The latest on the Rangers, Blues, Maple Leafs and more.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers staff will be convening their organization meetings this week where it’s expected they’ll discuss a possible compliance buyout of Brad Richards and the cost of re-signing pending UFA winger Ryane Clowe, which could also cost the Rangers their second round pick in 2014 to the San Jose Sharks (Clowe’s former team) if he’s re-signed. Brooks also reports the Rangers aren’t expected to pursue Islanders pending UFA defenseman Mark Streit, but could have interest in New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky if he’s available on July 5.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Clowe’s concussion history and the already high cost the Rangers paid to land him, they’d be better off seeking other options. Streit is believed seeking over $6 million per season on a four-year deal, so I don’t blame them for passing. The Devils are reportedly keen to re-sign Zidlicky, so he might not be available come July 5.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports Blues RFAs Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund could become attractive offer sheet targets. There’s only been preliminary contract talks between these players and Blues management, though GM Doug Armstrong expects talks to intensify 10 to 14 days before the June entry draft weekend. Armstrong also isn’t concerned about offer sheets, noting the decline in the salary cap for next season, plus his club is prepared to match any offers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline of the cap for next season could prevent teams from going that route, as is the fact offer sheets are rarely a successful tactic to pry away talent from a rival club. Still, one shouldn’t assume a club with cap space and a willingness to spend wouldn’t try, especially if a rival is having difficulty signing a talented RFA.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Tim Thomas’ agent said he knows of no plans by his client to play in Europe next season…Rumored compliance buyout candidates include the Rangers’ Brad Richards, Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov, Montreal’s Tomas Kaberle and Chicago Steve Montador.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put any stock into those “Thomas could play in Europe” rumors. It’s the NHL or nothing if he stages a comeback…Richards, Kaberle and Montador appear likely buyout candidates. It would make sense for the Lightning and Flyers to buy out Lecavalier and Bryzgalov, but there’s talk of reluctance by those clubs to make those moves, at least this summer.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports the Maple Leafs could pursue Stephen Weiss if Tyler Bozak seeks more than they’re willing to pay. The Leafs aren’t expected to make an offer to pending UFA forward Clarke MacArthur. Simmons also believes the Leafs will seek a goalie comparable to Tomas Vokoun to back up James Reimer next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing really new here which wasn’t reported a month ago. Still, good to have an update, as things have been quiet on the Leafs front for nearly a month.