Cam Talbot’s trade value, Joe Thornton’s future in San Jose, Ryan O’Reilly contract situation and the Flyers need to find a suitable backup in the offseason in today’s Leafs-free edition of your NHL rumor mill. Enjoy!
Thornton wants to retire as a Shark.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger reports Joe Thornton is determined to retire as a San Jose Shark, despite his recent public turmoil with GM Doug Wilson. “I see myself as a Shark. My contract is up in two years and I still feel like playing, I want to be a Shark,”said Thornton. Given Thornton’s no-movement clause, Zeisberger speculates Wilson and Sharks coach Todd McLellan could be the ones suffering the consequences if the Sharks miss the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a growing perception Wilson and/or McLellan could walk the plank this summer. Thornton’s no-movement clause gives him full control over his future.
Another contract standoff looming for O’Reilly?
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers, responding to a reader’s e-mail, doubts the Colorado Avalanche will package promising young goalie Calvin Pickard with Ryan O’Reilly to improve the latter’s trade value. With O’Reilly earning $6 million per season and eligible for UFA status next summer, Chambers expects another contract standoff with management. If the Avs fail to re-sign O’Reilly this summer, Chambers expects the forward will be in the forefront of trade speculation. He also expects the Avalanche will use the savings from the expiring contracts of Jan Hejda, Daniel Briere and Ryan Wilson to sign two defenseman. If O’Reilly is shopped the Avs could try to land a quality blueliner in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the contentious negotiation history between O’Reilly and the Avalanche, it’s easy to assume another standoff is coming. As Chambers notes, O’Reilly could prefer not talking contract until after next season, as his free-agent value could increase if he has a better performance in 2015-16.
Assessing Talbot’s trade value.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks points out Cam Talbot’s strong play filling in for the injured Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t mean he’s taken over the starter’s role from Lundqvist, who is due to return to action soon. It does raise questions over Talbot’s trade value this summer. Brooks doubts the netminder can fetch a first-round pick, though Rangers GM Glen Sather could certainly try to set that as the asking price. He believes a frame of reference is the return the LA Kings received when they traded Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, getting goalie Ben Scrivens, forward Matt Frattin and a second-round pick. Brooks notes there aren’t many teams in need of a starting goalie, plus Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo and possibly Devan Dubnyk could be available via free agency this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Arizona, Edmonton, Toronto and possibly Minnesota (if they don’t re-sign Devan Dubnyk) could be very interested in Talbot, but I agree with Brooks that he won’t fetch a first-round pick. The Rangers also can’t afford to take back much salary for next season, so they’ll likely look for a good, affordable young player and a second-rounder or a top prospect for Talbot.
Flyers could shop for a backup this summer.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli believes landing a proven backup goalie is a priority for the Philadelphia Flyers this summer. While this summer’s goalie market is “teeming” with backups, Seravalli notes those likely to be available (Jhonas Enroth, Michal Neuvirth, Anders Lindback) aren’t top quality.