Updates on Parise, Karlsson, Luongo, Niemi and Mason.

More on the Hurricanes willingness to pursue Zach Parise if he becomes a UFA, Erik Karlsson’s contract talks, more speculation on where Roberto Luongo could go, and the latest on Antti Niemi and Steve Mason.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Luke DeCock reports of a “none-too-subtle whispering campaign” linking the Carolina Hurricanes to New Jersey Devils winger Zach Parise, if he becomes a UFA this summer. DeCock also suggests if they fail to land Parise, they might wait a year and try to sign Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal, brother of Hurricanes captain Eric, if he becomes a UFA next summer. Three players who could be available via trade include Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, Columbus’ Rick Nash and San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, though none have indicated any interest in coming to Carolina. The Hurricanes have depth in young defensemen they could offer up in trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have indicated they’re willing to spend to bolster their scoring depth, particularly a scoring winger for Eric Staal’s line. For now, the best bet is Parise, though it remains to be seen what his intentions are, and if he does become a UFA, if he’d be willing to entertain coming to Carolina. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to convince Iginla, Nash or Marleau to come to Carolina if any of those three become available on the trade market, as it’s believed they’d prefer to go to Cup contenders. As for Jordan Staal, odds are the Penguins could re-sign him, but if they were to trade him, it could be to a Western Conference club. For now, everything is in wait-and-see mode, with the Hurricanes focus likely to be upon Parise. Should be interesting to see what “Plan B” they might have if they fail to land him.

How much to re-sign Karlsson?

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Allen Panzeri reports Senators owner Eugene Melnyk appeared to set the stage for potentially difficult contract talks with Norris-nominated defenseman Erik Karlsson, suggesting Karlsson will have to be reasonable with his contract demands. “We can pay you, but it has to be within a reasonable budget”, said Melnyk, who earlier this season praised Karlsson by suggesting the young defenseman could become one of the all-time greats.  Panzeri speculates, based on current salaries paid to top young defensemen, Karlsson’s new salary should come in between $6.5-$7.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk didn’t specify what he meant by “reasonable” in terms of what his club was prepared to offer Karlsson, but Panzeri’s range would be the correct one. If they can get Karlsson locked up for between $6.5-$7 million per season, the Sens should consider themselves lucky. Karlsson’s agent will not only cite his client’s Norris nomination, but also Melnyk’s comments about Karlsson potentially becoming one of the greats. And if Karlsson wins the Norris, well, the salary just climbed into the $7.5 million range. For more on Karlsson, check out my Kukla’s Korner blog.

FACEOFF.COM/SPORTSNET.CA:  Edmonton Journal columnist Jim Matheson believes Toronto will be the destination for Roberto Luongo, while Mike Brophy makes the case for the Maple Leafs to consider more affordable options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And the Luongo guessing game, along with it’s little brother, “Will Burke Trade for Luongo?”, grinds on. The earliest we can expect to see something happen regarding Luongo is likely the week leading up to the June Entry Draft Weekend, slated for June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz wondered if San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi might be of interest to the Columbus Blue Jackets, speculating on the possibility of Niemi being part of a package offer to bring Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash to San Jose.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. Kurz warns that Niemi-to-Columbus is purely speculation on his part. Given the lack of promising starters in their system, and the difficulty of replacing Niemi, I doubt Sharks GM Doug Wilson trades him as part of any package for Nash, who might not be willing to go to a Western Conference team, based on rumors which popped up over his potential trade destinations prior to the February trade deadline.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline recently speculated on what the Blue Jackets might do with goaltender Steve Mason, who has failed to play up to the promise of his rookie campaign back in 2008-09. Trading him is an option, but a difficult one given his $3.2 million salary for next season and his poor performance.


  1. Parise

    The Hurricanes are among 30 teams that are willing to be serious with trying to land Parise…not sure why they are being singled out. If its about winning as well as money for Parise, I dont see Carolina being his destination….every kid dreams of playing for an Original 6 team first and foremost …and thats where your legacy and history can be told after you retire …not in Carolina …..sorry Canes aint happening !!!!

    Melnyk better not make the same mistake they made on Chiara and sign Karlson to a long term deal for guarenteed money and I would say he will get Weber money $7 million for 10 years and that may be the deal.
    There is no way he will make more than Weber…. NO WAY!!

    Luongo will not be a Leaf ….he will be in Tampa!!!
    Steve Yzerman does not have QUALITY tradeable assets to get another legit # 1 goalieso Luongo makes more sense to to Yzerman, he will make his move first and has a better relationship with Vancouver Management to do the deal …just the way it is!!

