The latest on Evander Kane, Thomas Vanek, Eric Staal, Jason Spezza, Dave Bolland, Cam Ward, Cory Schneider and Brooks Orpik.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough cited tweets from the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe noting Jets forward Evander Kane declined to comment over his being a healthy scratch and if he wanted to be traded. Brough believes that could add to the Kane trade speculation which has been bubbling for some time.
NHL.COM (via KUKLA’S KORNER): TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes Kane and Jets management will have to take stock of their respective situations in the off-season. He believes both sides have to decide if they’ll remain committed to each other. Kane is currently in the second season of a six-year, $31.5 million contract. McKenzie feels the Jets have to be careful not to make a trade for which they might not recover from.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman also weighed on the Kane situation, believing the 22-year-old winger is too valuable to give up on. He does acknowledge it doesn’t mean Jets management won’t quietly listen to offers…Friedman has a “nagging feeling” the Nashville Predators could try to sign Thomas Vanek when he hits the UFA market in July…Noting Florida Panthers GM (and former Blackhawks GM) Dale Tallon loves former ‘Hawks, Friedman believes he could pursue Dave Bolland if the Leafs center becomes a free agent this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is undoubtedly very talented but still lacking maturity. Unless he demands a trade this summer, I think Kane and Jets management will meet in the off-season to discuss their future and resolve any differences. It’ll take a terrific offer to convince GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to move him this summer…If the usually budget-conscious Predators want Vanek, they’ll have to pay big bucks (think at least $7 million per season) to get him. I still believe he’s heading to Minnesota this summer…Speaking of Bolland, see below.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle believes it wouldn’t be a good idea for the Maple Leafs to re-sign Dave Bolland to an expensive, long-term contract. Mirtle feels the Leafs see more in Bolland than what he’s truly capable of, and also noted Bolland has been struggling since returning from a cut ankle tendon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs already made a big mistake signing David Clarkson last summer to a ridiculous, virtually unmovable contract. If they meet Bolland’s salary demands, they’ll have over $10 million tied up in two checking line forwards. That’s not a smart investment, even for a deep-pocketed club like the Leafs and with a steadily-rising salary cap. Saying that it doesn’t matter because the Leafs can afford to spend and the cap will keep rising won’t make them a better team, nor will it disguise lousy investments. Let Bolland go and invest that money more wisely, like improving their defense and secondary scoring.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Responding to a reader’s question on the availability of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, Jim Matheson believes Staal could be available but the asking price would be expensive. He believes it would cost the Oilers more than Nail Yakupov and Sam Gagner to get him. Matheson feels Staal looks stale, just like Ottawa’s Jason Spezza. He believes Staal would be a good mentor for Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He also thinks the Winnipeg Jets could take a run at Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward if Paul Maurice returns as head coach, though they’ll have to shed Ondrej Pavelec’s contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about Staal going to Edmonton. He’s got a no-trade clause and no reason to join the Oilers. Ditto Jason Spezza. As for Ward, maybe he accepts a trade to the Jets if Maurice is still there, but the Jets will have to trade or buy out Pavelec. I’m guessing they won’t find much of a market for Pavelec via trade even if they agree to pick up half of his remaining contract. They’ll have to go the compliance buyout route. Pavelec is eligible as he signed his recent contract prior to September 15, 2012.
NJ.COM: Randy Miller reports Devils goalie Cory Schneider’s agent said his client will weigh his future with the club when the time is right. Schneider has one year remaining on his current contract and is due to become a UFA next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Devils will re-sign Schneider this summer, completing the transition from the Martin Brodeur era.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports Brooks Orpik’s future remains up in the air. Orpik is slated for UFA status this summer. His agent said he and Penguins GM Ray Shero agreed not to discuss contract talks with the media.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Orpik’s future with the Penguins depends upon his asking price (he’s currently earning $3.75 million per season) fitting within the Penguins cap space ($14.8 million).