Potential moves for NHL teams currently perched over the salary cap, plus updates on Alex Pietrangelo, Nazem Kadri, Marcus Johansson and Johan Hedberg.
SI.COM: Allan Muir recently speculated on potential moves by NHL teams currently perched over the salary cap to become cap compliant when the season opens. He suggests the Philadelphia Flyers (about $2 million over the cap and two players over the 23-man roster limit) could demote blueliners Bruno Gervais and Marc-Andre Bourdon and waive Jay Rosehill to make up the difference. They could also demote center Brayden Schenn for one game then recall him after placing Chris Pronger and his $4.9 million cap hit on LTIR.
The Boston Bruins ($1.1 million over) will place Marc Savard on LTIR, and are one player short of the roster limit, prompting Muir to speculate they could sign a UFA blueliner like Ron Hainsey on the cheap if their young defensemen struggle. The Penguins (about $1 million over) could shop a veteran like defenseman Matt Niskanen.
The Detroit Red Wings (about $637K over and two over the roster limit) could shop forward Jordin Tootoo or Patrick Eaves. It’s also possible Darren Helm (back) could start the season on LTIR. The San Jose Sharks ( about $400K over and one player under the roster limit) and LA Kings ($87K over and one player over) could each try to trade a player, like Adam Burish or Keaton Ellerby.
Muir also touched on the Toronto Maple Leafs difficulty re-signing Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson with their limited cap space ($4.9 million). He suggests trading Franson as an option but one which would be hard to justify.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In short, expect some player movement via trade or demotion before the end of September. The Flyers could also place Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) on LTIR to start the season if he doesn’t receive medical clearance. Niskanen’s name kicked around the rumor mill throughout the summer and he could interest teams in need of veteran blueline depth. The Wings reportedly spoke with the Nashville Predators about returning Tootoo to the Preds but nothing came of it. The Sharks and Kings can more easily address their issues with demotions than trades. As for Kadri and Franson, it appears the Leafs are willing to wait them out.
SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox reports the Toronto Maple Leafs expect Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson not to report to training camp next week. The Leafs remain far apart in contract negotiations with the pair, especially Kadri, who’s borne the brunt of criticism from fans and pundits for his rumored salary demands. The young center acknowledged he will skip training camp if that’s what it takes to get what he considered a fair deal. Kadri also rejected reports he was seeking a long-term deal worth between $5-$6 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As they say in the Army: “SITREP: NO CHANGE” (In civilian terms, “there’s been no change to this situation”). Barring a last-minute resolution, looks like Kadri and Franson will be staging contract holdouts starting next week.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports the Blues are making plans in case Alex Pietrangelo isn’t re-signed when training camp opens next week. One is inviting unrestricted free agent blueliners to training camp on professional tryout contracts. GM Doug Armstrong acknowledged having spoken with some of those free agents. Though he wouldn’t divulge their names, Rutherford lists “Ron Hainsey, Ryan Whitney, Hal Gill, Tom Gilbert, Ryan O’Byrne, Jim Vandermeer and Radek Martinek” as possibilities. Even if Pietrangelo re-signs before training camp, the Blues could still sign one of those veterans to fill depth at that position.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo recently said he wasn’t thinking about a holdout. We’ll know in about eight days what his intentions are. For now, Armstrong remains intent on getting the young blueliner under contract.
CSNWASHINGTON: Chuck Gormley reports Capitals GM George McPhee remains hopeful of getting RFA winger Marcus Johansson under contract before training camp opens next week. The Capitals have about $2.6 million in cap space.
NJ.COM: Former Devils goalie Johan Hedberg remains hopeful of signing with an NHL team. A position within the Devils organization is available to him.