Latest on Eric Staal, James Neal, Marian Gaborik, Dion Phaneuf, Brad Marchand and more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t expect the Penguins to tear down its roster but wouldn’t be surprised if they test James Neal’s trade value this summer…He also cites a league executive believing new Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is keeping things close to the vest regarding possible moves this summer. As for Eric Staal’s future with the Hurricanes, Francis said that’ll depend on their budget. Friedman cautions about “going crazy” on the Staal trade rumors, noting Francis liked seeing Staal on left wing as it makes it easier to double-shift him around the lineup.,.Friedman doubts Kings’ winger Marian Gaborik will hit this summer’s free agent market…He also thinks one of the reasons the Maple Leafs re-signed Dion Phaneuf (apart from the fact he plays big minutes) is that it could improve his trade value at some point, as it would be easier to move a player with term on his contract, even if it means picking up part of his salary. He expects they’re testing his value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Penguins will entertain trading Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Neal is likely their best trade chip right now, though teams might try to pry promising Olli Maatta away from them…I think trading Staal or his brother would be hasty on Francis’ part, nor do I see him shopping Jeff Skinner…Gaborik will have to accept a significant pay cut to re-sign with the Kings, who have limited cap space for next season…Sure, the Leafs can test Phaneuf’s trade value, but I doubt they’ll find any decent offers right now.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty ponders winger Brad Marchand’s future with the Bruins, wondering if his recent lack of playoff production and undisciplined play could make him a player the Bruins don’t want around anymore. He’s got three years remaining on his contract at $4.5 million per season. Haggerty believes Marchand could be the player to move if management decides to shake up the core. They’ll also need to free up cap space to re-sign RFAs Reilly Smith and Torey Krug. Haggerty also reports Bruins backup and pending UFA Chad Johnson must decide if he’ll re-sign or test the free agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Marchand’s reputation as a chippy player he could attract interest from clubs in need of second-line scoring. Marchand also has a no-trade clause, which could hamper efforts to move him.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports new Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn’t expect to make major roster changes this summer. Still, he didn’t rule out acquiring help for Claude Giroux’s line. “If there’s something out there, we’d look at it, but I think it’s more left wing in general”, Hextall told Carchidi, who notes there’s plenty of left wingers available via free agency (among them: Mike Cammalleri, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Jussi Jokinen, Mason Raymond, Milan Michalek) while Winnipeg’s Evander Kane could be available via trade. The Flyers might have to find a replacement for Kimmo Timonen if he decides to retire. Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen could be available via free agency but the Flyers will have difficulty fitting him under their cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure Hextall won’t rule out making a trade for the right player at the right price, but he claims he’ll try to build up the Flyers through the draft and within their system. If he wants to take on a first-line left wing, however, he’ll have to free up cap space to do so.