Latest on Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Chiasson, Lance Bouma, Linden Vey and Luke Gazdic in your NHL Canadian Corner.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and team captain Andrew Ladd have declared their intent to get a new contract done, but they remain apart. It could cost over $6 million annually on a long-term deal to keep Ladd in Winnipeg. There’s also only been preliminary discussions between Jets management and Dustin Byfuglien’s agent. Ladd and Byfuglien are eligible for UFA status next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be Cheveldayoff’s biggest test as Jets GM, and of the Jets as a competitive NHL team. Can they afford to re-sign Ladd and Byfuglien? Will they keep one and trade the other? Could they lose both to free agency, or deal them by the trade deadline knowing they can’t afford them? If they lose both, it sends the message the Jets will be forever a budget team, unwilling or unable to retain their best players.
My guess is they’ll re-sign Ladd and part ways with Byfuglien via free agency next summer or, if they’re out of the playoffs by late-February, via the trade deadline. Their blueline depth, which includes rising star Jacob Trouba, makes it possible to give up “Big Buff” without suffering too much as a result. Yes, they’ll miss his physical play and offense, but they can adjust. Losing Ladd’s leadership would be a more serious blow.
CALGARY SUN: Forward Lance Bouma, whose arbitration hearing is slated for today, is reportedly seeking $2.5 million per season, while the Flames are countering with $1.5 million.
OTTAWA SUN: Forward Alex Chiasson, whose arbitration hearing is scheduled for July 23, is seeking $2.475 million, while the Senators are countering with $1 million. If the arbiter rules in favor of Chiasson, the Senators could trade him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind both sides always make arbitration bids which are more advantageous to themselves. The player always seeks top dollar, the team always counters with a low-ball offer. In the end, they usually settle somewhere in the middle before the arbitration hearing or the arbiter’s decision. For Bouma, I’m guessing he’ll get around $1.9 million, while Chiasson could get $1.5 million.
TSN.CA: Vancouver Canucks forward Linden Vey hopes his improved off-season work leads to a bounce-back performance in 2015-16.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Rugged Oilers forward Luke Gazdic has trimmed down to improve his speed and his ice time next season.