Has Tim Thomas played his last game as a Bruins? Will the Blackhawks consider trading Patrick Kane? Will Nicklas Lidstrom retire? Are changes coming for the Penguins defense corps? Read on for the latest!
BOSTON HERALD/BOSTON GLOBE: Ron Borges suggested the clock is ticking for goalie Tim Thomas’ tenure with the Bruins, as his no-trade clause lifts on July 1st, and Tuukka Rask is waiting in the wings. Kevin Paul Dupont, however, points out Thomas is still a good goalie, and it’s uncertain if Rask is ready to take over as the starter. Dupont believes Thomas will return next season, the final one of his contract. ESPN’s Jimmy Murphy, however, predicted Thomas will be dealt in the off-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the absence of quality starters in this summer’s UFA market, Thomas could be of interest to teams seeking a short-term solution for their goaltending while they await a younger goalie prospect to develop. Still, with only one year left on his contract, it wouldn’t hurt the Bruins to keep Thomas in the fold for one more season, though if they do that, I’d expect Rask will see more starts than Thomas.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Steve Rosenbloom suggested the Blackhawks should consider trading Patrick Kane this summer to bolster their depth, perhaps landing a regular second line center. Chris Kuc, however, reports Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman sees Kane as the club’s second line center, and also reported veteran Andrew Brunette could face retirement, as he’s not expected to be re-signed. David Hough believes the Blackhawks still need to make bold moves to shake things up, suggesting they gauge trade interest in defenseman Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Didn’t take long to shoot down the suggestion of trading Kane. Keith, meanwhile, has a full “no-movement” clause and I doubt management will seriously consider moving him. Sharp could be a consideration for a trade, but his lengthy, expensive contract could prove hard to move, plus he’s also become one of their core players. With over $57 million invested in 20 players, I don’t believe Bowman will consider any serious shakeups, but will try to bolster his blueline depth.
DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings are hoping captain Nicklas Lidstrom will return for another season, and it’s possible he might try to convince management to bring back fading forward Tomas Holmstrom.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Lidstrom returns, I don’t believe Holmstrom will be part of the package. Lidstrom will understand if management opts not to re-sign his long-time friend and teammate.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE/PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins GM Ray Shero took responsibility for his team’s disappointing finish to this season, and expects to bring back Dan Bylsma as head coach. Potentially complicating his plans for this summer is a new CBA on the horizon. He also said his goal was to re-sign Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, who will be eligible for UFA status next summer. Crosby didn’t appear to indicate any intention of exploring next year’s UFA market, but Staal seemed to leave the door open by saying he’ll see what the future holds, though he said he loved playing in Pittsburgh, which is a huge factor for him. Shero defended blueliners Paul Martin and Zybnek Michalek, who struggled in the playoffs, but it’s believed changes could be coming to the Penguins blueline corps.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Staal could be dealt this summer for a top defenseman, which he would certainly land the Penguins if he were put on the trade block, but I don’t believe Shero intends to do anything that dramatic. He’s also in no hurry to move Staal, who won’t be a UFA until next summer. While Shero will undoubtedly try to shore up his blueline depth this summer, he could wait until after the new CBA is implemented to make significant moves.