Latest on James Reimer and Johnny Boychuk, how the Capitals might fill their remaining roster spot, and my take on the Flyers long-rumored interest in Dustin Byfuglien.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes James Reimer’s struggles last season explains why no team has stepped up this summer to acquire him. The Leafs recently re-signed Reimer to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million per season. Simmons believes if Reimer returns to form and adjusts to playing a backup role to Jonathan Bernier, the Leafs could have top-10 goaltending this season at bottom-10 prices.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Improved performance by Reimer this season, combined with his affordable new contract, will also improve his trade value.
BOSTON GLOBE: Looking at what the top UFA defensemen earned this summer, Fluto Shinzawa believes Bruins blueliner Johnny Boychuk could make a killing in next summer’s UFA market. “The early money is on Calgary”, writes Shinzawa.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever signs Boychuk, be it the Bruins or another club, it could take at least $5.5 million per season to do it.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley speculates on possible moves by the Capitals to fill their remaining roster spot. Among them could be pursuing an unrestricted free agent like feisty winger Dan Carcillo or ageing center Saku Koivu, or perhaps trying to acquire Phoenix’s Antoine Vermette via trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll stand a better chance of signing Carcillo or Koivu than acquiring Vermette, as the Coyotes hope to re-sign him before his UFA eligibility next summer.
Winnnipeg Jets defenseman/winger Dustin Byfuglien’s been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers for some time in the rumor mill. There’s talk around the hockey blogosphere the Flyers would love to acquire “Big Buff” if they can make the dollars fit.
It’s a significant problem this season. The Flyers are currently above the cap ceiling by just over $3.061 million. Byfuglien makes $5.2 million per season. Even if he agreed to accept a trade to the Flyers, who will gain cap relief by placing Chris Pronger ($4.941 million) on long-term injured reserve, they’ll either need to free up additional space by moving another player in the deal to the Jets, or convince the Jets to pick up part of Byfuglien’s contract.
I don’t believe Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and his bosses at True North Sports & Entertainment will accept that last option. The Jets will also want a good, affordable forward as part of the return. Maybe Matt Read, Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier. Of the three, the Flyers might move Schenn. Regardless of which forward they move, they risk weakening some of their depth up front. And no, they wouldn’t use Byfuglien to fill that gap, as their interest in him is supposedly as a defenseman. Perhaps next year, if the Flyers have more cap space, they might consider a trade of Byfuglien, but I think if they do pursue another defenseman they’ll want one who is more responsible in his own zone.