Will the Lightning re-sign Ryan Callahan or bolster their defense this summer? Will Thomas Vanek re-sign with the Canadiens? Could the Kings face a shake-up this summer?
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance believes making a decision on Ryan Callahan tops the Lightning’s off-season “to-do” list. As with Callahan’s failed contract talks with the New York Rangers earlier this year, Custance speculates term could be as important for the Bolts as money, noting the 29-year-old winger’s style of play leaves him susceptible to injury. His offensive production will decline as he advances into his thirties. Custance also believes the Lightning must bolster their defense and get promising prospects Jonathan Drouin acclimated to the NHL next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Lightning want to re-sign Callahan, but they could balk if he sticks to his asking price from the Rangers (seven-year, $6.25 million per). Improving their defensive depth is necessary, while Drouin could see his NHL debut next season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Dave Stubbs reports Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek is soaking up the playoff vibe in Montreal, but the winger said it’s not fair to either side to talk contract right now. Vanek believes there will be plenty of time following the season for contract negotiations. He’s an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and there’s been some speculation in the media over his future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Montreal fans and pundits hope Vanek will fall in love with the city and re-sign with the Canadiens. While I don’t dismiss the possibility, I wouldn’t get my hopes up, Habs fans.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: In the wake of the Kings falling behind 3-0 in their divisional semifinal against the San Jose Sharks, Helene Elliott speculates an early playoff elimination could spell the end of an era for the Kings. Only two years removed from a Stanley Cup championship, the Kings could face shaking up their core to address significant weaknesses within roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott doesn’t speculate over which members of the Kings’ core could be moved. I’m sure there will be plenty of that around the league if the Kings are swept by the Sharks. Of their core, the only untouchables in my opinion are Jonathan Quick, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and Anze Kopitar. That leave Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and even captain Dustin Brown, who all lack no-trade clauses but also carry lengthy, expensive contracts.