The Leafs could be forced to trade Cody Franson or buy out John-Michael Liles, Cory Emmerton could be odd man out with the Red Wings, plus updates on Adam Henrique and Johan Hedberg.
NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos believes Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis must either trade defenseman Cody Franson or buy out John-Michael Liles to free up cap space for 2013-14.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis could also demote a player or two with contracts worth less than $1 million this coming season, but that would be merely a stop-gap and wouldn’t fully address the problem. Nonis could also try trading someone else, like Dion Phaneuf, but given this summer’s stagnant trade market, that doesn’t appear a likely option.
Franson would have more value on this summer’s trade market (young, affordable) but he was also the leading scorer among Leafs defensemen and made significant improvement under coach Randy Carlyle.
It’s unlikely Nonis will find many takers for Liles on the trade market given his age (32), salary ($3.875 million cap hit) and his limited no-trade clause.
The common sense solution is a buyout, which the Leafs are allowed to do because they had a player file for arbitration. The buyout window is from August 2 to August 4.
A buyout of Liles is staggered so that it only costs $875K per season in the first two years, jumps to over $2 million against the cap in year three, then falls to a more manageable $1.25 million per season in the final three years. Yes, that’s still expensive, but if the salary cap rises over that period, the Leafs (hockey’s wealthiest team) can afford it.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James believes if Darren Helm is healthy this coming season, Cory Emmerton could become odd man out on the Red Wings.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports Devils forward Adam Henrique isn’t worried by the fact he’s yet to re-sign a new contract, saying there’s no real deadline toward getting a deal done, but hopes it’s done soon. Former Devils goalie Johan Hedberg, meanwhile, has received some interest from NHL and European teams, but nothing that was a fit with his family planning to live in New Jersey after spending the summer in Sweden.