The Senators and Maple Leafs are reportedly shopping Jason Spezza and Dion Phaneuf, plus the latest on the Penguins, Avalanche, Bruins & Blue Jackets.
SPORTSNET.CA/OTTAWA SUN/TORONTO SUN/TSN.CA: Nick Kypreos reports independent sources claim the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are shopping captains Dion Phaneuf and Jason Spezza. Kypreos claims new Leafs president Brendan Shanahan might not be fully on board with Phaneuf going forward. Phaneuf’s new seven-year, $49 million contract kicks in on July 1.
Bruce Garrioch isn’t surprised Spezza’s name is on the market as GM Bryan Murray has been talking to suitors but admitted surprise Phaneuf was out there. Garrioch claims the Senators received offers from the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues before the trade deadline and he expects they’ll move Spezza before next month’s NHL Draft in Philadelphia.
Mike Zeisberger suspects a “win-now” team will have interest in Spezza, while any club interested in Phaneuf will have to take on an expensive contract which stretches into the next decade. Zeisberger claims the Leafs fielded calls about Phaneuf this season and believes there’s a market for their captain. Bob McKenzie reports Spezza is very much in play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, this should certainly perk up ye olde rumor mill for the next few weeks. No surprise Spezza’s name is kicking around. Garrioch believes the asking price is a player who can help the Senators now, plus a prospect and a first round pick. As Spezza’s only a year away from unrestricted free agency, a rival club might be unwilling to part with that much unless they can negotiate a contract extension first. I agree that a “win-now” team is more likely to pursue Spezza. As for Phaneuf, the Leafs will probably have to pick up part of his salary on his new contract in order to move him.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Avalanche still think Alex Tanguay (hip surgery) can be a top-six forward next season, prompting him to wonder if they shop P.A. Parenteau this summer for a defenseman…Matheson also wonders if the Blue Jackets re-sign rising star Ryan Johansen to a two-year bridge deal or a long-term extension…With Carl Soderberg anchoring the Bruins third line, Matheson wonders if Chris Kelly could be shopped this summer. He also speculates Kevan Miller may have taken Adam McQuaid’s spot on the Bruins blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Avs also have to re-sign Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny, moving Parenteau could free up valuable cap space…I’m guessing the Jackets go the bridge contract route with Johansen, as they might prefer to see how well he develops before investing in an expensive long-term deal. Of course a rival club could throw a spanner in the works by offering him an expensive, lengthy offer sheet…Kelly has two years at $3 million per season on his contract with a full no-trade clause.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Dejan Kovacevic believes big changes could be afoot for the Pittsburgh Penguins if they once again suffer another early playoff exit. He’s been told ownership is furious over the club’s performance in this year’s playoffs. He believes head coach Dan Bylsma could lose his job and doubts GM Ray Shero emerges unscathed, pointing to a lack of organizational depth. While captain Sidney Crosby won’t be going anywhere, his role in the Penguins struggles this spring can’t be ignored.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Penguins get eliminated by the Rangers, Bylsma’s a goner. They can’t justify keeping him behind the bench. While the draft record isn’t the best, Shero has done a good job stocking the Penguins with talent via trades, plus he’s got a blue chip defenseman in Olli Maatta. He won’t lose his job. Crosby certainly won’t be dealt.