The latest on the Rangers, Sabres, and Islanders, an update on P.K. Subban’s contract talks, Dmitry Kulikov and more.
NBC SPORTS: In the wake of the New York Rangers re-signing Henrik Lundqvist, Jason Brough believes GM Glen Sather faces some tough questions, including determining the worth of pending UFAs Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi. Brough also believes if Sather trades Michael Del Zotto he’ll have to find another puck-moving defenseman to help Ryan McDonagh carry the load.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates over what Callahan and Girardi could get on the open market in July, citing David Clarkson’s seven-year,$36.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dennis Wideman’s five-year, $26.25 million deal with the Calgary Flames. Callahan, meanwhile, states his preference is to remain a Ranger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Rangers will re-sign both, but with a possible $30 million in cap space for next season and 13 players to sign, it won’t be easy.
TVA SPORTS: cited a Sportsnet report claiming Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban seeks an eight-year deal worth between $65-$70 million.
LA PRESSE: Richard Labbe reports contract talks between Subban and the Canadiens are underway, which could make the blueliner the Canadiens highest-paid player. Labbe cites a source suggesting if it’s a six-year deal, Subban would get “about $50 million”. His source believes Subban gets a salary worth over $8 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the “eight years, $65-$70 million” came from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, who said he believed it could cost that much, rather than stating it as what Subban actually seeks. Regardless, Subban is going to earn a hefty raise, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he does get an eight-year deal for $8.5 million per season. Winning the Norris Trophy last season pushes his value into the stratosphere.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres coach Ted Nolan would prefer if his club re-signed Ryan Miller, calling the goalie a player to build around. Miller is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Sabres winger Steve Ott (who’s also a UFA next summer) would like to remain with the team and help in their rebuild, but he doesn’t know if he’ll get that chance. Ott is realistic about the fact he could be moved before the March 5 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there’s any way the Sabres can convince Miller to re-sign, but if Ott wants to stay it could be worthwhile, provided his salary demands are reasonable. The Sabres will have difficulty attracting veteran free agent talent next summer, so it would be a good idea to keep a veteran leader like Ott in the lineup.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater noted recent rumors tying the Colorado Avalanche to Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, considering him a risky move at best for the Avs, though noting sometimes risks can pay off.
THE TORONTO STAR’S Damien Cox took to Twitter yesterday claiming the Maple Leafs have long held interest in Kulikov, but they’re wary of his salary demands (he’ll be a restricted free agent in July) and the threat of bolting to the KHL. THE NATIONAL POST’s Mike Traikos doubted the KHL was much of a threat, pointing out Kulikov played in the QMJHL before joining the Panthers. Cox responded the KHL would still give Kulikov some leverage other players wouldn’t have.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, acquiring Kulikov is risky, but if moving to a better club improves his game, it could be worthwhile, provided the return to land him isn’t excessive. He could threaten to head to the KHL, but I think filing for arbitration could be his goal and then playing the “threaten to move to the KHL” card during the run-up to his hearing.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple lists some goaltending and blueline trade targets for the Islanders, as well as his take on the Isles chances of landing them. Potential goalie targets could include Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, Carolina’s Anton Khudobin or Justin Peters, or Calgary’s Joey MacDonald. Blueliners could include Toronto’s Jake Gardiner or John-Michael Liles, the Rangers Michael Del Zotto and Carolina’s Tim Gleason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hiller’s not available while Viktor Fasth remains sidelined. I don’t believe Miller will agree to be dealt to the Isles, so the best options could be Khudobin, Peters or MacDonald. As for blueliners, the Leafs want to move Liles but his salary’s too rich for the Islanders blood. Leafs GM Dave Nonis is reportedly reluctant to move Gardiner. Del Zotto would be a great fit for the Islanders but I don’t believe the Rangers will trade him to a long-time rival. I thought Gleason might be an option but Staple considers him too expensive.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley speculated over what the Capitals could get for a package of Martin Erat and Dmitri Orlov, as they could use a top-six forward and a defenseman. He dismisses the possibility of prying Evander Kane away from the Winnipeg Jets but wondered if they would part with left-handed blueliner Mark Stuart. He noted the Canucks rumored interest in Erat, but doubts that package would tempt them to part with Dan Hamhuis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks interest in Erat was described as “tepid”, so I doubt they’re serious about pursuing him. Even bundled with Orlov, I don’t think the Capitals can move Erat unless GM George McPhee changes his mind about not picking up part of his salary.