What needs must the Leafs address this summer? Will Jarome Iginla stump for the return of Alex Tanguay? Could the Blue Jackets move Nikita Filatov? Read on for the latest!
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby handed out his grades for the 2010-11 Maple Leafs, suggesting J.S. Giguere and Fredrik Sjostrom might not be back, wondering if the “forgotten man” Colton Orr would return, and also wondered if the Leafs might invest big money in re-signing Clarke MacArthur in hopes his year wasn’t a contract tease. Rob Longley meanwhile noted the Leafs need to get bigger, better and tougher at center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If MacArthur’s salary demands are reasonable the Leafs will keep him. It’ll be tough to address that need at center via free agency but GM Brian Burke has the pieces now in draft picks, prospects and young player to look for answers via the trade market. Burke isn’t afraid to make bold trades so we shouldn’t expect him to just sit on his hands this summer.
CALGARY HERALD: Scott Cruickshank reported Flames captain Jarome Iginla enjoyed having Alex Tanguay on his line this season and could stump for management to re-sign Tanguay before his eligibility for UFA status this summer. Kristen Odland meanwhile reports Flames backup and free agent Henrik Karlsson is hoping to return with the club next season, but complicating matters could be Leland Irving, who’s having a career year with the Flames farm team and could challenge for the spot next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Flames limited cap space much will depend on Tanguay’s asking price and how it can comfortably fit within the Flames payroll next season. Ditto Karlsson, who could become a cap casualty if the Flames put more onus on retaining notables like Tanguay.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently suggested the “surest scenario” at this year’s entry draft is the Columbus Blue Jackets moving disappointing young winger Nikita Filatov. Matheson also believes veteran forward Ethan Moreau won’t be re-signed by the Jackets.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH:Aaron Portzline reports however Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson praised Filatov as an offensive talent and hopes he can rediscover his game without being sent back to Europe. Howson also said he has to acquire via trades and/or free agency players who will help his club but won’t just spend money for the sake of it. Tom Reed meanwhile reported veteran defenseman Jan Hejda would like to remain with the Blue Jackets and hopes for a long-term deal but his future is unclear as the two sides have yet to hold contract talks. Hejda would like a three-four year deal. Veteran defenseman Craig Rivet meanwhile admitted retirement was a possible option for himself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howson is a very patient general manager but Filatov has been testing that patience. I wouldn’t rule out a possible Filatov trade at the draft but only if Howson can get a deal that helps his team, rather than just moving out the youngster just to be rid of him. I also think it’s possible Hejda could get a three-year extension if the money is right. Makes sense to re-sign a player who genuinely wants to stay with them. Rivet will likely retire as I doubt there’ll be much of a market for him now, given his age and injury history.