Latest on Jason Spezza, Brad Richards, Joe Thornton, Marian Gaborik, Braydon Coburn and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports league sources claim the Calgary Flames have made an offer for Senators center Jason Spezza. Their offer (believed to be” Jiri Hudler, Mikael Backlund, possibly Dennis Wideman and one of their several second and third-round picks”) falls short, in Garrioch’s opinion. It’s also unlikely Spezza will accept a trade to Calgary, as sources claim the Flames, along with the Oilers, Canucks and Jets, are believed on Spezza’s ten-team “no-trade” list. It’s unknown what the status is of the Canadiens and Maple Leafs but Garrioch doubts Spezza would agree to go to those teams. It’s believed the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues have interest in Spezza, but the Blues are also believed holding talks with the Canucks regarding Ryan Kesler.
Garrioch also reports there’s a belief if the New York Rangers buy out Brad Richards they’ll make a pitch for a top center. They have held talks with the Senators but GM Bryan Murray prefers to ship Spezza to a western club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That isn’t a bad opening offer from the Flames. Hudler and Backlund could help the Senators right now, though I doubt they would have interest in Wideman. They could wrangle for a first round pick. Still, it’s a moot point if Spezza isn’t willing to accept a trade to Calgary. I think it’s down to the Ducks and Blues for Spezza.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis also believes Brad Richards has played his final game as a Ranger and could receive a compliance buyout. Cyrgalis also notes the Rangers must re-sign RFAs Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard, as well as re-sign or replace UFAs Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore and Benoit Pouliot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Rangers GM Glen Sather pulls a complete swerve and buys out Rick Nash, who has struggled to score in the postseason with the Blueshirts, Brad Richards is a goner. With nearly $54 million invested in 13 players, Sather currently lacks sufficient cap space to re-sign his key players. A Richards’ buyout frees up over $6.66 million.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa also believes the Rangers will use their remaining compliance buyout on Brad Richards, citing their need to shed cap space to re-sign several key player. He speculates they might target the Sharks’ Joe Thornton, who loves living and playing in San Jose but might waive his no-trade clause to play alongside good friend and former HC Davos teammate Rick Nash…Shinzawa believed the Los Angeles Kings have sufficient cap space to re-sign Marian Gaborik (expecting he’ll seek $6 million per season) and Willie Mitchell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, Thornton (through his agent and brother John Thornton) appears content to remain in San Jose, unless there’s a massive uprising of Sharks fans demanding he be dealt…I think the Kings will re-sign Gaborik and might get him for $5 million per. He’s already made his big money on his current contract ($7.5 million annually) and can now play on a perennial Cup contender for several years. If he’s smart, he’ll take a three-year deal worth between $15 – $16 million and stay in L.A.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo speculates the bright future of several promising young Minnesota Wild players (Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula) means their pursuit of Thomas Vanek is not longer a sure thing. Russo believes they don’t want to get too many players north of 30 on long-term deals. He also notes several of those promising players will be restricted free agents next summer and the Wild wish to ensure they’ve got sufficient cap space to re-sign them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The improvement of the Wild’s promising young forwards this season (especially in the playoffs) coupled with Vanek’s poor playoff performance for the Canadiens means he’ll have to accept less money on a shorter term to play in Minnesota. While I still won’t fully dismiss the possibility of Vanek signing with the Wild, I agree with Russo that it’s no longer a certainty.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples analyses a recent rumor claiming Oilers GM Craig MacTavish could revisit his interest in Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn, speculating what it might take to land him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Flyers need for a top-two defenseman, I doubt they’ll ship Coburn to Edmonton, unless they can swing a side deal with another club to replace him. That move would merely weaken the Flyers. I also doubt they would have interest in any of the Oilers young blueliners, as they have a couple of promising kids in their system and will want someone more experienced to step in right away. The Flyers are also deep with wingers but could use a first-line left wing. Maybe they’d have interest in David Perron, but Coburn would be a big price to pay and still won’t address their blueline needs.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists his top NHL unrestricted free agents for this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can find my listing of this summer’s top-30 UFA in my latest Bleacher Report slideshow.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile suggested he could add another first-round pick at this year’s upcoming draft by trading both his second-round picks. The Predators currently hold the 11th overall pick.