Speculation over Martin St. Louis’ future, updates on the Avalanche, Blue Jackets and Sharks, and the latest on the Predators.
Highlights from Elliotte Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if the New Jersey Devils might take a run at signing New York Rangers pending UFA winger Martin St. Louis should he his the open market in July. He believes the rebuilding Devils “need short-term veterans to bridge the gap, and he could be a good trade-deadline piece for extra picks or prospects.”
The Colorado Avalanche are still seeking a defense partner for top blueliner Erik Johnson.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks are also in the market for a defenseman. The Sharks also need a goalie. Friedman claims Sharks GM Doug Wilson “despises July 1” (the start of the UFA market), but he might have to dip in if he can’t address his needs via the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: St. Louis prefers to remain with the Rangers and could retire if they opt to cut ties with him. The Devils are solid in goal and on defense but lack offensive depth. St. Louis turns 40 later this month and it was very apparent this season his skills are fading. If the Devils need short-term veterans, they’re better off seeking players who still have something left in the tank.
As for the Avs, Blue Jackets and Sharks, options in the UFA market for defensemen are limited but there’s still some decent options (Mike Green, Paul Martin, Cody Franson) to be had. It depends, of course, on how much they’re willing to pay. My guess is those clubs will target cap-strapped clubs first for trades before going the UFA route.
Recent Predators news.
NHL.COM: Nashville Predators GM David Poile remains determined to re-sign pending UFA centers Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher. Trade deadline pickups Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli will not be back. Pending UFA defenseman Anton Volchenkov is another who might not return.
NBC SPORTS: Dhiren Mahiban recently reported Cody Franson’s agent claims his client is excited about testing the UFA market for the first time. It’s believed the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers could be interested in the 27-year-old blueliner’s services. Franson has also expressed interest in returning to Toronto or joining the Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Predators fail to re-sign Ribeiro and Fisher. The former made the most of his “last chance” this season, while the latter is married to country-music star Carrie Underwood. Both players prefer to stay in Nashville.
Franson’s struggles in his short tenure this season with the Predators could hurt his free-agent value, but given the lack of depth in the UFA market he’s bound to have several suitors this summer. I don’t think he’ll be returning to Toronto as the Leafs are going in a different direction.