Updates on Toronto’s Clarke MacArthur and Florida’s Tomas Vokoun, plus the latest on the Hurricanes and Blues.
TORONTO SUN: Rob Longley reports restricted free agent forward Clarke MacArthur isn’t looking to break the bank to re-sign with the Maple Leafs. With 21 goals and 41 assists this season, MacArthur is due a raise above the $1.1 million he earned this season, yet he also sees the sense in considering some sort of “hometown discount” once negotiations get serious.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacArthur’s comments are good news for the Leafs in their efforts to re-sign him, which could be done for perhaps between $2-$2.5 million per season.
MIAMI HERALD: George Richards reports Florida Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun has not closed the door on re-signing with the club. Although eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, Vokoun admitted he enjoyed living in South Florida and believes management is rebuilding the Panthers the right way. GM Dale Tallon also said Vokoun has stated he’d like to remain with the Panthers and the organization would look at every possible angle as to who will be playing for the team and who will be the starting goalie.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Vokoun denied any serious rift with former head coach Pete DeBoer I can’t help but suspect DeBoer’s firing yesterday could play a part in the Panthers efforts to re-sign Vokoun, as well as the goalie’s potential asking price. He’ll have to accept less than the $5.7 million per season average cap hit he earned on his current contract.
NEWSOBERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports pending UFA Hurricanes blueliner Joni Pitkanen appeared the most uncertain about his future of the players interviewed yesterday, while fellow free agent blueliner Jay Harrison would probably agree to re-sign for close to the league minimum salary again. Alexander also reported via Twitter veteran winger Cory Stillman said he’d like to return next season as he believes he can still help out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds likely Pitkanen probably won’t be re-signed, but Harrison would be an affordable re-signing. Stillman played well after rejoining the Hurricanes at the trade deadline but his age could be a concern, although if he’s willing to accept a pay cut on a one-year deal GM Jim Rutherford might re-sign him.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jeremy Rutherford reports Blues playrs are curious over what moves management will make for next season. The Blues have $32 million committed to next seaason’s payroll and have at least a half-dozen RFAs to re-sign. With the club up for sale, the Blues budget for next season probably won’t be determined until later this month, but if the sale of the team drags on into July it could have a significant effect upon team spending.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues will have to at least meet the salary cap minimum for next season, which is expected to be around $46 million. That should give them space to make affordable re-signings but will probably keep them out of the free agent market for the most part if the club hasn’t been sold by July.