The latest on the Avalanche and Predators, plus updates on Shea Weber, Alex Tanguay and Jussi Jokinen.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater recently reported the Avalanche will “almost certainly” make “some kind of move” during free agency, with management saying the goaltending position remains their “primary focus”. Potential UFA Tomas Vokoun could be one choice but he’s 35, has played for mediocre teams and would appear to be a stopgap measure. Phoenix’s Ilya Bryzgalov could be the best available goalie but he’s “made noise” about returning to Russia. Dater suggested J.S. Giguere has “too many miles” on him, Josh Harding’s injury history makes him risky, and would take a pass on Marty Turco and Chris Osgood. If the Avs were to go the trade route for a promising young goalie like LA’s Jonathan Bernier or Vancouver’s Cory Schneider, it’s going to cost them. If the Avalanche go with Vokoun, he doesn’t recommend locking into an expensive, long-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vokoun might not want to come to Colorado, as he’s suggested in the past he’d prefer to play for a contender after years of playing for non-contenders. Bryzgalov would want big bucks if he hits the open market, probably more than the Avs are willing to pay. The trade market might be the best way to go, and there might be other options beside Bernier and Schneider (Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Washington’s Semyon Varlamov or Michal Neuvirth) to consider.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reports agent Alan Walsh, who represents Penguins free agents Michael Rupp and Pascal Dupuis, confirmed contracts talks with the Penguins have begun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No guarantee the Pens will re-sign both, but this could be indicative Penguins management have given them more priority over their other UFAs.
THE TENNESSEAN: David Climer calls for the Nashville Predators to end their trend of jettisoning their best players and re-sign Shea Weber long-term.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber and Predators GM David Poile have publicly stated their optimism a deal will get done, and given the Predators post-season improvement they could be poised for more in the near future. They’ll need Weber in the fold to achieve this, and I believe he’ll be signed to a long-term extension, probably between $6.5-$7 million per season.
CALGARY HERALD: Vicki Hall reports Flames GM Jay Feaster wants to get Alex Tanguay re-signed and believes he can get it done. Tanguay is eligible for UFA status on July 1st and earned $1.7 million this season. The Flames however have $55.8 million invested in 17 players for next season and if the cap comes in for next season around $62.2 million could leave just $6.4 million to work with, though they’re expected to either demote Ales Kotalik ($3 million) or loan him overseas, while Niklas Hagman’s future ($3 million) is in doubt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I see Tanguay accepting perhaps a three-year, $9 million contract, with the obligatory “no-movement” clause. He’s happy back in Calgary and has terrific chemistry with Jarome Iginla, and while he could probably get a little more than that on the open market, I think he’s keen to remain in the Stampede City.
RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reported Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford recently said it could prove difficult to re-sign UFA winger Jussi Jokinen, who could be seeking $3 million per season.