The latest on the Sharks and Capitals, plus updates on Jeff Carter and Sheldon Souray.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Jake Leonard doubts the San Jose Sharks will make any major changes after a fluky WCF loss, noting the Sharks out-shot the Vancouver Canucks 144-118 at even strength in the series. Leonard feels the Sharks need “another defenseman, a better season from (Dany) Heatley and fewer dumb penalties at important moments”.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS (VIA CONTRA COSTA TIMES): Mark Emmons reports the Sharks will have to make decisions regarding their free agents, which includes UFAs Ian White, Ben Eager, Kent Huskins, Jamal Mayers, Scott Nichol, Niclas Wallin and Kyle Wellwood, and RFAs Devin Setoguchi, Jamie McGinn and Benn Ferriero. Emmons also considers improving the blueline a priority.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have over $51.8 million invested in 14 players next season, so obviously they won’t be able to retain all their free agents. White has said he wants to return and based on his playoff performance I think he stands the best chance of the Sharks UFAs to be re-signed. The Sharks need to add another quality, puck-moving defenseman could possibly impact the inconsistent Setoguchi’s future with the team. McGinn and Ferriero would be affordable re-signings.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Ben Raby reports with Matt Bradley hitting the open market and Cody Eakin yet to prove he can handle the rigors of an 82-game schedule the Capitals could consider consider the following UFA centers on July 1st: Scott Nichol (San Jose), Marcel Goc (Nashville), John Madden (Minnesota) and Jeff Halpern (Montreal).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Madden could retire if he’s not re-signed by the Wild as he and his family don’t wish to move again. Nichol is getting up there in age, as is Halpern, although the latter could be a good, short-term fit, plus his returning to the team where he started his NHL career (and was once its captain) would have a “feel-good” angle. Goc however is younger (27) and could prove not only more durable but perhaps even more affordable.
PHILLYDAILYSPORTS.COM: Ryan Bright noted a rumor which would send Flyers forward Jeff Carter to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a package of draft picks and prospects, which they could then flip some or all to another team for a third goalie, like Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, Vancouver’s Cory Schneider, LA’s Jonathan Quick or to Phoenix for the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov. He doesn’t however fully dismiss the possibility of the Flyers making such a deal, with the Maple Leafs or perhaps another team. Bright also doubts Carter’s 11 year, $58 million contract would be much of a hindrance, suggesting there could be general managers out there willing to take it on.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Carter and his big contract isn’t impossible, but damn near, especially with this upcoming season being the last under the current CBA and the anticipated uncertainty over the next one. The Flames aren’t trading Kiprusoff, and the Kings probably aren’t in any great rush to move Quick. I’m not convinced the Flyers have serious interest in Bryzgalov, especially given his poor playoff performance this year. Schneider could be available but the Flyers wouldn’t need to dump Carter’s salary to get him.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers will once again consider their options with defenseman Sheldon Souray, who still has one season remaining on his contract at $4.5 million for this season, and a cap hit of $5.4 million. Matheson believes they’ll buy out that final season at two-thirds its remaining value, considering another loan to an AHL team for next season a “long shot”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a decision to retire by Souray, I agree a buyout is the most likely option, which would count as $2.4 million against their cap for next season, and $1.5 million in 2012-13.