The latest on John-Michael Liles, Brooks Orpik, Ales Hemsky and Tom Gilbert.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports Maple Leafs fans were wondering if the Carolina Hurricanes, prior to signing Ron Hainsey, would have interest in John-Michael Liles. Friedman points out the Hurricanes had interest three years ago during Liles’ final season with the Colorado Avalanche, but he vetoed a trade there. Friedman doubts Liles would change his mind.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs fans have traded Liles to pretty much every team around the league. In reality, the remaining three years (at $3.875 million per season) and limited no-trade clause makes dealing Liles a difficult endeavor. Not impossible, but difficult.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Responding to a reader’s suggestion of the Oilers swapping Ales Hemsky for Buffalo’s Steve Ott, Jim Matheson likes the idea, but doubts the Sabres would part with Ott as they value his abrasiveness. Matheson also suspects the Oilers would have to take another contract back in order to balance out the dollars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky’s not going anywhere, at least not during the first half of this season. His salary ($5 million) and injury history is why he’s still in Edmonton.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Shelly Anderson reports long-time Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik declined to say if he’s begun contract talks with the club. Orpik, the longest-serving player on the Penguins roster, is entering the final season of his contract and is eligible for UFA status next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins currently have over $53 million invested in 12 players for next season. Though they have over $10 million in available cap space, they must be careful not to violate the league’s tagging rules, as their payroll for next season cannot exceed this season’s salary cap. In addition to Orpik, they also have to re-sign RFAs Simon Despres, Brandon Sutter and Dustin Jeffrey, plus they have to also consider re-signing other UFAs like Jussi Jokinen, Matt Niskanen and Tomas Vokoun. They also might prefer waiting until next June, when they know how much more cap space they’ll have to work with, before offering Orpik a new deal.
MIAMI HERALD’s George Richards reports via Twitter the Florida Panthers have invited defenseman Tom Gilbert to training camp on a professional tryout, but he’s yet to accept. The club wants him to join them before their Wednesday trip to Texas.