The Canucks could be in the market for a center and a winger, an update on Derek Stepan, and a Toronto pundit wonders if the Penguins might need Tim Thomas.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Oft-injured Canucks winger David Booth left the ice grimacing following Saturday’s practice, sparking speculation over his status for the start of the season. Booth had finally returned to the ice after being sidelined seven months by an ankle injury.
Tony Gallagher, meanwhile, believes the Canucks need to shop for a third line center, but don’t have much in the way of cap space ($2.2 million), which could prompt a trade as well as claiming someone off waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s certainly not much depth remaining in the UFA market for third-line centers and left wingers. Brenden Morrow and Simon Gagne are still available but they’ve got lengthy injury histories of their own. I’d mention former Canuck Mason Raymond, but he’s pretty much a Maple Leaf by now. The Canucks also don’t have much to part with via trade except for prospects, which would be a very bad idea given the lack of depth in that department. Free agency or waivers appears their best bet.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders if the Pittsburgh Penguins might have interest in trading for a goaltender sometime this season if Marc-Andre Fleury fails to regain his form, suggesting Tim Thomas as one option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Tomas Vokoun sidelined indefinitely, things could get interesting in Pittsburgh. Right now, all eyes will be on Fleury to start the season, but if he struggles and Vokoun is slow to recover, it could push the Pens into the trade market.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes it’s time for the NY Rangers to cut a deal with Derek Stepan and end their contract impasse.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers management won’t compromise unless injuries or poor offensive production to start the season forces them to. Otherwise, they’ll simply wait out Stepan, who has almost no leverage.