Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond. 


NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2018

A look at the Islanders “Plan B” if they fail to resign John Tavares, the free-agent goalie search plus updates on Milan Lucic, Artemi Panarin and more in your NHL rumor mill.


NEWSDAY: As free-agent center John Tavares takes some time to consider his future, Andrew Gross looks at possible moves by the New York Islanders should Tavares move on. They could promote NHL rookie-of-the-year Mathew Barzal to the first-line center position, perhaps pursue center Paul Stastny via free agency or attempt to acquire Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres.

They also need a starting goaltender and help on the blueline. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson has requested a trade while free-agent options include Cam Ward and Carter Hutton.

TSN: Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch reports the Islanders are among the team to “kick tires” on Anderson, whose age (37) and contract creates a limited market for his services. Moving Anderson would create a big hole in net for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Islanders are obviously hoping Tavares will stay I don’t doubt GM Lou Lamoriello has contingency plans should he sign elsewhere. Wouldn’t surprise me if Lamoriello quickly gets into the bidding for O’Reilly. He has the cap space to take on the center’s $7.5-million cap hit and the depth in young assets to tempt the Sabres. As for Anderson, unless the Senators move quickly to find a suitable replacement I don’t think he’ll be traded this summer. 

Milan Lucic’s agent denies the Edmonton Oilers have a trade in place for his client (Photo via NHL Images)


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the agent for Oilers winger Milan Lucic yesterday denied a report claiming the club had a trade in place for his client. “Milan didn’t ask for a trade and Peter (GM Chiarelli) 100 per cent, has not come to us about moving Milan. If he wants to get out from under the contract, he has to talk to us,” said Gerry Johannson. He added Lucic is “coming back to play for the Edmonton Oilers.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic was frequently mentioned earlier this month as a possible trade candidate but that speculation faded over the past couple of weeks. If there was any attempt by the Oilers to move Lucic it appears it’s come to naught. 

TVA SPORTS: L.A. Lariviere reports the agent for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin confirmed his client will be talking with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen next month in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dan Milstein said it’s merely a courtesy call by Kekalainen and not a formal meeting, something the Jackets GM also did last August.

Panarin is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Jackets wish to open contract extension talks but he’s not interested in doing so at this time. Milstein also said rumors his client wants out of Columbus are unfounded, as are reports his girlfriend wants to revive her modeling career in a more cosmopolitan city. “He is not in a hurry to sign a new agreement. He wants to take his time and know the intentions of the organization,” said Milstein.

Milstein also said another client, New York Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov has received a qualifying offer but has yet to decide if he’ll accept it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports the Jackets have received trade offers for Panarin but none of them will bring the club immediate help to offset the winger’s absence. Much could depend upon Kekalainen’s roster moves this summer, which includes re-signing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. 


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports long-time Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has been contacted by five teams interested in his services. His agent, Rick Curran, said the Chicago Blackhawks were among three clubs that have had extensive interviews with his client. There’s speculation Ward could ink a one-year, $3-million deal with the Blackhawks on July 1. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter reports the Bruins can forget about wooing Carter Hutton, as he’s only interested in signing where he has a chance to be a starting goalie. The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly zeroed in on Hutton. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings are leaning toward signing Jonathan Bernier as their new backup on perhaps a three-year deal. They’re also interested in bringing back former Wings Valtteri Filppula and Thomas Vanek and have had productive discussions with free agent defenseman Mike Green, who could re-sign a two-year deal by Sunday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings reportedly met with former Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner earlier this week but Khan reports he’s no longer a possibility. Not sure if they felt Bernier was a better option or if another club (perhaps the Islanders?) have pitched him a better proposal. 


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: In the wake of the Penguins’ recent moves (including shipping Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick to Buffalo for a conditional 2019 draft pick), Jason Mackey believes they’re not done making moves. He reports they’ve met with free-agent winger Michael Grabner, though the Penguins already have considerable depth at right wing.

If they wish to pursue someone like Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner, they’ll have to move winger Carl Hagelin to clear cap space and perhaps goaltender Tristan Jarry as a key piece of a trade that another, such as the Hurricanes, might want.

