The latest on Jason Spezza, Jaroslav Halak, P.K. Subban, Tomas Vanek, Dmitry Kulikov, James Reimer, Cam Ward, the Staals and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Nashville’s David Poile, Vancouver’s Mike Gills and Washington’s George McPhee are three GMs in danger of losing their jobs at season’s end…The Senators have to make a decision this summer with captain Jason Spezza, who attracted interest from the Ducks and Blues before the trade deadline. Garrioch believes if the Senators re-sign winger Ales Hemsky they should retain Spezza…If the Blues re-sign Ryan Miller and the Ducks re-up Jonas Hiller, Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak could be in demand this summer. The Islanders, Flames and Canucks could seek goaltenders, so it would make sense for the Capitals to try to re-sign him…With the salary cap increasing, the Avalanche’s pending UFA center Paul Stastny could cash in this summer…The Sabres could shop forwards Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis along with defenseman Christian Ehrhoff this summer. They’ll also listen to offers for blueliner Tyler Myers…While there’s been talk of Thomas Vanek re-signing with the Canadiens many believes that’s not even a remote possibility. The Wild and Kings are possible destinations…It’s rumored RFA defenseman Dmitry Kulikov rejected a four-year, $20 million offer from the Panthers, preferring instead $22 million over four years…The Leafs could move RFA goalie James Reimer this summer. He’s been linked to Winnipeg in the rumor mill. The Hurricanes could move goalie Cam Ward this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three GMs noted by Garrioch I doubt the Predators replace Poile unless he willingly steps aside. Gillis is in hot water in Vancouver and McPhee’s contract with the Capitals expires at season’s end…Spezza is eligible for UFA status next summer. The Senators can open contract talks with him on July 1…I expect Miller and Hiller to re-sign with their respective teams. The Isles and Flames could have serious interest in Halak and Reimer…Stastny claims he’s willing to accept a hometown discount to remain with the Avs. We’ll see…Of the players the Sabres could shop I think they’ll try to move Stafford and Ehrhoff more than Ennis and Myers, preferring to stick with the younger players to build around…Even if the Habs were to march to the Stanley Cup I don’t believe Vanek re-signs with them. I see him signing with the Wild, as he lives in Minnesota in the off-season…Garrioch mentioned the KHL regarding Kulikov’s contract negotiations, but the blueliner has said he has no interest in the Russian league…Reimer’s as good as gone this summer. Ward could be too, though his injury history, $6.3 million cap hit and no-trade clause makes him tougher to move.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman and Glenn Healy reports the Canadiens contract talks with P.K. Subban will be addressed at season’s end. Healy expects Subban could end up getting a Shea Weber contract with a lot of signing bonuses. The Blues and Ryan Miller have agreed to wait until season’s end to talk contract. Miller’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. There’s talk of Ron Francis taking over as Carolina Hurricanes GM in the off-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Subban could get a bonus-laden deal he can’t get a heavily front-loaded, extremely long-term deal like Weber did because they’re prohibited under the new CBA. I expect Subban gets an eight-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $8.5 million. If Miller’s smart, he accepts less money to remain with the Blues, where he’ll have the opportunity to play out his career on a Cup contender.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa speculates Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk could command Dan Girardi-type money on his next contract. Boychuk has one year left on his three-year. $10.1 million contract…Shinzawa also reports Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford could be replaced at season’s end…If the Jets fail to make the playoffs GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could feel the heat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boychuk and Girardi have similar stats, though Boychuk’s plus-minus is considerably better. Girardi’s new contract pays him $33 million over the next six seasons…Rutherford, Cheveldayoff, McPhee and Gillis are among the ten GMs I’ve recently listed on Bleacher Report as facing pressure entering this off-season to improve their teams, provided those four keep their jobs.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Glen Sather dismissed recent speculation he might retire at season’s end…Brooks joins the chorus of pundits reporting the Hurricanes could replace Jim Rutherford as GM and could try to move goalie Cam Ward. With Eric Staal due to become a UFA in 2016, Brooks believes it’s time to ponder the possibility of Eric joining brother Marc with the Rangers…He also notes Senators’ Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan each have a year remaining on their contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers want to be really bold, why not make a pitch this summer for Eric and Jordan Staal? Sure, they’re both expensive (in salary as well as return) and have no-trade clauses, but they’ll be reunited with brother Marc. That being said, I believe the Hurricanes won’t make Eric and Jordan part of their shake-up plans. Eric remains their franchise player and they gave up a significant return to land Jordan. They must build around the pair.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the market for Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer is limited, listing the Islanders, Flames and Sabres where he could start, and Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver where he’d have to compete for the starter’s job. Simmons doubts the Leafs get much of a return for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Reimer remains with the Leafs. He’s clearly unhappy over his situation and has lost his confidence this season. He needs a change of scenery. I agree the Leafs won’t get much in return, unless they include him in a package deal. Regardless, I just can’t see Reimer agreeing to return for another season backing up Jonathan Bernier, playing for a coach who lacks confidence in him.