Latest on Bryan Bickell, Kris Versteeg and Brad Boyes, plus recentupdates on the Capitals and Blue Jackets.
Latest on Bickell, Versteeg and Boyes.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc reports Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg are trying to ignore the trade rumors swirling around them this summer. The Blackhawks are barely under the salary cap for next season and must re-sign center Marcus Kruger plus leave sufficient cap space for additional moves if needed. Bickell’s cap hit is $4 million for next season, while Versteeg’s is $2.2 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bickell or Versteeg are likely to be dealt before the start of next season. Indeed, both could be moved if necessary. It won’t be easy, however, finding takers for either guy. Most teams have used up their cap space while many clubs that are well below the cap’s upper limit are under self-imposed cap ceilings.
The Bruins and Canadiens were linked to Bickell earlier this month in trade rumors, but the former seems more interested in adding another defenseman, while the Habs may have addressed their need for a big, rugged forward by acquiring Zack Kassian. It could take until September, when teams have had an opportunity to assess their respective rosters’ strengths and weaknesses, to move Bickell or Versteeg.
TSN.CA: Travis Yost is surprised former Florida Panthers winger Brad Boyes hasn’t been signed yet, citing advanced stats to show he can be a solid performer even when he’s not scoring.
SPECTORS NOTE: I think there is interest in Boyes, but teams will likely wait to sign him at a much-reduced price later this summer or possibly during training camp/preseason. There’s not a lot of teams with money to spend freely on free agents now. Interested clubs will probably try to sign him to a one-year deal worth just north of $1 million.
Blue Jackets, Capitals still looking to add to their rosters.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Alex Prewitt reports Capitals GM Brian MacLellan might not be done adding a player to his roster. Depending upon the cost of re-signing RFAs Braden Holtby and Marcus Johanssen, MacLellan could try to squeeze an affordable center into his lineup.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline recently reported Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen has found it difficult to add a defenseman this summer. They had interest in Dougie Hamilton and Paul Martin before those players moved on to other clubs. They also contacted the St. Louis Blues regarding Kevin Shattenkirk’s availability. Kekalainen said he’ll keep looking but won’t rush the process. He also feels his defense corps is good enough to win if it can stay healthy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could cost around $11 million combined for the Capitals to re-sign Holtby and Johanssen, which won’t leave them much room to add another center. As for the Blue Jackets, they currently have enough room to add an affordable blueliner, but I suspect they’d prefer a dollar-in, dollar-out trade.