The latest on Martin Havlat, the Devils key free agents, Ilya Bryzgalov and Bryan Bickell.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: Tim Kawakami presumes the San Jose Sharks could either trade or buy out winger Martin Havlat in the off-season. Havlat is owed $1o million over the next two seasons, and Kawakami believes they’ll try to trade him to anyone willing to take on that money; otherwise, he could become a compliance buyout candidate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering Havlat’s injury history, I doubt the Sharks find many takers unless they’re willing to pick up part of that salary. He could receive a compliance buyout, but he missed most of this year’s playoffs to a lower body injury (suspected groin or hip injury), and if he’s not medically cleared by the buyout period (48 hours from the end of the Stanley Cup Final up to July 4), he would be ineligible for a buyout.
NORTHJERSEY.COM/NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello confirmed he’s opened contract talks with his key UFAs (Patrik Elias, David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus) and has been talking to the agents for Marek Zidlicky and Peter Harrold. His stated objective is to re-sign them prior to July 5th, the opening day of the UFA market. The Devils won’t be re-signing UFA forwards Steve Sullivan and Matt D’Agostini.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello has the cap space to re-sign most, if not all, of his key free agents, but of course it remains to be seen if they intend to re-sign or test the market. No surprise they’re cutting ties with Sullvan and D’Agostini. The former could be facing retirement, while the latter could face continuing his playing career in Europe.
PHILLYBURBS.COM: Wayne Fish recently examined the pros and cons of retaining or buying out Ilya Bryzgalov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If GM Paul Holmgren can lay his hands on a better, cheaper netminder prior to the end of the compliance buyout period, I believe Bryzgalov will be a goner.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently reported on how Bryan Bickell’s post-season performance is upping the cost for the Blackhawks to re-sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should Bickell hit this summer’s UFA market he’ll find no shortage of suitors willing to make him a very wealthy player. He could be looking at Brandon Prust dollars.