The latest on Ryan Johansen, Dennis Wideman and Matt Kassian, five interesting unrestricted free agents and the latest on the Flyers.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun returns from summer vacation to analyze Ryan Johansen’s contentious contract talks with the Columbus Blue Jackets. LeBrun believes the Blue Jackets remain focused on re-signing Johansen to a bridge deal. It’s possible Johansen could receive an offer sheet, though the Jackets have stated they’ll match any offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers wonder what it would take to acquire Johansen via trade, but I don’t believe the Blue Jackets will consider that option. I don’t believe it’ll do Johansen any good to stage a holdout. It’s believed the two sides are willing to accept a two-year deal but money appears the sticking point. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline speculates Johansen could be signed to a two-year deal worth between $9-$10 million.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika responded to a reader’s question suggesting the Stars acquire defenseman Dennis Wideman from the Calgary Flames. Heika believes Wideman, a right-handed shot, could make the Stars better. However, his salary cap hit ($5.25 million per season) is expensive and his addition could potentially diminish the opportunity for Patrik Nemeth, John Klingberg or Jamie Oleksiak to make the club. Heika also doubts the Flames would be interested in the reader’s suggested return of Sergei Gonchar and Shawn Horcoff for Wideman and David Jones. He also believes Stars GM Jim Nill could set his sights on acquiring a number-one defenseman next summer, when they’ll have more cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Heika. Though one shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Nill expressing interest in Wideman, other options should become available over the course of the season and into next summer.
NBC SPORTS: Ryan Dadoun lists Dustin Penner, Scott Gomez, Martin Brodeur, Daniel Alfredsson and Ilya Bryzgalov as five interesting players still available via unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the five, Alfredsson seems the only one guaranteed of an NHL contract to start the season, as the Detroit Red Wings remain keen to sign him if he decides to return for one more season. Brodeur could be waiting a while for a goaltending spot to open up. Gomez, as Dadoun noted, was invited to the New Jersey Devils training camp for a tryout. The future remains uncertain for Penner and Bryzgalov, though they could end up signing with NHL clubs at some point this season.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn’t anticipate the need for any sweeping changes to his roster. His “wish list” would be to add another playmaking forward and a prototypical, number one defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Hextall at his word, he won’t be making any major trades in the near future to bring in either player.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports former Senators enforcer Matt Kassian has received offers of two-way deals and training-camp tryouts four or five teams. He won’t be returning to the Senators.