Latest on Tomas Plekanec, Dion Phaneuf, Blake Wheeler, Taylor Hall, Andrew Hammond, Micheal Ferland and Jake Virtanen.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Tomas Plekanec said his agent and Canadiens management haven’t started contract talks. Plekanec is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin could wait until later in the season to open talks with the agent for the 32-year-old center, hoping to assess the latter’s performance. Plekanec is currently earning $5 million per season. Given his age, I doubt he’ll get a big raise from the Habs, who’ll likely offer around the same salary on a three-four year deal.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said he welcomes the changes new coach Mike Babcock has in store for the club this season. Among them is giving Phaneuf a day off each week from speaking with the media.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a good idea. Phaneuf was roasted daily by the media over the course of the last two seasons. Giving him a break from questions about his leadership and why the team played so poorly could be a welcome respite.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets winger Blake Wheeler is looking forward to seeing his club build upon last season, when they reached the playoffs for the first time since moving to Winnipeg.
SPORTSNET: One reason Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid will live with Taylor Hall this season is management’s way of giving the latter an opportunity to take on more of a leadership role with the club.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators goalie Andrew Hammond enters this season with renewed focus, intent on building upon last season’s stellar performance.
CALGARY SUN: Flames RFA winger Micheal Ferland believes there’s still time to get a new contract worked out with management before the upcoming start of training camp.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen could be poised for a significant NHL debut.