The latest on Vincent Lecavalier, Daniel Briere, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang, Jonathan Bernier and more.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Damian Cristodero wonders if the Lightning will use one of their two compliance buyouts on team captain Vincent Lecavalier, who insists he wants to finish his NHL career with the Lightning, but acknowledged that was up to management. Winger Ryan Malone is another Lightning player who could become a buyout candidate. Cristodero points out buying out Lecavalier would save the Lightning $54 million in cap space over the next seven years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not Lecavalier’s fault the previous ownership signed him to his current contract, which has become burdensome for current management, but the reality is his contract hampers the Lightning‘s efforts to improve other areas of their roster. No one in the front office faults Lecavalier or Malone, but if they’re to make any improvement this season and in the coming years, the Bolts must shed salary, and that means buying out Lecavalier, Malone or both. We’ll find out soon if they’ll go that route.
CSNPHILLY.COM: In the wake of yesterday’s report of the Flyers signing Mark Streit, Tim Panaccio reports “two club sources” on the Flyers say Daniel Briere will be bought out, but a decision on Ilya Bryzgalov remains “up in the air”, as they need “a concrete trade agreement” for a goalie prior to buying out Bryzgalov. Panaccio also reports the Flyers are prepared to trade another player if they can’t buy out Bryzgalov. It’s believed the Flyers are among the club with interest in LA Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, who changed agents yesterday and is now represented by CAA Sports, whose clients include Flyers like Claude Giroux, Mark Streit and Max Talbot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Paul Holmgren has a lot of balls in the air right now, but when it comes to juggling creative trades and free agent signings, he’s among the best in the business. Briere is gone for sure, and if they can land an affordable goalie like Bernier, so is Bryzgalov. Keep an eye on the Flyers over the next couple of weeks, as they’re definitely not finished making moves.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Ron Cook, in a piece supportive of Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero, noted Shero wants to re-sign defenseman Kris Letang but says “it’s hard to see that happening”. Cook believes Shero could get quite a bit in return by trading Letang, pointing to what he got from last summer’s trade of Jordan Staal. He also believes there’s a better chance Pascal Dupuis will be back, suggests re-signing Matt Cooke could be difficult, and feels Craig Adams will be re-signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Shero trades Letang, he’ll have to find a good, affordable puck-moving blueliner to replace him, which is easier said than done.
CBC SPORTS: Elliotte Friedman repeated his report from Saturday claiming Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings have interest in Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss, adding a source also suggested the New Jersey Devils could also have interest, as coach Pete DeBoer is a former Panthers head coach…Speculation is linking Jarome Iginla with the Stars, Kings and Coyotes…The Kings are concerned any team they trade Jonathan Bernier to might “flip” him to new division rivals Edmonton or Calgary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weiss and the Panthers are expected to talk contract this week, but they could shop him by the draft weekend if he’s not re-signed by then…The Kings lack the cap space to sign Iginla and I don’t think he’s a good fit there. The Coyotes need a first line center, not a veteran winger, so I don’t believe they’ll pursue him. I also don’t believe the Stars need to add another ageing star, but they did acquire Sergei Gonchar earlier this month, so who knows?…Bernier could be “flipped” if the Kings trade him, but there are teams (Flyers, Islanders, Wild, Devils) who would definitely keep him if they were to acquire him.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports the Nashville Predators are likely to be in the market for a backup goaltender, opting to consider the options in this year’s free agent market rather than re-sign Chris Mason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. No surprise here. Mason has come to the end of his NHL career, and the Predators need a younger, more reliable backup for Pekka Rinne.