    Moving Niemei is possible …sure …but why in the world would Marleau waive to finish his career for a last place team in the windy cold city of Columbus and not even get to play with Nash when he gets there …dont see it at all!
    San joses problems are not just adding a Nash type player they need a stud on defense and they also need to start getting younger not older so trading young assets for older ones may not be wise, there only trade bait is Pavelski and Niemi.

    Steve Mason
    He needs a change of scenery and could be a really good option for a team looking to bolster the goalie depth on the team ….he can share a load but would be a better back up at this point …but could fill in very nicely for a team that may have an issue with injuries for the starter …If Boston moves Thomas …Mason would be a great addition to back up Rask !!!

    • We have more quality prospects and picks then most teams. Perhaps you should look up who we have before making a blanket statement like that. AHL Rookie of the year and AHL MVP Coy Conacher. AHL Defensemen of the year Mark Barberio. 3 guys in the Top 10 AHL scoring, to of which are rookies. Our Tandem goalies in the AHL are top ten for wins in the league. ECHL pat Nagle is leading the Everblades to the conference finals. The London Knights Valdislav Namestnikov is in the oHL finals. JYP Wins the SM-liiga Championship
      Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 45/46, 0.90 GAA, .978 sv%
      Playoff totals: 13 GP, 11-2-0, 0 SO, 1.73 GAA, .947 sv%
      Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%. Danick Gauthier is on his way to leading the St. Johns Sea Dogs to another QMJHL Championship. Please check you fact before you throw something at the wall to see if it sticks. We also have plenty more, but quite frankly this should do.

      • Right on BoltsNation! I love what Yzerman has been doing by gathering this great young kids, building us up like the 90’s Redwings. We have a good chance to get Luongo but I hope we don’t give up too much to get him. I can’t wait to see some of these kids starting to make the big team over the next few years. I for one love building through draft and signings rather than trade.

      • Sorry but you obviously don’t watch much hockey if you think Conacher will ever see time in the NHL. Barberio is another long shot, who will have to put up big numbers to stick and any ECHL player will be very very hard pressed to make the NHL. Outside the NHL youth of Brett Connolly and Keith Aulle your basically have one good prospect (amestnikov) and that’s why Hockey’s future has you listed as 25TH overall in prospect depth. None or even all of your non NHLers land lou. Sorry but true. you are going to have to trade Malone+ a first + a prospect or something.

  2. Parise also said he wants to win a Cup, which is something Carolina has done in the past decade- in sharp contrast to Original Six teams New York, Montreal and the eternally rebuilding Leafs. And the Hurricanes have had some pretty good players choose to stay on with them when they had other options, such as Ronnie Francis and Rod Brindamour. I’d be a bit surprised to see Parise end up in Carolina, but only a bit.

    I thought Luongo was a shoo-in to go to Florida, Slap? Tampa is a possibility, but Yzerman has a couple of promising goalies in the system that TB might feel can handle the load in less than a decade. Yzerman is building for the long term, and might not want another decade of Luongo when the last five years might be as an obscenely-paid backup. Toronto, on the other hand…Burke is on the hot seat in a big way, and even in the best of times isn’t a patient man. He needs to make a big splash to save his job, and Luongo could steal enough games to do that. Burke sure isn’t going to worry about that contract, because if he doesn’t start winning he won’t be around for another season.

    If Boston moves Thomas, they’re going to want a solid veteran presence to back him up- not a young, disgruntled, erratic former starter like Mason. Mason would be best served by going to a team like the Devils, where he could back up Brodeur (if he stays around) for a year, maybe get some confidence back, and learn from one of the all-time greats.

  3. Parise: He will either a) resign in NJ, or b) go to a Contender.

    Luongo: We have all hashed out every single scenario and have come to only one conclusion: he is gone from Vancouver. As far as I am concerned, as long as he doesn’t end up in Anaheim, I don’t really care. It would be quite funy to see him in on the Leafs- get them into the playoffs, and then not play well enough for them to do anything… for the next 8 seasons! (That’s why Burke won’t make this move)

    Nash: SJ would be wise to try to get Nash, even if it cost them Niemi. I think they can find an equal replacement out on the goalie market (Vokoun?). Not sure if Nash wants to go there, but he is goign to have to loosen his trade demands, or else he will have to renew his Ohio driver’s license.

    Mason: He has already renewed his.

  4. Nikk, Luongo got Vancouver to the Stanley cup finals. I think he’s been a tad over-rated in the past, but I don’t think he’s the playoff choke artist everyone paints him out to be. Wasn’t Schneider in net the last two games against LA?

