The latest on Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller, James Reimer, Matt Niskanen, Cam Ward and more.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates the LA Kings could re-sign Marian Gaborik following the playoffs. He’s resurrected his career since joining the Kings at the trade deadline…Brooks wonders if Matt Moulson’s and Ryan Miller’s poor post-season play could adversely affect their respective free agent value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings won’t offer Gaborik another $7 million-plus per season contract, but could perhaps offer a short-term deal worth over $5 million per season, though they might have to shed some salary first (hello there, Mike Richards)…Moulson’s reportedly been playing with a lower-body injury, which would explain why he’s looked slow and ineffective for the Wild thus far. Miller doesn’t have the benefit of that excuse. Still, I daresay they won’t have much difficulty finding lucrative deals this summer.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs will qualify James Reimer’s rights and sign him in the off-season. He also claims the Leafs have received some inquiries about Reimer…If the Leafs don’t think they can re-sign Dave Bolland or Nikolai Kulemin they’ll trade them earlier for draft picks.
TORONTO STAR: Dave Feschuk cautions the Leafs against dealing young players Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner, suggesting it could backfire as shipping then-defenseman Randy Carlyle to Pittsburgh did over three decades ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs will qualify Reimer’s rights but I could see them trading him before it gets to the actual re-signing part. Don’t expect much in return for trading the rights of Bolland and Kulemin. I’m guessing at best each could get a fifth-round pick. I agree with Feschuk about being too hasty moving Kadri and Gardiner, but is that even possible now with Carlyle returning as coach?
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes the biggest task facing new Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is finding a taker for goalie Cam Ward, who has two years at $6.3 million annually left on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Ward is willing to accept a trade, and the Hurricanes agree to pick up part of his remaining salary, Francis could find a club willing to take a chance on him. That being said, it won’t be easy. The goalie market appears soft this summer. The Islanders appear to have addressed their starter’s job if they re-sign Jaroslav Halak, the Jets are stubbornly sticking with Ondrej Pavelec as their starting netminder, while the Flames appear content with Karri Ramo as their starter.
DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes the Colorado Avalanche could try to sign Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen if he tests this summer’s free agent market. He acknowledged such a move would be expensive (over $5 million per season or more), plus they must re-sign RFAs Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn,Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott, plus re-sign or replace UFA Paul Stastny.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs have over $25 million in projected cap space. Assuming it costs a combined $13 million to retain O’Reilly and Stastny, it won’t leave much to sign Niskanen and retain their other key players. A trade might be a better route.