Next season’s rising cap will have an effect upon the free agent market, plus the latest on Paul Stastny, Evander Kane, the Maple Leafs, Sabres and more.
TSN.CA: With the salary cap significantly rising next season and possibly reaching $100 million in a few years, Pierre LeBrun wondered if Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban accepts an eight-year deal or perhaps a shorter-term in hopes of cashing in for more down the road as an unrestricted free agent…With superstars like Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos coming to the end of their current deals within the next couple of years, Bob McKenzie wondered which ones could “break the bank” seeking an annual player maximum of between $12-$14 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting decision facing the Subban camp, as he would undoubtedly earn even more down the road if he were to sign a three – four year deal taking him into UFA eligibility…Stamkos could become the big earner when he signs his next contract.
TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski reports the salary cap rising to $71 million next season increases the likelihood of Dion Phaneuf signing an extension with the Maple Leafs. Other Leafs due for new contracts include James Reimer, Nikolai Kulemin, Jay McClement, Mason Raymond and Trevor Smith.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The extra $7 million of cap space next season almost certainly means Phaneuf gets re-signed.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ed Willes believes the bloom may be off the rose between Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets, believing the club is viewing Kane as more trouble than he’s worth. Willes then seemed to suggest the Canucks should try to acquire Kane, a Vancouver native.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still believe talk of the Jets growing disenchanted with Kane is overblown. He’s only 22 and a promising talent. Trading him now could backfire on the Jets While there could be tension between Kane and coach Claude Noel, I don’t believe it’s reached the point where Kane must be moved.
DENVER POST: Yet another report speculating over Paul Stastny’s future with the Colorado Avalanche and if he could be moved at the trade deadline. Adrian Dater says he’s been told the Montreal Canadiens are scouting Stastny, while the Toronto Maple Leafs also need a center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pierre LeBrun recently reported a Canadiens source strongly denied they had interest in Stastny. Expect the speculation over the Avs center to carry on up to the March 5 trade deadline.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford wonders if NY Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is angling for a roster shakeup, noting his recent critical comments of Benoit Pouliot, Michael Del Zotto and the Rangers roster in general.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure GM Glen Sather would love to make a move to shake things up, but with 23 NHL teams carrying an average of $5 million or less in cap space, there’s not a lot of willing trade partners making decent offers right now. Vigneault could be stuck with his current lineup for a while.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Bucky Gleason believes Sabres under-achieving, overpaid winger Ville Leino will be gone before next season. Gleason also speculates pending UFAs Steve Ott and Matt Moulson could be shopped.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to use a compliance buyout to dump Leino because there’s no one out there who’ll take his $4.5 million per season salary off their hands. I expect Ott and Moulson get shopped by the March trade deadline.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports a source claims Islanders management don’t perceive coach Jack Capuano as the factor behind their struggles this season, and won’t be fired anytime soon.