Updates on Jason Spezza, Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner, plus a look at which Flyers could be on the move this summer.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell warns the Senators will have a difficult time replacing Jason Spezza’s experience and offense if they trade him this summer. He speculates Spezza could be dealt to a Western Conference team like St. Louis and Colorado, and doubts the Senators will get equal value in return.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov wonders if Spezza would suit the Florida Panthers’ needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are going to face potentially losing Spezza for nothing next summer to free agency. If he’s willing to welcome a trade this summer, why not move him now and at least get something decent in return which can help your club down the road? As for the Panthers, if they’re on Spezza’s “no-trade” list, he won’t be going to Florida.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Dion Phaneuf and his agent are keeping mum on recent rumors the Leafs captain could be shopped this summer. “Dion and I treat this information as simply rumours,” agent Don Meehan said in an e-mail. “As such, we don’t really feel obligated to comment further in this regard.”
SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange wonders what the return of coach Randy Carlyle means for defenseman Jake Gardiner, a restricted free agent who is rumored no fan of Carlyle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Phaneuf camp aren’t commenting on the recent trade rumors. Unless the Leafs publicly announce they’re shopping Phaneuf, there’s no reason for the blueliner and his agent to comment on the speculation. If he’s still with the Leafs when training camp opens, however, he can expect to be pestered daily by reporters about his trade status.
As for Gardiner, if he’s truly pissed about Carlyle’s return he could reject the Leafs qualifying offer and hope it forces the Leafs to trade him or he receives an unmatchable offer sheet from a rival club. The Leafs still hold his rights if he rejects their offer, and he lacks arbitration rights. He could then stage a holdout going into next season hoping to force a trade.
PHILLY.COM/CSNPHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi wonders if it would make sense for the Flyers to convince an ageing Kimmo Timonen to return for one more NHL season. Re-signing him could squeeze the Flyers for cap space which would hamper their efforts to add a quality winger. Tim Panaccio recently evaluated the Flyers offence. He doesn’t expect pending UFAs Steve Downie and Adam Hall to return, and consider Brayden Schenn’s contract status (he’s a restricted free agent) and Vincent Lecavalier’s future with the club among new GM Ron Hextall’s priorities this summer.