Determining the destinations of several notable NHL goalies this summer, plus the latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Nail Yakupov, Bryan Bickell and Ian White.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch speculates over the potential destinations this summer of several notable NHL goalies. He suggested the Phoenix Coyotes could be a good fit for Buffalo Sabres starter Ryan Miller if they stay in their current location, and if they haven’t re-signed Mike Smith. Garrioch doubts Chicago’s Ray Emery gets a long-term deal this summer but will have the chance to be a starter wherever he goes as a UFA. Garrioch also wondered if Ben Bishop is ready to be a starter in Tampa Bay, if Miikka Kiprusoff will retire, if the Oilers are sold on Devan Dubnyk as their starter, if the Panthers are ready to make Jakob Markstrom their starter and if Tim Thomas will return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Coyotes re-sign Smith, forget about Miller going to Phoenix. The fact Emery hasn’t seen any playing time this spring leads me to believe he’ll test the UFA market. Determining where he could go remains to be seen. Bishop is ready to be a starter. Kiprusoff is expected to make a decision on his future later this summer. I think the Oilers believe in Dubnyk, but will seek an experienced, healthy backup. Markstrom could get his chance next season with Scott Clemmenssen as his backup. Remains to be seen what Thomas does.
Garrioch also reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has been getting calls for winger Bobby Ryan but he’s resisted. Even with the cap dropping, Murray wants to retain Ryan…There’s been no contract talks between the Winnipeg Jets management and UFA defenseman Ron Hainsey…There’s talk the Oilers could move Nail Yakupov to bring back a return which could get them into the playoffs…
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray doesn’t have to shop Ryan, but with the cap dropping for next season, only $4.882 million in projected cap space and several key players to re-sign or replace, the Ducks will have to free up some cap space somehow…I doubt the Jets re-sign Hainsey…I’m not convinced the Oilers will part with Yakupov after only one season. They’re willing to shop their first round pick (seventh overall), and could try to move Sam Gagner if his asking price to re-sign proves too steep.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reports it will be expensive for the Blue Jackets to re-sign Vezina nominee Sergei Bobrovsky, who could receive an expensive offer from KHL team St. Petersburg. Negotiations between Bobrovsky’s agent and the Blue Jackets “have not gained traction”, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen has made it known he’ll match any offer sheet for the goalie.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s understandable why the Blue Jackets are leery about overpaying for a goalie they’ve had for only one season, and a shortened one at that. Still, if he wins the Vezina, his asking price could jump to over $5 million per season. Ultimately, the Jackets could have little choice but to either re-sign him, or trade him and bring in a more affordable option.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports the strong playoff performance of Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell could make him too expensive to re-sign. Bickell is eligible for UFA status this summer and would attract considerable interest if he tests the market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bickell could command over $3 million on the open market this summer. Never underestimate the ability of NHL GMs to succumb to auction fever in the opening days of free agency. With the salary cap dropping and the Blackhawks carrying a projected $2.094 million in cap space, they cannot afford to re-sign Bickell unless they shed salary elsewhere.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ian White is preparing to move on via unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The addition of Danny DeKeyser and the improvement of Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl makes White the odd man out on the Detroit blueline.