Changes could be coming for the Maple Leafs, Canucks, Senators and Devils, plus the latest on Jaroslav Halak and Ryan Jones.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle believes changes are coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer. He doubts coach Randy Carlyle will be back, and feels management (led by GM Dave Nonis) are on the hot seat. As for players, Mirtle considers Phil Kessel, Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, James van Riemsdyk and Jonathan Bernier are the only untouchables. He suggests key cogs Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul could be moved for the right price, feels James Reimer will be gone via trade and only one or two of their crop of UFAs (Nikolai Kulemin, Dave Bolland, Mason Raymond, Jay McClement and Paul Ranger) could return. The top candidates among the Leafs defensemen to be shopped are Cody Franson and Tim Gleason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mirtle didn’t mention Dion Phaneuf, but quite frankly, he’s not going anywhere. His new contract is too hefty to move, even if he waived his NTC and the Leafs absorbed part of it. Otherwise, I can’t disagree with Mirtle’s assessments, though I’m sure there are Leafs fans who will.
ESPN.COM: Once the Vancouver Canucks find a new general manager, Craig Custance believes Washington’s Jaroslav Halak, Phoenix’s Thomas Greiss and Philadelphia’s Andrew MacDonald could be their potential UFA targets. He also suggests Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler and even the Sedins (if they’re agreeable) could be serious pieces to land high-end talent via trade. He believes Kesler should be used to land a good young forward as the centerpiece of a potential return. suggesting Kesler be shopped to the Anaheim Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently dismissed the notion of moving the Sedins. Kesler, Bieksa and Edler could land good returns, provided they’re willing to move their respective no-trade clauses. If so, there will only be a limited number of teams they’ll accept being dealt to. Pursuing an experienced backup for current starter Eddie Lack is a good idea. As for MacDonald, the Flyers intend to re-sign him. If they fail he could be worthwhile for the Canucks to pursue, provided his salary demands aren’t extravagant, and only if they move out either Bieksa or Edler before July 1.
OTTAWA SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch and Ken Warren speculate on the possibility of the Senators trading team captain Jason Spezza this summer if he’s unwilling to commit to a long-term contract extension. They also note pending UFAs Ales Hemsky and Milan Michalek might not return. Warren claims Senators GM Bryan Murray hopes to dramatically rework the lineup, adding a two-way forward or two along with a solid, stay-at-home veteran defenseman. Garrioch claims the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues were interested in Spezza before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think if the Senators can at least re-sign Hemsky, who’s had terrific chemistry with Spezza in such a short period of time, that could sway their captain into re-signing. If not, Spezza could consider his future elsewhere beyond next season, which could force Murray to place his captain on the trade block this summer.
NJ.COM: Randy Miller wonders if the Devils could pursue Paul Stastny or Ryan Callahan via free agency this summer. He also wondered if GM Lou Lamoriello might retire or be asked to step down, and if coach Peter DeBoer, goaltender Martin Brodeur and leading scorer Jaromir Jagr will return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Lamoriello will remain as GM as long as he wants to. I’ll be surprised if DeBoer doesn’t return. Jagr sounded willing to re-sign but he’ll want some assurances the Devils will bolster their scoring depth for next season. Brodeur won’t be back. He’ll either retire or sign elsewhere. As for pursuing Stastny or Callahan, if new ownership is willing to keep pace with the rising cap, the Devils could make a serious pitch for either guy.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley believes goaltender Jaroslav Halak won’t be re-signed by the Capitals after he apparently declined to play against his former club (St. Louis Blues) in a recent game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halak was merely a rental anyway.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers winger Ryan Jones, who’s a pending UFA this summer), doesn’t see himself returning with the Oilers next season.