Latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Valtteri Filppula, Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Niklas Backstrom, and more.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports contract talks between the Blue Jackets and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky are ongoing, pointing out the leverage Bobrovsky gained with his Vezina-nominated season. Neither management or Bobrovsky’s agent would discuss the talks, but Portzline believes his new deal could be two or four years in length, with the dollars around $4 million per season on a two year and $3.5 million per on a four-year, though those numbers could be rising.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is the Bobrovsky camp awaits the results from the NHL Awards before committing to a deal. If “Bob” wins the Vezina, he could get well over $5 million per season.
DETROIT NEWS: John Niyo reports Red Wings management is still trying to determine the future of pending UFA forward Valtteri Filppula, who is reportedly seeking $5 million per season but has struggled this season and in the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay the reason the Wings didn’t trade Filppula at the deadline was he wouldn’t have fetched much of a return, and the Wings needed all the able-bodied players they had to clinch a playoff berth. Given Filppula’s inconsistency and injury history, if he doesn’t lower his asking price, the Wings will look elsewhere, especially if the UFA market becomes flooded with compliance buyout players.
TWINCITIES.COM: Chad Graff reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher acknowledged there will be some changes to his roster for next season, but nothing as dramatic as last summer’s signings of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Given their cap constraints, the changes could come from within, as promising young talent is promoted into the lineup. Fletcher also confirmed head coach Mike Yeo would return next season.
Brian Murphy reports goalie Niklas Backstrom, slated to become a UFA this summer, hopes to re-sign with the Wild. Fletcher intends to meet with Backstrom this week to discuss a possible contract. Murphy also reports Pierre-Marc Bouchard seems the least-likely of the Wild’s notable UFAs (Backstrom and Matt Cullen the other two) to return next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the limited options in the UFA market, it might be best for the Wild to re-sign Backstrom to a shorter, more affordable deal. They could try to bolster their depth via trade, perhaps by targeting Jonathan Bernier of the LA Kings, but it’s expected there will be lots of interest in Bernier, and the Wild might not be able to outbid rival clubs for his services. I expect they’ll re-sign Cullen but Bouchard (because of his concussion history) is likely done in Minnesota. The Wild need more scoring punch, but given their cap constraints, they might be forced to promote their younger, affordable talent next season and see how they do.
STLTODAY.COM: Dan O’Neill doesn’t expect Blues UFA Andy McDonald to be re-signed, citing his age (36) and injury history. He also wondered about the futures of Chris Stewart, David Perron, Ian Cole and Jaroslav Halak, who got into an argument with head coach Ken Hitchcock prior to Game Four of the Kings-Blues series over his playing time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stewart’s inconsistency could make him a trade candidate this summer. Halak’s unhappiness could also see him hit the trade block. Cole is likely the odd man out now that the Blues have Jay Bouwmeester. They could part with Perron, but given he’s only one year into his new four-year contract, I suspect they’ll keep him and hope he rebounds next season.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli recently made the case for buying out Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, suggesting the Flyers acquired Jonathan Bernier from the LA Kings and pair him with Steve Mason for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Flyers front office is divided over Bryzgalov, with some wanting him gone and others wishing to give him another chance. Could go either way in my opinion, making for another intriguing summer for the Flyers.
LA PRESSE: Marc Tougas reports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Tomas Kaberle expects to be bought out of the remaining year of his contract, while fellow defenseman Yannick Weber (a restricted free agent this summer) hopes to stay with the Habs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE; Kaberle was a healthy scratch most of this season and in the playoffs. The Habs have one compliance buyout left and it’s got Kaberle’s name written on it. As for Weber, I expect the Canadiens will try to package him in a deal for either a big scoring forward or a physical defenseman.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts, in the aftermath of Game Four of the Leafs-Bruins series, recently added his voice to the chorus calling upon the Leafs to trade Dion Phaneuf this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for Phaneuf, GM Dave Nonis won’t base his decision on the blueliner’s future upon what the media wants.