Updates on Jimmy Howard, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Cody Franson, plus the latest on the Devils.
Howard wants to remain a Red Wing.
MLIVE.COM: Brendan Savage reports Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard admits losing the starting job in the playoffs to Petr Mrazek “stings” but said he has no intention of requesting a trade. Howard said he intends to work harder in the offseason in preparation of winning his job back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It also appears Wings management doesn’t intend to put Howard on the trade block. It’s possible they could get an offer or two for Howard’s services but it seems likely he’ll return with the Wings next season.
Updates on Kessel and Phaneuf.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports it’s likely the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to move Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf this summer. An NHL GM Dreger spoke with believes Kessel, despite his expensive contract, could fetch a first-round pick, a top young player and a promising prospect. If the Leafs have the cap space to take back a toxic contract, the better the return.
The Detroit Red Wings and LA Kings are among the teams expected to make offers for Phaneuf. The Leafs might have to take back a toxic contract (Stephen Weiss’ $4.9 million per season) to send Phaneuf to the Red Wings, though it could be worth it if Brendan Smith, Teemu Pulkkinen or Anthony Mantha are part of the return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could be forced to take back a bad contract or eat part of Kessel and Phaneuf’s salaries in order to move them. If the Kings want Phaneuf, they’ll likely want the Leafs to do both, as they must free up cap space to re-sign other key players, including superstar Anze Kopitar, who’s a UFA next summer. As for the Wings, they won’t part with Mantha and I doubt they’ll give up Pulkkinen, but they might be willing to give up Smith.
Franson flames out in Nashville.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford recently reported Nashville Predators GM David Poile had hoped his mid-February acquisition of defenseman Cody Franson would’ve worked out better. Franson was a major disappointment and it’s unlikely he’ll be re-signed by the Predators. Despite the blueliner’s poor performance in Nashville, Halford speculates Franson will still be among this summer’s more coveted UFA rearguards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Franson lousy performance on a better club like the Predators could adversely affect his free-agent value. Prior to being dealt to Nashville, his solid offensive numbers this season with the Leafs had Franson ranked among the top-five free agents by most observers. I’ll be very surprised if he’s still rated that high.
Latest on the Devils.
NJ.com: Rich Chere recently speculated on six offseason moves the Devils could make this summer. Among them is shopping a defenseman (like Eric Gelinas) for a scoring forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if GM Lou Lamoriello also shopped his first-round pick in this year’s draft for a proven scorer.