Latest on Martin Brodeur, Ryan Kesler, Justin Schultz, Matt Moulson and more.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes if the Oilers re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a long-term extension they could use Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Justin Faulk’s six-year, $29 million as a yardstick. If they opt for a bridge contract they could also use P.K. Subban’s two-year, $2.875 million annual cap hit as a comparable…Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray will revisit his interest in Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler at this year’s entry draft. Matheson believes every promising young Duck except Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and farm team goalie John Gibson could be available as well as their 2014 first-round pick, but not the one they got from the Senators in the Bobby Ryan deal, which could be a top-ten pick…He also speculates the Buffalo Sabres could move struggling center Mikhail Grigorenko if they select center Sam Reinhart.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers previous management invested long-term in their other young players. It remains to be seen if GM Craig MacTavish follows that route with Schultz. The bridge deal might be the better option for now… I expect the Ducks will have serious interest in Kesler, but the Canucks could prefer shipping him to an Eastern club like Pittsburgh. Ultimately it’ll depend on the return…Grigorenko has been slow to develop but perhaps could benefit with another team. It could depend, of course, on if GM Tim Murray takes Reinhart or another center with his first round pick.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo believes the Minnesota Wild’s priority this summer is to determine the status of its goaltending, particularly the health of Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) and Niklas Backstrom (abdominal). If they believe Darcy Keumper can handle the starter’s role full time next season, they could pursue a scorer like Thomas Vanek or a free-agent defenseman. Russo doesn’t expect the Wild will re-sign Dany Heatley, Mike Rupp, Ilya Bryzgalov “and likely not Cody McCormick.” He also speculates they could shop Kyle Brodziak this summer. As for re-signing Matt Moulson, that appears “up in the air” right now. If the Wild pursue a defenseman via free agency, he recommends Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuemper’s performance over the remainder of the season and into the playoffs will determine if he retains the starter’s role. He’s saved their season but has struggled of late. Moulson could be a more affordable signing for the Wild than Vanek, but as Russo suggests, that depends on how far the Wild go in the playoffs and if Moulson is a good fit over this period.
NJ.COM: Randy Miller reports Martin Brodeur is 80 percent certain he’ll play next season and hasn’t fully ruled out returning with the Devils. Brodeur wants to see more playing time than what he received this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodeur is no longer capable of logging big minutes as a starter. He could be an effective backup, but it depends on how many games he’s willing to sit for.