The latest on Henrik Lundqvist’s contract talks, the Penguins short-term goaltending plans, an update on Dion Phaneuf’s and Dennis Seidenberg’s contract talks, and Ilya Bryzgalov could be headed to the ECHL.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is done partaking in his contract negotiations with the Rangers, preferring to leave it with his agents. He’s also done talking about his contract status, preferring to keep his focus on this season. It’s believed the two sides are separated by term and dollars, with Lundqvist (who’ll turn 32 in March) believed seeking an eight-year deal for “at least” $8.5 million per season. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan is also eligible for UFA status next summer and his contract negotiations aren’t believed far along in the process. Brooks speculates Callahan could receive offers of seven years worth between $6-$7 million per season on the open market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately, Rangers fans, this is early October, and July 1 (the start of the UFA period) is nine months away. Plenty of time to get both players re-signed. The salary cap is also expected to rise (perhaps back to $70 million) next season, which will also help the Rangers re-sign the duo. That would give the Blueshirts around $4o million in cap space, more than enough for Lundqvist and Callahan. I’ll be shocked if those two aren’t re-signed.
Problem is, they currently only have nine players under contract for next season, and spending nearly $15 million on two players will eat up a huge chunk of that cap space. They’ll also have to re-sign Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Brian Boyle and Derick Brassard.
POSTGAZETTE.COM: Penguins GM Ray Shero said he has no immediate plans to find a replacement for Tomas Vokoun, who’s out three-six months recovering from blood clot surgery. Shero intends to evaluate his current tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s early-October, so the Penguins can afford to give Fleury an opportunity to regain his form and rebuild his confidence. The first month of the season is usually not as tough as the latter part of the schedule, so even if Fleury is shaky, the Penguins can probably rely on their offensive firepower for a while to bail him out. However, as the season progresses and the games grow more meaningful, Shero could be forced to go shopping for goaltending help if Fleury continues to struggle and Zatkoff proves an inadequate backup.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said he expects he and Dion Phaneuf intend to discuss a long-term contract as the season progresses. Phaneuf is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. “Dion and I had a meeting in camp as to how the season would go,” Nonis said. “He’s not putting pressure on (for a rapid resolution), he’s comfortable any time. We’re not going to wait all year, but when we do, it will be done quietly.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis and Phaneuf will do it quietly. The media, however, won’t keep quiet about it. The longer Phaneuf goes without re-signing this season and the longer the two sides remain quiet on the matter, the greater the media hype over Phaneuf’s future in Toronto.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Former NHL goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is reportedly close to signing with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the East Coast Hockey League.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “Bryzgalov in Vegas” jokes practically write themselves. That aside, if Bryzgalov does play in the ECHL, it’s obviously as a stepping stone toward getting back into the NHL. There could be a couple of NHL teams lacking depth in goal who might want to get a look at Bryzgalov’s performance before deciding to pitch him a contract.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will make re-signing defenseman Dennis Seidenberg ” a pretty high priority”. Seidenberg is eligible for UFA status next summer.