Bryan Bickell hopes to re-sign with the Blackhawks, the Red Wings have their eye on Bickell and his teammate Viktor Stalberg, while Raffi Torres hopes to re-sign with the Sharks.
CSNCHICAGO/ESPN CHICAGO: Re-signing winger Bryan Bickell has become a priority for Chicago Blackhawks management. Bickell is an unrestricted free agent this summer whose playoff performance has increased his value. Bickell would like to re-sign with the Blackhawks, but the length and value of his new contract could make it tough for the ‘Hawks, who have limited cap space and other free agents to consider retaining.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks currently have 21 players under contract for next season, but only a little over $2 million in cap space. Apart from Bickell, their other notable UFAs include backup goalie Ray Emery, defenseman Michal Rozsival, and forwards Viktor Stalberg, Michal Handzus and Jamal Mayers, plus RFAs Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger. That means, once again, the Blackhawks have to dump salary following a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Defenseman Steve Montador ($2.75 million) is a likely compliance buyout candidate, but they’ll have to shed more, leading to speculation they could try to move out Marian Hossa, either via buyout or trading him to a club which buys him out and then he re-signs a cheaper contract with the Blackhawks. Regardless, even if they free up enough to re-sign Bickell, they’ll barely have enough for Leddy and Kruger. Stalberg, Handzus, Mayers and perhaps Rozsival are goners.
DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: Helene St. James believes the Red Wings will have their eye upon Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg, while Ansar Khan reports the Wings are hoping to re-sign pending UFAs Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller, while Damien Brunner and the Wings hope to find common ground in contract talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have over $11 million in cap space, so they’ll have plenty to re-sign Brunner, Cleary and Miller, but in retaining their key free agents, they might not have enough to be major players in this summer’s UFA market. Don’t be surprised if they use their compliance buyouts this summer on Todd Bertuzzi ($2.o75 million) and Mikael Samuelsson ($3 million) to free up additional cap space.
CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz reports pending UFA winger Raffi Torres hopes to re-sign with the Sharks.