Get the latest on the Kings,Lightning, Islanders, Devils, Sharks and Blue Jackets.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there were rumors this summer that “the highest levels” of the Los Angeles Kings organization made it clear to management they didn’t want defenseman Slava Voynov (currently in the “formal process” of returning to Russia after serving jail time on a domestic assault charge) to return. He speculates GM Dean Lombardi may have had permission to see if there was a trade market (there wasn’t) for Voynov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the uncertainty over Voynov’s future after he was released from jail, it’s unsurprising there wasn’t any interest in his services around the league.
Speaking of the Kings, Anze Kopitar’s agent Pat Brisson will be in Switzerland this week meeting with prospect Auston Matthews, but it appears both sides hope to get a new deal in place before the start of the season.
There’s doubt outside of Western Florida that Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos will become a UFA next summer. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Stamkos’ agent Don Meehan apparently have a strong relationship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be among those in the “very surprised” category if Stamkos isn’t re-signed.
Friedman claims New York Islanders GM Garth Snow pitched a seven-year contract offer to RFA winger Brock Nelson, which was rejected. Rumors claim the Isles offered up two years totaling $2.5-$2.7 million, but those were denied. The Isles and Nelson reached an 11th-hour agreement last night on a three-year, $7.5 million contract.
The Islanders also looked at possibly adding UFA defenseman Marek Zidlicky this summer. Two other teams are believed interested in the veteran blueliner.
The New Jersey Devils could make an interesting move or two. They have plenty of cap space and currently 43 players under contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not sure if this came out before or after the Devils signed Jiri Tlusty to a one-year, $800K deal. They’ve also invited wingers Tyler Kennedy and Lee Stempniak to camp. That could be the extent of their interesting moves.
Friedman claims the San Jose Sharks had interest earlier this summer in Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller, but Canucks GM Jim Benning remains committed to Miller. The Sharks instead acquired promising netminder Martin Jones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wonder if the Sharks revisit their rumored interest in Miller next summer if Jones struggles as their starter? Time will tell.
Jackets still shopping for defense?
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports there’s speculation Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t done dealing, as it’s rumored he’s speaking with teams that are seeking forwards. Kekalainen expressed confidence in his defense corps for the coming season, but he has attempted to upgrade the blueline during the summer. If one or more of the Jackets promising young forwards crack the roster for the coming season, Portzline believes a trade becomes more likely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on who the trade candidates among the Jackets forwards could be. Best guess is they try to peddle Rene Bourque, who has a year remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $3.33 million, or perhaps Jared Boll ($1.7 million). Winger Cam Atkinson occasionally popped up in trade chatter last season, but the Jackets re-signed him to a three-year extension. Maybe they try dangling David Clarkson by offering to pick up part of his salary, but I doubt they’ll find many takers.