Update on Braden Holtby, Ryane Clowe and Zac Rinaldo, plus the latest on NHL expansion, the top off-season hirings, Sabres ticket prices & more. 

Capitals and Braden Holtby still far apart as arbitration looms.

The Washington Capitals and goaltender Braden Holtby still far apart as arbitration looms.

THE WASHINGTON POST:  The Capitals and goalie Braden Holtby are far apart with their numbers as his July 23rd arbitration hearing approaches. The Holtby camp seeks $8 million per year while the Capitals countered with $5.1 million on a one-year term. During contract negotiations, the Capitals were offering roughly $5.5 million, while Holtby is believed seeking a deal in the $6 million range.  The Capitals could also be trending toward an arbitration hearing with winger Marcus Johansson, whose case is slated for July 29th.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind both sides are going to present extreme numbers for arbitration, with the player obviously seeking top dollar and the team proposing a low-ball offer. Ultimately, I expect Holtby and the Capitals will agree on a long-term deal worth around $6.5 million annually.

NBC SPORTS: The NHL released a statement indicating its intention to solely focus on expansion bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is also being accused of taking a unsubtle swipe at those groups in Seattle and the Greater Toronto Area who had expressed interest in bidding for an expansion club but failed to do so. I doubt this means the league is closing the door entirely on NHL franchises in Seattle and the GTA. What both groups needed was an NHL venue. Once those are under construction, I daresay the league will  be willing to revisit their interest. 

SI.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs hiring Mike Babcock as their new head coach and the Edmonton Oilers hiring Peter Chiarelli as their new general manager topped this list of the best off-season NHL hirings.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres fans will be paying more to watch their team next season.

NJ.COM: Among the things still on the plate of New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero is determining if oft-concussed winger Ryane Clowe will be able to play next season. Clowe said there’s nothing new to report regarding his status.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: New Bruins enforcer Zac Rinaldo claims he doesn’t intend to get suspended or take stupid penalties next season. “That’s the last thing I want to come in here doing, is to give a first bad impression,” Rinaldo said. “You only have one time to give your first impression, and I want to make my first impression a memorable one”

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Lightning signed forward Tye McGinn to a one-year, two-way contract.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings re-signed Teemu Pulkkinen to a one-year deal worth $735K.