    Golfpens, The only thing I’ll disagree with you on is Burke. He is a patient man, almost to his detriment. He’s put alot of stock into developing players here, when gm’s in the past have used our prospects as trade bait for vets. He is on the hot seat yes, but he’s been really patient with our prospects even when Leafs nation hasn’t.

    • I’m not saying he has been a choke artist, but he hasn’t been a difference maker and a game winner when it counts. He has had a history of nothing but underachieving oth in Florida and Vancouver. Yes, the expectation level for him is extremely high, but it should be for a goalie making that kind of coin. Given the committment required to take him on- his past performance doesnt warrant that kind of term- esspecially to a mediocre team like the Leafs, who are hoping that goaltending can be a strength of theirs. It’s different if Luongo goes to a real cup contender and doesn’t have to steal games.

      Don’t get me wrong he would be an upgrade for the Leafs, but that is a very long time to committ to a guy who is always going to make you a bit nervous when the games get more important. You don’t get those kind of shakes when talking about Kippur, Rinne, Price, Miller, Brodeur (maybe a bit now!), Ward, Lundqvist.

  5. No question that Karlsson had a great year and he is an offensive machine but I am with Melnyk on this one. How many teams have descended into cap hell by by overpaying players but the GM’s can’t seem to help themselves. How well did Karlsson fare against the physical Rangers in the first round of the playoffs? Exactly!! The Sens should proceed with caution before opening the bank vaults too widely. Having said that, $5 million per year is a nice income for a 22 year old.

  6. I think Parise will end up resigning, or going to Detroit. Mason to NJ doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Luongo will probably be a Lead or Panther. And IMO SJ should rebuild. How many years do the Sharks have to bow out in the first round before management realizes they have a problem? Dam, I stopped picking SJ players in my playoff pool like 3-4 years ago. Get rid of the core for picks/prospects and anchor yourself to the young guns for now.

  7. Karlsson should not get anything that nears $7M a season. That would be ridiculous to say the least. Yes, he is superbly skilled but he didn’t make anything yet. He has just begun. If i were Karlsson i’d sign a shorter term deal and then cash in on UFA market.


    It would be very cool to see Eric and Jordan play together. I don’t think the Penguins should consider trading Jordan only to a Western Conference team. You have to get the best deal and Carolina can offer some interesting pieces.


    The Toronto media is so hungry to just get a marquee name on the team, but also so hungry to then harass and abuse that player once he struggles; which Luongo could likely do as he did in Vancouver, which is nowhere near the pressure as Toronto.


    San Jose keeps changing stars too often. I think they just need stronger depth of character players. Big mistake in trading McGinn.


    Parise has not impressed much in the post-season. I doubt that the financially troubled Devils will be able to come up with a big multi-million dollar investment on another player.

    • I’d do 5 million for two years, like 10 mil hit. It’s long enough to see if he can keep the path, short enough to not have to empty to the banks for a bust.

  8. Nash is only 27 and swapping Nash for Marleau – the Sharks get younger. But I have to agree with Slap – the Sharks need to get younger on their D – they do need a stud – Boyle, White, Vandermeer and Murray are all over 32 and Murray is slow to boot. I really don’t know who they have in their pipeline, but maybe someone like Jason Garrison makes sense. I would love to see them do a deal with Buffalo for Roy and Weber in exchange for Pavelski or do a trade of Vanek and Roy for Pavelski and Clowe – hell, I’d even throw in Weber.

    • Pavelski & Clowe aren’t going anywhere.

      The bait are the older guys. Not these two.

  9. Columbus would be foolish to look toward Niemi to solve there goaltending woes. He can be very good but he can also be just awful. You need consistence in this league, teammates have to feel comfortable and confident in their goalie. I think any team that puts their fate in the hands of Niemi is setting themselves up for disappointment.

    • Like the Chicago blackhawks did?

  10. Like many have stated here before Parise would like to sign with a contender. IF he signs with a non-contender the only team I see him going to is Minnesota. He’d be going home and I’d be willing to bet the Wild would be backing up the Brinks truck to land him.

    Still think the best option for Carolina is flipping their 1st rd. pick (I think 8th overall) with Edmonton for 1st overall in the trade also send one of those young defensemen and another pick. Then 1st overall draft Yakupov to play with Staal. This would be the cheaper option saves you some cash to go after Jordan Staal next summer.

    Would make sense for Edmonton also because they get a young d-man and stay in the top ten to draft another young d-man which is really what they need. One of Trouba, Dumba, Murray, and Reilly will be there especially with all the forwards projected going top ten. In my opinion Edmonton should be hoping for Trouba or Dumba.

