The latest on Daniel Alfredsson and Mikhail Grabovski, plus speculation on free agent targets for several Canadian NHL teams.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it seems doubtful long-time Senators star Daniel Alfredsson would sign elsewhere as a UFA, but he has been contacted by several teams, including the Boston Bruins. Negotiations are ongoing between Alfredsson’s agent and the Senators, with the two sides agreeing to focus on a one-year extension. Garrioch believes the Senators would like a deal in the $4 million range, but Alfredsson could command up to $6 million on the open market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Could Alfredsson sign elsewhere? Sure, he’s an unrestricted free agent. Will he? I doubt it. Yes, the attraction of signing with a Cup contender is strong, but Alfredsson could’ve bailed on the Senators two years ago when they blew up the roster and commenced rebuilding with youth, and he stayed. The Senators are an improving young team, and everyone in the organization thinks the world of Alfredsson, who hasn’t given any indication he’s ready to move on. The Senators also have over $22 million in cap space and Erik Condra and Patrick Wiercioch to re-sign. If it’s about money, the Senators can afford him.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons makes the case for the Maple Leafs to dump Mikhail Grabovski and his $5.5 million per season contract. While the Leafs may have considered buying out Grabovski, Simmons believes they’ll likely try to trade him, taking back little in return and absorbing part of his salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also the little matter of Grabovski’s limited no-trade clause, in which he submits a ten-team “no-trade” list, which could also make moving him difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.
WINNIPEG SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Kirk Penton reports Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will be “active” in looking at free agents, but Gary Lawless doubts Cheveldayoff makes a big splash in this year’s shallow UFA pool.
VANCOUVER SUN: Brad Ziemer reports the Canucks, despite their compliance buyout of defenseman Keith Ballard, won’t have enough cap space to get into this summer’s UFA frenzy. They’re likely to fill out the remainder of their roster with more affordable players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I look at the Canucks roster, and I see a roster getting older, not better. They’re reportedly shopping Alexander Edler (despite the no-trade clause in his contract) in hopes of landing some younger talent, but a return for Edler won’t noticeably improve the Canucks in the short-term.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis doubts Nathan Horton will sign with the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good thing, too. Horton, while undeniably talented, has an injury history (concussion, shoulder) and reportedly seeks a six-year, $36 million deal. Buyer beware!
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson lists Jonathan Blum, Tyler Bozak, Valtteri Filppula, Mason Raymond and Jeff Schultz as possible UFA targets for the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blum and Schultz could be affordable options. Bozak and Filppula are reportedly seeking $5 million per season, which could be too rich for the Flames. Raymond hasn’t been the same since suffering a back injury during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc hopes to rebound from a difficult 2012-13 season.