The latest on the Senators, Devils, Jets and more.
OTTAWA SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Having re-signed backup goalie Robin Lehner, the Senators have had preliminary contract talks with forwards Bobby Ryan, Clarke MacArthur, defenseman Marc Methot and starting goalie Craig Anderson, who are eligible for UFA status next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the four, Ryan and Anderson could prove the most difficult to re-sign. Ryan stands to be the biggest name available in next summer’s UFA market, while Anderson could be the best available goalie. They could command significant dollars as UFAs next summer. With Lehner re-signed for three years, losing Anderson wouldn’t be as serious a loss for the Senators as Ryan’s.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports there’s still time for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to do some tinkering with his roster before training camp opens next month, but it appears he’s banking on his current roster to improve without much outside help. It was believed Cheveldayoff would like to add a top-nine forward, though the UFA market is rather thin on talent. One option is Winkler, Manitoba native Dustin Penner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penner is a big-body forward but he’s been inconsistent in recent years, bouncing from the LA Kings to the Anaheim Ducks to the Washington Capitals since last year. His best season (63 points) was back in 2009-10 when he was with the Edmonton Oilers.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said he and Martin Brodeur had a mutual understanding it would be best for Brodeur and the club if he pursued his playing career elsewhere. He could return to the club one day in a front-office role. Lamoriello would also like to re-sign forward Ryan Carter but so far there’s nothing new. Defenseman Eric Gelinas remains unsigned, but as he’s an RFA without arbitration rights there’s no pressure to re-sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was reported last month Carter could be waiting for the Devils to shed a forward before re-signing. I expect he and Gelinas could be under contract when the Devils open training camp next month.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Former Coyotes Derek Morris, Jeff Halpern and Paul Bissonnette are among players who either fill a specialized role or are in the twilight of their carers finding it difficult to land new NHL contracts via unrestricted free agency. Halpern offered an interesting take on his situation. “I basically wait for a phone call and then if somebody says we have a contract, I say, ‘Whatever your offer is, I’ll take less.’ ”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halpern sounds desperate, but at this stage of his career, that might not be enough to net him a new NHL contract. He’s at the point where he wants to keep the NHL dream alive just one more year.