also in the final year of his contract) were the subject of trade speculation earlier this summer, but so far there’s not much of a market for either player, particularly if the Sabres hope to receive a good return for either guy. It’s possible Vanek and/or Miller could be dealt before the start of the season, but I expect they’ll still be Sabres when the season begins in October. Depending on how the club performs, they could be shopped by the trade deadline.
CBS SPORTS EYE ON HOCKEY: cited a “tweet” from ESPN Boston’s Jimmy Murphy, who claimed an NHL source said teams are interested in UFA goalie Tim Thomas but “other dominoes” must fall first before he’s signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point I don’t think there’s much of a market for Thomas. It could improve during training camp/preseason as teams with questionable goaltending entering this season evaluate their netminders.
SI.COM: Allan Muir wonders if we’ve seen and heard the last of Ilya Bryzgalov in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: His troubled two years in Philadelphia has hurt Bryzgalov’s market value. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the KHL next season.
TSN.CA: Sources told analyst Aaron Ward former Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski has narrowed his choices down to three teams. Contrary to reports, the Winnipeg Jets aren’t among those three.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are more focused upon re-signing Blake Wheeler and Zach Bogosian, whose new contracts will push their payroll toward $60 million, so I doubt they’ll have much interest in taking on more salary. The Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers could be those three clubs. His agent recently claimed Grabovski wouldn’t make his choice until August.
MLIVE.COM: Responding to questions from Red Wings fans, Ansar Khan doubts the club will bring back Damien Brunner, who’s still seeking a multi-year deal worth $3.5 million per season. Khan is also pessimistic over the Wings freeing up cap space to sign Daniel Cleary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brunner picked the wrong summer to seek that kind of contract. He could find himself accepting a lesser deal if he hopes to continue playing in the NHL this season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports via Twitter he believes former Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney might be willing to accept a one-year contract. He cites the Carolina Hurricanes and NY Islanders as possible destinations.