The latest on Jamie Benn, P.K. Subban, Nino Niederreiter, Roberto Luongo and Scott Gomez.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports of the three unsigned RFAs (Dallas’ Jamie Benn, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly) it’s his gut feeling Benn may be the closest to re-signing. The Benn camp is apparently willing to accept a five-year deal, leading LeBrun to suggest perhaps he might get a deal “just north financially” to Toronto’s Phil Kessel (five years, $27 million). As for Subban and O’Reilly, the stalemates continue…LeBrun claims the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t the mystery team Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis alluded to in a recent interview claiming he was close to a deal. The Philadelphia Flyers have been mentioned, but he feels that’ll happen in the summer and only if Ilya Bryzgalov has another brutal season…Senators GM Bryan Murray is still shopping for blueline depth but so far his call have produced very little…LeBrun has heard the San Jose Sharks have had preliminary contract talks with pending UFA forward Ryane Clowe…The New Jersey Devils have yet to open contract talks with pending UFA forward David Clarkson.
Katie Strang reported forward Nino Niederreiter’s camp last week requested a trade from the NY Islanders. Strang cited “multiple NHL scouts” claiming several NHL teams would have interest in the young forward if the Isles were willing to shop him.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports Islanders GM Garth Snow has no plans to move Niederreiter, who currently leads the club’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport in scoring.
CANOE.CA: Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban told TVA analyst Mathieu Dandenault nobody likes his current situation, finding it difficult watching his teammates on TV and not being able to help. He said his agent, Don Meehan, would continue to speak for him about his contract talks.
PUCK DADDY: Greg Wyshynski yesterday raised the possibility Canucks GM Mike Gillis may have been referring to the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens or Colorado Avalanche with his cryptic comments about having to wait for the team he supposedly has a trade in place with to deal with a player on its roster. Wyshynski dismissed the possibility, however, noting the three clubs already have established starting goaltenders.
TSNRADIO: reported via Twitter Bob McKenzie claimed “ Oilers are interested in Luongo and Chicago has had long interest. Says list of teams he WON’T go to isn’t that long”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: See how almost everything ties into Roberto Luongo’s trade status somehow? OK, we can rule out the Stars, Habs and Avs as potential destinations, for the reasons Wyshynski pointed out. Benn could well be the first of the unsigned RFA trio to get signed, but one shouldn’t rule out a possible breakthrough quickly with Subban. O’Reilly, meanwhile, is playing in the KHL, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he spends the entire season there. Should that happen, I expect the Avs would shop him, but we’re not to that point yet…Snow claimed Niederreiter has never expressed any unhappiness about his situation. I think a trade request is pretty much that expression. Still, Snow might be able to smooth things over. He’s obviously in no rush, but if the Islanders flounder again, don’t be surprised if Niederreiter’s name resurfaces near the trade deadline…I concur with LeBrun’s assessment over the Flyers rumored interest in Luongo. If they decide to go after him, it could be this summer, depending of course on how Bryzgalov performs.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger claiming the Edmonton Oilers might have interest in Ottawa Senators goalie Ben Bishop, who is currently backing up Craig Anderson in what is seen as a temporary role, since he could eventually make way for Robin Lehner, who was recently demoted by the Senators. Staples doesn’t see Bishop’s numbers as a significant improvement over current Oilers backup Yann Danis, but believes it doesn’t hurt to bring in another goalie to compete.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For those who are wondering, the Senators demoted Lehner because he wouldn’t have to pass through waivers, which Bishop would. Obviously, the Sens don’t want to risk losing Bishop for nothing via waivers. If they do shop him, it could be for a defenseman.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks could wait another day to sign center Scott Gomez.