Mackey suggests pursuing more affordable free-agent options such as Tobias Rieder, Antoine Roussel or Patrick Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are considered by some as the favorite to land Skinner. Cap Friendly indicates they have a projected $8.1 million in cap space but his $5.725 million cap hit will eat up most of it. The Hurricanes will have to take a salaried player back or pick up part of that cap hit. 

BOSTON HERALD: As the Bruins also await John Tavare’s decision, Steve Conroy reports they’ve “kicked tires” on free-agent wingers James van Reimsdyk and Michael Grabner.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are interested in Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves, who due to become a UFA on July 1. They apparently want to bring more grit and toughness to their lineup.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger report the Montreal Canadiens have interest in Tobias Rieder and former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet. Frank Seravalli reports Carolina Hurricanes pending UFA center Derek Ryan was expected to meet with the Calgary Flames yesterday.


Latest Leafs Speculation – April 27, 2018

Latest Leafs Speculation – April 27, 2018

A roundup of media speculation over the Toronto Maple Leafs’ offseason plans. Enjoy!

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman speculates over possible changes for the Toronto Maple Leafs. General manager Lou Lamoriello is completing a three-year contract but has a provision allowing him to remain in an advisory role for two more years. His decision could affect the status of assistant GMs Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas. If Lamoriello departs, Friedman wonders if he’d join his son Chris with the New York Islanders.

Pending free-agent winger James van Riemsdyk loves Toronto and wants to stay but Friedman said it’s hard to see how a new contract will fit. He also anticipates the Leafs will look at upgrading their blueline, noting they “kicked tires” on some in-season options such as Ryan McDonagh and Chris Tanev, though they were never really close on anything at the time.

Friedman’s colleague Damien Cox believes the Leafs should consider bolstering their goaltending depth. While acknowledging starter Frederik Andersen’s heavy workload, he feels the Leafs need to upgrade between the pipes if they’re to improve. Among his suggested options are promoting Garrett Sparks, giving backup Curtis McElhinney more work or bring in a goalie via trade or free agency to compete with starter Frederik Andersen.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran considers signing New York Islanders pending free-agent center John Tavares a long-shot bet for the Leafs, suggesting they offer up a one-year, $16-million contract. If landing Tavares isn’t possible, he proposes short-term options such as San Jose’s Joe Thornton (depending upon his recovery from knee surgery) or New Jersey’s Michael Grabner.

McGran believes they must bring in a top-flight mobile defenseman. Acquiring big-ticket blueliners such as Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty or Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (who are both eligible for UFA status in 2019) would be expensive. He suggests pending UFAs such as Washington’s John Carlson or Detroit’s Mike Green could be targets.

Should the Maple Leafs consider shopping William Nylander for a defenseman? (Photo via NHL Images)

McGran also wondered about Lamoriello’s future with the Leafs, as well as what type of contract restricted free agent forward William Nylander might get. He also thinks the Leafs would be wise to open contract extensions talks with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who have a year remaining on their entry-level deals. He expects UFAs such as van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Tomas Plekanec and Dominic Moore won’t be back, but perhaps Mike Babcock favorites Leo Komarov and Roman Polak might be retained.

NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos feels the Leafs need better defensemen if they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup, even if that means trading someone like William Nylander to get one. He points out the Leafs have considerable depth at forward but it’s a different story on the blueline, “with (Jake) Gardiner, Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev playing too high in the line-up.” While they could pursue a UFA such as John Carlson or Mike Green, Traikos suggests better options, such as Vancouver’s Chris Tanev or Calgary’s T.J. Brodie, could be available via the trade market, or perhaps Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson or Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty. Pursuing a quality defenseman, however, could cost someone such as Nylander, Connor Brown or Kasperi Kapanen.

