Lots of speculation over possible off-season moves by the Canucks and Canadiens, while Dion Phaneuf could face an uncertain future in Toronto.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE/VANCOUVER SUN: Jim Jamieson and Brad Ziemer believe the Canucks will use one of their two amnesty buyouts on defenseman Keith Ballard. Jamieson also suggested winger David Booth could be a buyout candidate. The Canucks are pressed against next season’s cap ceiling of $64.3 million and must shed salary to become cap compliant.
Ziemer and the Province’s Jason Botchford also report Roberto Luongo expects to be dealt this summer. Luongo doesn’t see himself returning with the Canucks next season, believing it’s time to move on.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been suggested the Canucks could get a better return by keeping Luongo and trading Schneider, but that’s just plain stupid. Luongo wants to move on, management wants to retain Schneider, and Canucks fans prefer Schneider over Luongo. The ship has sailed. Even if the Canucks get almost nothing back in return for Luongo and pick up part of his salary, he must be traded. Otherwise, they’ll have to use one of their two compliance buyouts on him, which would be better used on Ballard and Booth.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Mike Boone believes the Canadien need to get bigger, calling on management to pursue a tough winger and a physical stay-at-home defenseman in the off-season. Boone doubts the Habs re-sign pending UFA Michael Ryder. “Total crap against Ottawa, while playing for a new contract.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Boone’s assessment of the Habs needs. They’re not the “smurfs” they once were, but the Canadiens need more size and strength. They don’t need goons, but rather another winger like Brandon Prust (who more than proved his worth this season for the Habs), and a physical d-man capable of logging big minutes. There isn’t much available via the UFA market, but there will be teams dumping salary to become cap compliant this summer. Marc Bergevin and his staff did well in their first season in the Habs front office, but there’s more work to be done.
CBC.CA: Tim Wharnsby suggests Dion Phaneuf’s defensive gaffe leading to the Bruins OT goal in Game Four magnified the fact the eight-year veteran is still making rookie mistakes. Phaneuf has one season left on his contract and Wharnsby believes Phaneuf’s future in Toronto is in question.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, the Leafs could dump Phaneuf this summer, but who do you replace him with? The Leafs blueline still needs work, and ripping out Phaneuf without finding a suitable replacement could do more harm than good.