Could the NY Islanders acquire Roberto Luongo? Could Brad Richards return to the Tampa Bay Lightning? Could the Red Wings target a couple of Blackhawks via free agency? Will the Capitals trade Jeff Schultz? Read on for the latest!
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cites a series of tweets from TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggesting the New York Islanders might be interested in acquiring Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo “under the right circumstances”. McKenzie believes it first depends upon the cost to the Islanders of re-signing Evgeni Nabokov. Landing Luongo would almost certainly mean the Canucks would have to take Rick DiPietro as part of the return, after which the Canucks would make him a compliance buyout, as he’d be cheaper (by a few thousand per season over three less seasons) to buy out than Luongo.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford weighed in on the possibility, noting other clubs expressed interest in Luongo “under the right circumstances” but he’s still with the Canucks. He also noted the Canucks ownership might be reluctant to invest in a compliance buyout for such a lengthy period (16 years), though taking a bad contract like DiPietro’s back for Luongo and buying it out might be the only way to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks do appear in a bind over how to move Luongo’s contract. The Leafs wanted them to pick up part of his remaining salary during their talks at the trade deadline but GM Mike Gillis refused. He won’t have much choice this summer. If Gillis were to seriously entertain a Luongo-for-DiPietro swap, the Isles would have to throw in a good young forward as part of the return, and Gillis would have to sell ownership on the sense of buying out DiPietro. Gillis will have to be creative to move Luongo this summer via trade. Taking a bad contract back in return plus getting a good young player in return might be the best way to achieve this, but it remains to be seen if it’ll be with the Islanders and DiPietro.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tom Jones wonders if the Lightning might have interest in bringing back Brad Richards if he’s bought out this summer by the NY Rangers, as they would then get him for a discount price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One problem is the Lightning currently have only $3.32 million of projected available cap space and six roster spots to fill for next season. They need to bolster their depth on defense and checking lines. They will get over $3.6 million in cap relief by placing Mattias Ohlund on long-term injury reserve, but that doesn’t mean they can still afford to sign Richards and have room to bolster their defensive depth.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan suggests Chicago Blackhawks pending UFA forward Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg could be of interest to the Detroit Red Wings. He also reports the Wings would like to re-sign Valtteri Filppula but not for $5 million per season, and with young forwards coming up, wondered if they’ll have room to retain Daniel Cleary. He also doubts Ian White will be re-signed.
WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera reports Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz requested a trade back in mid-March and would prefer to move on to a club where he’ll see more consistent playing time. Schultz has one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $2.75 million. Schultz’s agent said teams have expressed interest in his client and expressed confidence there is a market for the blueliner.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley listed Schultz among his suggested compliance buyout options for the Capitals, along with forwards Martin Erat and Joel Ward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Schultz would certainly help the Capitals to free up some much-needed cap space, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s moved during the entry draft weekend.