Could Jonas Gustavsson played his final games with the Maple Leafs? Has Joey Crabb earned a new contract with the Leafs? Do Al Montoya and Steve Staios have futures with the Islanders?
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan suggests it’s not a stretch to assume Jonas Gustavsson has played his final game with the Maple Leafs, as there’s no back-to-back games left on the Leafs schedule. As long as James Reimer continues to play well, Gustavsson might finish the season on the bench.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mike Brophy reports Leafs forward Joey Crabb has proven this season he belongs in the NHL. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, and there could be interest in his services if the Leafs fail to re-sign him, though Crabb says his priority is to remain a Leaf.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s my guess Leafs GM Brian Burke will seek an experienced starting goalie to stabilize things between the pipes and act as a mentor for Reimer. I expect Gustavsson won’t be re-signed. As for Crabb, he’s only earning $725K this season, so he shouldn’t be a difficult re-signing. He’s a good energy forward and I would expect Burke would like to keep him in the fold.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports veteran defenseman Steve Staios, who’s poised to play his 1,000th career NHL game, hasn’t made a decision yet if he wants to return for a 17th NHL season, but said if he does decide to return, he’d prefer to do so with the Islanders. Staple also reported Saturday goaltender Al Montoya faces an uncertain future with the Islanders, who now have Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro under contract for next season, as well as rookies Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin waiting in the wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Funny thing about those who play for the Isles in recent years, as they all wish to re-sign with the team when they approach free agency. And we’re not talking about marginal players grateful to have jobs, but also their best players. If Staios wants to return it’s possible they could re-sign him, but I doubt Montoya returns, though his performance over the past couple of season should earn him a new contract with another NHL club in a backup role this summer.