The latest on Jaroslav Halak, Dustin Penner, Martin Havlat and Vinny Prospal, plus updates on the Devils and Bruins.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: James O’Brien examines possible options for the New Jersey Devils to use their $6.667 million in newly freed-up cap space in the wake of Ilya Kovalchuk’s NHL retirement.UFA options could include Mikhail Grabovski, Jaromir Jagr, Vinny Prospal, Mason Raymond and Damien Brunner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Devils GM Lou Lamoriello pursues one or two free agents, like Brunner or possibly Grabovski. They won’t replace Kovalchuk’s star power and natural scoring skills, but would bolster the Devils depth.
STLTODAY.COM: Dan O’Neill reports Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak downplayed a report from last season of a clash with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, adding his preference is to remain with the Blues. The emergence of Jake Allen and Brian Elliott’s improved play last season has given rise to rumors of Halak being shopped, linking him to Philadelphia and Buffalo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Blues freed up some cap space by trading David Perron this week, the Blues could retain Halak, Elliott and Allen entering training camp and see how things shake out as the trio jockeys for the two goalie positions. If Halak becomes the odd-man out, they could use him as trade bait next season.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Ryan Dadoun reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is uncertain if Martin Havlat, who underwent pelvic surgery, will return to the Sharks next season.
CBS SPORTS EYE ON HOCKEY: Brian Stubits reports it’s looking less likely the LA Kings can afford to re-sign UFA forward Dustin Penner, who was recently linked to his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, in free agent speculation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers addition of David Perron earlier this week suggests they have no reason to add Penner, though his inconsistency during his tenure with the Oilers probably ruled out a return.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reports Blue Jackets fan favorite Vinny Prospal might not fit into the club’s plans. Prospal is currently an unrestricted free agent.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggarty reports Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said he expects to stand pat with his current roster, which should dismiss recent speculation the club could shop Brad Marchand or Chris Kelly.