More speculation on the Penguins, Senators, and Canucks. Enjoy!
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek examines the recent spate of rumors suggesting Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal might be on the trade block, as well as suggesting the Penguins have to determine Sidney Crosby’s plans going forward, and where he fits into the team’s future plans. Duhatschek also pointed out GM Ray Shero’s comments regarding the uncertainty over what could be contained in the next CBA. Ultimately, he believes Staal, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will remain in Penguins colours next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, the thought of Crosby, Malkin or Staal on the trade block this summer would make for sexy headlines, as well as provide a welcome distraction from the potential bummer of depressing CBA negotiations, but the reality is Shero isn’t facing any pressure this summer to move any of those players, and he may have no intention of doing so. If the salary cap doesn’t decline for the first three seasons under the new CBA (it’s expected to rise to as high as $69 million for next season), Shero could easily afford to re-sign the trio.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan recently looked at potential options for the Senators to pursue in the off-season, citing former Senators forward and pending Bruins UFA Chris Kelly or Islanders winger P.A. Parenteau for their forward lines. If they are forced to cut Filip Kuba loose, Brennan listed potential free agent defense options like Florida’s Jason Garrison, St. Louis’ Barrett Jackman, or Carolina’s Bryan Allen. If they opt not to re-sign Matt Carkner, Colorado’s Shane O’Brien could be a good replacement.
Brennan also believes the Senators should shop goaltender Craig Anderson, as his trade value after his performance this season will never be higher. Brennan feels it would be worth the risk of promoting little-used goalies Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop, while Anderson in a package deal “could answer the need for both a proven, point-producing forward and a defensive defenceman”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And unicorns! Don’t forget unicorns for everyone! OK, I kid Brennan, but only because I don’t believe GM Bryan Murray will consider that option. He’s committed to Anderson, who proved himself as their starter this season, especially in their entertaining, hard-fought first round series against the NY Rangers. Lehner and Bishop, while certainly promising, aren’t ready for prime time yet. One or the other will earn themselves the backup job to Anderson next fall, with the odd man out either playing on the farm, or being packaged in a trade. Brennan’s list of potential UFA targets are more sensible, and there’s a chance they could woo back Kelly, though I expect the Bruins will work hard to re-sign him.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher recently wrote the Canucks won’t have sufficient cap space to get into the bidding for top UFAs like Zach Parise or Ryan Suter, even if they do clear Roberto Luongo’s $5.33 million per season cap hit from their books via trade. Gallagher does, however, suggest the Canucks could have a chance in landing Nashville’s Shea Weber via trade if the Predators decide to move him this summer, pointing out “at least has a few young, cap-friendly defencemen who might interest the Preds should it come to a trade.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher also points out Weber probably wouldn’t be available if the Predators lose Suter to free agency. If Weber did become available, however, I doubt the Canucks could afford him, since he’d be carrying a contract worth at least as much per season as the $7.5 million he’s earning this season.