THE ATHLETIC: In addition to musing over the futures of Lamoriello and the notable UFAs, the possibility of signing Tavares  and new contracts for Matthews, Marner and Nylander, Jonas Siegel also noted the Leafs need to bolster their blueline, especially on the right side. If Washington’s John Carlson is unavailable, Siegel wonders if the Leafs will circle back on Vancouver’s Chris Tanev in the trade market. However, he feels trading William Nylander for a defenseman “should be a definite no-go.” That will make it tricky to determine who or what the Leafs can give up to get that blueliner.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes “there’s  a real possibility that not one of the Leafs’ six players headed for unrestricted free agency — forwards James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Dominic Moore and Plekanec and defenceman Roman Polak — will be re-signed.” He doesn’t think van Riemsdyk will accept a hometown discount to stay in Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect plenty of media speculation over the Leafs’ offseason plans in the coming weeks, especially when the 2018 NHL Draft weekend (June 22-23) draws near. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether Lamoriello returns as GM or if Hunter or Dubas takes over. Newsday’s Andrew Gross said there’s no indication the Islanders are interested in Lamoriello, though he acknowledged his ties to the organization through his son. 

The Leafs’ priority must be improving their defense corps. They gave up too many shots-against and scoring chances, blew too many leads and relied too much on Andersen to bail them out.  As per Cap Friendly, the Leafs have less than $50 million invested in 16 players once the all-but-retired Nathan Horton’s cap hit is placed on long-term injured reserve at the start of next season. That’s more than enough to address their blueline needs via free agency or trade. They could also make one or two affordable additions without eating up too much of their long-term cap room.

If Carlson hits the free-agent market, the Leafs should definitely pursue him. If he’s unavailable, Green might make a decent short-term addition that won’t break the bank. If there’s a chance of acquiring a superstar such as Doughty or Karlsson, they should at least look into it to determine the cost of return and salary. If they can find more affordable trade options, they must do it. As Traikos observes, it could cost them a good young forward but such a move could be addition via subtraction if it improves the defense. 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times since last summer: the Leafs don’t need John Tavares. They already have a first-line center in Matthews, whose best days are still ahead of him. Nazem Kadri is a good fit on the second line. If they keep Nylander they can put him into the third-line role. Blowing their brains out for Tavares on a long-term contract will take up valuable cap space that would be better used plugging the gaping holes on their blueline. Even if he accepts a one-year deal for the 20 percent maximum salary, it would still be a waste of money that won’t address their defensive needs.

I concur with Koshan’s take on the Leafs’ UFAs. While I understand the wish of Leafs fans to keep JVR in the fold, that might not be possible if he won’t accept an offer that’s less than what he’d get on the open market. There could be more cost-effective short-term options via trade or free agency as they develop their promising young forwards.

Andersen faced more shots this season than any other NHL goaltender. To be a reliable playoff starter, the Leafs must reduce his workload. They’ll likely look to within to address that issue for next season. 


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 22, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 22, 2018

Latest on the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: Improving the offense, determining what kind of contracts can be expected for restricted free agents Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker, and perhaps shaking up the roster with a trade are among the questions facing the Minnesota Wild this summer.

Chip Scoggins believes Wild owner Craig Leipold faces two choices: standing pat and hoping things improve next season or make major changes to the roster and/or management. While the Wild reached the playoffs in six consecutive seasons they’ve also made quick postseason exits, with just 15 wins in eight series. The first order of business is determining if general manager Chuck Fletcher returns for a 10th season.

Could Charlie Coyle become part of a potential offseason shakeup by the Minnesota Wild? (Photo via NHL Images)

Scoggins also points out players the Wild counted on for production, such as Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle, failed to score in their series against the Jets.  “The Wild has had too many passengers in the playoffs, not just one or two guys falling short. Whether they underperformed or are just not talented enough, this situation requires a realistic assessment of where the organization stands.”

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani suggests “guys like Coyle and Niederrieter might have finally worn out their welcome after following up disappointing regular seasons with scoreless postseasons.” He also notes the Wild face the decision on whether to re-sign Zucker and Dumba to high-paying contracts, pointing out  Zucker’s lack of production against the Jets and Dumba’s “head-scratching plays on the blue line.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Leipold does after his club made yet another early exit from the playoffs. If Fletcher returns, he could be under orders to shake things up and that could include moving Coyle or Niederreiter or Zucker.

As per Cap Friendly, Dumba and Zucker are both restricted free agents with arbitration rights. Dumba’s developing into a reliable puck-moving rearguard and should get a long-term contract. If Zucker isn’t traded he might only get a one-year deal from the Wild taking him up to unrestricted free agency next summer. 


