Latest on Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Mark Streit and Anton Babchuk, plus the Predators could seek depth at center.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers and Vancouver Canucks are among the clubs monitoring the struggles of Bruins power forward Milan Lucic. It’s believed the lockout and “soft living” during that period didn’t help Lucic, who reported to training camp out of shape,leaving him a shadow of his former self this season. Matheson doubts the Bruins want to shop Lucic, but a number of clubs could be interested, even though his new three-year, $18 million contract begins next season. The Bruins are also likely to turn the page on pending UFA Nathan Horton, who hasn’t been the same since suffering a concussion in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final…Matheson also reports some folks believe NY Islanders defenseman Mark Streit might like to join his old Swiss National coach Ralph Krueger in Edmonton, but the knock against him is his age (he turns 36 in December). The Islanders may give him three more years at $5 million per.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Bruins give up on Lucic because of one poor season. He’s coming off back-to-back 60-plus point performances and should regain his form with more devotion to off-season training. Horton is likely to be allowed to walk via free agency…I don’t believe the Islanders will part with Streit, who also wants to stay.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Calgary Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk (an unrestricted free agent this summer) expects to play in the KHL next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames apparently tried shopping him near the trade deadline but couldn’t find any takers.
THE TENNESSEAN: John Glennon reports the Nashville Predators could be in the market for depth at center this summer. Top two centers David Legwand and Mike Fisher are both 32 and have played 13 NHL seasons, and it’s uncertain if wingers Colin Wilson and Craig Smith are ready to take over those roles, let alone the amount of time such a transition might take.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Glennon pointed out, they’ll have to be good two-way centers, as coach Barry Trotz demands defensive accountability at that position.