With the NHL 2012 Entry Draft only a day away, here’s the latest on Zach Parise, Jaromir Jagr, James van Riemsdyk, Evander Kane, Patrick Kane and more. Enjoy!
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports New Jersey Devils star and Minnesota native Zach Parise isn’t tipping his hand as to his future plans. Parise is eligible for UFA status on July 1st, and it’s expected the Minnesota Wild could be among the bidders for his services.Russo also reported Wild GM Chuck Fletcher continues to keep his options (including trades) open, but knows the price would be high to trade for expensive, big name players. Columbus’ Rick Nash, Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo are among those believed available in this summer’s trade market. Fletcher may not have the assets to part with to acquire a star.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher repeatedly states he won’t part with any of his promising prospects, which is the only area of strength from which he might draw upon if he were to look into a trade for a major star. Last summer, he had Brent Burns and Martin Havlat to shop. This year, he’s got a fading Dany Heatley and a struggling Devin Setoguchi , and he doesn’t intend to move Mikko Koivu or Niklas Backstrom. If Fletcher makes any significant moves this summer, I expect it’ll be for a big name free agent like Parise.
CALGARY HERALD/CALGARY SUN: reported on recent speculation linking Jaromir Jagr to the Flames, who recently signed center Roman Cervenka, Jagr’s former KHL linemate. The Herald’s George Johnson suggested Jagr might be the Flames only affordable option to bring in a notable player, though his age (40) and declining speed wouldn’t make him a good addition for a team in need of youth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word if the Flames would be serious about pursuing Jagr, who’ll be a UFA on July 1st, though of course management can’t comment as it would be considered tampering. Still, if the Flames were to sign Jagr, even on a one-year deal, it would hardly be the kind of boost they need. The Flames have one of the oldest rosters in the league, so bringing in Jagr doesn’t help them get younger and faster, let alone become a playoff contender.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli believes the Flyers blueline corps is due for an overhaul, with or without an injured Chris Pronger, whose post-concussion symptoms could keep him out of the lineup to start next season. 37-year-old Kimmo Timonen is coming off back surgery, while Matt Carle could be lost to free agency on July 1st. The free agent options (Ryan Suter, Jason Garrison, Dennis Wideman) are expensive.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Araces reports the Blue Jackets need a goaltending upgrade, but the available options are thin. The best UFA options are Scott Clemmensen, Martin Biron, Chris Mason and Jonas Gustavsson. Trade options include Roberto Luongo, Jonathan Bernier and Sergei Bobrovsky, but Luongo comes with an expensive contract (and NTC) while Bernier and Bobrovsky have yet to prove themselves as NHL starters.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here comes the “van Riemsdyk and Bobrovsky and other pieces to Columbus for Rick Nash and Jack Johnson” rumors. Just because van Riemsdyk reportedly wouldn’t object to being dealt to Columbus (and we’ve yet to hear from him about it) doesn’t mean he’ll be going there. Besides, I don’t believe the Flyers and Blue Jackets have the pieces to suitably address their respective needs. The Flyers must improve their defense corp, and the Jackets aren’t about to part with Johnson, or James Wisniewski or Fedor Tyutin. Bobrovsky still hasn’t fully proven himself an NHL starter, so I doubt he provides the Jackets with the quality goaltending they’ve lacked forever. As for Carle, I still believe the Flyers will re-sign him on July 1.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has met with Evander Kane’s representatives this week and dismissed rumors of Kane’s unhappiness with the Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Dreger noted earlier in the week, the rumor of Kane’s unhappiness was “garbage”. He’ll be re-signed to a multi-year deal.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes Maple Leafs management must go the trade route if they’re to improve the roster. Koshan believes Luke Schenn will remain the topic of trade rumors until the day he’s dealt, and wondered if teams in need of reaching the cap floor might have interest in Matt Lombardi, Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong, who have one year remaining on their respective contracts. He doubts Mike Komisarek and Tim Connolly will be moved, because of their contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bigger question is, will Brian Burke somehow find a quality starting goalie and depth at center, when he doesn’t have much to offer up, and there aren’t many available options? The next two weeks will tell the tale.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Steve Rosenbloom hopes Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman intends to do more to improve his roster than merely making “minor tweaks here and there”. Rosenbloom believes the Blackhawks need a top-six forward, preferably a second line center, a role Patrick Kane isn’t suited for, suggesting Kane “is better as trade bait than a legitimate number two center”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rosenbloom isn’t a fan of Kane so no surprise he’s stumping for him to be dealt, which I don’t believe the Blackhawks will do. That being said, his point about their need for a second line center is a good one, and he’s right when he says it will need more than tweaking to address.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika thinks the Stars management have interest in Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Rick Nash, but suggest the price (especially for the latter two) could be too high, while the Stars could be far down those players’ lists of preferred destinations, if they’re on the list at all.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Stars will make some moves to improve their roster, but doubt they’ll be in the running for Parise, Suter or Nash.