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan lists adding defensive depth and making decisions on rental wingers (and pending free-agents) Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon among her keys to the New Jersey Devils’ offseason.

Regarding the defense, she notes John Moore is an unrestricted free agent this summer while 35-year-old captain Andy Greene is showing signs of slowing down. Given their salary-cap space for next season, there’s room to make a splash on defense. Grabner was a bust but Maroon did put up 13 points in 17 regular-season games and could be worth re-signing if the money and term are reasonable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have $55 million invested in 17 players for 2018-19, with Stefan Noesen, Blake Coleman and Miles Wood as their notable restricted free agents. Even if they don’t spend to the projected $80 million cap ceiling they have sufficient space to re-sign their key players and perhaps add a top-four defenseman and perhaps a faceoff specialist.

I don’t see them re-signing Grabner. Maroon was disappointing in the playoffs with just one goal in five games. If the Devils are looking for offense they could pursue other options. 



Latest Islanders and Oilers Speculation – April 16, 2018

Latest Islanders and Oilers Speculation – April 16, 2018

Another update on New York Islanders captain John Tavares plus another look at possible offseason moves by the Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.

Which clubs could be potential landing spots for New York Islanders center John Tavares? (Photo via NHL Images)


NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross provided a primer on the future of New York Islanders captain (and pending free agent) John Tavares. He anticipates it could cost the Islanders around $10.5-million annually as he won’t be taking a hometown discount.

If Tavares tests the free-agent market on July 1, Gross lists the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks as possible suitors. He doesn’t see Tavares landing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens or New York Rangers.

If the Isles cannot re-sign Tavares before July 1, Gross speculates they could attempt to trade his rights to a club that can sign him. Another option is signing him to an eight-year contract and then shipping him to another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Sharks, Blues, Golden Knights, Red Wings and Canucks all have sufficient salary-cap space to sign Tavares to a lucrative long-term deal. If he hits the open market, however, he could be leery of signing with rebuilding teams like the Wings and Canucks. Gross makes a good point that Tavares might prefer avoiding the media cauldrons of Toronto and Montreal. I also don’t see him dissing the Isles by joining the arch-rival Rangers. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently listed several things for Oilers fans to watch for during the offseason. Among them is the never-ending search for an offensive right-shooting defenseman, though it might mean giving up a left-shot blueliner like Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse to get one, “or a first-round pick in a package for a left-shooting Oliver Ekman-Larsson, if he’s available”. He feels the Oilers’ 2018  first-round pick should be in play for Ekman-Larsson, provided it’s not in the top three.

With Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar staying in school for one more season, Matheson doesn’t see them moving Tyson Barrie. He instead considers Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Justin Faulk as “the best short-term bet”, though the Canes will want a forward in return. 

Once the Oilers re-sign their key restricted free agents (including Nurse, Matt Benning and Ryan Strome), Matheson doubts they’ll have enough salary-cap space to pursue a big-ticket free-agent winger such as Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk or Vegas’ James Neal. He instead proposed more affordable free agents such as Columbus’ Thomas Vanek or New Jersey’s Michael Grabner. Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman could be a trade option. 

He doesn’t see the Oilers buying out the remaining five years on Milan Lucic’s contract. They don’t intend to trade center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If recent reports out of Arizona are any indication, Ekman-Larsson won’t be available. He hopes to re-sign with the Coyotes and I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce a new contract extension for him shortly as early as July 1. I agree with Matheson that Barrie’s unavailable. Given the Hurricanes’ recent management shake-up, Faulk could be available. However, the asking price could be a top-six forward.

If the Oilers aren’t shedding one of their higher-salaried players, they could consider affordable short-term UFA options like Vanek or Grabner. I can also see the Oilers packaging their first round pick in a package deal for a scoring winger or defenseman, but if that pick turns out to be first overall, they’ll keep it to select highly touted Swedish blueliner Rasmus Dahlin. 


