Updates on Alexander Ovechkin, Ryan Kesler and Andrew MacDonald, plus the latest Jets speculation.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports of rumors a KHL team could try to lure Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, if not this summer then in the next few years. LeBrun contacted KHL president Alexander Medvedev about this possibility. Medvedev said under the terms of the memo of understanding between the NHL and KHL, Ovechkin would have to negotiate his way out of his current NHL contract before he could join a KHL team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun noted, Ovechkin has given no indication he would go that route. Maybe in a few years that might change but I see him staying with the Capitals and the NHL.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports just-ousted Canucks GM Mike Gillis had a plan in place to try to retain center Ryan Kesler, which adds up because Canucks ownership isn’t thrilled with the idea of a rebuild. TSN and ESPN insider Pierre LeBrun believes that could change under new president Trevor Linden. Botchford thinks the organization probably believes it’s now best to trade Kesler.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t need a major overhaul yet, but they will if they don’t take measures now. Moving Kesler is their best option, though his limited no-trade clause narrows the number of potential suitors.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Servalli reports the Flyers intent is to re-sign defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who they acquired at the trade deadline. MacDonald has expressed a willingness to stay, but Seravalli suggests salary could be the sticking point in a new deal. MacDonald could make big bucks if he tests this summer’s UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacDonald was making $550K per season on his current deal and was rumored seeking $5 million per from the Islanders before he was traded. Perhaps his asking price will be a little less than that if he’s willing to remain a Flyer.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait and Gary Lawless offer up their views as to the priorities facing Jets management this summer. Both agree re-signing or replacing Paul Maurice as head coach is the priority. Tait also believes they must address their shaky goaltending, which could mean trading or buying out current starter Ondrej Pavelec, They must also decide if they’ll keep or retain Evander Kane and bolstering the third and fourth line depth. Lawless suggests retaining Maurice could help their efforts to bring back Alexander Burmistrov, who spent this season in the KHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I offered up my take on the Jets in a recent THN.com column. I’ve got nothing to add.