Five pressing NHL offseason issues, and a suggestion for the Predators to sign Ryan Johansen to an offer sheet.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists five pressing NHL offseason issues. The Bruins and Blackhawks must shed salary before the season begins, the Blue Jackets have yet to re-sign center Ryan Johansen, Daniel Alfredsson has yet to decide if he’ll return or retire, Martin Brodeur has yet to find a new team and a bidding war could be brewing for former Blackhawks prospect Kevin Hayes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Allen observes, the Bruins are above the salary cap by over $800K, and while they’ll get cap relief by placing Marc Savard ($4.027 million) on LTIR, it could cost around $5 million to re-sign Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, which could mean trading a salaried player to free up more cap space. The Bruins have a surplus of defensemen and could move one of them. The Blackhawks could also move out a defenseman (Johnny Oduya? Nick Leddy?) to free up cap space.
I agree with Allen that the prospect of Johansen receiving an offer sheet is unlikely, as the Blue Jackets claim they will match any offer. Still, a rival could sign Johansen to an expensive offer sheet, if for nothing else than to force the Jackets to pay more than they wanted to keep him. Alfredsson is expected to reach a decision next month. Brodeur could be waiting until the start of the season, if not longer, for sign with a new team. Hayes’ camp was supposed to narrow down their field of suitors this week. No word since Monday on his status.
**UPDATE** The New York Rangers signed Hayes today to an entry-level contract.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper suggests the Nashville Predators should sign Ryan Johansen to an offer sheet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure Predators GM David Poile understands the Blue Jackets aren’t bluffing when they claim they’ll match any offer for Johansen. Having gone through that process with Shea Weber two years ago I doubt Poile’s keen to inflict that pain on another club. I also doubt he’s that Machiavellian to sign Johansen to a really expensive offer sheet with the knowledge of the salary cap pain it could create for the Blue Jackets.