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 8, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 8, 2018

Latest on the Senators, Panthers and Rangers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch examines what is expected to be a busy offseason for the Ottawa Senators. Topping the list, of course, is determining the future of captain Erik Karlsson, who has one year remaining on his contract. The two sides can open contract discussions on July 1 and word is the Karlsson camp could seek an eight-year deal worth between $80 million to $100 million. There was interest in Karlsson from other clubs leading up to the trade deadline and it could persist through the offseason.

The Ottawa Senators will have to determine if center Matt Duchene fits into their long-term plans (Photo via NHL Images.

Like Karlsson, center Matt Duchene is also slated next year to become an unrestricted free agent. The Sens must discuss a contract extension with Duchene, whose decision could be based upon the direction the club intends to take. Restricted free agents Mark Stone and Cody Ceci will have to be re-


A decision will also have to be reached regarding the future of head coach Guy Boucher. The Sens could be reluctant to make another coaching change over cycling through six coaches in 10 years. The Senators must hope struggling goaltenders Craig Anderson and Mike Condon can bounce back.

Garrioch doubts the Senators will attempt to buy out the remaining four years of Bobby Ryan’s contract. He feels there’s a chance Marian Gaborik could be a buyout candidate, as could winger Alex Burrows. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes Karlsson is destined to leave the Senators, as he doubts the small-market club can afford to invest 20 percent of their cap payroll into one player, no matter how dynamic he may be. With the Sens facing a major rebuild, Shinzawa believes the picks and prospects they could get from a Karlsson trade will help their reconstruction.

Shinzawa suggests the New York Rangers as a suitable trade partner as they have the ability to re-sign Karlsson and depth in futures to part with in a trade. He believes Karlsson could help the Rangers’ rebuild gain traction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson and the Senators could surprise us by announcing an agreement on an expensive long-term extension for the superstar. However, I’m in the camp that believes he’s played his final game with the Sens. Given the Rangers’ depth in draft picks this year (10 altogether, including three in the first round, two in the second and two in the third), they could be an enticing trade target. However, they could consider Karlsson too pricey and, at 28, too old to fit into their long-term plans.

Cap Friendly indicates the Vegas Golden Knights have also stockpiled a fair number of picks over the next three drafts. They attempted to acquire Karlsson at the trade deadline and could revisit their interest this summer.

Duchene’s situation could also get interesting. He’s spent most of his career with rebuilding clubs and might lack the patience to stick with the Senators if they go for an all-out rebuild.

As for possible buyouts, I agree they probably won’t attempt to buy out Ryan’s hefty contract. In fact, I expect they’ll try to shop him to a club with extra cap space this summer. If Gaborik hasn’t fully recovered from his recent back surgery before the end of June they won’t be allowed to buy him out. As for Burrows, he’s on a plus-35 contract so they won’t get any cap relief from a buyout. 


NEW YORK POST: In the wake of the New York Rangers firing head coach Alain Vigneault, Larry Brooks looked at several possible replacements. He lists the University of Denver’s Jim Montgomery, Boston University’s David Quinn, Union College’s Rick Bennett, the AHL’s Toronto Marlies’ Sheldon Keefe and former NHL coaches Dan Bylsma, Darryl Sutter, Dave Tippett and Patrick Roy.

Another option could be Bill Peters of the Carolina Hurricanes, who has an out-clause in his contract and could seek other positions. Brooks also includes Columbus Blue Jackets bench boss John Tortorella. “Unlikely to become available, but if somehow he does if Columbus goes down early, Rangers could become interested in reunion.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers insist on a full rebuild putting most of the focus on youth, they could target a coach who works well with developing young players. If not, perhaps bringing in a veteran coach with some championship experience will be an option. 


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski suggests the Florida Panthers should look into adding a top-six winger this summer. One option via free agency this summer could be New Jersey Devils winger Michael Grabner. He also thinks they must make a decision about physical third-pairing defenseman Alex Petrovic, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. While the Panthers like the intangibles he brings, Wyshynski feels they should look into trading him if their interest is in improving the overall team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Panthers don’t like what they see in this summer’s crop of free-agent wingers, perhaps they might consider bundling Petrovic with a draft pick or prospect to a team with limited salary-cap space in hopes of landing a winger? Just musing out loud.