Updates on the contract negotiations of Valtteri Filppula, Mike Smith, David Clarkson, and a look at possible off-season moves by the Flyers.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reported last Thursday Valtteri Filppula confirmed there’s been no contract talks between his agent and the Detroit Red Wings. The two sides spoke earlier in the season and reportedly remain far apart on a deal. Filppula claims it hasn’t been a distraction to his play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Filppula’s earning $3.5 million this season and it’s rumored he’s seeking over $5 million per season. The Wings have just over $48.121 million invested in 18 players next season, and must re-sign other key players like Jimmy Howard and Damien Brunner. Given the young players starting to filter into the Wings roster, Filppula could end up a UFA this summer unless he lowers his asking price.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports goaltender Mike Smith, a pending UFA this summer, remains hopeful of reaching a new deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much could depend on the club’s ownership situation, and if the team will remain in Arizona beyond this season. Smith could attract considerable interest in this summer’s free agent market.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere is concerned the Devils policy of not negotiating contract extensions with their pending UFAs during the season might result in the departure of David Clarkson and Patrik Elias.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Lou Lamoriello evidently learned nothing from losing Zach Parise last summer to free agency, rather than pushing to re-sign him during last season. I would’t dismiss the possibility of his re-signing Clarkson and Elias (especially the latter), but he’s making it tougher to do so by not talking contract now.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi suggests the Flyers acquisition (and re-signing yesterday) of goalie Steve Mason could signal the end of Ilya Bryzgalov’s tenure with the club, making Bryzgalov a candidate for an amnesty buyout this summer.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson speculates the Flyers could revisit their interest in Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber in the off-season. The Flyers unsuccessfully attempted to sign Weber away with a lucrative offer sheet. The Predators matched the offer on July 24th, and if they wish to trade him, they cannot do so until one calendar year from the date they matched the offer.
COURIER-POST: Dave Isaac doubts the Flyers will revisit their interest in Weber, suggesting instead Phoenix’s Keith Yandle could be a better trade target, or free agents like Mark Streit, Sergei Gonchar or Ron Hainsey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Isaac. The Predators have too much invested in Weber now to give him up, and there could be more affordable options available this summer. Yandle, however, won’t come cheap, as it’s rumored the Coyotes wanted two scoring forwards in return. They might be willing to bend for a package including Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn, but I don’t see them willing to take back Daniel Briere, nor do I believe he’d accept a trade. As for Bryzgalov and an amnesty buyout, I wouldn’t rule it out, as it would give the Flyers some much-needed cap relief in the off-season.