The latest on Roberto Luongo, Wade Redden, Mike Knuble, Jim Vandermeer and Luke Adam.
SPORTSNET.CA/ESPN.COM: Mark Spector and Pierre LeBrun cite sources claiming Brian Burke’s unwillingness to swing a trade for Roberto Luongo was the last straw for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which fired Burke yesterday and replaced him as Leafs GM with assistant GM Dave Nonis. It’s believed Burke was leery about taking on the remaining ten years of Luongo’s twelve-year contract (at an average cap hit of $5.33 million per season). Spector predicts Nonis’ new press conference will be when he announces the acquisition of Luongo.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger points out it was Nonis who, as Vancouver Canucks GM in 2006, acquired Luongo from the Florida Panthers. Zeisberger noted the mutual respect between the two, suggesting Nonis could forge ahead with plans to acquire Luongo in “ a deal that could very well involve Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and a third element.”
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch also believes Nonis will push to acquire Luongo, suggesting the return to the Canucks could be ”Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak and a second round pick or some variance of that.” Garrioch also reported Senators GM Bryan Murray has received some inquiries from rival clubs about goalie Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop, but he isn’t ready to move either one just yet. Garrioch believes one of those clubs could be the Edmonton Oilers.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Joe Yerdon compiled rumors claiming the Philadelphia Flyers were getting into the bidding for Luongo. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren laughed off the speculation, but that’s done little to silence the rumors, which suggest the Flyers would buy out Ilya Bryzgalov this summer if they acquire Luongo this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was obviously a lot more to Burke’s firing than an unwillingness to trade for Luongo, but that certainly didn’t help. I believe Nonis will make a serious push to land Luongo, and center Tyler Bozak will be the centerpiece of any offer by the Leafs.
Though the notion of the Flyers chasing Luongo seems far-fetched, we shouldn’t take Holmgren’s denials at face value. Just ask Jeff Carter about that! If the Flyers are indeed pursuing Luongo,their depth in young talent could certainly make them a serious challenger to the Leafs. Still, Holmgren could give Bryzgalov another chance this season, and if it doesn’t pan out, could buy him out this summer if he’s able to find a suitable replacement via trade or free agency.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie examines the NY Rangers options for dealing with defenseman Wade Redden, who is considered a prime candidate for a compliance buyout this summer.
WASHINGTON TIMES: Steve Whyno believes former Capitals forward Mike Knuble could end up with a one-year contract on a contender like the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins or Boston Bruins.
CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz reports the San Jose Sharks are in discussions with free agent defenseman Jim Vandermeer, although a more likely destination for him could be the Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the link.
WGR 550: Forward Luke Adam will not be called up to join the Buffalo Sabres from their AHL farm team, leading to speculation he could be put on the trade block. His trade value won’t be high, but it will get lower the longer he remains in Rochester.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have reached out to former Sabre and free agent Jochen Hecht.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adam had a promising early debut last season but his production fell off as he struggled to adjust to playing coach Lindy Ruff’s demanding defensive style. Sabres star Jason Pominville played with Hecht during the lockout in Germany and raved about his performance, claiming the oft-injured Hecht was healthy and playing well. That could sway Sabres management into offering the German forward a one-year contract.