More speculation over Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner, the Predators plan for a “very busy off-season”, while Mathieu Garon and Ryan Malone could be coming to the end of their time in Tampa Bay.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: If it comes down to a choice between moving Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov, Jonathan Willis believes the Oilers should move the former.
EDMONTON SUN: Derek van Diest reports Oilers center Sam Gagner, a restricted free agent this summer, is hoping to reach a contract extension allowing him to stay through the club’s rebuilding process.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish hinted at making bold moves in the off-season, it remains to be seen what he has in mind, let alone if they involve Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner or any of the other young Oilers stars. Of the group, Gagner’s contract situation could make him a trade candidate, though he’s been a fixture in the rumor mill the past couple of seasons. This time, however, Gagner is in line for a significant raise, and the Oilers willingness to pay it will determine his future in Edmonton.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reported Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz recently said he expected his club, having been eliminated from playoff contention, will be “very busy” this summer. The Preds have close to $22 million in cap space this summer, with Patric Hornqvist and Roman Josi their only notable free agents. Cooper subsequently interviewed Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, who said the club has the financial flexibility to bolster its roster, stressing the Predators would be a ‘cap team’ in the coming years, especially after Shea Weber’s front-loaded deal goes down in three years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation the Predators could try to move Weber after July 24, a year to the day they matched the Flyers expensive offer sheet last summer. GM David Poile, however, has rejected that notion, citing Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne as the two players he intends to build around. Cooper noted the declining salary cap for next season could force some high-salaried teams to dump some contracts via trade and buyouts, which could work in the Predators favor. Despite missing the playoffs this season, the Predators remain a well-regarded franchise, and having two stars like Weber and Rinne could prove attractive to some free agents.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Backup goalie Mathieu Garon understands his time with the Lightning is winding down. The Bolts intend to go with recently-acquired Ben Bishop and currently-sidelined Anders Lindback as their tandem next season, meaning Garon won’t be re-signed this summer.
RDS.CA: Renaud Lavoie suggests Lightning forward Ryan Malone could become an amnesty buyout candidate this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Bolts have around $2.6 million in cap space for next season, they must create more room if they’re to bolster their lineup for next season. They’ll get around $3.6 million free up by placing Mattias Ohlund (knee injuries) on LTIR, but that won’t be enough. Buying out Vincent Lecavalier’s huge contract makes the most sense, but I don’t know if GM Steve Yzerman is willing to do that this year. Malone, who’s been hampered by injuries in recent years, could be a more likely buyout candidate.