Latest on Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly, Jonathan Bernier, Vincent Lecavalier, Evgeni Malkin and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Could Brandon Saad receive an offer sheet?
TSN 1040 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Pierre LeBrun reports hearing from a general manager claiming he’s hearing that there might be an offer sheet for Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad. LeBrun believes Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman will match it and deal with his salary cap issues from there.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Bowman doesn’t believe Saad is interested in leaving the Blackhawks, especially after their recent championship. Bowman claims Saad will be “a big part of our group for years to come.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Paul Skrbina reports Saad yesterday said he’d “definitely” consider staying with the Blackhawks for less than what he might receive from an offer sheet. “It’s something that crossed my mind for sure. The money is going to come and go, but to win championships and play on a great team, that’s what it’s all about,” said Saad. Bowman also said the young winger will be back, regardless of the club’s salary-cap issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Saad has no interest in playing elsewhere. If we go by his statements, he won’t bother signing an offer sheet. I think other clubs interested in Saad understand this. The only reason I can see anyone pitching him an offer sheet is in hopes of messing with Bowman’s cap space, forcing him to perhaps part with another player he’d prefer to retain.
Ryan O’Reilly still in play?
TSN 1040 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): LeBrun also weighed in on the Ryan O’Reilly trade rumors, believing the center is still in play but he doesn’t think the Colorado Avalanche have made moving O’Reilly a priority.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough believes if the Avalanche move O’Reilly they need to get a quality return, suggesting the 2014 Lady Byng Trophy winner could be the most valuable player in this summer’s trade market. If they’re to trade O’Reilly, Brought believes it must to be to a team that:
“— Has confidence it can re-sign him;
— Has the cap space, both now and in the future;
— Has the right assets;
— Is willing to pay a big price.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several teams fit the bill regarding cap space, assets and willing to pay (Buffalo, Arizona, Nashville, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto). Given O’Reilly’s contentious contract negotiation history, however, re-signing him is another matter. Not saying it can’t be done, but they’d better be prepared to ink him to at least a seven-year deal at over $7 million annually before next summer. Yes, I’m sure some of those clubs (hello there, deep-pocketed Leafs and Sabres ownerships) could do it, but will that turn into a deal they regret down the road?
Hurricanes could try shopping Semin.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis haven’t made a decision yet on buying out unproductive winger Alexander Semin, who has three years at $7 million per remaining on his contract, but he isn’t ruling it out. Alexander notes the Hurricanes could try trading Semin, even if it means retaining part of his salary. Francis also had nothing new to report regarding contract talks with Eric Staal and Cam Ward, who are both eligible next summer for UFA status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Francis can actually find someone willing to take on Semin via trade, even at partial salary, it will be an amazing effort. I think a buyout’s in Semin’s future.
Updates on Malkin and Lecavalier.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Gene Collier reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said superstar Evgeni Malkin won’t be dealt this summer. “No, he’s not available,” Rutherford said flatly. “Based on my communications with him or with his agent, he does not have an interest [in a trade]. He loves Pittsburgh and he wants to win here. Like everybody else, he’s disappointed with us not reaching our goal. He played hurt. He actually played when most guys wouldn’t play. There’s no interest from either side [the club’s or the player’s] in moving him.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Let’s hope this puts an end to the wishful-thinking trade rumors about Malkin that have kicked around for the past couple of months.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall said he has not submitted a buyout offer to forward Vincent Lecavalier. Just like last summer, the Flyers will try to move Lecavalier via trade. The 35-year-old forward is due a $2 million signing bonus by July 1. Hextall must try to find a trade partner before then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good luck with that. Maybe there’s a deal to be had after July 1, but I doubt there’s any GM willing to pick up that signing bonus along with the rest of Lecavalier’s salary.
Latest on the Canucks and Leafs goaltending.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Brad Ziemer reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning confirms if he trades a goaltender it won’t be Ryan Miller. He said they will decide if they’ll move Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton reports an Instagram photo by Martine Forget, fiancee of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier, of their young son has sparked rumors Bernier might be traded. When asked why their son’s jumper lacked a Maple Leafs emblem, she replied there was a reason but she can’t go into it now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m posting this more for my amusement than anything else. Maybe she means Bernier is soon to be traded. Perhap her remarks are fashion related. Maybe her son cries at the sight of the Leafs emblem. Discuss!