Recent speculation from the Edmonton Journal, and an update on the Phoenix Coyotes roster plans for next season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently reported Alex Kovalev didn’t do his free agent value any favors with his performance in this year’s playoffs, noting Penguins coach Dan Bylsma kept him on the bench during a late power-play in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Matheson suggested we shouldn’t be surprised if Kovalev ends up in the KHL next season…Matheson doubts the Bruins make a big pitch to re-sign Tomas Kaberle, who’s been a disappointment since they acquired him from Toronto…He also feels the market value for Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was set by what Jimmy Howard received from Detroit (two years, $2.25 million per season).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible Kovalev might return for one more season I doubt that’ll happen. His skills have deteriorated to the point where he’s no longer a reliable scoring winger…Kaberle’s poor play since joining the Bruins, especially in this year’s playoffs, has been surprising, and will unquestionably affect his value as a free agent this summer. The Bruins will likely pass on keeping him…I guessed Crawford might get around $2.5 million per season, and agree with Matheson that Howard’s contract is a good comparable.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Jim Gintonio recently reported Coyotes GM Don Maloney revealed his roster needs for the upcoming season in a recent chat with Coyotes fans. Maloney said his team lacks a star player and needs more depth at forward, particularly at center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect the Coyotes to land a star player this summer. They’ll have to look to within to find one, and that means via the draft. They used to have a star in Daniel Brier years ago but previous management dealt him away. Rest assured Maloney won’t make a similar mistake if another Briere emerges in his system. He can find more scoring depth via trade or free agency, depending of course on how much he’ll be allowed to spend next season from the team’s new owner, be it Matt Hulsizer or True North Sports and Entertainment.