A look at the off-season plans for the Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets & Calgary Flames, plus the Canucks place Keith Ballard on waivers.
OTTAWA CITIZEN/OTTAWA SUN: Senators GM Bryan Murray faces a busy free agent period, as he must re-sign several key players (including team captain Daniel Alfredsson) plus find a top-six scoring winger and a veteran defenseman to replace the departed Sergei Gonchar. The Senators reportedly made a play for Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan but the asking price was too high. They could consider potential free agent Pascal Dupuis though he might get more money elsewhere. The Senators also have to consider a new contract for coach Paul MacLean.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Again, don’t worry about Alfredsson’s contract talks, Senators fans. He’ll be re-signed, as will MacLean. The Senators prefer to address their needs for a winger and defenseman by drawing from their prospect depth as trade bait, but they could face having to dip into the UFA market to fill one of those spots.
CALGARY HERALD/CALGARY SUN: Flames GM Jay Feaster will focus on re-signing RFAs like TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Chris Butler and Mark Cundari. It’s believed winger Mike Cammalleri is on the trade block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE; Unless the Flames are willing to pick up half of the final season of Cammalleri’s contract ($6 million cap hit, $7 million in actual salary), they’ll either have to buy him out or let him play out the final year of his contract.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will keep an eye on the UFA market, as it could be bolstered by players receiving compliance buyouts. “Certainly, there’s lots of players that could be available, but you have to look down deep sometimes about why some of those players could be available and (whether) it’s something that fits from your perspective moving forward as well,” said Cheveldayoff.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound like Cheveldayoff is planning any big splashes in this summer’s UFA pool.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have placed defenseman Keith Ballard on waivers in what’s perceived as a last attempt to avoid buying him out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With two years at $4.2 million per season left on his contract, I don’t see another club picking Ballard off waivers.