The latest on Jonathan Bernier, Kris Letang, Marc Andre Fleury, Shawn Horcoff and more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild remain interested in LA Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, but a source wonder if the NY Islanders could make a late bid. He believes the Flyers are the favorite for Bernier, but they won’t part with Sean Couturier for Bernier…The Pittsburgh Penguins might trade Kris Letang, and teams are getting prepared for that possibility if the two sides fail to agree to a contract extension…Friedman also said the Edmonton Oilers have allowed Shawn Horcoff to contact other teams.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons also believes the Flyers could win the Bernier sweepstakes. “The Kings have targeted young stars or budding stars in their search: Jake Gardiner from Toronto; Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia; Charlie Coyle from Minnesota”, writes Simmons, who doubts the Leafs part with Gardiner.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports teams can only use their amnesty buyouts during the initial buyout period (48 hours following the completion of the Stanley Cup Final to 5 pm ET July 4), and not during the second buyout period which follows the end of salary arbitration in August. That period is also only restricted to teams who either filed for arbitration or had players who did so…If the NY Rangers decide not to buy out Brad Richards, most of their $13 million cap space will be invested in re-signing Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello, meaning they’ll essentially ice the same roster as this season…The Devils ownership and financial problems could affect the club’s efforts to re-sign pending UFA Patrik Elias. It could also make RFA Adam Henrique an offer sheet target, as the Devils have lots of cap space but not much available cash…
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of confusion over which club would “win” the Bernier sweepstakes. Reports late last week out of Philadelphia suggested the Flyers couldn’t match the offers by other clubs (especially the Leafs). No surprise they don’t want to part with Couturier. GM Paul Holmgren thinks highly of him and wants to keep him…If Leafs GM Dave Nonis actually traded Gardiner for Bernier, he should be fired immediately. That being said, I don’t believe Nonis would part with the promising blueliner. If the Flyers can get Bernier for Schenn, I say go for it. I doubt the Wild would part with Coyle, who has star potential…If the Rangers keep Richards, they’re out of this summer’s UFA market, but I wouldn’t necessarily rule them out of the trade market. Still, GM Glen Sather could give this roster a chance under new coach Alain Vigneault before making any significant changes…Interesting point about the Devils and Henrique, but I think the NHL authorizes GM Lou Lamoriello to match any offer for the young center.
TRIBLIVE.COM/THE SPORTING NEWS: Rob Rossi considers the Pittsburgh Penguins options with defenseman Kris Letang, including retaining Letang for the final season of his contract to mentor promising blueliner Simon Despres, just as Sergei Gonchar helped groom Letang. Sean Gentille noted a report in the Startribune.com suggesting if the Penguins change their minds about retaining Marc-Andre Fleury, the Minnesota Wild might be interested in him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much of the expectation about Letang is the Penguins will trade him if there’s no deal in place by next weekend. We’ll know soon enough if that’s the intent, but as Rossi noted, they don’t have to go that route, though they would risk losing him to free agency next summer for nothing if they opt to keep him for next season. As for Fleury, the Penguins management appears keen to keep him, so I don’t expect him to be going anywhere this summer.
DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS: John Niyo believes the Red Wings shouldn’t mortgage their future but also doesn’t believe they should stand pat. He suggests pursuing Florida’s Stephen Weiss, Boston’s Nathan Horton or Chicago’s Bryan Bickell if they’re available in the free agent market to replace Valtteri Filppula. He also believes they need to add a reliable defenseman. He also points out they could free up cap space by buying out Mikael Samuelsson and possible Carlo Colaiacovo. Helene St. James makes the case for the Wings to pursue David Clarkson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings should be a preferred destination for top UFAs, but over the past couple of years they haven’t landed any significant free agents, though that was due in part to having limited cap space. They’ve got just over $10 million in cap space this summer and must re-sign RFAs Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, , Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, plus re-sign or replace Damien Brunner and Dan Cleary. Buying out Samuelsson, Colaiacovo or Todd Bertuzzi, however, could give them the wiggle room to dip into the UFA pool.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER’s Eric Stephens reports via Twitter Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray said his club doesn’t intend to use compliance buyouts this summer.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM’s Chip Alexander reports via Twitter the Carolina Hurricanes “could trade No. 5 pick and move down on draft day if their draft target is taken in top four picks. Unlikely Canes to move up.”