Potential buyout candidates and offer sheet targets, plus the latest on the Senators, Blue Jackets and Capitals.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the NY Rangers better get Ryan McDonagh under contract quickly lest the Philadelphia Flyers (whom Brooks believes will buy out Ilya Bryzgalov) sends him an offer sheet this summer…He also believes Blues defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo could become offer sheet targets…He feels the New Jersey Devils have little choice but to pay Patrik Elias whatever he wants…Pascal Dupuis should cash in big with another club via this summer’s UFA market…Don Maloney’s commitment to the Phoenix Coyotes gives the club a better chance to retain head coach Dave Tippett.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Offer sheets are always a possibility, but they’re not a certainty, especially since only one player (Dustin Penner) has ever been successfully signed away in the salary cap era…I don’t think Elias will be unreasonable but the term of a new contract could determine if he stays or goes…I believe the reason the Penguins management made their big moves this season to push for a championship is they know they can’t afford to re-sign Dupuis long-term, not with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang due lengthy extensions, and Chris Kunitz due to become a UFA next summer. This is their last best chance with their present core…Given recent developments with the Coyotes, I expect Tippett will re-sign.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Benoit Rioux lists ten players most likely to receive a compliance buyout this summer. Topping the list is Montreal defenseman Tomas Kaberle, followed by Toronto’s Mike Komisarek, Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov and Daniel Briere, Vancouver’s Keith Ballard, the Rangers’ Brad Richards, New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov, the Islanders’ Rick DiPietro, Minnesota’s Dany Heatley and Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaberle, Komisarek, Ballard and DiPietro are certain buyouts. Briere also appears a certainty, but the Flyers could pull a swerve and retain him whilst buying out Bryzgalov, though there’s talk the Flyers front office is divided over that option. The Rangers could retain Richards for another season, but they do have several key players (McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin) to re-sign. If Heatley hasn’t fully recovered from late-season shoulder surgery, he’ll be ineligible for a buyout. I doubt the Lightning buy out Lecavalier this summer. Ditto the Devils with Volchenkov.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch and Don Brennan agree the Senators will part ways with pending UFAs Sergei Gonchar, Guilluame Latendresse and Peter Regin, suggesting GM Bryan Murray could search for a scoring winger. Brennan suggests pending UFAs Pascal Dupuis or David Clarkson could be targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators will have around $22 million in cap space for next season, though it remains to be seen if they spend up to the $64.3 million cap. Re-signing Daniel Alfredsson, Patrick Wiercioch and Erik Condra will cut into that cap space. Still, they’ll have room to pursue more scoring punch this summer.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline acknowledged Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky could be an offer sheet target while the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg is prepared to make him a significant offer, but noted Bobrovsky enjoyed playing in Columbus this season, and his preference would be to play in the NHL where the competition level is highest. Portzline also reported Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen admitted he’s been in touch with teams which need to shed salary this summer to become cap compliant and what they might seek in return for established players. The Blue Jackets have over $19 million in cap space this summer and three first round picks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Blue Jackets to be a busy team this summer. I expect a good chunk of that cap space ($6 million per season at least) will go to Bobrovsky, as I don’t expect the Jackets will let him get away via offer sheet or KHL offer, especially if he wins the Vezina Trophy. They also have to re-sign RFA forward Artem Anisimov and decide if they’ll re-sign UFA Vinny Prospal and defenseman Adrian Aucoin. I fully expect they’ll re-sign Anisimov, but the futures of Prospal and Aucoin in Columbus will depend upon who the Blue Jackets land via trade during the Entry Draft weekend and in the first ten days of July.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley suggest the cost to the Capitals of re-signing defenseman Karl Alzner could determine if they have enough cap space to re-sign UFA center Mike Ribeiro.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll re-sign Alzner – quite frankly, they have to – and I expect they’ll re-sign Matt Hendricks and Marcus Johansson, but doing so will eat up their available cap space, meaning they either let Ribeiro walk, or shed salary (Martin Erat? Michal Neuvirth? Jeff Schultz?) to find the room to re-sign him.