May Day! May Day! The latest from the Toronto Sun, Calgary Sun, Boston Globe and ESPN.com.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders if it would be worth it for the Toronto Maple Leafs to part with four first round picks for Drew Doughty, Steven Stamkos or Shea Weber, as that’s what it would cost if one of them were to accept an expensive offer sheet from the Leafs. Simmons acknowledged they could be re-signed by their respective clubs by July 1st but wondered “what if they’re not?”…Simmons considers Dominic Moore the best million-dollar center in hockey for his solid play with Toronto, Montreal and now Tampa Bay, but wonders why he can’t get better contracts…He believes Tomas Kaberle’s poor playoff performance continues to adversely affect his free agent market value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair question raised by Simmons about the Leafs possibly pursuing Doughty, Stamkos or Weber via offer sheet. Undoubtedly they would be worth those five first round picks as they’re established franchise players, especially Stamkos and Doughty. The real question however is if Leafs GM Brian Burke will actually go that route if any of them are unsigned after July 1st?…If memory serves, the Leafs and Canadiens were squeezed for cap space, which was why Moore wasn’t re-signed by those teams. He could end up on the market again this summer if the Lightning need the cap space to re-sign Stamkos…Kaberle’s not doing much to bolster his UFA value, but I still think he’ll end up with a decent multi-year deal with another team, just not the Bruins.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports Corey Crawford’s agent Gilles Lupien said he’d met with Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman three weeks ago and both agreed to negotiate a new contract for Crawford face-to-face at the June draft, where Lupien will table three possible deals ranging from two to four years in length…Scott Gomez’s agent Ian Pulver confirmed his client lacks a “no-movement” clause, stoking further speculation the Canadiens might demote Gomez to the minors next season to clear his $7 million-plus salary from their books.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks will get Crawford under contract, probably for something between $2.5-$3 million per season…Just because Gomez could be demoted doesn’t necessarily mean he will be. The Habs management and coaching staff will probably give him a chance to prove himself but if he struggles again demotion could become a real possibility.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont also reported on Kaberle’s poor performance for the Bruins in this year’s post-season, suggesting management may have to admit their mistake, let him walk via free agency, and live with the consequences of having parted with a promising prospect (Joe Colbourne) and a first round pick to get him from Toronto…Rumor has it the NY Rangers could consider buying out the final season of Chris Drury’s contract. Dupont suggests his versatility and short money ($700K?) could make him an affordable free agent in many cities, especially if Mark Recchi retires.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a dramatic turnaround in his play, where he helps carry the Bruins to the Stanley Cup, I don’t see how they could justify re-signing Kaberle…If the Rangers buy out Drury I could see another team taking a chance on him with an affordable one-year contract.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports rumors the Rangers might try to stash Drury in the minors are unfounded as he has a “no-movement” clause in his contract…Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier has been given the green light by new owner Terry Pegula to be aggressive and selective this summer in his efforts to bolster the roster. Regier admitted he’d like to add “a bit more offense” and perhaps another experienced defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Get my take on the Sabres potential off-season plans here.