Latest speculation on the Red Wings and Islanders plus updates on Brayden Schenn and Andrew Ference.
Islanders and Red Wings
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple recently reported on the state of the New York Islanders three goaltenders. Oft-injured starter Jaroslav Halak missed considerable time this past season and could face offseason sports hernia surgery. He’s also been vocal about his displeasure over the club carrying three goalies. Staple speculates there’s a rift between Halak and Isles management. Halak won’t fetch much of a return if traded,so trading him would be to shed salary to address other roster needs. GM Garth Snow praised the performance of backup Thomas Greiss filling in for Halak. Staple suggests Greiss could become an affordable No.1 goalie for the Isles next season, with promising J-F Berube as his backup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Halak won’t be easy, as he’s got two years left on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Snow could buy him out in June, provided he’s not still recovering from injuries suffered during the regular season.
MLIVE.COM: Responding to questions from his readers, Ansar Khan dispels the notion of the Red Wings trading forward Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Niklas Kronwall. He believes concussed winger Johan Franzen’s playing days are over. The Wings could consider trading defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, but his contract (four years, $4.25 million cap hit, modified no-trade clause) and a bad season could make him difficult to move. Winger Gustav Nyquist could be a top trade chip, but he’s coming off a 17-goal season. That could affect his trade value. The Calgary Flames could have interest in Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, though there are other options via trade (Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi, Jaroslav Halak among others) or free agency (such as Cam Ward or James Reimer) they could consider. He rejects the idea the Wings could get one of the Flames top defensemen in return for Howard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Khan’s responses.
Schenn and Ference.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tom Dougherty speculates the Philadelphia Flyers could re-signed restricted free agent forward Brayden Schenn to a three-year, $15.75 million contract extension. That’s an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. Schenn’s current annual salary is $2.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a fair assessment of what Schenn could get from the Flyers. I doubt he gets any deal longer than four years years or a annual salary higher than $5.5 million.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports there’s rumors the Edmonton Oilers could buy out the remaining season of defenseman Andrew Ference’s contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if the Oilers don’t avail themselves of that option. Ference’s contract pays an annual average salary of $3.5 million. A buyout will result in a $1.083 million cap hit for the next two seasons, a savings of over $2.16 million for the Oilers for 2016-17.