Latest on Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Alexander Ovechkin, Jordan Eberle, Mike Richards, Johan Franzen and more.
STLTODAY.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jeremy Rutherford reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong is considering changes for his roster following another disappointing early exit form the playoffs. He cited the difficulty of adding scoring via free agency and trades. He also intends to meet with goalie Ryan Miller to determine if he has a future in St. Louis. Armstrong also intends to promote promising goalie Jake Allen into the lineup next season. It’s expected the Blues will pick up the option year in coach Ken Hitchcock’s contract. Rory Boylen believes the Blues shouldn’t bother re-signing Miller and instead use their cap space to add a game-breaking scorer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Miller accepts a one-year deal worth around $5 million, he probably won’t return with the Blues. With Paul Stastny and Thomas Vanek available in this summer’s UFA market, it wouldn’t surprise me if Armstrong pursues one of them. While finding scoring punch via trade isn’t easy, Armstrong has depth to swing a deal if possible.
TWINCITIES.COM/LA PRESSE: Charley Walters believes the Minnesota Wild will pursue Montreal Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek via this summer’s UFA market. Richard Labbe reports Vanek’s agent Stephen Bartlett claims his client is open the possibility of re-signing with the Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t get your hopes up, Habs fans. While the Canadiens have a projected $27 million in cap space this summer (based on a projected cap ceiling of $71 million), half of that gets eaten up in new contracts for defensemen P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov. Yep, I believe the Habs will re-sign Markov, probably a three-year deal at $5.5 million per. Subban’s new contract will be worth around $8.5 million annually. They must also replace or re-sign Lars Eller, Brian Gionta, Dale Weise, Ryan White, Francis Bouillon, Mike Weaver, George Parros and Douglas Murray. If they succeed in re-signing Vanek for, say, $7 million per season they’ll have $21 million locked up in three players. That won’t leave much to re-sign or replace their other free agents.
The Wild, meanwhile, have over $48 million invested in 17 players, with fewer key players to re-sign or replace than the Habs. I believe they stand a better chance of signing Vanek (who has tied to the state of Minnesota) than the Canadiens have of re-signing him.
CBC.CA/WASHINGTON POST: Mike Brophy points out the benefits for the Capitals of trading Alexander Ovechkin, Dan Steinberg examines the notion Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is too close to Ovechkin. Barry Svrluga believes it doesn’t matter who the Capitals next GM is, as the club’s future remains in Ovechkin’s hands.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, an Ovechkin trade could fetch the Capitals a nice bounty. Doesn’t mean the new Capitals GM (whoever it is) will seriously consider that option. They’ll look to rebuild around Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Ray Ferraro suggesting the Oilers should shop winger Jordan Eberle to St. Louis for center Patrik Berglund.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This trade suggestion makes absolutely no sense for the Oilers. As Staples points out, Eberle is the best player in the deal. Berglund isn’t fair value.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently wondered if Kings GM Dean Lombardi could use one of his compliance buyouts on slumping forward Mike Richards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting suggestion. I doubt the Kings could get good value for Richards, whose contract has six years remaining on it at $5.75 million per season. They could pick up part of that contract, though there could be salary cap recapture penalties to consider if he retires before the deal expires in 2019.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough cites reports from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that Red Wings GM Ken Holland could consider using a compliance buyout for Jordin Tootoo if a trade can’t be found. Holland has no intention of buying out Johan Franzen.