  11. I too see Parise if not in NJ but in Detroit.. a perennial Cup contender. They are getting older and need inflection of youth and can also take on Suter.

    As for Karlsson — Melnyk — you should learn to keep your mouth shut at times. This is something that should be dealt with in-house not through the media. You said.. you are HOPEFUL you get him signed? Let me tell you, if you let this kid walk now… you don’t deserve to own an NHL team. You used to spend to the Cap limit in previous years… but I guess the ex-wife got a big divorce settlement — right? You would have saved yourself a lot of bucks if you would have negotiated his contract in January not after the great year he had.. and the Norris nomination. It’s also unfortunate that his contract expires before the new CBA runs out.. as the league will cap those contracts coming out of the ELC. Sign him for 4 or 5 years 5-6M a year… He will make the big bucks after that…

  12. I have a feeling that this year you’re going to see alot more picks on the move in the off season than in years past. A team like Edmonton does not really need Yakupov right now. They need a defense. They could possibly fetch a few solid players for it in order to move down. Has anybody thought of this scenario? Leafs trade Schenn, Komisarek and Lombardi and a second or third to the Oilers for the first overall then Draft Galchenyuk and Yakupov?

  13. P.S did anybody hear about the Preds?
    Radulov and Kostitsyn on a team enforced suspension for game 3 for violating team rules. Any word on this at all or anything to do with details/what they did? Spector any ideas/have you heard anything?

    • Gotta be booze. I don’t like to stereotype, but Russians drink Vodka the way Westerners see Psychiatrists.

  14. Remember a once promissing defenceman named Wade Redden who cashed in with a couple of good years?

    Karlsson is a good defenceman with the potential to be a great one, but he’s not quite there yet and he should be happy with anything in the $5M to $6M range on any contract four years or more.

  15. @Big Boss
    They broke curfew is why they will be sitting out Game 3. Also the story is there is some discontent with a couple of players going out at night on their own without the rest of the team.

    Who is a contender anymore? Detroit is out, so is Boston, Pitt, Vancouver and a couple others that tons of people would call contenders. IMHO it looks like the 8th seed is going to be in the finals. So no one can honestly name anyone team a true contender anymore. This year shows that no one is safe.

    BTW Please note that Buffalo signed Myers to a cap hit of $5.5 not $6.5 or $7. If he, Karlsson, is looking for that kind of money this early in his career, he will find himself very disappointed given his limited success.

    • Yeah, Detroit, Boston, Pitts & Vancouver is out. By at least you get 100+ points being on each of these teams to get a look at the post season.

      You can ask the majority of Canada what the playoffs mean, a few places can’t even remember the last time we were there!

  16. Here’s a curveball to consider for everyone who is adamant that Luongo will not land in Tampa:

    What about Halak to Tampa for Ryan Malone straight up?

    Lightning get a young proven goalie who can grow with the team, who happens to have been coached by Guy Boucher. Blues already have Elliott and just need a somewhat reliable back up for him ( yes they had it in Bishop, but there are other veteran backups out there…like Mason!)
    blues get a power forward to add some more offense to a defense based team.

    • lol so a youn venzia quality goalie for an aging oft injured over paid winger
      Worst trade scenario ever. Halak is not for sale, and if he were you would need to pay Connolly + Aulle.

      Why the blues would even want Malone is beyond me, they could just throw that money at Parise.
      the lightning fans are killing me on here today!

  17. Difficulty to replace Niemi? Lack of promising starters ?
    just who do you think Niemi is? Next Hasek? I’ll tell you who Niemi is: an ox hard to move, a stout body that gets in the way of the puck … as long as it’s not high, as long as it doesn’t have to read a play , as long as it doesn’t matter where the rebound is, as long as it doesn’t have to get up for seconds. Niemi’s technical holes , aside from the 6, 7, 8, 9 and sometimes and 4, are the worst among NHL starters. His hockey IQ is average at best, his athleticism is laughable, mediocre speed and so on. His really only good quality is “unflapability” but most goalies are like that.
    Yes he won a cup as a rookie with one of the most ridiculously loaded team in recent history and for that reason alone a lot of the hockey world somehow thinks he is a bonafide “winner” hard to replace. Seriously? He is no better than the Sharks backup, Greiss, except Greiss never had the chances that were given to Niemi.
    The Sharks actually have a couple of good prospects but they are being ruined by the lack of a real goalie coach. Coresy Schwab is a nice guy but …
    Anyway, get over yourselves people ..Niemi is as replaceable as anybody else. And it could actually help the Sharks if they can manage to unload him and actually get some value in return.