Updates on Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Bernier, Sean Couturier and more.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero intends to meet with Evgeni Malkin’s agent this week to begin contract talks, with both sides keen to get a new deal as soon as possible. Rossi also suggests a new contract for Malkin could make it difficult for Shero to retain Kris Letang, suggesting Letang could be dealt if an agreement cannot be reached. Letang, like Malkin, will be a UFA next summer. He could command a significant raise (perhaps starting at $7 million per season, going as high as $8 million-plus), and seek at least a five-year extension, or as high as eight years. The Penguins also believe they can re-sign UFA Pascal Dupuis and will start negotiating with Dupuis’ agent next week.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Pascal Dupuis expressed his desire to remain a Penguin, citing in part his family’s love of the Pittsburgh area.
TRIBLIVE.COM/POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins coach Dan Bylsma claims Marc-Andre Fleury remains the Penguins starting goalie now and in the future. It’s expected Penguins goalie coach Gilles Meloche will resign.
TIMESONLINE: Mark Madden calls for sweeping changes to the Penguins, which includes replacing Bylsma as coach, cutting loose UFAs Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Mark Eaton and Matt Cooke (if he wants a three-year deal), trading Tyler Kennedy, re-signing Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams, and trading Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t see how the Penguins can keep faith in Fleury when his struggles over the past four seasons have been quite obvious. Trading Letang is easy, but finding a suitable replacement for his offensive skills is another. Unless Shero can replace Letang’s skills, he shouldn’t move him. If they move or buy out Fleury, they’ll have enough room to re-sign Dupuis and Adams, and leave enough to add some affordable depth from within, or via trade and free agency. At least we can put those Malkin trade rumors to rest. He’s not going anywhere.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lisa Dillman looks at potential moves by Kings GM Dean Lombardi this summer. His priorities will be dealing with UFAs Dustin Penner and Rob Scuderi, RFA blueliner Slava Voynov and goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Dillman expects Voynov will be re-signed ( though he’ll be expensive), while Lombardi will probably field offers for Bernier this summer. Scuderi’s future could depend on the injured Willie Mitchell’s recovery. Dillman suggests the Kings let Penner depart and promote a young player like Tyler Toffoli or Tanner Pearson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lombardi will re-sign Voynov and I expect Bernier will be shopped, especially since he requested a trade last year. I think Lombardi will retain Scuderi and let Penner go.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Joe Yerdon cited recent “tweets” by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who expects the Philadelphia Flyers could buy out Ilya Bryzgalov, and might move one of their young centers (Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn) for the right deal to land a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKenzie noted it’s not carved in stone Bryzgalov gets bought out. While it appears the logical choice, and the Flyers ownership can afford it, there’s apparently indecision over Bryzgalov’s status among the Flyers front office. If they hope to land a quality defenseman, it will take moving a promising young forward like Couturier or Schenn.