Latest speculation on Leafs goalie targets, Jared Cowen’s future and recent updates on the Red Wings and Wild.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons lists “Frederik Andersen of Anaheim; Jimmy Howard of Detroit; Jacob Markstrom of Vancouver” as goaltenders the Maple Leafs should consider if they’re available in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With former Wings coach Mike Babcock behind the bench in Toronto, I doubt he’ll sign off on Howard joining the Leafs. Andersen seems the best choice of the trio. What say you, Leafs fans? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
SPORTSNET: Damien Cox reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have sent defenseman Jared Cowen home and told to await a contract buyout. He’s also been given permission to speak with other clubs now regarding possible jobs on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think a club will take a chance on Cowen at a bargain price than they would taking on the final season (cap hit of $3.1 million, actual salary of $4.5 million) of his contract. He’ll likely get a one-year deal worth around $1 million.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa recently reported the Red Wings “may trade a goalie” in the offseason. He also notes the Wings need a top-six scorer and a top defenseman, expecting the club will make moves this summer to address those needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wings can shed Howard’s $5.291 million annual cap hit, it’ll reduce their cap payroll for next season down to around $51 million. That’s including Johan Franzen on LTIR for next season. Assuming the cap remains around $71.4 million, they’ll have $20 million in cap space to work with. Over half of it will be eaten up re-signing Petr Mrazek, Danny DeKeyser, Alexey Marchenko, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen, but there should be enough to bolster their scoring line and blueline depth.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo recently reported Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher’s conversations leading up to the recent trade deadline were regarding “hockey trades”. He speculated Fletcher may have laid the groundwork for possible offseason deals. “That could include anybody from pending restricted free agents Jason Zucker or Darcy Kuemper, forwards Mikael Granlund or Nino Niederreiter, who each have a year left on their contracts, and Jonas Brodin, whom Fletcher admitted drew lots of interest in the past several days,” writes Russo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe a shakeup is coming for the Wild this summer. Regardless of who’s behind the bench, this club seems to be spinning its wheels with its current roster. High-salaried guys like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Devan Dubnyk won’t be traded, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll find any takers for expensive fading talent like Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. One or two of those players singled out by Russo could be on the move this summer.