Could the Canadiens bury Scott Gomez’s salary in the minors next season? Are they interested in signing Jaromir Jagr? What’s the latest on Andrei Markov’s contract status? Could the Penguins trade Matt Cooke? Find a winger for Evgeni Malkin?
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wondered how much better Canadiens center Scott Gomez, who has three more years at over $7 million per season remaining on his contract, can play at this point in his career. Cowan doubts Gomez can be shopped because of his contract, suggesting another option could be to demote him to the minors next season, which would clear his salary from the Habs cap hit for next season.
ISPORT.BLESK.CZ (via Too Many Men on the Site): reported the Canadiens might be interested in signing former NHL and current KHL star Jaromir Jagr, who’s now a free agent after playing three years with Avangard Omsk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burying Gomez in the minors could be a possibility if Gauthier spends over the cap this summer, but it might be too hasty to make that suggestion. I’m guessing Gomez will return next season but if he continues to struggle offensively Gauthier could consider demoting him then. I’m not putting much stock into this talk of the Habs having interest in Jagr, and quite frankly I don’t think he’d be a good fit at this point in his career. The Habs need to invest in younger talent. As for Markov, perhaps they settle on a two-year deal? We’ll find out in two months time.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports there was some talk of the Penguins trading Matt Cooke because of his recent 17-game suspension as a repeat offender after his elbowing NY Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head. GM Ray Shero however said there’s every indication Cooke, who has one season remaining on his contract, will return with the Penguins, adding Cooke has received counselling during the period of his suspension, which should make him a more effective player.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reported one of the Penguins areas which needed to be addressed was finding a quality winger for Evgeni Malkin’s line, as well as more secondary skill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $55 million committed to 17 players next season, Shero lacks the roster space to make those moves, unless he’s willing to make a trade or two.