The latest on the Ducks, Rangers, Senators and Bruins.
Off-season keys for the Ducks and Rangers.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance lists his three off-season keys for the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers, who are the latest teams to be eliminated from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. For the Ducks, Custance recommends re-signing center Ryan Kesler and defenseman Francois Beauchemin plus trading little-used defenseman James Wisniewski, who was acquired at this year’s trade deadline. For the Rangers, a long-term deal for RFA center Derek Stepan, exploring trade options for backup goalie Cam Talbot and promoting assistant GM Jeff Gorton to replace Glen Sather.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Custance. Kesler will be a UFA next summer so there’s time to get an extension (perhaps four years at $5.5 million per) in place, while Beauchemin will also be an affordable short-term re-signing. Wisniewski’s $5.5 million cap hit (though his actual salary drops to $3 million in the final year of his deal in 2016-17) could, as Custance suggests, make him attractive for teams needing to reach the cap floor that lack experienced blueline depth.
Stepan’s going to get a long-term extension worth around $6 million per season. Talbot could fetch a low-first round or a second-round pick, as there are several clubs (Edmonton, San Jose, Buffalo, perhaps Dallas) in need of depth between the pipes. The Rangers lack a first-round pick in this year’s draft so I can see them using Talbot as a trade chip in hopes of addressing that issue.
Possible destinations for Anderson or Lehner.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch looks at possible trade destinations for goalies Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner, as one of them (likely the 23-year-old Lehner) will be dealt this summer. He lists the San Jose Sharks, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers as the clubs “seriously seeking a saviour”, while the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs fall into the “maybe, maybe not” category. Other goaltenders potentially available this summer include NY Rangers backup Cam Talbot, Carolina’s Cam Ward, San Jose’s pending UFA Antti Niemi, St. Louis’ Brian Elliott and Vancouver’s Eddie Lack.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Garrioch that Lehner’s the likely trade candidate. Despite Anderson’s injury history, he’s a proven starter, and with Andrew Hammond re-signed and Matt O’Connor in the pipeline, Lehner seems the odd man out. Besides, if I were a Senators fan, starting next season with a Lehner-Hammond tandem doesn’t inspire confidence. Lehner has yet to prove he’s ready to become a reliable starter, while Hammond (despite his late-season heroics) lacks NHL experience.
Offer sheet for Hamilton?
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney should prepare for the possibility RFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton might receive an offer sheet from a rival club. Though Conroy acknowledges the rarity of offer sheets, the lack of quality depth in this summer’s UFA market could prompt a club with plenty of cap space to target a cap-strapped club like the Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An offer sheet is unlikely but one shouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility. Hamilton certainly makes a prime target.