Who will the Rangers re-sign or cut loose to free agency? Will the Oilers be active in the UFA market? Could the Red Wings trade Stephen Weiss? Read on for the latest.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers are expected to use their final compliance buyout on Brad Richards, freeing up over $6.66 million to invest in their roster this summer. The Rangers currently have only 13 players under contract.
Brooks anticipates Chris Kreider and John Moore will receive two-year “bridge deals”, while Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard are each a year shy of UFA status with arbitration rights this summer. He anticipates the latter two could each command up to $4.5 million annually on multi-year deals, though he speculates Brassard could become a trade chip if negotiations prove difficult.
Pending UFA Anton Stralman could cost up to $4. 5 million annually. Benoit Pouliot could cost up to $2.4 million annually on a two-year deal. The biggest question is Brian Boyle, as Brooks speculates he could earn around $3.3 million annually via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buying out Richards will free up more cap space, but the Rangers must be careful not to overpay guys like Pouliot and Boyle. They are more in control with Kreider and Moore as the duo are coming off entry-level deals and lack arbitration rights. Zuccarello and Brassard will be expensive to retain, as could Stralman. Even by clearing Richards salary, it’s possible the Rangers won’t be able to retain everyone. What could also affect these negotiations is what plans, if any, the Rangers have to be active in the trade and/or free agent markets.
EDMONTON SUN: Terry Jones reports Oilers GM Craig MacTavish would like to add four or five players to his roster for next season. “One or two through trades and two or three unrestricted free agents,” said MacTavish, who would prefer to get the trades done before free agency. Acquiring a puck-moving defenseman is his priority, which MacTavish acknowledged will have to come via trade. He also hopes to land a defending blueliner. The Oilers GM says his club is in good position to take on salary for next season. There’s speculation he could revisit last summer’s interest in Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn. MacTavish said he’s not the only one making calls as he’s been contacted by other clubs as well. The Oilers also need size up front.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take trades to address the Oilers needs as they could find it difficult doing so through free agency. While they have cap space, Edmonton hasn’t been a preferred destination in recent years for free agents. Expect MacTavish to target clubs in need of shedding cap space this summer.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan responded to a reader’s question about the possibility of the Detroit Red Wings trading Stephen Weiss. Khan doesn’t consider Weiss tradable as he has another four years and $19.6 million remaining on his contract. The Wings hope a healthy Weiss can fill their second-line center role next season.